2018 WR DeWaylon Ingram (Gabe Brooks/SCOUT)

4A State Championship Playoff Picks

The Old Coach contributor Joe Hale runs down the 4A list to provide some great insight and analysis on this weekend's big state championship games...

Abilene Wylie (12-1) vs. Carthage (12-2); 4 p.m. ; AT&T Stadium, Arlington

Class 4A Division I Championship Game

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington

Friday’s return to the state finals marks the first for Wylie since 2009 when they lost to East Texas power Gilmer in the Class 3A DI game, 43-26. The same year, Carthage won the 3A DII crown , defeating Graham, 13-12. … Wylie won the 2004 3A DI crown, beating Cuero. 17-14. …Carthage is 4-1 all-time in Championship games, and 4-0 under Coach Scott Surratt. The Bulldogs won state in 2008-’09-’10 and again in 2013. … Carthage is 40-5 in the playoffs in the 10 seasons Surratt has been the head coach and AD. …Wylie has won 11 straight and given up just 170 points this season. The Bulldogs ended Argyle’s run of state final appearances at three in the regional semifinal round, 35-14. … Wylie, coached by Hugh Sandifer has 4,598 yards of total offense. Of that, 3,294 is rushing and 1,304 passing. …Wylie managed only 159 yards in total offense last week in its semifinal victory over Kennedale. But, the Bulldogs held Kennedale to just 281 yards rushing. … QB Zach Smith is 83 of 147 passing for 1,095 yards, although he has suffered five interceptions. … His favorite receivers have been Tyler Henson (22-337), and Cason Grant (21-303) along with RB Brooks Pepper (18-244). … Pepper is the leading rusher, gaining 1,458 yards on 183 carries. Smith follows the Sr. RB with 637 yards on 122 carries. Next is Cameron Hanna with 323 yards on 29 carries. … The Carthage defense continued to make the big play in clutch situations as the Bulldogs needed three OTs to defeat China Spring. CB Mekhi Colbert came away with the lone CS turnover, an interception and that did not come until the 3rd OT. The Bulldog defense covered nicely for the offense, which turned the ball over five times, allowing only one touchdown. MLB Mykel Gates led the way, along with teammate LB Jase Dixon. Both had a team-high 15 tackles. Gates is the team leader in tackles for the season with 151 to go with 18 TFL, 3 CF, 2 FR, and 2 Int. Dixon follows with 148, 14 TFL, 4 CF, 3 FR and 1 Sk. Other leaders on the stop unit have been Jose DeJulian, along with DEs Tre Gatlin and Montario Wilson. The ‘Dawgs’ defense has come away with 33 turnovers: 16 FR and 17 Int. It is allowing an average of 193.9 yards rushing, 113.2 yards passing, and 22.1 points per contest. … Wylie’s defense has played well in this playoff run, and has 19 interceptions this season. CB Gatlin Martin added to his pick total with one last week and has five for the season. A key to Wylie’s success in large part in the state semifinals was its not turning the football over. … Wylie also came away with fumble recoveries by DE Dion Novil and LB Braydon Ward, and a pick by CB Kendall Brown, who has two for the season. … Carthage Sr. QB Kason Davis is 230 of 391 passing for 3,222 yards and 30 touchdowns. Davis has a stable of talented receivers in WRs Dee Bowens (58-857), and Dewaylon Ingram (56-919), along with RB Keaontay Ingram (45-479). Colbert, though, led the team with seven receptions last week, totaling 78 yards. Keaontay Ingram, who scored the game-winning touchdown in the 3rd Overtime, leads the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 2,064 yards on 297 carries. FB Brewster Griffith has 25 carries for 159 yards. Carthage has rushed for 2,374 yards and passed for 3,339. Tanner Elliott anchors the Carthage offensive line.

JOE’S PICK: Carthage by 4

Sweetwater (13-1) vs. West Orange – Stark (15-0) 12 noon, Friday ; AT&T Stadium, Arlington

Class 4A Division II Championship Game

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington

For the third straight year, West Orange-Stark punched its ticket to the Class 4A Division II Championship Game, this time by beating Geronimo Navarro, 49-7. The Mustangs are 1-1 in those games, losing to Gilmer here at Jerry World in 2014 and defeating Celina at NRG Stadium in Houston last year. …West Orange-Stark has won 20 straight and is in the position for the program’s first 16-win season. … WO-S scored more points in the first half than Navarro had total yards (32) in the first 24 minutes. Navarro had just two yards in the second quarter, while WO-S scored 28 points. … QB Jack Dallas passed for three touchdowns and ran for another. Dallas will be quarterbacking his third championship game. … RB Keion Hancock accounted for 134 yards on 10 carries and K.J. Miller returned a punt and an interception for a touchdown. His 65-yard punt return was Miller’s sixth for a score this season. His INT return covered 72 yards. … Eight of WO-S’s victories have been shutouts. In four other wins, the opponents combined for 26 points. WO-S has outscored its opposition by an average of 51.8 to 4.2 per game. … Sweetwater QB Chris Thompson has completed 223 of 328 pass attempts for 3,073 yards and 34 touchdowns. The Jr. QB has also rushed for 1,115 yards on 139 carries and scored 24 other touchdowns. His leading receivers are WR Kobe Clark (71-1,236, 12 TDs) and Jordan McGee (66-955,14). The leading rusher, though, has been RB Jacoby Hunt (188-1,148, 11 TDs), who has gained more than 100 yards on six occasions. … Defensively, Sweetwater is led by a trio of linebackers: Hunter Mobley (155 tackles, 15 TFL, 2 Sk, 6 Hur, 3 FR, and 1 Int.), Kiante McCoy (122 tackles, 9 TFL, 1 Sk, 2 Hur, 3 Int, 1 FR), and Jacoby Hunt (118 tackles, 6 TFL, 1 Sk, 2 Hur, 1 Int, and 1 CF), along with DB Luke James (4 Int, and 3 CF).

JOE’S PICK: West Orange-Stark by 14

Joe’s Record against the line: 65-32


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