PREVIEW: Malakoff Faces Atlanta in State Quarterfinal
CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Malakoff Tigers (10-2)
Atlanta Rabbits (8-5)
3:30 p.m. Saturday
Pirate Stadium, Longview
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Atlanta: Matt McClure
- Winner vs. Shallowater or Brock, 3A Division I state semifinal
Players to watch
- QB Darion Peace, Soph., 6-0, 170 (94 of 156, 1,781 yards, 26 TDs, 1 INT; 108 carries, 511 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Keevie Rose, Jr., 6-1, 184 (148 carries, 1,175 yards, 13 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Andreas Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 170 (31 catches, 605 yards, 9 TDs; 10 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Parker Busch, Sr., 6-3, 205
- WR Nathan Jones, Soph., 6-3, 210 (20 catches, 381 yards, 7 TDs; 6 carries, 26 yards)
- OL Brendan McClintock, Sr., 6-2, 250
- OL Lincoln Rogers, Sr., 6-1, 260
- RB RJ Carr, Jr., 6-2, 215 (31 carries, 394 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB Jawan King, Sr., 5-10, 180
- QB/DB Andrew Samples, Sr., 5-11, 185
- OL/DL Shun Hunter, Sr.
- WR/DB Kade Wood, Jr. (83 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs)
- WR/DB Jordan Brigham, Jr., 5-11, 162 (33 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 recovered fumble, 2 PBUs)
- RB/DB Dra Nelson, Jr.
- OL/DL Caleb Coleman, Sr. (125 tackles, 18 for loss, 1 sack, 22 QB hurries, 3 forced fumbles)
- LB Conner Samples, Jr. (129 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- WR/DB Jacorian Fields, Jr.. 6-1, 150 (80 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 9 PBUs)
Just the facts
- Since at least 1980, Malakoff and Atlanta have never played.
- Atlanta is giving up 225.4 yards per game rushing compared to just 102.2 passing.
- Rabbit running back Jawan King is committed to play for Rice next fall.
- Atlanta linebacker Conner Samples is averaging 9.9 tackles per game to lead the Rabbits.
- Malakoff is averging 42.6 points per game. The Tigers opened the playoffs with a 63-point outing against Pottsboro.
- Tiger running back Keevie Rose is averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
- Malakoff's last loss came to Kemp, 22-20 on Nov. 9.
Key matchup: Atlanta run defense against the Malakoff offense and Keevie Rose. Atlanta is giving up more than 200 yards per game on the ground. Although the Rabbits have performed well against the pass this season, they're allowing running backs to get loose for plenty of yardage. They'll face another tough task this week when Rose and RJ Carr get their crack at the Atlanta defense.
Rose leads the Tigers with more than 1,000 yards rushing to go with 13 touchdowns. If he can get going, it could open things up in the passing game for Malakoff, which would get its offense going and potentially turn the game into a shootout. If Atlanta's defense can hold the Tigers under their average however, the Rabbits would be that much closer to a state semifinal appearance.
Don't be surprised if: Jawan King gets going for the Rabbits' offense. King is one of the top prospects in East Texas' 2019 class. A Rice commit, he has both the size to handle goal line carries and the speed to break away from defenders in the open field. The Rabbits run their offense through him. Expect the volume to be high for King on Saturday as he is positioned to put together another solid stat line for Atlanta.