Arp Can Earn First Trip to State Finals With Win Over Boling
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Arp Tigers (12-2)
Boling Bulldogs (12-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Texan Drive Stadium, Porter
- Arp: Dale Irwin
- Boling: Stephen Dorr
- Arp: def. Newton, 13-6
- Boling: def. Lexington, 34-29
- Winner faces Canadian or Gunter, Class 3A Division II championship, 5 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 15), AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- RB/FS Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 192 (102 carries, 1,125 yards, 16 TDs; 7 catches, 131 yards, 3 TDs; 50 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, 1 INT; committed to SMU)
- ATH Demarvion Overshown, Jr., 6-4, 200 (4 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD; 8 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD; 153 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 3 INTs)
- SB Demontre Wade, Jr., 6-0, 195 (166 carries, 977 yards, 11 TDs; 4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Tyler Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 200 (36 of 87, 784 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs; 151 carries, 749 yards, 12 TDs)
- CB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-8, 175 (35 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 4 INTs)
- WR/CB Jacoby Hawkins, Sr., 5-6, 150 (20 catches, 417 yards, 3 TDs; 30 tackles, 1 INT)
- LB Terry Nance, Sr., 5-11, 190 (100 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
- SB Skyler Hotaling, Sr., 5-8, 155 (63 carries, 619 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB/LB Vernon Jackson, Jr., 6-3, 235 (54 of 90, 795 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs; 139 carries, 1,967 yards, 32 TDs; 64 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs)
- FB Kade Bickham, Sr., 5-11, 205 (147 carries, 1,299 yards, 17 TDs; 4 catches, 42 yards)
- RB Elijah Gooden, Sr., 6-1, 210 (112 carries, 1,134 yards, 13 TDs; 4 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD; committed to Houston)
- ATH Ronald Krushall, Sr., 5-7, 155 (107 carries, 940 yards, 10 TDs; 12 catches, 166 yards, 1 TD; 90 tackles, 1 sack; 4 INTs)
- DT Larry Krushall, Sr. (66 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 INT)
- DB Josh Rangel, Sr., 5-6, 150 (49 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT)
- LB Cash Ricci-Ott, Jr., 5-11, 190 (79 tackles, 1.5 sacks)
- S Victor Reina, Jr., 5-11, 160 (70 tackles, 1 sack)
Just the facts
- Arp is 0-2 all time in state semifinal games, losing in 1977 and 2000.
- Boling is 24-4 since the beginning of the 2015 season.
- Arp is averaging 34.4 points and 356.4 yards per game -- 293.8 rushing and 62.6 passing.
- The Tigers limited Newton to 125 yards until its 70-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter of last week's game.
- The cumulative record of Arp's 14 opponents this season is 93-64 (.592).
- Boling is averaging 41.9 points and 486.1 yards per game -- 429.1 rushing and 57 passing.
- The Bulldogs have four players with at least 940 rushing yards on the season.
- The cumulative record of Boling's 14 opponents this season is 90-72 (.556).
Key matchup: Boling rushing attack vs. Arp defensive front. The Tigers defense will face a formidable running game with the Boling Bulldogs, who feature four players with at least 940 rushing yards on the season. Boling is led by junior quarterback Vernon Jackson (6-3, 235), who is just 33 yards shy of 2,000 on the ground this season, and has rushed for 32 touchdowns. But the Bulldogs have two other backs who have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in fullback Kade Bickham (1,299 yards, 17 TD's) and running back Elijah Gooden (1,134 yards, 12 TD's), who is a Houston commit. As a team, the Bulldogs are averaging almost 430 rushing yards per game, and rarely take to the air. Jackson has attempted just 90 passes on the year, an average of less than seven attempts per game. Boling fell behind Lexington, 14-0, last week but did not panic and refused to avert from its game plan of pounding the ball. Very few teams have been able to slow down the Bulldogs' ground game, and it will take a solid effort from Arp to do so Friday night.
Arp shocked the state of Texas last week by taking out the presumptive favorite in 3A Division II, Newton, and the Tigers did so with a ferocious defensive effort. The previously unbeaten and second-ranked Eagles entered last week's regional championship averaging 44 points and 415 yards per game, including 275 on the ground. But Newton's skilled collection of backs were no match for Arp, which limited the Eagles to 195 yards of offense, and just 125 rushing. In fact, Newton did not score until its 70-yard drive with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Arp's defense and ball-control offense was able to hold Newton to just 17 offensive snaps in the second half. Boling's offensive scheme may not exactly resemble Newton's, but Arp has experience lining up against big and physical ground attacks. It is that past experience that the Tigers will need to lean on if they hope to reach their first-ever state championship game.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is closely contested and low-scoring. Both Arp and Boling pride themselves on being able to control the line of scrimmage and the clock with their powerful rushing attacks. Don't expect either team to put the ball in the air that much, as the Tigers and Bulldogs have combined to throw just 16 touchdown passes all season long. Fewer passing attempts, mean fewer incompletions and clock stoppages, which should result in fewer offensive possessions for both teams. If the game comes down to the fourth quarter, Arp has more experience in close games than Boling, which could bode well for the Tigers. Boling's average margin of victory this season is 21.7 points, while Arp's is 18.4 and the Tigers' season includes six games decided by 10 points or less. Arp is 4-2 in those contests.