Thursday December 15, 2016 5 p.m.
Where is Boling? Great question, it's in Wharton County, just south of Richmond/Rosenburg. The Bulldogs last won state back in 1972. They survived a semifinal against Arp 19-18 in which Arp missed three extra points. This year the Bulldogs are led by 6'3 225 dual threat quarterback Vernon Jackson. Jackson is a load, especially at the 3A level. Jackson, who holds a TCU offer is one of three thousand yard plus rushers. He's closing in on 2,000 yards and has 49 touchdowns, a few weeks ago Jackson ran for 487 yards against Odem in the 3rd round of the playoffs. Houston commit Elijah Gooden also carries a substantial part of the load.
Former Angelton offensive coordinator Stephen Dorr came to Boling and realized he'd stumbled upon a talent laden program that just needed direction. He's given the Bulldogs that and more.
Where is Gunter? Another great question, it's just north of Celina, west of 75 and south of Sherman. The Tigers are newbs to the state championship environment, having never made the semifinals before this year. Gunter runs an option based spread attack that averages 44 points a game. Trey Carr is the trigger man for the Tigers offense, he's been playing the position since his sophomore year. Running back Colson Stovall has rebounded from an ankle injury earlier this season to be the primary rushing threat for the Tigers.
Carlos Rodriguez and Zack Lowe anchor a defense that gave up just 11 points a game in the regular season. Gunter head coach Jake Fieszel is in his 10th year in Gunter and he's tweaked his offense this year moving from a more traditional veer look to an offense that now runs almost exclusively out of the shotgun.
Thursday December 15, 2016 8 p.m.
The Bulldogs started the season 2-4 including three straight losses to Giddings, Hallettsville, and Edna, but they've responded with nine straight wins including taking revenge on Hallettsville in the quarters and beating a previously unbeaten Malakoff in the semis. Yoakum are led by twins Jordan and Joshua Moore. The juniors who play running back and wide receiver respectively are highly regarded, holdingoffers from just about everyone in the state and some big hitters from outside of Texas.
The Bulldogs have made a living winning close games in the playoffs, winning their last three games by a combined nine points. They're making their first trip to the state finals since 1952. Coach Bo Robinson credits the Bulldogs physicality for the turnaround after the slow start. The Bulldogs rushed for 269 yards in their win over Malakoff, led by Henry Enoch's 172 yards.
The Yellowjackets started slow as well at 0-2 with losses to Van and Kaufman out of the blocks. The Jackets have coasted in the playoffs, winning by an average of 44 to 13. Joe Drennan, the Mineola head coach can count on his son Michael to lead the Jacket defense. The younger Drennan has started since his freshman season, when the Yellowjackets made it all the way to state only to lose to Cameron. On offense quarterback Jeremiah Crawford has started since his sophomore year and in spite of seeing two offensive linemen from last year's squad sign with A&M, Mineola has rebuilt their offensive line. That unit struggled early but has since jelled into a team strength.