Malakoff Faces Yoakum With State Berth on the Line
CLASS 3A DIVISION I
No. 3 Malakoff Tigers (14-0)
Yoakum Bulldogs (10-4)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Yoakum: Bo Robinson
- Malakoff: def. Cameron Yoe, 37-34 (OT)
- Yoakum: def. Hallettsville, 27-23
- Winner faces Mineola or Wall, Class 3A Division I championship, 8 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 15), AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- QB Judd Miller, Jr., 5-11, 200 (194 of 305, 3,422, 47 TDs, 8 INTs; 95 carries, 510 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR/DB Tyler Russell, Sr., 6-2, 175 (61 catches, 1,113 yards, 20 TDs; 53 tackles, 4 for loss, 11 INTs, 9 PBUs)
- WR/DB QT Barker, Sr., 5-11, 165 (57 catches, 1,325 yards, 20 TDs; 19 carries, 222 yards, 2 TDs; 33 tackles, 4 for loss, 7 INTs, 8 PBUs)
- RB Breashawn Williams, Jr., 5-9, 150 (145 carries, 1,123 yards, 12 TDs; 5 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Jack Patton, Sr., 6-0, 170 (153 tackles, 12 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries, 8 PBUs)
- WR Jaquaylon Hart, Jr., 5-11, 163 (25 catches, 433 yards, 4 TDs; 4 carries, 79 yards, 1 TD)
- DE Danyal Littleton, Sr., 6-2, 220 (82 tackles, 16 for loss, 13 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 PBU)
- DT C.J. Overton, Sr., 5-10, 250 (76 tackles, 14 for loss, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries)
- WR/CB Joshua Moore, Jr., 6-3, 175 (25 catches, 516 yards, 8 TDs; 30 carries, 311 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR/SS Jordan Moore, Jr., 6-1, 185 (28 catches, 501 yards, 5 TDs; 39 carries, 491 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB Henry Enoch, Sr., 6-1, 210 (156 carries, 1,071 yards, 16 TDs)
- QB Bryson Hagan, Sr., 5-10, 165 (20 of 40, 464 yards, 7 TDs, 0 INTs; 13 carries, 44 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Tyron Brooks, Jr., 5-11, 175 (75 carries, 613 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Ethan Owens, Sr., 6-3, 210 (128 carries, 730 yards, 4 TDs; 11 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Malakoff is in the state semifinal round of the playoffs for the first time in school history.
- Yoakum is 26-14 since the beginning of the 2014 season.
- Malakoff is averaging 46.1 points and 455.8 yards per game -- 202.4 rushing and 253.4 passing.
- Tigers quarterback Judd Miller has thrown 47 touchdown passes, 40 of which have gone to Tyler Russell and QT Barker.
- The cumulative record of Malakoff's opponents this season is 83-75 (.525).
- Yoakum is averaging 35.7 points and 355.2 yards per game -- 262.1 rushing and 93.1 passing.
- Bulldogs juniors Joshua and Jordan Moore are two of the state's most coveted recruits in the 2018 class.
- The cumulative record of Yoakum's opponents this season is 93-63 (.596).
Key matchup: Yoakum rushing attack vs. Malakoff defensive front. The Bulldogs do one thing, and do it very well on offense: run the ball. Yoakum enters Friday's state semifinal averaging more than 260 rushing yards per game, and the Bulldogs do it with power and speed. Seniors Henry Enoch and Ethan Owens both stand at more than six-feet tall, weigh in excess of 200 pounds, and have combined to rush for 1,801 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season. Representing the speed quotient of the attack are two of the state's most coveted recruits in the 2018 class, twin brothers Joshua and Jordan Moore. The Moore siblings do a little bit of everything, and their offensive production mirrors the blood relation. Joshua, being recruited as receiver, has 827 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, while Jordan has manufactured 992 all-purpose yards with 10 TD's. Both players are averaging right at 15 yards per touch, so whenever Yoakum needs a big play, the Moore's are the ones the Bulldogs rely upon. Since Bryson Hagan took over as the team's starting quarterback on Oct. 28, Yoakum has attempted only 40 passes in six games. However, the Bulldogs are 6-0 in that span, having gone 4-4 before Hagan assumed the No. 1 QB spot.
When Malakoff's offense is humming, the Tigers don't typically need very many plays to find the end zone. Malakoff averages an offensive touchdown for every nine snaps, and with its uptempo spread attack, the Tigers can put up points in a hurry. But in order for Malakoff to keep up its normal pace on offense, its defense needs to make sure Yoakum's methodical, run-first approach doesn't severely limit the number of Tigers offensive possessions. Not only has Malakoff's defense been up to the challenge for most of the season, but the run defense in particular has been a definitive strength. The Tigers surrender a modest average of 230 yards per game, and just 114.4 of that is rushing. Opposing offenses are also being limited to just 3.4 yards per rushing attempt. As a team, Malakoff has racked up 80 tackles for loss on the year, an average of almost six per game, which could come in handy this week against a powerful ground attack from Yoakum. Another way for Malakoff to increase the number of offensive snaps is by forcing turnovers, which is something the Tigers have done a lot of in 2016. Malakoff comes into Friday with a staggering 48 takeaways, which includes 29 interceptions.
Don't be surprised if: Yoakum's two-way tandem of Joshua and Jordan Moore and Malakoff's offensive and defensive duo of QT Barker and Tyler Russell rarely come off the field. At this point of the season, with a berth in the state championship game on the line, the best teams typically rely on their best players to carry them across the finish line. And in the case of Yoakum and Malakoff, the Moore's and Barker and Russell will be the best players on the field. While the Moore twins are not counted on quite as much on offense as Malakoff's twosome, the pair make up for it by playing extensively on the defensive side of the ball. For Russell and Barker, they rarely can afford to sit on the sideline. Not only do the two Malakoff players account for nearly 70 percent of the team's production in the passing game, both Russell and Barker are game-changers on defense with 18 interceptions between them. It's often said the best players shine the brightest in the biggest of games, and the outcome of Friday's semifinal could very well come down to which superstar duo delivers the most.