Jacksonville Daily Progress
Class 2A-I, Region III bi-district: Troup Tigers (6-4) vs. Newton Eagles (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium.
Troup is scheduled to face one of East Texas' top running teams, in the Newton Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 2A poll.
Newton runners have logged 3,560 yards this season and average 9.47 yards a carry collectively.
Senior Brandon Johnson (5'10”, 195lbs.) is Newton's leading ground gobbler, having rushed 113 times for 1,259 yards,with three others having ran for at least 400 yards this season.
Johnson averages 11.14 yards per touch and has racked up 19 touchdowns this year.
The Eagle offense has averaged right at 45 points a game and collects an average of 356 yards on the turf per outing.
Newton is the District 10-2A-I champion. That circuit also includes powers Kirbyville and East Chambers.
Troup will enter play fresh off of a 40-30 conquest over Sabine last week.That win ended a three-game Tiger losing streak.
Troup is coached by Dennis Alexander, the fourth-winningest coach in Texas history.
Should the Tigers win this week, they would face either Teague or Whitney in the Area round next week.
Class 1A-I, Region III, bi-district: Alto Yellowjackets (7-3) vs. Harleton Wildcats (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at New London's Bruce Bradshaw Stadium.
In a de 'ja vu game —yes, these two schools met in bi-district play last year at the very same location, a game Alto easily won, 35-9 — the Yellowjackets and the Wildcats will tie up to see who advances to face Hull-Daisetta (4-6) in Area play next week. Hull-Daisetta had a first round bye and will open post season play late next week.
Alto, coached by first-year head coach Paul Gould, should enter this one as the favorite once again, if for no other reason than strength of schedule where the Mean Sting took on state-ranked entities Tenaha and Pineland West Sabine during the regular season.
Conversely, the Wildcats didn't face a state-ranked during the regular season.
Alto's dynamic duo of Jacolby Whitaker (RB) and Zac Sturns (QB) closed out the regular season by firing on all cylinders as Alto put the bow on its season by peeling off three wins in-a-row.
Harleton, who has lost two of its last three games, will have to find answer for Alto's advantage in speed and athleticism in order to have its best chance a scoring an upset victory.
TAPPS II-2 bi-district: Brook Hill Guard (6-4) at Fort Worth Christian Cardinals, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth's Dorothy and Gene Barrow Field
Brook Hill will face an experienced bunch of Cardinals from Fort Worth Christian on Friday. The Cards' roster is filled with 16 seniors, while the Guard have just two.
Ft. Worth Christian finished in second place in TAPPS II-1, with only top-ranked Midland Christian finishing ahead of the Red Birds.
Cards hold a pronounced size advantage over Brook Hill.
The Fort Worth Christian defense will be a challenge for the Guard as the Cards are giving up just 19 points a game on average.
There are several positive factors for Brook Hill, the third-place representative out of TAPPS II-2.
The Guard have the late-season momentum after upsetting Grace Community on Nov. 1.
It was Brook Hill's first win ever the Cougars.
Last week the Guard were off due to a forfeit from Prince of Peace, who didn't another players to continue playing.
For all intents and purposes that open date gave the Gaurd an extra week to prepare for the Cards from Cowtown.
Look for head coach Bobby Brasher and company to have added a few new wrinkles and twists to the game plan that could catch Fort Worth Christian off Guard.