Arp Can Jump Back Into District Title Race If It Solves Strong West Rusk Defense
DISTRICT 9-3A Division II
Arp Tigers (5-2, 2-1)
West Rusk Raiders (6-0, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bruce Bradshaw Stadium, New London
- Arp: Dale Irwin
- West Rusk: John Frazier
- Arp: def. Beckville, 59-21
- West Rusk: def. Harleton, 31-14
- Arp: vs. Troup, Oct. 21
- West Rusk: at Waskom, Oct. 21
- RB Kayce Medlock, Sr., 5-10, 186 (committed to SMU)
- RB/DB Tray Baker, Sr., 5-7, 150
- RB/DB Demontre Wade, Jr., 6-0, 205
- LB Jordan Brantley, Sr., 5-9, 200
- LB/RB Jacobe Hunt, Sr., 5-10, 180
- RB/LB Terry Nance, Sr., 5-9, 175
- WR/DL DeMarvion Overshown, Jr., 6-4, 200
- QB Tyler Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 175
- OL/DL Mack Stroupe, Sr., 6-1, 215
- WR/DB Kevin Jones, Sr., 6-3, 175
- RB/LB DeVonta Medford, Sr., 6-0, 195
- OL/DL Cameron Richmond, Sr., 6-6, 245
- RB/LB Jacob Waller, Sr., 6-0, 210
- RB Jaylon Garland, Soph., 5-8, 153
- LB Tyree Wilson, Jr., 6-5, 210
- DL Matthew Davidson, Jr., 5-7, 230
- QB/LB LaJavius Harper, Soph., 5-8, 145
Just the facts
- Friday's game marks the back half of the district schedule for Arp and the end of the district front stretch for Wesk Rusk.
- District 9-3A Division II staggered its open weeks for its teams. West Rusk enjoyed its open date before the start of district whereas Arp will be idle in Week 11.
- Both teams have two wins in district play, but Arp is 2-1 in the league and therefore has a worse winning percentage than West Rusk at 2-0.
- West Rusk is in a tie for first place in the district alongside Elysian Fields, which is currently 3-0 and on its open week. Arp is squarely in third place
- An Arp win Friday would allow it to tie West Rusk in second place. A West Rusk win would get it absolutely even with Elysian Fields in the standings with three games, including a head-to-head meeting, to go.
- West Rusk and Arp currently share no common opponents.
- ETSN.fm ranked Arp No. 7 in this week's Class 3A Poll. West Rusk is the No. 8 team.
- ETSN.fm predicted in the preseason that Arp would win District 9-3A Division II and West Rusk would finish in third place.
- Arp's senior class has a 2-1 varsity record against West Rusk, but the Raiders won last season's meeting by a score of 31-23.
Key matchup: Arp's rushing game versus West Rusk's defense.
The Tigers have a strong offensive backfield and, somewhat surprisingly to outsiders, touches this season have been fairly evenly distributed despite the presence of SMU commitment Kayce Medlock. Arp has been much more than a one-trick pony toward its 36.8 points per game.
Quarterback Tyler Stewart and junior running back Demontre Wade are capable of making plays with their feet. More than that, Arp's offensive line has performed pretty well against the best defensive fronts it has faced -- Alto, Tatum and Waskom.
West Rusk's defensive front is not the most explosive the Tigers have seen. Its numbers don't jump off the page, but the Raiders are only averaging 16 points against per game. Only three teams have hit 20 points against the unit and no team has scored more than 21 points.
Head coach John Frazier's defense thrives on takeaways in addition to what is flat out a sure-handed unit. It has caused 13 fumbles and has recorded six interceptions, which is an average of 3.1 opportunities for a takeaway per game.
West Rusk's linebackers group is the strong point of the defense. Middle linebacker Jacob Waller has 82 tackles to his name in just six games and largely helps insure gains in the run game are for short yardage.
The secondary behind Waller is one of the district's most talented. Headlined by Kevin Jones, who was East Texas' interceptions leader at the end of the regular season last year, the group is tough to shake off in space.
Expect a very physical game between Arp and West Rusk when the Tigers have possession.
Don't be surprised if: West Rusk's Kevin Jones stands out of both sides of the ball.
Not only is last season's regional interceptions leader on pace for a good senior season with three picks through six games this year, he is the leading receiving threat in a balanced Raiders offense.
Jones has 509 yards on 24 catches, and seven of those grabs have gone for scores. He accounts for 53.7 percent of West Rusk's passing this season and has already surpassed his 14-game offensive total from last year.