Atlanta + Gladewater Meeting Could Be Most Physical Game Of The Season
DISTRICT 7-4A DIVISION II
Atlanta Rabbits (5-2, 1-1)
Gladewater Bears (5-1, 1-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jack V. Murphy Stadium, Gladewater
- Atlanta: Matt McClure
- Gladewater: John Berry
- Atlanta: vs. Gilmer, Oct. 28
- Gladewater: at Pittsburg, Oct. 28
- LB/TE Tristan Allen, Sr., 6-4, 218
- LB/WR Desmond Robinson, Sr., 6-3, 205
- RB/DB Kelton Young, Sr., 5-10, 180
- OL/LB Christian Oliver, Sr.
- LB Danny Dickerson, Sr.
- OL/DL Ethan Mauldin, Sr.
- QB/DB Layton Henson, Sr., 6-2, 180
- WR/DB Desmond Webster, Sr., 5-11, 180
- RB Darnell McKnight, Sr., 5-11, 235
- DB Austin Hawley, Sr., 6-1, 210
- RB/DB Isaiah Davis, Jr., 5-11, 210
- QB Cameron Callaway, Sr.,
- LB Bryston Oliver, Sr., 5-9, 185
- DL Isiah Tiner, Sr.
- LB Mycah Stephens, Jr., 6-0, 185
- LB Michael Batchelor, Sr.
Just the facts
- Atlanta and Gladewater are currently tied for third place in the District 7-4A Division II standings.
- Friday's winner will certainly gain an upper hand for the third-place playoff spot out of the district, but it might hop into a second place tied if either Gilmer or Pittsburg lose elsewhere.
- Gilmer and Pittsburg are currently tied for first in the league standings with favorable games this week. Gilmer is hosting Spring Hill and Pittsburg is traveling to Pleasant Grove.
- Pleasant Grove and Spring Hill are still seeking their first district wins to round out the six-team district.
- Gladewater owns a 2-1 record against Atlanta the past three seasons, which coincides with both schools' seniors being on campus.
- However, the Rabbits won last season's meeting by a score of 35-28 in Gladewater.
- Bears defensive back Austin Hawley received his fourth overall NCAA Division I college football scholarship opportunity Tuesday. Southeastern Louisiana did the honor and joined Incarnate Word, Lamar as well as Louisiana-Monroe as a potential landing spot for the senior.
- Atlanta has two college-bound linebackers in Tristan Allen and Desmond Robinson.
- Gladewater has played one less game than Atlanta because its season-opening contest against Carthage was cancelled in the second quarter due to a power outage.
- The Rabbits will travel 75 miles to Gladewater.
Key matchup: Atlanta's defensive front versus Gladewater's rushing attack.
When you name the most physical teams in the region, the Bears and Rabbits ought to be in your first breath. This game should be a real treat for fans that appreciate the collision aspect of the sport.
Gladewater's run-oriented offense out of the I-formation usually throws defenses for a loop because of Texas high school football's mass migration to spread sets. For every one yard the Bears have gained through the air, they have generated 17 yards on the ground toward 2,659 total yards.
The I-formation demands that the opposing linebackers and safeties be much more involved in the game on a play-to-play basis. Both position groups have to assume they're coming down to defend the run, but they have weigh that against the threat of a surprise pass right over the top of them.
Atlanta certainly has the linebackers to be competitive in seniors Tristan Allen and Desmond Robinson. Allen is being recruited by Louisiana Tech and UTEP while Robinson has offers from Wyoming and UTEP to give you a scope of how valuable the duo is on the high school level.
The Rabbits couldn't possess a better strength in Friday's game.
Gladewater, however, has encountered its share of strong defenses and prevailed toward its 5-1 overall record. Kilgore and Lindale, a Class 5A school, in particular.
Three backs have surpassed the 500-yard mark in the Bears' six games. Isaiah Davis has a team-best 730 yards on 101 touches, quarterback Cameron Callaway has averaged 8.6 yards per carry on 67 runs and Darnell McKnight has 530 yards on 86 hard carries.
Atlanta's defense will need to bring its absolute A-game to put a lid on all three players.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is determined on fourth-down execution.
Confident it always has the edge against defenses because of its everyday execution against defenses that seldomly encounter the I-formation, Gladewater went for it on fourth down more than a half dozen times last week in its 35-28 loss to Gilmer.
Gilmer forced five turnovers on downs in its one-possession win.
Gladewater is willing to roll the dice. The trend goes back years.
Atlanta will have to make the Bears pay to get the road win.