sports 3 days ago

Abilene High hosts Keller Central in must-win district game

Abilene Reporter-News, Texas — Daniel Youngblood Abilene Reporter-News, Texas

Oct. 13--KELLER CENTRAL (3-2, 1-0) AT ABILENE HIGH (1-4, 0-1)

7:30 P.M. FRIDAY * SHOTWELL STADIUM * KTLT 98.1 FM

What's riding on the game: Put simply, this is a must-win game for the Eagles if they hope to make the playoffs this season. After falling to Haltom City Haltom and Keller Fossil Ridge to open District 3-6A play, Abilene High needs to win three of its next four games to reach the postseason, and the Eagles close with a Keller Timber Creek team that has lost only one game so far -- 28-25 to a Fossil Ridge team that entered Thursday's game at Haltom undefeated at 6-0.

RELATED: Embattled Abilene High defense making positive strides

RELATED: Abilene High football stats (through Week 6)

Last week: Abilene High was limited to 244 total yards in a 28-3 loss at Fossil Ridge. Central opened 3-6A play with a 48-16 road win over winless Weatherford.

Scouting Central: In an era where many, if not most, large-school teams in Texas are spreading things out and playing shootouts, the Chargers are a bit of a throwback. Before last week's win at Weatherford, Central had averaged just 12.8 points and allowed 13 per game through its first four contests. On offense, the Chargers like to run the football with multiple backs and use their passing game as a quick-strike mechanism. Central, which has run the ball almost twice as often as it has passed it this season, is averaging 281.8 yards per game (147.6 rushing, 134.2 passing). Running back Isaiah Ganaway (46-221, 3 TDs) leads a balanced running game, while fellow backs Eric Cooper (39-165, 2 TDs) and Dain Hammit (30-163), and quarterback Jack Hecker (25-137, 1 TD) also are rushing threats. Hecker (24-52-2--424, 3 TDs) and Grant Meek (13-36-3--247, 3 TDs) split the quarterback duties, while Davon Graham II (12-331, 4 TDs), Meek (5-119) and Ganaway (10-115, 2 TDs) are the top targets in a big-play passing attack. Defensively, the Chargers are led by linebackers Matt Girard (74 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 sacks), Richard Silva (64 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 sacks) and Jacob Felczack (42 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks), and defensive backs Graham (3 interceptions) and Kacee Williams (2 INTs).

Eagles update: The injuries continue to mount for AHS, which lost two more starters in the loss to Fossil Ridge. Senior running back Niyungeko Moise (106-554, 3 TDs) had his season ended by a fractured fibula, while offensive lineman Jackson Sellers is out with a knee injury. The Eagles had just gotten running back Jordan Booker back from an injury a week before the Fossil Ridge game, and he ran 16 times for 88 yards against the Panthers in Moise's absence.

What the Eagles need to do to win: Finish drives on offense and tackle well defensively. If the Eagles want to pick up their first district victory, they'll need to take advantage of their scoring chances on offense and get off the field when they have opportunities to on defense. That starts with keeping Central's big-play threats in front of them and getting the Chargers to the ground when they're in position to.

Daniel Youngblood's prediction: Abilene High 28, Central 17.

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