Hallsville + Nacogdoches Each Shoot For 2-0 Starts to the Season
Hallsville Bobcats (1-0)
Nacogdoches Dragons (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Hallsville: David Plunk
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Hallsville: vs. Athens, Sept. 11
- Nacogdoches: vs. Carthage, Sept. 11
- OL Parker Braun, Sr., 6-3, 275
- RB/DB Lance Hardman, Sr., 6-0, 190
- TE Coleton Lasseter, Sr., 6-7, 255
- DL Jonathan Mitchell, Sr., 6-3, 220
- QB Roger McCuller, Sr., 6-0, 185
- WR Andrew Southard, Sr., 6-2, 180
- LB Blair Fernandez, Jr., 5-9, 185
- WR Ty Meissner, Jr., 5-9, 170
- DB Brandon Jones, Sr., 6-0, 190
- DB Corey Lane, Sr., 6-0, 185
- QB Noah Hildebrand, Jr., 6-1, 180
- LB Derrick Wright, Jr., 5-8, 180
- WR Jaylon Maxie, Jr., 6-0, 165
- WR Alex Gregory, Sr., 6-0, 175
- RB Phillip Jones, Sr.
- WR Josh Thompson, Jr., 6-0, 175
Just the facts
- This is the 10th meeting between Hallsville and Nacogdoches since 2004. Over that span, Hallsville leads the series, 6-3.
- Nacogdoches has won its last two matchups vs. Hallsville, including last season's 37-36 victory.
- Hallsville is 7-3 in season openers since 2006.
- The Bobcats are in their 11th season with David Plunk as head coach.
- Hallsville is 10-4 in non-district since 2012.
- Nacogdoches is 5-5 in season openers since 2006.
- The Dragons allowed just 10 points in last week's season opener, after yielding 41.4 per game in 2014.
- Nacogdoches is 8-6 in non-district since 2012.
Key matchup: Nacogdoches receivers vs. Hallsville secondary. It was a solid debut at quarterback last week for junior Noah Hildebrand, who passed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Dragons' 28-10 victory over Kilgore. And the new signal-caller has a few nice weapons in the receiving corps, including senior Alex Gregory, who has committed to SFA. Nacogdoches has another couple of weapons in the passing game it can turn as well in juniors Jaylon Maxie and Josh Thompson. It helps to have a running back put up big yardage like senior Phillip Jones did last week, with 151 yards on 31 carries. If the Dragons have it going on the ground, it could be a long night for most opposing defenses, especially with Nac's ability to make big plays downfield with its quarterback and his compliment of receivers.
Hallsville's secondary struggled in last week's overtime win at Carthage. Bulldogs quarterback Jarod Blissett passed for 429 yards on the night, helping Carthage creep back into what was a game dominated by Hallsville in the early stages. Like Nacogdoches, Carthage has a solid collection of playmakers in the receiving corps, so the Bobcats could have their hands full Friday night trying to defend the Dragons' passing attack. Senior safety Lance Hardman is most likely Hallsville's best defender, but with him spending some time at running back, that could affect his overall performance on the defensive side of the ball. Because of the Bobcats' struggles vs. the pass a week ago, we may see more defensive snaps for Hardman, because Hallsville can't afford to allow big plays against a big-play offense like Nacogdoches, and hope to have a chance of winning on the road.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game features a fair amount of points. Hallsville had it going both through the air and on the ground in last week's game at Carthage, while Nacogdoches had its moments of offensive excellence in the win over Kilgore. An intriguing aspect of this game will be to see what, if any, adjustments Hallsville's defense makes in obvious passing downs. Will the Bobcats bring more pressure than they did last week, or will they drop back into coverage, and play it safe? It might come down to a little bit of both for Hallsville, which will be contending with a solid Nacogdoches defense on the other side of the ball. The Dragons held down Kilgore's offense a week ago, and feature one of the best secondaries in East Texas, which includes five-star safety Brandon Jones and fellow Division I recruit Corey Lane. If a shootout does materialize Friday night, it might favor Nacogdoches, which has a little more firepower on defense.