Winner Between Bullard + Chapel Hill Can Take Big Step Toward Making Playoffs
Bullard Panthers (3-2, 1-1)
Chapel Hill Bulldogs (4-3, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill
- Bullard: Shannon Wilson
- Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
- Bullard: won 21-14 vs. Gladewater
- Chapel Hill: won 49-14 at Spring Hill
- Bullard: vs. Henderson
- Chapel Hill: at Kilgore
- QB Connor Mebane, Sr., 6-0, 170 (38 of 64, 546 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 96 carries, 501 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB Dillon White (40 carries, 226 yards)
- RB Austin Skelton (25 carries, 193 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Ryan Young, Sr.
- OL Aaron Johnson, Sr., 5-11, 165
WR Drake Daly (8 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Jacob Shelton (7 catches, 158 yards)
- OL Dorian Schutt, Jr., 6-2, 235
- QB Andrew Black, Sr., 6-1, 180 (105 of 190, 1,362 yards, 13 TDs, 10 INTs; 72 carries, 551 yards, 9 TDs)
- RB/LB Wesley Thompson, Sr., 6-1, 185 (64 carries, 532 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB/DB Jesse Mumphrey, Sr. (49 carries, 369 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR/DB Gabriel Robinson, Sr., 5-8, 160 (25 catches, 436 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR Lex Heckel, Sr. (16 catches, 201 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Jeffery Minor, Jr. (18 catches, 181 yards, 1 TD)
- OL/DL Keith Minor, Sr., 6-3, 237
- OL/DL Shaq Warren, Sr., 6-3, 235
- DL Kevone Kennedy, Sr., 6-2, 230
Just the facts
- Bullard and Chapel Hill have met 11 times, all in the last 11 years. Chapel Hill holds a 9-2 lead in the series.
- The Panthers three wins this season have come against Quitman, Diboll and Gladewater, who have combined to go 5-16. Bullard's two losses were to White Oak and Kilgore, who are a combined 10-1.
- Bullard, which missed the postseason last year despite a 7-3 record, averaged 38.1 points per game in 2012. The Panthers are putting up just 20.2 halfway through this season.
- Since 1980, Bullard has posted nine winning seasons and reached the playoffs five times.
- Bullard needs three wins the rest of the season to equal its best three-year run in program history. From 1992-94, the Panthers were 21-11 and since 2011, Bullard is 18-10.
- Chapel Hill's ground game is averaging 316.3 yards per game while the overall offense is putting up 511.9 yards and 42.3 points per game. During the Bulldogs' 2011 state-championship run, they averaged 503.2 yards per game (306.1 rushing) and 45.8 points per game.
- The Bulldogs' uptempo, spread offense has run 477 plays from scrimmage (68 per game) for an average of 7.5 yards per snap.
- Chapel Hill has defeated Lindale, Palestine, Henderson and Spring Hill, who have combined to go 8-17 on the year. Its three losses have come to Whitehouse, Carthage and Gilmer, who are a combined 19-1.
- Bulldogs coach Thomas Sitton is 40-17 in his four-plus seasons at the helm. He needs eight wins to become Chapel Hill's all-time winningest coach.
- Chapel Hill's three remaining opponents -- Bullard, Kilgore and Gladewater -- are a combined 11-6.
Key matchup: Chapel Hill's running game vs. Bullard defensive front. The Bulldogs offense is rapidly developing into one of the area's most explosive and balanced in the entire area. At the beginning of the season, Chapel Hill's calling card was its punishing ground game, which went over 500 rushing yards twice in the first four games. But, after and up-and-down start to the season, quarterback Andrew Black has settled into a groove. In his last three games, the senior is 47 of 80 for 779 yards with nine touchdowns an one interception. In the first three weeks, he threw for 583 and tossed nine interceptions. One of the biggest reasons for Black's newfound success through the air is his threat as a runner. He leads Chapel Hill's rushing attack, which averages more than 300 yards per game, with 551 yards and nine TD's on the ground. He has especially been effective with the read-option, and his development as a threat in the passing game only makes Chapel Hill's uptempo offense more difficult to defend.
Chapel Hill will try to establish the run first. Everything it does on offense in based on its ability to run out of a wide-open spread look, which forces defenses to either creep closer to the line of scrimmage for run support -- leaving it vulnerable for favorable one-on-one matchups downfield -- or back off and give the Bulldogs' backs a chance to create in space. Bullard's defense, which comes into Friday's meeting, giving up a respectable 25 points per game, will have to game plan for both possibilities and make the proper in-game adjustments to keep the Chapel Hill offense from having sustained success.
Don't be surprised if: Both quarterbacks are at the forefront Friday night. Much like Black, Bullard's Connor Mebane has emerged as his offense's top playmaker. Mebane, the younger brother of last year's starting quarterback Colton Mebane, has accounted for 64 percent of Bullard's total offense and nine of the Panthers' 14 offensive touchdowns this season. But a lot will be put on the shoulders of Bullard's defense to hold Chapel Hill's offense at bay. The Panthers have not had the same kind of success on the offensive side of the ball, going for just 324.8 total yards and 20.1 points per game. Mebane will either have to put together a masterful performance or have a few other teammates help him carry the load in order for the Panthers to pull the upset on the road. Friday's winner can make a big step toward reaching the playoffs. Both Bullard and Chapel Hill have already faced one of the district's "top two" (No. 1 Gilmer, No. 3 Kilgore), and with a win Friday will have the inside track for the third of four playoff berths from the district. The loser won't be out, but their job becomes a little more difficult.