Van Encounters Well Put Together Mineral Wells Team In Friday’s Second-Round Game
CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Region II Area Playoff Round
Mineral Wells Rams (9-2)
Van Vandals (10-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Irving Schools Stadium, Irving
- Mineral Wells: Gerald Perry
- Van: Jared Moffatt
- Mineral Wells: def. Irving Ranchview, 33-7
- Van: def. Princeton, 41-14
- Winner faces Alvarado-Paris winner, Class 4A Division II, Region II semifinal round
- QB Tristan Perry, Sr., 6-1, 205 (120 of 214, 2,339 yards, 32 TDs, 8 INTs)
- WR Jordan Duckett, Sr., 6-1, 179 (47 catches, 1,272 yards, 21 TDs)
- RB Johnny Morales, Sr., 5-8, 190 (136 carries, 774 yards, 8 TDs)
- DL/TE Andy Garcia (73 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 8 QB pressures)
- DB Kaine Carraway, Sr., 6-2, 180 (69 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 3 PBUs)
- QB Garrett Moseley, Jr., 5-11, 175 (132 of 215, 2,114 yards, 30 TDs, 4 INTs, 191 carries, 1,398 yards, 16 TDs)
- DB/RB Cooper Bledsoe, Sr., 6-0, 175 (135 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery recovery, 7 INTs)
- LB Sam Reeves, Sr., 5-11, 220 (113 tackles, 9 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 PBU)
- WR Isaiah Allred, Sr., 6-3, 195 (51 catches, 906 yards, 12 TDs; NCAA Division I FCS prospect)
- WR/DB Connor Houston, Sr., 5-11, 175 (49 catches, 778 yards, 8 TDs)
- OL Caleb York, Sr., 5-9, 235
Just the facts
- Van is making its first area round playoff appearance since the 2011 season. A win Friday would place the Vandals in the third round of the postseason for the first time since 2008.
- Mineral Wells, which played in Region I last season, reached the third round of the playoffs in 2015.
- Head coach Gerald Perry has been a godsend for the Mineral Wells program. He has a 19-5 record the past two seasons with the school and a career record of 23-10 through three seasons.
- Perry inherited a program that went 1-9 in 2013.
- Mineral Wells had the second-best defense in District 5-4A Division I competition behind Kennedale, which claimed the district title. Mineral Wells gave up 56 points in five league games toward a second-place finish.
- Van receiver Isaiah Allred could break 1,000 yards on the season Friday. He has 906 yards on 51 catches and recorded 90 yards a week ago.
- The Vandals will travel 86 miles to Irving Schools Stadium. Mineral Wells will bus 76 miles to the venue from its location about 45 miles west of downtown Fort Worth.
Key matchup: Mineral Wells' quarterback-receiver duo of Tristan Perry and Jordan Duckett versus Van's defensive secondary.
Mineral Wells has all the indications of a great spread offense at the high school level. Frankly, their statistics compare best to Gilmer's within the region.
Van is going to deal with an offense that is pass-first with a prolific passer and a standout receiver well beyond 1,000 receiving yards as well as a set of rotational running backs that try to keep defenses honest. This game comes down to Van's defense complimenting its own productive offense as that offense goes up against a Mineral Wells defense averaging 15.5 points against per game.
Fortunately for the Vandals, a good chunk of Mineral Wells' productivity is routed through Duckett at one of the receiver spots. He has caught 47 passes for 1,272 yards. That's 25 percent of the offense's 4,995 total yards in 11 games.
Van appears fairly well built for the challenge, but it's one thing to look good and another to perform well against an accomplished opposing player.
Cornerbacks Zeke Betancourt and D.J. Dutton will draw Duckett any given play. Both of those guys had interceptions last week, and any team misfortunes this season have not stemmed from the secondary.
Senior safety Cooper Bledsoe, who is tied for the lead for interceptions within the region with seven picks, can help over the top.
Van's defensive front can help in two ways.
One, they can get pressure on Perry as Mineral Wells' signal-caller and keep the ball from getting to Duckett. Two, they can slow down an offensive backfield with a lot of names that have combined for 2,245 rushing yards -- about 45 percent of the total offensive output.
But holding a player that is singlehandedly 25 percent of a team's total offense to a below average outing and only devoting one or two out of 11 defensive players to make it happen could make a big difference in the outcome of Friday's game.
Don't be surprised if: Mineral Wells makes an effort to effort to stop Van's running game.
While Jordan Duckett's receptions are 25 percent of Mineral Wells' offensive output this season, Van quarterback Garrett Moseley ability to run the football accounts for about 28 percent of the Vandals' total offensive output.
The only team to beat Van this season was Terrell. It held Moseley to a net of 79 yards, which was a season low.
If Mineral Wells proves it has the same capabilities as Terrell in run defense -- and it is only averaging 15.5 against per game -- Moseley and the receivers will have to be at their absolute best to dictate the tempo of the game.