Winnsboro Aims For Outright District 7-2A Division I Title Against One-Loss Malakoff
District 7-2A Division I
Winnsboro Red Raiders (7-2, 5-0)
Malakoff Tigers (8-1, 4-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Malakoff
- Winnsboro: Steve Pinnell
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Winnsboro: won 58-28 vs. Kemp
- Malakoff: won 41-3 at Quitman
- QB Sheyan Thompson, Sr., 6-4, 215
- LB David Santoy, Sr., 5-7, 165
- LB Brian Winburn, Jr., 5-10, 215
- RB Tedrick Shepherd, Jr., 5-6, 165
- WR Quinton King
- RB Will Villalobos
- RB Damontes Dowell, Sr., 5-9, 170
- OL Israel Chavez, Sr., 6-1, 265
- LB Jordan Harris, Sr., 5-10, 200
- DB Dariuhn Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 150
- RB Marcus Dowell, Jr., 6-1, 190
- WR Kendrick Hornbuckle
Just the facts
- Winnsboro coach Steve Pinnell is tied with Texas High's Barry Norton as East Texas' longest tenured head coach at their current programs.
- Under Pinnell, Winnsboro is 102-63. The Red Raiders will make the playoffs for the 10th time in his 15 seasons at the helm.
- Winnsboro is averaging 28.9 points per game, while giving up 22.3.
- The Red Raiders' two losses this season have come against fourth-ranked Tatum and Class 3A Mineola. Winnsboro is currently riding a six-game winning streak.
- Malakoff coach Jamie Driskell will be leading the Tigers to the postseason for the fifth time in his five seasons in charge.
- The Tigers are 42-13 under Driskell. In the five years prior to his arrival, Malakoff was just 17-34-1.
- Malakoff averages 51.9 points per game and gives up 13.1 on average.
- The Tigers' only loss this season came against Lone Oak -- 45-21 on Oct. 11. Winnsboro defeated Lone Oak 29-20 on Oct. 25.
Key matchup: Malakoff running game vs. Winnsboro defensive front. Lone Oak has been the only team that's held Malakoff's explosive offense to less than 40 points, so it figures Winnsboro's defense will have a challenge on its hands Friday night. Offensively, Malakoff butters its bread with its dynamic duo of running backs Damontes Dowell and Marcus Dowell. Each back brings something to the table. Damontes is more of the shifty, speed back, while Marcus uses his combination of size and speed to overpower opposing defenses. Malakoff will need another solid performance from the two of them this week if the Tigers wish to grab a piece of the District 7-2A Division I championship.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Winnsboro, which lost every single starter from last season's offense and only brought back three starting defenders. But after a slow 1-2 start to the year, Winnsboro has found its groove by stringing together six consecutive victories, putting the Red Raiders in position to repeat as district champs. Even though Winnsboro has steadily improved on offense throughout the course of the year, the Red Raiders cannot afford to get into a shootout with the more much explosive Malakoff. Since district play began, Winnsboro's defense is holding opponents to just 19.4 points per game. If the Red Raiders can hold Malakoff to less than 30 points, Winnsboro stands a good chance of winning.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is more competitive than last season's 50-21 Winnsboro win. Malakoff's at home this around and will be playing for a piece of the district championship, which should give the Tigers plenty of motivation. The key will be how long Winnsboro's ball-control, rushing attack can stay on the field and keep Malakoff's potent offense on the sidelines. Overlooked is Malakoff's defense, which has held all but one of its district opponents to 10 points or less. If the Tigers are able to stop Winnsboro on third down with regularity, Malakoff could be in excellent position to hand the Red Raiders their first district loss.