The Athens Review
After finishing fourth in district play, the Eustace Bulldogs open up the Region II-2A bi-district playoffs this weekend against a familiar foe in last year’s first round opponent, the Daingerfield Tigers.
DHS (7-3) gave Eustace (5-5) a 58-0 loss in last year’s playoffs at Bullard Brook Hill.
This year, the two teams will battle at Van Memorial Stadium on Saturday for a chance to take part in the area round next week.
Kickoff for the contest is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“Daingerfield is Daingerfield and we need to go out there and give them everything we got in the first round,” first-year head coach Heath Ragle said. “They are really big up front and they are probably the most physical o-line that we have seen.”
The winner will face either Pilot Point or Farmersville next week.
Ragle was the defensive coordinator last year under head coach Brian Herman.
This year, Ragle has continued the ground-and-pound style of offense that Eustace is known for in year’s past.
The Bulldogs are counting on senior running back Jesus Barcenas — who comes into the contest with 1,002 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Teammate Keenan Hargest is second on the team with 591 yards rushing on 100 attempts this season.
Eustace quarterbacks Ryan Brown and Steven Stine have thrown 40 passes this season compared to 513 rushing attempts.
“We will stick to what got us here,” Ragle said. “We will use that to set up our passing game if we need to and do what we can in the game,”
Ragle said for the Tigers, he will be having to deal with running back Cordarius Anderson, quarterback Keris Alexander and offensive lineman Willie Evans (6-4, 350 pounds).
“The running back (Anderson) is really good and he keeps them going,” Ragle said. “He is a pretty thick kid and can run.”
Anderson rushed for 85 yards on eight carries and a touchdown, while Alexander was seven-of-nine for 135 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s bi-district victory.
Ragle said the big key to upsetting the Tigers — who are favored by 32 points in the weekly Harris Ratings — will be ball control.
“We are going to have to keep it away from them,” Ragle said. “We will need to limit their time with the ball and we can not give up 14-points like we did last year on special teams.”
Notes: Daingerfield’s three-losses this season came against Gilmer, Gladewater and Atlanta. ... Daingerfield is currently on a six-game winning streak. ... EHS will be the visitors on Saturday.