PREVIEW: Malakoff Meets Brock With State Finals Berth At Stake
CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Malakoff Tigers (11-2)
No. 3 Brock Eagles (13-1)
4 p.m. Friday
Ford Center, Frisco
- Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
- Brock: Chad Worrell
- Malakoff: def. Atlanta, 37-22
- Brock: def. Shallowater, 23-21
- Winner vs. Grandview or Yoakum, 7 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 20), AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Class 3A Division I state championship game
Players to watch
- RB Keevie Rose, Jr. (176 carries, 1,301 yards, 15 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Darion Peace, Soph., 6-0, 170 (103 of 175, 1,932 yards, 28 TDs, 2 INTs; 125 carries, 616 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR/DB Andreas Garrett, Jr., 5-11, 170 (35 catches, 711 yards, 10 TDs; 11 carries, 148 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB RJ Carr, Jr., 6-2, 215 (43 carries, 583 yards, 9 TDs)
- WR Nathan Jones, Soph., 6-3, 210 (21 catches, 387 yards, 7 TDs)
- LB Colby Rush, Jr. (95 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Caleb Adams, Sr., 6-2, 225 (62 tackles, 21 for loss, 9 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 2 defensive TDs)
- DB Kederrius Thomas, Sr., 6-1, 150 (31 tackles, 1 for loss, 3 INTs, 13 PBUs)
- TE Baylor Cupp, Sr., 6-6, 240 (18 catches, 479 yards, 4 TDs; committed to Texas A&M)
- RB Toby Morrison, Sr., 5-10, 175 (217 carries, 1,755 yards, 28 TDs; 9 catches, 161 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Takota Taylor, Sr., 5-9, 165 (36 of 57, 781 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT; 41 carries, 103 yards, 1 TD; 6 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Tripp Jones, Sr., 5-11, 170 (24 of 48, 625 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs; 33 carries, 220 yards, 5 TDs)
- LB Zakk Young, Sr., 6-0, 190
- DE Jesse Hallmark, Jr., 6-1, 190
- OT John Brunner, Sr., 6-5, 300 (committed to North Texas)
- DE Jase Lopez, Sr., 6-0, 180
Just the facts
- Malakoff is averaging 42.2 points and 416.3 yards per game -- 265.1 rushing and 151.2 passing.
- Malakoff has defeated two state-ranked teams in the playoffs -- Jefferson and Gladewater.
- The cumulative record of Malakoff's opponents is 81-69 (.540).
- Malakoff is allowing 16.7 points per game, has 31 sacks, and has forced 21 turnovers -- 12 interceptions and nine fumbles.
- Brock is averaging 38.1 points and 410.3 yards per game -- 309.9 rushing and 100.4 passing.
- Brock is 67-6 since beginning its football program in 2014.
- The cumulative record of Brock's opponents is 84-65 (.564).
- Brock is allowing 15.5 points per game.
Key matchup: Malakoff rushing attack vs. Brock defensive front. The Tigers come into Friday's state semifinal with a balanced offense. The running game is led by junior running back and 1,300-yard rusher Keevie Reese, quarterback Dorian Peace, and sophomore running back RJ Carr. Between the three of them, they have accumulated 2,500 rushing yards with 32 touchdowns. That trio averages a little more than 192 yards on the ground per game, so Malakoff's running game will definitely be an important factor this week.
But don't discount Malakoff's ability to make big plays in the passing game. Peace is closing in on 2,000 yards through the air with 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Junior receiver Andreas Garrett is the Tigers' top big-play threat as he comes into this week's game averaging more than 20 yards per reception. If Malakoff has success on the ground, that increases the odds that Peace and Garrett will have a major impact on Friday's contest.
Brock's defense will be one of the top units Malakoff's offense has faced this season. The Eagles are allowing a little more than 15 points per game, and have been especially tough against the run. Defensive linemen Jesse Hallmark and Jase Lopez and linebacker Zakk Young form one of the top defensive fronts in the state, and will be a formidable challenge for Malakoff's offense on Friday.
Don't be surprised if: Malakoff and Brock engage in a low-scoring affair. While both offenses average at least 38 points and more than 400 yards per game, it should be tough sledding against the opposing defenses. Both the Tigers and Eagles are big and physical on the defensive side of the ball, and have been making life difficult for offenses all season long. The outcome could ultimately be decided by turnovers. Malakoff and Brock have combined to force almost 50 turnovers on the year, so it will be up to each offense to protect the ball at all costs.