Gladewater vs. Hughes Springs

Gladewater’s Eligia Carter finds running room against Hughes Spring on Nov. 15 at Pirate Stadium.

Time: 2 p.m., today

Stadium: Sam Parker Field, Mount Pleasant

Coaches

Gladewater: John Berry (6th year, 46-24)

Winnsboro: Josh Finney (1st year 8-4 at school, 94-36 overall)

Last week: Gladewater 72, Van Alstyne 43; Winnsboro 28, Dallas Madison 20

Up next: Winner plays the winner of Pottsboro-Malakoff

Players to watch

Gladewater: QB Tristan Holmes (28 of 78 passing, 564 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INT; 32 carries, 207 yards, 4 TDs) … RB Eligia Carter (137 carries, 1,018 yards, 17 TDs; 7 receptions, 209 yards, 1 TD) … RB Malachi Gordon (128 carries, 717 yards, 8 TDs) … FB Devin Walker (72 carries, 379 yards, 3 TDs) … WR D.J. Allen (12 receptions, 361 yards, 5 TDs; 35 carries, 221 yards, 3 TDs) … DB Robert Hodges (101 tackles) … DB Nicklaus Lincoln (7 INT) … OLB Eli Kates (6 sacks) … ILB Austin Moran (100 tackles) … ILB Zach Villareal (149 tackles)

Winnsboro: QB Tryston Stout … QB Keen Glover … RB Dominique Allen … RB Landry Deaton RB … Zeb Fulmer … RB Leekedrian Jones … RB Tayshun Runnels … WR Elijah Bolton … OL Brandon Noll … OL John McCurdy … OL Grant Newton … OL Julian Anaya … OL Davis Jones … OL Ross Pruitt … OL Jed Carroll … OL Logan Torres … LB Landry Deaton … LB Rance Brown … DB Keiner Hart

Did you know: This game has the potential to be over in an hour and a half. Both teams rely heavily on the ground attack. Winnsboro scrimmages from the Slot-T and has chewed up over 4,000 yards this season. Gladewater, likewise, prefers a downhill offense, but has developed a pretty scary passing game. The Red Raiders cycle through a bundle of ball carriers led by Dominique Allen and Landry Deaton. They shuttle between two signal callers – Tryston Stout and Keen Glover – and don’t put the ball in the air a lot. When they do, Elijah Bolton is the preferred pass catcher. The Bears made a switch at QB midseason and moved Tristan Holmes to the full-time slot. Holmes started last year before giving way the ever-athletic D.J. Allen. Allen has since moved to wide out and given the Bears a big-play threat in the vertical game. He averages 30 yards per haul and has scored on five of a dozen receptions. Of course, the running game is led by Eligia Carter, who went over 1,000 yards last week in a 29-point blowout of Van Alstyne. A good chance of rain in today’s forecast should have little to no effect on either team’s planned strategy. It’ll be like stepping back in time to the mid-70s and watching a good old fashioned slugfest. Who blinks first?

Twitter-sized preview: It was exactly nine weeks ago today Gladewater and Winnsboro locked up in their District 8-3A DI opener. The Bears came away with a hard-fought 16-12 decision. It was Allen’s 2-point conversion for the Bears that helped make the difference in victory and defeat. Allen led all ball carriers with 80 yards on seven carries. Finney, a graduate of Winnsboro, has successfully rebounded the Red Raiders from a 2-8 debacle in 2018. Berry has the Bears in the playoffs for the fifth time in six years at the helm. Gladewater scored a 42-27 bi-district win over Winnsboro in 2000. The Bears’ next playoff victory will be their 40th in school history

George Whitley

George Whitley