The key for both Texas High and Arkansas High Friday night is to slow down and contain the opposing quarterback.
The Tigers play Frisco Independence (9-2), which is led by junior sensation Braylon Braxton. Independence’s young signal-caller has accounted for 50 touchdowns this season. He’s ran for 626 yards and 8 TDs, while completing 178 of 276 passes for 3,054 yards and 42 TDs. Braxton has only thrown 4 interceptions.
Texas High, which upset fifth-ranked Lufkin on the road last week, will host this area round encounter at Tiger Stadium in Grim Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Knights’ quarterback has big-time receivers
Obviously, Braxton has several dangerous receivers. Senior Khiyon Wafer has caught 60 passes for 1,228 yards and an incredible 20 TDs. Junior tight end Elijah Arroyo has 41 receptions for 585 yards a 5 TDs, while junior Zhighlil has 37 catches for 801 yards and 12 TDs.
The Knights have won 10 of 11 games easily, but had to forfeit to Frisco Herritage. Their only loss on the field was to top-ranked Frisco Lone Star, 63-14. Otherwise, Independence has not scored less than 34 points in a game.
Independence’s defense is young, and has allowed a lot of points. Senior tackle Nick Carpin leads his team with 85 tackles. Safety Kendall Williams has 74 stops, while linebacker Murphy Roberts and safety Caleb Ellis have 71 tackles each.
If the game turns into a shootout, Texas High has the weapons to compete.
In eight games junior quarterback Rian Cellers has completed 101 of 145 passes for 1,278 yards and 15 TDs. Like the Knights’ Braxton, Cellers is a dual threat. Senior Kobe Webster has enjoyed an outstanding season with 53 receptions for 962 yards and 15 TDs. The Tigers’ ground game is led by senior Tracy Cooper with 1,525 yards and 14 TDs.
The Tigers are averaging nearly 30 points per gameThe winner of this game advances to the Region II-5A Division 1 quarterfinals to play McKinney North or Lancaster.
Colleges eye Devil Dogs’ quarterback Jacolby Criswell
Despite having to travel to Texarkana, Morrilton comes into its confrontation with the Razorbacks as a touchdown favorite.
Devil Dogs’ quarterback Jacolby Criswell is considered to be one of the best schoolboy signal-callers in the nation. He has committed to North Carolina, but Auburn came into the picture last week. Criswell has rushed for 992 yards and 14 TDs, while passing for 2,602 yards and 26 TDs.
Criswell’s favorite two targets are Reggie Toney, who has 51 receptions for 846 yards and 9 TDs. Senior Lamar Wofford has 48 catches for 628 yards and 7 TDs.
Morrilton also has a young defense. Junior linebackers Cade Halbrook, Caimen Fitzpatrick and Tucker Granberry lead the Devil Dogs in tackles with a combined 164 stops. Senior defensive end Bugg Rector had 46 tackles.
Arkansas High’s offense has run hot and cold in 2019. The Hogs have improved dramatically since losing early to Texas High.
Junior quarterback Braylon Bishop has passed for 1,135 yards and 10 TDS. Bishop and running back Torie Blair account for most of the Razorbacks’ ground game.
Larry Jefferson has been a beast on Arkansas High’s defense, leading the Hogs with 100 tackles. Eric Flowers is second in tackles with 67.
Morrilton’s four setbacks this season were to Searcy, Harrison, Alma and Vilonia. The winner of this game advances to play Pulaski Academy or Harrison.