Tyler Grace Hosts Defending State Champions In First Playoff Game
TAPPS DIVISION II
Fort Worth Christian (8-2)
Tyler Grace Community (7-3)
7 p.m. Friday
Clyde-Perkins Stadium, Tyler
- Christian: Scott Smiley
- Grace: Mike Maddox
- Christian: def. Midland Christian, 35-34
- Grace: def. Bullard Brook Hill, 56-20
- Winner faces Brook Hill-Midland Christian winner, TAPPS Division II regional round
Fort Worth Christian
- QB Tyler Knoop, Soph., 5-11, 160 (72 of 105, 1,200 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs, 91 carries, 690 yards, 8 TDs)
- RB Cade Garcia, Jr., 5-8, 165 (70 carries, 699 yards, 8 TDs, 18 catches, 489 yards)
- WR Ryan Snyder, Jr., 5-11, 170 (21 catches, 462 yards, 5 TDs)
- QB Christopher Wilhelmi, Sr., 5-10, 155 (5 games played, 77 of 98, 1,405 yards, 16 TDs, 2 INT)
- WR/QB Braydon Stone, Soph., 5-10, 155 (Began season as QB, moved to WR after Wilhelmi returned from injury, 51 of 109, 845 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs; 67 carries, 574 yards, 8 TDs)
- LB/RB Josh Spitzer, Sr., 6-0, 200
- WR Garrett Tauscher, Sr., 5-10, 170 (31 catches, 575 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR/DB Parker Ary, Sr., 6-0, 160 (35 catches, 501 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Uchenna Uduma, Soph., 5-8, 177 (147 carries, 1,126 yards, 14 TDs)
- DB Greyson Kuykendall, Jr., 6-3, 160 (5 INTs)
- DL Ndukwe Uduma, Sr., 6-0, 220
- OL Ronnie Baker, Sr., 6-1, 250
Just the facts
- Fort Worth Christian won the TAPPS Division II state championship last season.
- Fort Worth Christian was part of a three-team for first place in the TAPPS Division II, District 1 standings, but it drew the league's third of four playoff seeds.
- As the second seed out of District II, Grace gets to host Fort Worth Christian at Clyde-Perkins Stadium in Tyler.
- Grace and Forth Worth Christian share one common opponent in Dallas Christian. Grace lost to Dallas Christian by two points and Fort Worth Christian lost by four points.
- Grace is 5-0 with senior quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi. He missed the first half of the regular season due to a preseason injury.
- Wilhelmi won ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Offensive Player of the Week after Week 11.
- The Cougars have reached the second round of the TAPPS Division II playoffs the past two seasons. A third-round appearance would be the 9-year-old program's best finish in school history.
- Grace last met Fort Worth Christian in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. The Cougars lost in overtime, 35-34.
- Fort Worth Christian will travel 130 miles to Grace.
Key matchup: Tyler Grace's defense versus Fort Worth Christian's "Big Three" offensive standouts.
Through 10 games and with 11 returning starters from last season's TAPPS Division II state championship team, Fort Worth Christian averages about a 43-27 win against its opponents.
Tyler Knoop is a very solid quarterback with 1,200 passing yards and a 13 touchdowns to four interceptions ratio. He also has a net of 690 yards on 91 carries.
Cade Garcia is a multi-purpose running back. As the team's leading rusher, he has gone for about 10 yards per carry. He also leads the team in receiving yardage with 489 yards on 18 catches -- and average of 27 yards per catch.
Ryan Snyder, at receiver, is another threat in the passing game. He has 462 yards on just 21 catches.
Grace will counter those guys with the second-best defense in TAPPS Division II, District II behind Dallas Christian's. The Cougars allowed seven more points than Dallas Christian through the league schedule, 108 points against through six games.
There's a strength at each level of the defense for Grace.
Ndukwe Uduma is an imposing defensive lineman. Josh Spitzer is the team's leading tackler and the anchoring linebacker. Defensive back Greyson Kuykendall finished the regular season with five interceptions.
The Cougars' offense also might be able to impact Fort Worth Christian. It was the highest scoring offense in its district and probably will keep pressure on the opposition.
Don't be surprised if: Defense determines the winner of Friday's game.
Fort Worth Christian is tasked with stopping a Grace team that has not lost a game since senior quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi returned from a preseason injury in the team's sixth game.
The Cougars, on the other hand, must limit an offense with no weaknesses in either the running or passing facets.
This game could easily be a high-scoring affair, but it will probably be remembered for the timely defensive stops.