CALALLEN (12-1) VS. LA MARQUE (10-3) 7:30 pm @Alamodome on Friday
Cost: $10 at the game. $10 for parking. Gates open at 6:30 pm.
COACHES: Phil Danaher (Calallen Wildcats) and Darrell Jordan (La Marque Cougars)
HOW THEY GOT HERE?
Calallen beat Boerne Champion last week 51-31 to advance to the State Semifinals, meanwhile La Marque beat Manvel, a district rival, 44-28.
These two met five times from 1003 to 1997 with La Marque winning every time. Many called it one of the greatest rivalries of the 90s in Texas High School Football. La Marque has five state championships and Calallen has one appearance in the state finals, a loss in 2005. La Marque is 8-0 all time in State Semifinal games.
While many are quick to talk about this series from the 90’s, it’s clear times have changed. These teams haven’t played for 13 years. Players from both team know that, though we hear many old Calallen players from this rivalry will be in attendance to hopefully watch the Wildcats get over the hump and beat the Cougars.
La Marque is under a different coach and aren’t the teams they were a decade ago. The last two years, they didn’t even make the playoffs. This year, they struggled down the stretch and came in 4th place in District 24, but they are peaking right now, playing good football. They have a great RB in Tim Wright. Wright and QB Emanuell Williams have started since they were freshman. The team has a lot of speed and defense is filled with seniors.
Calallen has had a superb year with only one loss in a rainy game vs. Gregory Portland. In the 2nd round of the playoffs, they avenged that four point defeat by beating GP 42-14. Coach Phil Danaher says this team plays well together and he’s confident in them. QB Tanner Sparks is elusive and can pass and run the ball. RB Buddy Wright pounds the ball up the middle WR Marcus Price give them a lot of speed on the outside for WR screens or option plays and he’s tough to tackle. This Calallen team runs the ball, but they can pass and it’s not a run only team. On the defense front, they are great against the run and nobody has really been able to run up the middle on this team. The secondary can hold its own.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The team speed of La Marque vs. the defense line of Calallen and Calallen’s defense must stop the running game, not allowing big plays. For Calallen, it’s ability to run the ball to open up the passing game keeping La Marque offensive unit off the field. Calallen has been a strong second half team all year-long, but they cannot fall behind against La Marque. Both of these teams battled back last week so they have the heart of champion and won’t be denied.
PLAYERS/STATS TO WATCH:
Calallen: Tanner Sparks, QB, Buddy Wright RB, WR Marcus Price, Defensive Line Avg Pts. 39.1 Rushing Yards 281.5 and Passing Yards 142.4
Boerne Champion: QB Emanuell Williams, RB Tim Wright, Defense Front 7 Avg Pts. 32.1 Rushing Yards 248.8 Passing Yards 184.3
KEY INJURY: Calallen Safety Tyler Denman out for game with leg injury
Winner of this game will play the winner of Aledo (14-0) vs. Mesquite Poteet (12-2). The Aledo Bearcats are the defending state champs in Division II of 4A and beat Lake Travis on the road earlier in the season. They are a great defensive team with many returning players from last year’s team. Other than the Lake Travis game, they have only been in one close game in the Region Finals, when they trailed after 3, but came back to win in the 4th quarter. Mesquite Poteet Pirates are a cinderella team. Over the last two years, they were 1-19 until rebounding this year.