Dominant Tenaha Seeks Another Regional Finals Appearance
CLASS 2A DIVISION II
Region III Semifinal
No. 5 Tenaha Tigers (12-0)
Iola Bulldogs (8-4)
1 p.m. Friday
Merrill Green Stadium, Bryan
- Tenaha: Craig Horn
- Iola: Pete Martinez
- Tenaha: def. Meridian, 76-0
- Iola: def. Cumby, 28-6
- Winner faces Bremond or Lovelady, Class 2A Division II quarterfinal
- QB C.J. Horn, Jr., 6-0, 195 (190 of 257, 3,116 yards, 40 TDs, 4 INTs; 33 carries, 223 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR/CB Trai Gardner, Jr., 5-11, 175 (67 catches, 1,299 yards, 20 TDs; 5 carries, 159 yards, 3 TDs; 31 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 5 INTs, 7 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- WR/S Jay Lloyd, Soph., 5-11, 165 (46 catches, 770 yards, 9 TDs; 14 carries, 283 yards, 5 TDs; 44 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 9 PBUs)
- RB Onterio Thompson, Jr., 5-9, 172 (92 carries, 828 yards, 17 TDs; 17 catches, 218 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR/CB Cody Foshee, Jr., 6-1, 150 (20 catches, 396 yards, 3 TDs; 19 tackles, 7 INTs, 15 PBUs)
- LB Hunter Wagstaff, Sr., 5-9, 155 (95 tackles, 17 for loss, 4 sacks, 24 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 PBU, 1 blocked punt)
- OL/DL Thomas Gardner, Sr., 6-1, 315 (96 tackles, 35 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 QB pressure, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 PBU)
- LB T. Giles, Jr., 5-10, 175 (137 tackles, 18 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 INT)
- RB/DB Tyler Dykes, Jr., 5-9, 150
- LB Colton Renick, Jr., 5-10, 180
- QB Cam Darby, Sr., 6-0, 180
Just the facts
- Tenaha is aiming for its eighth regional finals appearance in nine years.
- The Tigers are averaging 52.8 points and 468 yards per game -- 193.4 rushing and 274.6 passing.
- Tenaha's closest game this season was decided by 14 points. Its average margin of victory is 48.1 points.
- The cumulative record of Tenaha's 12 opponents this season is 56-74 (.431).
- Iola is in the playoffs for the third consecutive season. It fell to Tenaha, 35-28, in the 2014 state quarterfinals.
- The Bulldogs are averaging 30.4 points, while allowing 20.3 points per game.
- Iola and Tenaha share two common opponents -- Sabine Pass and Grapeland. Tenaha won those games by an aggregate score of 130-0, while Iola won by a combined score of 78-20.
- The cumulative record of Iola's 12 opponents this season is 68-64 (.515).
Key matchup: Tenaha passing attack vs. Iola secondary. The Tigers are among the most explosive offenses in East Texas this season, averaging more than 50 points per game. The passing game has been at the forefront as junior quarterback C.J. Horn, the son of head coach Craig Horn, is following up his sensational sophomore campaign with a strong 2016. C.J. Horn comes into Friday's regional semifinal with 40 touchdown passes to just four interceptions, and has thrown for 3,116 yards with a completion percentage of almost 74 percent. Tenaha is blessed with a multiple of weapons in the passing game, and chief among them is junior Trai Gardner, who has already caught 20 touchdown passes and is one yard shy of 1,300 receiving yards. Sophomore Jay Lloyd is another solid option downfield with 46 catches for 770 yards and nine TD's.
Iola must be able to keep Tenaha's receivers in front of them in order to have a chance. The Bulldogs' defense has to contend with a Tenaha receiving corps that is averaging over 15 yards per catch, and has 42 touchdowns receptions on 211 catches -- an average of a touchdown every five receptions. If Iola can't limit Tenaha's big plays downfield, it could be a long night for the Bulldogs.
Don't be surprised if: Tenaha continues its dominant play, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers have allowed just 56 points all season, and have shut out each of their first two playoff opponents. Tenaha will be lining up against an Iola offense that has had difficult scoring points on a consistent basis. Iola has been limited to less than 30 points in game five teams this season, including its two postseason wins over Grapeland and Cumby.