Carthage (3-1, 0-1) at Kilgore (3-3, 2-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday; R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium
Coming off its loss to unbeaten, state-ranked Henderson, it will be interesting to see how Carthage, ranked 8th in this week’s The Old Coach 4A Division I poll, responds against Kilgore, which struggled early in the season. Kilgore, though, has won both of its district games to even its record at 3-3. Carthage had won its three previous meetings in this series until the Ragin’ Red snapped that streak a year ago, 31-28. … Carthage enters the contest averaging 35.0 points per contest. QB Kason Davis is 78 of 140 passing for 1,152 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. The Kilgore defense must be wary of the fact that Carthage has a potent running game, led by Keaontay Ingram (84-615, avg. 7.32) as well as a lethal passing attack. Ingram, the talented junior, has rushed for 369 yards in the last two games: 215 against Gilmer and 154 against Henderson. Davis has a host of capable receivers led by Dee Bowens (23-363), Keaontay Ingram (16-164), Dewaylon Ingram (15-225) and Roderic Calloway (12-269). … Kilgore is allowing 26.8 points per game this season, but an average of only 13.5 in two district contests. LB Jamal Nobles is the K-Dogs leading tackler with 55 stops, including 2 TFL, and a fumble recovery. Following the senior are LB Isaiah Smith (37, 4 TFL, 1 SK, 2 CF), LB Sebastian Mumphrey (35, 1 TFL) and DE Demorrea Richardson (34, 6 TFL, 3 SK, 12 HUR). … DE Tre Gatlin (6-6, 253), LB Jase Dixon, LB Jose DeJulian and MLB Mikael Gates anchor a Carthage defense that is allowing the opposition an average of 26.5 ppg. … Coming off his best game of the season, Kilgore QB Buddy Jackson rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown and was 9 of 14 passing for 127 yards and a touchdown last week against Chapel Hill. RB Melek Hamilton continues to lead the rushing attack for Kilgore with 577 yards and 5 touchdowns, but Jackson has 509 and four Tds. The junior QB is 32 of 53 passing for 398 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target continues to be WR Cole Wood (16-151), but soph. Deiontrae Wheat and jr. Jonathan Shepherd have come on with 9 and 8 receptions, respectively, for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Kilgore scored 33 against Palestine and 36 against Chapel Hill, after being shutout against Class 5A state-ranked Texas High three weeks ago. The Bulldogs are averaging 27.1 ppg. Kilgore is 23rd in this week’s The Old Coach 4A Division I rankings.
JOE’S PICK: Carthage by 14
Gilmer (4-1, 0-0) at Texarkana Pleasant Grove (1-4, 0-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Hawk Stadium
Fourth-ranked Gilmer (The Old Coach 4A, Division II Poll) is coming off a bye week before opening the 7-4A, Division II race on the road. … Buckeyes’ QB Poppy Brown is off to a fast start, completing 136 of 204 passes for 2,027 yards and 21 touchdowns with only three interceptions in five games. Brown has a capable and talented receiving corps with six receivers with 10 or more catches. Oklahoma State verbal commit Lamarcus Morton has 29 catches for 527 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Red Jones follows with 24 for 345 yards and 5 touchdowns. Other top receivers have been Qua Heath (17-301, 4 Td), Kelton Collier (17-214, 1), Desmond Jones (12-86, 2) and Dimitri Fort (10-202, 2). Gilmer has complemented its aerial attack with 905 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. The leading rushers have been Kameryn Cuevas (31-215, 3) and Rashaad Ward (31-215, 3). … The Hawks’ defense anchored by DE Cole Lipham and LB Xavier Benson will be put to the test of slowing down Gilmer’s high-powered offense, which averages 57.0 points per game. … QB Carson Cox guides the Hawks’ Wing T offense which features among others RBs Keshawn Jones and Logan Wesley. ... LB Jeremy Kelly (53 tackles, 6 TFL), along with La. Tech commit S Kollin Hurt (47, 1) and ILB Myles Chumley (38, 7 TFL) have led Gilmer’s Black Flag defense.
JOE’S PICK: Gilmer by 21
Gladewater (4-0, 0-0) at Longview Spring Hill (3-2, 0-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Panther Stadium
Unbeaten Gladewater, ranked 14th in this weeks The Old Coach 4A Division II poll, looks to continue its early-season success against Spring Hill, a team that’s enjoying its best start since 2007. … Gladewater RB Isaiah Davis leads the rushing parade of Bears with 538 yards on 69 carries. QB Cameron Callaway, Jr., has 350 on 46 carries and Darnell McKnight follows with 322 on 59 carries. Davis is coming off a season-high 208-yard performance a couple of weeks ago against Lindale. Callaway is 9-for-20 passing for 241 yards and a touchdown in the primarily run-first offense. His top receiver has been Daniel Robertson with three catches for 93 yards. … Spring Hill’s defense is anchored by ILB Vaughn Bufkin, DL D.Q. Armstrong and OLB Justin Evans. … Spring Hill, led by RB Zach Tulpa and QB Dayson Adaway, is averaging 28.2 points per outing. Tulpa has rushed for 633 yards and five touchdowns, while Adaway has gained 364 rushing yards and also scored five times. The QB is 17 of 49 passing for 173 yards and a touchdown. His favorite receiver has been Ryan Willis (11-133, 1 Td). … Defensively, LB Bryson Oliver is the Bears’ top tackler with 47, including 15 TFL and 6 Sk. S Austin Hawley follows with 30 tackles, 4 TFL and 2 Sk. The Bear defense has been stingy, allowing an average of only 13.2 points and 164.2 yards per game.
JOE’S PICK: Gladewater by 30
Atlanta (4-1, 0-0) at Pittsburg (3-2, 0-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Pirate Stadium
Seventh-ranked Atlanta (The Old Coach 4A, Division II poll) is coming off its 4th win of the season, while Pittsburg enjoyed a bye week prior to opening district play on Friday. The Rabbits have been impressive, averaging 44.2 points in wins against Daingerfield, Liberty-Eylau, New Boston and Tatum, following a season-opening defeat against unbeaten, state-ranked Henderson. … Atlanta QB Leighton Henson has proven to be a capable leader of a balanced offense (609 passing, 798 rushing yards). Henson has thrown for 597 yards and six touchdowns and run for 125 and two other touchdowns. RB Jwan King is the leading rusher, averaging almost 9 yards a carry (28-245) with three touchdowns. WR Hunter Roberts has been Henson’s primary receiver with 13 catches for 238 yards and two Tds. … Pittsburg’s defense will be challenged to stop the high-powered offense. Among the Pirates’ leaders on the stop unit are SS Jakeivian Hughes (50 tackles, 1 Int), DE/LB Cody Jones (43, 5 Sk) and DE E.J. Hill (42). … Through 5 games the Pirate offense has rushed for 1,209 yards (5.0 apc) and been led by RB Deldric Shields (80-519) followed by Trajon Sheppard (51-241) and Shaquil Burton (12-121). Soph. QB Jaylon Jimmerson has complemented the rushing attack by completing 57 of 91 passes for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. WRs Dejour Dowell (24-354) and Keontae Burns (11-162) lead the receiving corps. … Anchoring the Rabbs’ defensive unit, which is allowing an average of 21 points per game, are OLB Tristan Allen, DL Shun Hunter and S Dontay Casey. … Pittsburg is 23rd in this week’s The Old Coach 4A Division II rankings.
JOE’S PICK: Atlanta by 14
Palestine (3-3, 0-2) at Bullard (3-2, 0-1); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Panther Stadium
This is a matchup of a couple of teams that are looking to get in the win column for the first time since district play began on Sept. 23. … Palestine is coming off a three-point loss against Center. The Wildcats, in Coach Robby Clark’s second season at the helm, have shown vast improvement over a one-win campaign a year ago. Palestine is averaging 25.8 points per game. RB Irric Deyon is the leading rusher with 506 yards on 103 carries. He has scored four times. QB Claude Rodgers has gained 173 yards rushing and scored twice. Rodgers, who has thrown for 918 yards (46 of 102), has capable receivers in Jhamonte Milton (14-324, 3 Tds), Tyler Gray (13-214, 1) and Toney Dever (10-231, 7). The ’Cats have outscored opponents 155 to 145 this season, but been outscored in the fourth period 32-27. Palestine has rushed for 824 yards (4.1 avg.) and is coming off its most productive rushing performance of the season: 191 last week against Center. … Defensively, Bullard is allowing 24.4 points per contest. The Panthers’ leading tacklers are ILB Thomas Brooks with 38, including 5 TFL and 1 CF, and S Tre Crayton (32). … The Panthers are coming off an open date, following a district-opening loss on the road against Center. QB Cleet Bowman is 66 of 114 passing (57.9 percent) for 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions. Bullard has rushed for 721 yards and 7 touchdowns in six games with RBs Tre Crayton (55-305, 4) and Luke Bowman (57-233, 1) leading the way. Bowman’s primary receivers have been Ty Crayton (16-311, 2), TE Major Tennison (11-186, 1) and Nic Costas (10-218, 3). The Panthers are averaging 26.4 points per game. … S Josh Williams continues to lead the Wildcats’ D in tackles with 65, including 10 for loss. LB Edward Reese has 59 stops (17 TFL), and ILB Roderick Deyon (43 and 5).
JOE’S PICK: Palestine by 3
Chapel Hill (1-5, 0-2) at Center (4-2, 2-0); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Roughrider Stadium
Chapel Hill needs a pick-me-up to turn around its season, but Center may not be the best place for it as the Roughriders look to stay unbeaten in the 9-4A, Division I race to the playoffs. The Bulldogs have lost five in a row since opening the season with a victory over Wills Point, and the last two of those setbacks came against district foes. Chapel Hill, a playoff team a year ago, is averaging 10.2 points per contest. … Since coming on a couple of weeks ago to replace injured QB Jaxon Heckel (43 of 93, 583, 2 Tds, 6 Int), Billy Maddox is 14 of 32 passing for 181 yards. RBs Andrian Minor (83-319), Hunter Branin (30-149) and Decorian Horton (20-137) have accounted for 605 of the team’s 1,272 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs’ primary receivers are Austin Dobbs (8-54), Cooper Daniels (8-91), Kaine Perkins (7-42), Blake Harris (7-77), Demarcus Attaway (7-156) and Jordan Williams (7-132). … The Chapel Hill defense is allowing an average of 22.1 points, 171.3 rushing yards and 98.5 passing yards per contest. The leading tacklers on the unit are ILB Adrian Berry (67 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 SK, 1 CF), OLB Cale Carruthers (54 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 CF, 1 FR) and MLB Ladarian Hudson (53). … Center’s offensive playmakers continue to be QB Kyle Parks, WR Octavius Evans and RB Jacarious Hall.
Parks has thrown for 1,087 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 209 and seven Tds. His completion percentage is 60.3. Evans has been his primary target with 37 catches for 431 yards. The 6-2, 187-pound WR is drawing the attention of numerous Division I FBS schools and has offers from Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State among others. Hall is the leading rusher with 246 yards on 52 carries. … The Roughriders are averaging 281 yards and 24.5 points per game and have won three in a row since dropping back-to-back games to state-ranked Gilmer and Gladewater in early Sept.
JOE’S PICK: Center by 10
**Video voice over by Cary Lowry