PREVIEW: Hallsville + Pine Tree Open District 9-5A D-II Play
DISTRICT 9-5A DIVISION II
Pine Tree Pirates (2-1, 0-0)
Hallsville Bobcats (3-0, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
- Pine Tree: Kerry Lane
- Hallsville: Joe Drennon
- Pine Tree: idle
- Hallsville: idle
- Pine Tree: vs. Mount Pleasant, Oct. 5
- Hallsville: at Marshall, Oct. 5
- ATH Keshon Williams, Sr., 6-4, 235 (4 catches, 52 yards; 6 carries, 53 yards)
- WR JJ Sparkman, Jr., 6-5, 205 (6 catches, 205 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR/DB Da'Von Coleman, Sr., 5-10, 175 (4 catches, 137 yards, 3 TDs; 7 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 6 PBUs)
- DL Keith Burkes, Sr., 5-11, 260 (12 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
- OL/DL Rashad Livingston, So., 5-8, 205 (15 tackles, 3 for loss, 0.5 sacks)
- QB D.J. Freeman, So., 5-6, 145 (18-of-35, 434 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 23 carries, 134 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Alex Thornburg, Sr., 6-2, 290
- RB Gabe Nelson, Sr., 5-9, 155 (53 carries, 440 yards, 2 TDs; 1 catch, 11 yards)
- WR Gabrell Adams, Jr., 5-11, 173 (7 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD)
- DB Nichlous Williams, Sr., 5-11, 165 (24 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
- DB Keith Wright, Jr., 6-0, 155 (27 tackles)
- OL Blake Trainor, Sr., 6-8, 300
- ATH Tristan Driggers, Sr., 6-1, 190 (21 carries, 269 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD; 18 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs)
- QB/ATH Semaj Boyd, Sr., 6-0, 172 (11-of-30, 124 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 47 carries, 321 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB/ATH Reginald Fulton III, Jr., 5-8, 170 (12 carries, 148 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch 7 yards)
- DE/TE Cameron Bullock, Sr., 6-4, 225 (27 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
- RB/DB Cortland Venters, Jr., 5-9, 160 (22 carries, 151 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Garrett Hulen, Sr., 6-2, 220 (14 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 fumble recoveries
- LB Dominique Felder, Sr., 5-6 (23 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble)
- OL/DL Donavan Cooper, Sr., 6-2, 252
- LB Lion Felder, Jr., 5-9, 170 (21 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
Just the facts
- Hallsville has already tripled its win total from 2017, when the Bobcats finished 1-9 in coach Joe Drennon's inaugural season. It also has as many wins this far this season as it did in 2016 and 2017 combined.
- Hallsville holds a 12-2 record against Pine Tree since 2004 according to MaxPreps. However, the Pirates have won the past two contests.
- Pine Tree is averaging 451.4 yards per contest through three games (184.7 passing and 266.7 rushing).
- The Pirates have three receivers (J.J. Sparkman, Davon Coleman and Gabrell Adams) with more than 100 yards thus far.
- Pine Tree is in search of its first winning season since 2002.
- Hallsville is averaging 308 yards rushing per game compared to only 47.3 passing.
- Hallsville running backs Tristan Driggers and Reginald Fulton III have combined for 33 carries and 417 yards, for an average of 12.6 yards per carry.
Key matchup: Hallsville rushing attack against the Pine Tree defense. The Bobcats aren't shy about their intentions. Hallsville is primarily a running offense, with 86.7 percent of its yardage coming on the ground. It has four players who have rushed for at least 100 yards this season. Tristan Driggers and Semaj Boyd are the main threats, combining for 590 yards rushing through three games.
Pine Tree has a couple of players who can make an impact up front. Cameron Bullock and Garrett Hulen have combined for 41 tackles and five for loss this far. They've got the size to stop the run, both more than 6-feet and 200 pounds. Dominique Felder and Lion Felder, both of whom play linebacker, have also proven to have a knack for getting in the backfield, with a combined nine tackles for loss.
If Pine Tree wants to stop the Bobcats from putting together productive drives, it needs to limit the ground game. If it can do that, the path to victory will get a lot clearer. If not, Hallsville is looking at 4-0 for the first time since 2004.
Don't be surprised if: Keshon Williams gets more involved in the offense. Williams, a Texas State commit, has had a limited impact through the first three games. This seems like the perfect time for the Pirates to deploy Williams, arguably their best player. His 6-foot-4, 235 pound frame makes him difficult to bring down; he is averaging 13 yards per catch and 8.8 yards per carry thus far.
If Williams has a breakout game, it could lead to Pine Tree starting off district play with a victory.