Jacksonville Daily Progress
Alto's vaunted ground attack will be thrust into the spotlight once again this evening when the Yellowjackets go up against Bosqueville in a Class A, Division I, Region III semi-final game that will be hosted by Buffalo High School (Bison Stadium).
Alto is 10-2, while the Bulldogs will stroll out a record of 11-1.
Alto got past Hull-Daisetta, 35-28, last week to earn a spot opposite Bosqueville, who edged previously undefeated Joaquin, 21-20, last week.
The Mean Sting are coached by Keith Gardner, who is 79-18 in eight seasons at the helm of the Yellowjacket program.
On the other side of the field, Clint Zander will lead the Bulldogs, who lost for the only time this year in Week 10 when Mart leveled the Bulldogs, 36-7.
The winner of tonight's affair will meet the winner of this evening's other regional semi-final contest that pits San Augustine (9-2) against Mart (9-2). That game will be played in Palestine.
The Yellowjackets love to run the ball and run the ball they can do.
Running back Jacolby Whitaker and quarterback Zac Sturns, who transferred to Alto from Rusk in the off season, handle most of the offensive chores for the Mean Sting, and that probably want change tonight — something about dancing with the girl that came with you.
Whitaker has 244 carries for 2,246 yards.
He has blasted into the end zone 31 times and also has eight pass catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Sturns has carried 176 times for 1,057 yards and has 11 touchdowns by ground.
He is 43-of-90 for 841 yards through the air and has 10 touchdowns to just one interception.
Alto's leading receiver is a former Jacksonville resident, Anfernee Black.
Black has 17 snags on the year for 310 yards and four touchdowns.
Jyran Shaw can't be overlooked either.
Shaw's numbers read 66-551-5 TDs.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have only allowed opponents to score 16.5 points a game.
By comparison, the Alto defense gives up just south of 23 points a game.
The key to the game could be how effective the Bosqueville defensive line can perform in attempting to stop the Alto run.
Against Mart, the Bulldogs did not do a very good job of containing Mart's stable of three running studs as the Bulldogs gave up 373 yards rushing to Mart, with three of the school's speedsters going over 100 yards in the game.
Should the Bulldogs be able to keep the Alto running game in check Bosqueville can have success, as the Bulldog offense scores right at 43 points a night on average.
Grayson Gonzalez is the Bulldogs leading rusher (122-978, 7 TDs).
Quarterback C. J. Collins has had a phenomenal year.
He has passed for 2,233 yards (141-231 — 28 TDS, 9 INTS).
Collins also has a nice set of wheels as he has rushed for 533 yards in 76 trips and has scored seven rushing touchdowns.
Tonight is the first time since 2007 that the Mean Sting have advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.
The last Alto team that got this far went all the way to the state championship game and won it for the second-consecutive season.
It remains to be seen if this year Yellowjacket can duplicate that fete, but a win over over Bosqueville is certainly within reason.