Class 4A Powers Carthage + Liberty-Eylau Square Off Friday Night
No. 5 Carthage Bulldogs (0-0)
Liberty-Eylau Leopards (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Harris Field, Texarkana
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Liberty-Eylau: Steve Wells
- Carthage: vs. Gladewater, canceled
- Liberty-Eylau: lost to Gilmer, 61-55
- Carthage: vs. Whitehouse, Sept. 9
- Liberty-Eylau: at Texas High, Sept. 9
- RB Keaontray Ingram, Jr., 5-11, 198
- LB Mykel Gates, Jr., 6-0, 215
- DE Tre Gatlin, Sr.., 6-6, 250
- QB Kason Davis, Sr., 6-2, 180
- CB Mekhi Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 180
- CB Nic Moore, Sr., 5-11, 150
- OL Tanner Elliott, Sr., 6-4, 280
- WR Roderic Calloway, Sr., 6-3, 180
- DE Lagaryonn Carson, Sr., 6-5, 255 (committed to Texas)
- OL Franklin Smith, Sr., 6-3, 275
- RB Kameron Levingston, Sr., 5-8, 185 (19 carries, 119 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Kevin Florence, Sr., 6-0, 183 (18 carries, 171 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Michael Lindley, Sr., 5-11, 210
- QB Decorian Phillips, Jr., 6-1, 173 (5 of 7, 96 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
- WR Aaron Bruce, Sr., 6-1, 175 (1 catch, 44 yards)
- RB DeAndre Hoof, Jr., 5-10, 185 (1 carry, 10 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Carthage's Week 1 game was canceled because of a power outage with Carthage leading Gladewater, 14-10, in the second quarter.
- The Bulldogs are 29-17 in non-district games under head coach Scott Surratt.
- Carthage reached the state semifinals last year for the sixth time in Surratt's nine seasons as coach.
- The cumulative record of Carthage's 2016 non-district opponents was 33-17 last season.
- Liberty-Eylau piled up 481 total yards of offense in last week's opener vs. Gilmer -- 385 rushing and 96 passing.
- The Leopards are 5-6 in non-district games under head coach Steve Wells.
- Liberty-Eylau has reached the state quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons.
- The cumulative record of Liberty-Eylau's 2016 non-district opponents was 48-17 last season.
Key matchup: Liberty-Eylau rushing attack vs. Carthage defensive front. Liberty-Eylau is facing a challenge on offense this season after losing three of its most important players on that side of the ball -- quarterback Ke'Mon Freeman (SMU), receiver Thurman Morbley (Texas State), and running back Lamont Byrd -- to graduation. The Leopards, however, had little trouble moving the ball in their season opener last week against Gilmer. L-E was especially impressive on the ground, piling up 385 rushing yards in the 61-55 defeat. Two Leopards ball carriers -- seniors Kameron Levingston and Kevin Florence -- eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the process. Until the passing game, which used two quarterbacks (junior Decorian Phillips and sophomore Isaiah Cross), comes around, L-E must remain successful in running the football.
Carthage, which played less than a half last week because of a power outage at Gladewater's stadium, should be well rested on defense and up for the challenge. The Bulldogs are experienced on the defensive side of the ball, as there are significant impact performers at all three levels returning. Senior defensive end Tre Gatlin will need to keep containment on the edges, while junior linebacker Mykel Gates is a sure tackler and excellent moving from sideline to sideline. In the secondary, cornerbacks junior Mekhi Colbert and senior Nic Moore are as good as it gets when it comes to pass coverage. Both may need to provide support against the run this week.
Don't be surprised if: Carthage's balance on offense turns the tide in the Bulldogs' favor. It was a struggle for Liberty-Eylau's passing game last week against Gilmer. The two Leopards quarterbacks combined to complete just five of 14 attempts, and were intercepted three times. L-E was ultimately able to overcome the turnovers thanks to its overpowering rushing attack, but with Carthage's ability to stuff the run, the Leopards will need to be more reliant on making plays through the air on Friday night. Before last week's game was called, Carthage's offense was in a groove -- especially its quarterback Kason Davis, who completed 8-of-9 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. The running game, led by junior Keaontay Ingram, was held in check, but it's only a matter of time before the Bulldogs' promising back gets going.