CARTHAGE (12-0) VS. CRANDALL (10-2)
Time: 2 p.m., today
Stadium: Earl Campbell Field at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother France Rose Stadium, Tyler
Crandall: Joe Dale Cary
Carthage: Scott Surratt (13th season, 161-28)
Last week: Crandall 24, Little Cypress-Mauriceville 7; Carthage 55, Lumberton 17
Up next: Tonight’s winner will meet either Palestine or Midlothian Heritage in the Class 4A, Division I, Region III final. Palestine (7-5) and Heritage (8-4) meet at 2:30 p.m. today at Waco Midway.
WHEN CRANDALL HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Crandall: QB Holt Reese ... RB Damerian Wigenton ... RB Chris Abron ... WR Billy Myers ... WR Sha’brun Booker
Carthage: LB Rayvon Ingram (93 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INTs) ... Jai Brazier (82 tackles, 6 TFL) ... DL Quinton Owens (79 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF) ... DL Kylon Lister (79 tackles, 8 TFL) ... DL Quan Brown (7 TFL) ... DB Miles Halton (3 INT) ... S Cole Whitlock (64 tackles) ... DB De’Aundre Bowman (8 PBU, 2 INT)
Keys: Crandall is steady on offense with a multi-look attack with weapons for quarterback Reese and a physical back in Wigenton. Carthage’s defense has been downright stingy and disruptive with a combined 58 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and held opponets to 3.4 yards per carry and 872 total passing yards this season. A few key stops and getting pressure on Holt, paired with the Bulldog offense, could put Crandall playing catch-up, a game that the Pirates don’t want to get into.
WHEN CARTHAGE HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Crandall: LB Carl Johnson ... DL Calob Davis ... LB Damerian Wigenton ... LB Gabe Cortez
Carthage: OL Tykiest Crawford ... OL Cade Johnson ... OL Conner Davis ... OL Karston Williams ... OL Tee Kellum ... QB Kai Horton (189-313-4, 2,797 yards, 38 TDs) ... ATH Kelvontay Dixon (57 catches, 860 yards, 13 TDs) ... RB Mason Courtney (1,156 yards, 12 TDs; 25 catches, 330 yards, 2 TDs) ... WR Kel Williams (41 catches, 748 yards, 8 TDs) ... WR Craig McNew (25 catches, 372 yards, 5 TDs)
Keys: Crandall hangs its hat on its defense, a unit that has held opponents to 16 points per game, including seven points through the first two rounds. Surratt said that the Pirate defensive line ‘is one of the best one’s we’ve seen in a while,’ according to the Panola Watchman and that it starts with Davis. The Bulldogs need to stay on schedule and grind out some possessions to wear the Pirate defense down.
Did you know: Carthage is the home team ... The Bulldogs are looking to advance to the fourth round for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons ... The two teams have four common opponents this season (Chapel Hill, Palestine, Athens, Kilgore) .. Carthage went 4-0, outscoring all four 181-39 ... Crandall went 8-1 with a 87-84 scoreline, including a 42-0 shutout loss to Chapel Hill, a team Carthage beat 40-14
Twitter-sized preview: The Bulldogs are humming along in the postseason and, with its weapons on both sides of the ball, can keep that going with a crisp showing.