Kilgore (5-4, 4-1) at Bullard (3-6, 0-5); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Panther Stadium
Kilgore and Bullard meet for the first time since 2013 and only the third time overall. The teams met in 2012 and again in 2013 when they were aligned together in District 16-3A. Kilgore is assured a playoff berth, while Bullard will be closing out its season. Kilgore, ranked 10th in this week’s TheOldCoach.com 4A Division I poll, is coming off a 40-39 loss to Center and would like to get back on the winning track before the playoffs begin next week. A Kilgore win will assure Coach Mike Wood’s Bulldogs the top seed in 9-4A Division I. The Ragin’ Red enter the contest, averaging 30.1 points and 324.6 yards per game. Of the total yards per game, 246.2 is rushing. RB Melek Hamilton surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau with 172 yards against Center and has a team-leading 1,006 for the season with nine touchdowns. QB Buddy Jackson follows with 886 and seven, respectively. Jackson is 51 of 84 passing for 654 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite receivers are Cole Wood (19-214, 1) and Deiontrae Wheat (14-166, 2). … Bullard’s defense is allowing 31.4 points per outing. Leaders on the Panthers’ stop unit are FS Tre Crayton, and LBs Thomas Brooks and Donovan Yeley. Crayton leads with 71 tackles, while Brooks and Yeley follow with 65, respectively. Brooks has 7 TFL and Yeley 2. … Offensively, Bullard is led by QB Cleet Bowman and RB Tre Crayton. Crayton has rushed for 464 yards and six touchdowns and caught 24 passes for 429 yards and three scores. Bowman is 99 of 193 passing for 1,535 yards and 12 touchdowns. Following the rushing lead of Crayton is RB Luke Bowman with 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bullard TE Major Tennison (6-6, 248) has verbally committed to Alabama. … Defensively for Kilgore, the Bulldogs are allowing an average of 29.0 points, and 322.6 yards per game. Leading the way have been LB Jamal Nobles (76 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 FR), LB Isaiah Smith (58, 3 TFL, 1 Sk, 2 CF), DE Demorrea Richardson (56, 11, 5, 1 FR) and S Mateo Meraz (56, 3 INT, 1 FR). … The Bulldogs are 2-0 in previous meetings against Bullard.
JOE’S PICK: Kilgore by 14
Carthage (6-2, 3-2) at Chapel Hill (3-6, 1-4); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill
Carthage has won three in a row and is peaking at the right time, going into the upcoming playoffs, while Chapel Hill would like nothing better than to close the season on a positive note. Carthage, ranked 12th in this week’s TheOldCoach.com poll, is averaging 36.5 ppg. Bulldogs’ QB Kason Davis completed 16 of 19 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns against Palestine, bringing his totals for the season to 139 of 227 for 2,166 yards and 23 touchdowns. Davis’ favorite receivers are Dee Bowens (40-642) and Dewaylon Ingram (34-568), although RB Keaontay Ingram is also very much a threat, coming out of the backfield, with 24 receptions for 326 yards. Keaontay has 1,126 of Carthage’s total rushing yards (1,309) on 156 carries. … Chapel Hill’s defense, anchored by ILB Adrian Berry and CB Ladarian Hudson, is allowing an average of 22.5 points, 140.1 rushing and 118.4 passing yards per game. Berry leads in tackles with 105 to go with 9 TFL, 5 Sk and 3 CF, while Hudson has 75 tackles and SS Cale Caruthers follows with 74, 3 TFL, 3 Sk and 2 CF. …Chapel Hill QB Jaxon Heckel is 84 of 176 passing for 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns with 13 interceptions. His favorite targets are WRs Jordan Williams (17-263, 2) and Demarcus Attaway (15-272, 1). RB Andrian Minor leads the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 606 yards and four touchdowns on 132 carries (4.6 ypc). … The Carthage D is led by a trio of LBs in Mikael Gates, Jase Dixon and Jose DeJulian. Gates has 79 tackles and 9 TFL, Dixon follows with 76 and 8, and DeJulian has 72 and 8. The defense is allowing an average of 23.8 points per game.
JOE’S PICK: Carthage by 20
Henderson (8-1, 4-1) at Palestine (5-4, 2-3); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Wildcat Stadium
Henderson, 7th ranked in this week’s TheOldCoach.com poll, looks to close the regular season with its 9th win, while Palestine hopes to close its best season since a 7-win campaign in 2012 with a positive showing, following back-to-back one-win seasons in 2014-’15. … In its victory over Bullard, TCU WR commit Trestan Ebner caught 5 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, and threw a 68-yard scoring strike to Matthew Childers, who had six catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Ebner has 36 receptions for 733 yards and 13 touchdowns. Childers’ big night brings his totals for the season to 28 catches for 439 yards and five scores. QB Trae Hall is 81 of 120 passing for 1,258 yards and 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Hall has also run for 520 yards and five TDs. The Lions leading rusher, though, continues to be another TCU commit Lakendrick Vanzandt, who has 911 yards and 11 touchdowns, as well as seven receptions for 107 yards and another TD. … Palestine’s defense will have its hands full with the high-powered Henderson offense, which is averaging 45.4 points and 422.4 ypg. Leading the Wildcat defense are CB Josh Williams and LB Edward Reese. Williams has 101 tackles and 20 TFL to go with a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception. Reese has 83 tackles and 19 TFL. … The Wildcat offense is averaging 27.0 points and 160.8 rushing and 126.0 passing yards per contest, and has outscored its opponents 243 to 215. QB Claude Rodgers is 59 of 140 passing for 1,172 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has suffered seven picks. His primary receivers are Jhamonte Milton (17-395, 5), Tyler Gray (16-224, 1) and Toney Dever (12-269, 8). RB Irric Deyon is closing in on a 1,000-yard rushing season with 982 on 166 carries with nine touchdowns. … The Lion defense is allowing an average of only 16.7 points per game. It is led by ILB Keaton Hand, ILB Josh Mapps and OLB Ty Blanton. Hand has 96 tackles and 5 TFL, while Mapps has 94 tackles, 4 TFL, and 1 Sk, and Blanton has 88 tackles, 11 TFL and 4 Sk.
JOE’S PICK: Henderson by 17
Pittsburg (5-4, 2-2) at Gilmer (8-1, 4-0); 7:30 p.m. Friday; Jeff Traylor Stadium
Pittsburg and Gilmer, ranked No. 4 in this week’s TheOldCoach.com’s 4A Division II poll, close the regular-season schedule in what should be a competitive contest. The Pirates enter the showdown with the ranked Buckeyes, averaging 36.2 points, and 389.5 yards per game. Backup QB Brett McGee completed 24 of 42 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown in the Pirates’ loss to Gladewater last week. McGee is 33 of 69 passing for 407 yards with three touchdowns. Pittsburg’s leading receiver is Stephen F. Austin State University commit Dejour Dowell with 49 receptions for 756 yards and eight touchdowns. The leading rushers are Deldric Shields and Trajon Sheppard. Shields has 876 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Sheppard follows with 356 and two. … The Gilmer defense has seven interceptions, nine fumble recoveries and 29 sacks. It is allowing an average of 321 yards and 30.5 points per game. Leading the Black Flag defense are Louisiana Tech commit S Kollin Hurt and LB Jeremy Kelly. Hurt has 86 tackles, 2 TFL and 2 INT, while Kelly has 81 tackles and 8 TFL to go with an interception, a fumble recovery and three sacks. … Pittsburg’s stop unit is allowing 33.6 points per game for the season and 23.5 against district opponents. It is led by SS Jakeivian Hughes (80 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT), DT Bradlee Warrick (77 tackles, 13 TFL, 8 Sk, 2 INT, 1 FR) and DE Cody Jones (70 tackles, 14 TFL). … Gilmer QB Aaron ’Poppy’ Brown threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns against Atlanta, bringing his numbers for the season to 227 of 334 for 3,162 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His favorite receivers are Oklahoma State verbal commit LaMarcus Morton (40-800, 7) and Red Jones (40-583, 7). Qua Heath follows with 35 receptions for 483 yards and six touchdowns. Gilmer has eight receivers with 10 or more catches. The Buckeyes leading rushers have been Rashaad Ward (62-360, 5) and Kameryn Cuevas (51-319, 4).
JOE’S PICK: Gilmer by 17
Pleasant Grove (3-6, 2-2) at Gladewater (7-1, 3-1); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Jack V. Murphy-Bear Stadium
Pleasant Grove has won its last two games to earn one of the four playoff berths from District 7-4A Division II, while Gladewater is assured the No. 2 position, going forward. Gladewater is ranked No. 8 in this week’s TheOldCoach.com poll. The Hawks, ranked No. 23 in TheOldCoach.com’s weekly poll, are averaging 23.7 points and 278 yards per game, but have clicked offensively in the last two games (against Pittsburg and Spring Hill), averaging 373 yards and 39 points. Offensively, the Hawks are led by RBs Logan Wesley and Keshawn Jones, and QB T.J. Cole. Pleasant Grove has rushed for 1,901 yards and 21 scores. Wesley (149-631, 7) and Jones (67-439, 4) have the majority of that. Cole has added 372 and eight rushing touchdowns. Cole is 28 of 72 passing for 429 yards with seven touchdowns. His top receivers have been Xavier Benson (9-122, 2) and Wesley (7-103, 1). … Gladewater is allowing just 14.4 points, and 190.0 yards a game. The defense, led by OLB Michael Batchelor, DT Isaiah Tiner and CB Austin Hawley, is also averaging 8.6 TFL and 2.8 sacks a game. Batchelor has 65 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 Sk and 2 FR, while Tiner has 51 tackles, 15 TFL and 4 Sk. Hawley has 51, 7 and 3 with a couple of takeaways: a fumble recovery and an interception. … The Bears offense, led by QB Cameron Callaway, Jr., and RBs Isaiah Davis and Darnell McKnight, is averaging 36.3 points, 351.5 rushing yards and 417.2 total yards per game. Callaway has rushed for 701 yards and four touchdowns, Davis has 943 and 15, and McKnight 728 and four. Callaway is 25 of 43 passing for 526 yards and three touchdowns. His primary receivers are Tyler Glenn (9-205, 1) and Daniel Robertson (6-124). … The Hawks defense is led by LBs Caleb Porchia (80 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 Sk and 1 FR), and Benson (74, 2, 3, 2).
JOE’S PICK: Gladewater by 10
Atlanta (5-4, 1-3) at Spring Hill (3-6, 0-4); 7:30 p.m., Friday; Panther Stadium, Longview
Atlanta comes into this regular-season finale, averaging 29 points and 320 yards per game. The Rabbits, ranked No. 20 in this week’s TheOldCoach.com’s 4A Division II poll, are led by QB Leighton Henson, who has thrown for 1,020 yards (63 of 132) and 10 touchdowns, and run for 384 yards and seven touchdowns. His primary receivers are Hunter Roberts (20-272, 3), Trin Taylor (14-307, 3) and Desmond Webster (12-236, 2). Atlanta has a balanced rushing attack led by Jawan King (69-492, 4), Kelton Young (60-407, 5), and Nick Cooper (79-383, 5). … MLB Kaden Peppers, ILB Vaughn Bufkin and Soph. FS Daryn Beck anchor the Spring Hill defense. Peppers has 71 tackles, including 2 TFL and a sack, while Bufkin follows with 69 tackles, 5 TFL and 5 Sk. Beck has 64 tackles and 1 TFL. … The Spring Hill offense, averaging 20.6 points and 227.6 yards per game, is led by QB Dayson Attaway and RB Zach Tulpa. Fresh. QB Gage White was 3-for-5 passing for 52 yards last week and is 25 of 59 for 193 yards for the season. Attaway has rushed for 456 yards and five touchdowns, and is 18 of 54 passing for 211 yards and a touchdown. WR Ryan Willis has been the top receiving threat with 21 catches for 198 yards and a score. Tulpa is the leading rusher with 860 yards and eight touchdowns on 165 carries (5.2 ypc). … Meanwhile, Atlanta’s defense is allowing 27 points and 290.8 yards per contest. The leading tacklers are OLB Tristan Allen, ILB Gerrod Oliver and S Dontay Casey. Allen has 86 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 Sk and 3 CF. Gerrod has 84 tackles and 5 TFL, and Casey 81 tackles, 2 TFL and 3 CF.
JOE’S PICK: Atlanta by 20