PREVIEW: Malakoff Faces Grandview for First-Ever State Title
CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Malakoff Tigers (13-2)
Grandview Zebras (13-2)
7 p.m. Thursday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Grandview: Brad Davis
- Malakoff: def. Brock, 23-21
- Grandview: def. Yoakum, 28-14
Players to watch
- RB Keevie Rose, Jr. (176 carries, 1,301 yards, 15 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Darion Peace, Soph., 6-0, 170 (103 of 175, 1,932 yards, 28 TDs, 2 INTs; 125 carries, 616 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR/DB Andreas Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 170 (35 catches, 711 yards, 10 TDs; 11 carries, 148 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB RJ Carr, Jr., 6-2, 215 (43 carries, 583 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Nathan Jones, Soph., 6-3, 210 (21 catches, 387 yards, 7 TDs)
- LB Colby Rush, Jr. (95 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Caleb Adams, Sr., 6-2, 225 (62 tackles, 21 for loss, 9 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 2 defensive TDs)
- DB Kederrius Thomas, Sr., 6-1, 150 (31 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 13 PBUs)
- OL/DL Jake Bons, Sr., 6-4, 255
- QB/DB Dane Jentsch, Soph., 5-11, 175
- WR/DB Cooper Deans, Jr., 6-1, 190
- WR/DL Dametrious Crownover, Soph., 6-7, 218
- RB/LB Elijah Golden, Jr., 6-0, 200
- OL/DL Cole Cannon, Jr., 6-2, 265
Just the facts
- Malakoff and Grandview met earlier this season, with Grandview defeating the Tigers 28-7 on Sept. 20.
- Grandview's Dametrious Cooper, Cole Cannon and Devan Moore each finished with sacks in the Zebras' 28-14 victory against Yoakum last week.
- The Zebras are averaging 44.7 points per game and giving up just 17.7.
- Grandview has not lost since Sept. 28, while Malakoff last lost on Nov. 9.
- The Tigers are averaging 39.6 points per game and giving up 17.3.
- Tigers running back Keevie Rose is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
- Malakoff quarterback Darion Peace, just a sophomore, is averaging 18.7 yards per completion.
Key matchup: Malakoff rushing attack against the Grandview defense. Malakoff's offense has changed in the past couple of games since RJ Carr's return. Carr, who was slated to be the starting running back before an injury earlier this season, returned during the playoffs. He has taken a backseat to junior Keevie Rose, who filled in quite well during Carr's absence. Rose has amassed more than 1,300 yards rushing and counting already. Carr, on the other hand, proved how valuable he can be with a 96-yard performance against Brock this past week. The two will likely split carries Thursday, giving the Grandview defense more to worry about than the first time the teams met back in September.
Malakoff's offensive line will have its hands full, though. The Grandview defensive line is very large, with Jake Bons, Cole Cannon and Dametrious Crownover all at least 6-2 or taller. Three Zebras finished with a sack in Week 16, so they have shown an ability to get into the backfield. If Grandview can do so again, it might be looking at a second victory against Malakoff this season and a state championship.
Don't be surprised if: Andreas Garrett has a big game. Malakoff might look to pass more if its run game is slowed by the Grandview defensive front. If that is the case, quarterback Darion Peace will likely look the way of Garrett, who has been his favorite target all season. Garrett finished with five catches for 92 yards against Brock last week and has more than 700 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns to lead the Tigers. Looks for Garrett to have a big game if Malakoff is forced into more obvious passing situations.