PREVIEW: Hallsville + Nac Battle for Playoff Spot
DISTRICT 9-5A DIVISION II
Nacogdoches Dragons (3-5, 2-3)
Hallsville Bobcats (4-4, 1-4)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Hallsville: Joe Drennon
- Nacogdoches: lost to Marshall, 40-0
- Hallsville: def. Jacksonville, 40-30
- Nacogdoches: vs. Mount Pleasant, Nov. 9
- Hallsville: at Whitehouse, Nov. 9
Players to watch
- RB Tarance Swindle, Sr., 5-8, 190 (58 carries, 503 yards, 7 TDs)
- QB Jake Smith, Jr., 6-3, 185 (111-of-200, 1,799 yards, 17 TDs, 2 INTs)
- WR Jatavious Deckard, Jr., 6-0, 198 (27 catches, 583 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Karlus Flanagan, Sr., 5-7, 140 (41 catches, 533 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Da'morian Thacker (70 carries, 319 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Jonathan Pitts, Sr., 5-10, 203 (58 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery)
- DB Ke’undre Deckard, Jr. (9 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- DL Brad Williams, Sr., 5-11, 200 (38 tackles, 3 for loss, QB hurries, 1 sack, 1 blocked kick)
- OL Blake Trainor, Sr., 6-8, 300
- ATH Tristan Driggers, Sr., 6-1, 190 (68 carries, 731 yards, 13 TDs; 7 catches, 113 yards, 1 TD; 57 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 4 INTs, 3 PBUs)
- QB/ATH Semaj Boyd, Sr., 6-0, 172 (34-of-92, 429 yards, 4 TDs, 7 INTs; 137 carries, 852 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB/ATH Reginald Fulton III, Jr., 5-8, 170 (10 carries, 403 yards, 4 TDs; 4 catches 24 yards)
- DE/TE Cameron Bullock, Sr., 6-4, 225 (31 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
- RB/DB Cortland Venters, Jr., 5-9, 160 (40 carries, 277 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Dominique Felder, Sr., 5-6 (59 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble)
- OL/DL Donavan Cooper, Sr., 6-2, 252
- LB Lion Felder, Jr., 5-9, 170 (63 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT)
Just the facts
- Since 1950, Hallsville is 7-5 against Nacogdoches. The Dragons won most recently, 31-14 in 2017.
- Nacogdoches is averaging 375.5 yards per game.
- Dragon receiver Jatavious Decker is averaging 21.6 yards per reception and leads the team in receiving yards with 583.
- Dragon quarterback Jake Smith is throwing for 224.9 yards per game on average.
- Hallsville is averaging 293.9 yards per game on the ground. That is compared to 57.9 through the air.
- The Bobcats need to win this game to stay in contention for the playoffs.
- Hallsville is giving up 30.4 points per game.
Key matchup: Hallsville rushing attack against the Nacogdoches defensive front. The Bobcats have been a one-dimensional offense this season. Semaj Boyd has nearly twice as many rushing yards as he does passing. The Trio of Boyd, Tristan Driggers and Reginald Fulton have combined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground so far.
Brad Williams and Johnathan Pitts will have their work cut out for them on defense. So far, they've been solid, with Williams tallying 58 tackles this season. Williams will need to be the leader up front and try to stop the Hallsville skill players before they have a chance to find too much room. If the Dragons can limit the Bobcats on the ground, they've essentially taken away their offense.
Don't be surprised if: The Nacogdoches passing attack carries the offense. Jake Smith has been one of the better quarterbacks in East Texas all season, and has thrown 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Karlus Flanagan and Jatavious Deckard each have more than 500 yards receiving. The Dragons even have Tarance Swindle to balance things out on the ground and keep defenses honest.
Expect a big game from Smith in a matchup that could decide the playoff fate for both teams.