PREVIEW: Class 4A Powers Collide as Van Travels to No. 5 Gilmer
Van Vandals (1-0)
No. 5 Gilmer Buckeyes (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Jeff Traylor Stadium, Gladewater
- Van: Jared Moffatt
- Gilmer: Matt Turner
- Van: def. Alvarado, 34-7
- Gilmer: def. Atlanta, 47-41
- Van: vs. Lindale, Sept. 14
- Gilmer: at Paris, Sept. 14
Players to watch
- RB Elijah Rankine, Jr., 5-10, 164 (22 carries, 143 yards, TD; 3 catches, 23 yards)
- WR Ethan Robinson, Sr., 5-10, 145 (8 catches, 116 yards, TD)
- QB Jayton Moffatt, Jr., 5-10, 170 (10 of 12, 106 yards)
- QB Liam Nielson, Sr. (12 of 13, 131 yards, TD; 1 carry, 1 yard)
- RB/LB AJ Zarate, Sr., 6-0, 205 (5 carries, 11 yards, TD; 10 tackles)
- DE Jayden Jacobs, Jr., 6-2, 195 (4 tackles, 1 sack)
- S Ridge Preston, Sr., 5-11, 150 (7 tackles)
- LB Mauricio Herrera, Soph., 5-7, 177 (8 tackles)
- RB Bran Webb, Sr., 5-10, 175 (22 carries, 166 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 59 yards)
- WR/DB Tra Fluellen, Sr., 6-3, 185 (4 catches, 78 yards; 1 carry, 6 yards; 2 tackles)
- QB Mason Hurt, Soph., 6-0, 150 (4 of 9, 96 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Cade Camp, Sr., 6-3, 200 (11 of 18, 193 yards, 1 INT)
- DL Abel Euceda, Sr., 6-0, 190 (13 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB pressures)
- DL Ronnie McPherson, Sr. (9 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- OL Devon King, Jr., 6-3, 338
- WR/DB D.J. Shead, Jr., 6-0, 165 (3 catches, 63 yards, TD; 2 tackles)
Just the facts
- Gilmer and Van have not met since Gilmer's 57-40 area-round win in the 2011 playoffs.
- Van and Gilmer are a combined 94-16 since the beginning of the 2014 season.
- Van put up 423 yards of total offense last week against Alvarado -- 237 passing and 199 rushing.
- The Vandals recorded one sack, and limited Alvarado to one fourth-quarter touchdown.
- Van is looking for its fifth consecutive 2-0 start to a season.
- Gilmer put up 525 yards of total offense last week against Atlanta -- 289 passing and 236 rushing.
- The Buckeyes recorded five sacks and forced two turnovers last week.
- Gilmer is shooting for its sixth consecutive 2-0 start to a season.
Key matchup: Van rushing attack vs. Gilmer defensive front. In last week's 34-7 season-opening win over Alvarado, Van erupted for 423 of offense, including 199 on the ground. That was key as the Vandals were breaking in two new quarterbacks to replace three-year starter Garrett Moseley. Elijah Rankine took the pressure off the new signal-callers by going for 143 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Jayton Moffatt and Liam Nielson both shined at QB, combining to complete 22 of 25 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. The Vandals will need another solid performance from Rankine and AJ Zarate, who starts at linebacker and was in for several short-yardage and goal-line carries.
Gilmer's defense struggled mightily in its opener, allowing 41 points and more than 500 yards of offense to Atlanta. Gilmer surrendered 261 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to the Rabbits, so improvement against the run will be a big key for the Buckeyes in Week 2.
Don't be surprised if: Both teams continue to use two quarterbacks. Just like Van, Gilmer rotated a pair of QBs last week. And just like the Vandals, the results were mostly positive. Gilmer senior Cade Camp had the most attempts and yardage, going 11 of 18 for 193 yards. Sophomore Mason Hurt, however, tossed both of Gilmer's passing touchdowns, completing 4 of 9 attempts for 96 yards. Judging by the numbers, no one separated themselves enough to warrant becoming the unquestioned leader of the offense. However, both starting jobs might be won by the end of Friday night's game as each team gets closer to district play.