State Championship Preview: Friday
State Championship Preview: Friday
2013-12-19 12:00:00

It's a huge day at AT&T Stadium: Carthage-Kilgore, Argyle-Fairfield and Denton Guyer-SA Brennan.

 By Greg Tepper
 DCTF Associate Editor

The UIL will crown three more state champions today at AT&T Stadium, with the 3A title games and the 4A Division I championship! DCTF’s Greg Tepper previews the action.

REMEMBER: We will be live-blogging all ten games LIVE from AT&T Stadium this weekend at! Be sure to make your home for unparalleled state championship coverage!

3A Division I State Championship
Kilgore (14-0) vs. Carthage (14-1)
12 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium
We need a clever name for this one, and I’m coming up empty. The East Texas Throwdown? The Piney Woods War? Here’s something you can call it: one heck of a 3A Division I state championship game. Not very catchy, but effective. East Texas is probably the strongest region in the state in 3A, and this is a perfect exhibition of that strength, as both of these teams have a legitimate claim to the Best Team In 3A title. Kilgore mowed through the District of Doom – 16-3A – and hasn’t looked phased by anything this year. It starts with the running game, with Kevrin Justice and Juju Brown, but the real star of this team is the defense. DL LaDarrin Anthony and company are a fearsome bunch, and that’s the biggest reason they’re here. On the other side, what can you say about Carthage? Their one loss is to Whitehouse – a 4A power – and they just came off manhandling a really solid La Grange squad. They can beat you in so many different ways, be it with QB Blake Bogenschutz and WR Tee Goree, or with RB Tevin Pipkin, or with DL Mario McClain and that defense. Versatility is the name of the game for Scott Surratt’s squad, and they’ve got it in spades. That doesn’t make this pick any easier, of course, and this will be a game won on the margins. Who takes care of the ball? Who gets that lucky bounce one way or another? Who is more awake at kickoff – quite literally, considering the noon start? The X-factor in this one, I think, is Kilgore QB/DB Benny Colbert. If he makes his presence felt in this one, that diversifies Kilgore so much. But Carthage is already diversified. This is as tough a pick as there is, but I think Kilgore’s physicality – their bruising offensive line, their strong front seven defensively – edges out the narrowest of victories.
Tepper’s pick: Kilgore 35, Carthage 32
Click here to see AG Sports’ simulation of the game!

3A Division II State Championship
Argyle (15-0) vs. Fairfield (15-0)
4 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium
I’ll be honest with you: I have exactly no feel for this game. None. You could come up to me right now and say, “I’m from the future, and Argyle won this game by 40” and I’d believe you. Or you could say “Fairfield won by 40” and I’d believe you. Or “it ended in a tie” and I’d believe you. Like I said: no feel. Here’s what we do know: Argyle is super-good. They’ve got playmakers on both sides of the ball, but none more exciting than Ian Sadler, the RB/WR/DB whom the Eagles will try to get the ball in any kind of way. He’s hardly the only weapon – RB Nick Ralston has been money in the playoffs, and QB Blake Boyzuick has been tremendous – but he’s the gamebreaker. And, of course, there’s the defense, who smothered Graham’s powerful attack last week. So there’s that. And where’s what we know about Fairfield: They’ve been awesome. The Eagles have already set the 3A scoring record behind RB Larry Rose and QB Jacob Gallegos, but most impressive about them is their offensive line, which has pushed people around all year. Oh, and the defense is suffocating, between DE Dedrick Garner, Devin Eggins and Jeremiah Simpson. What gives? Here’s the thing about this game (I think, because remember: I have no feel for this game): we know Argyle is really good – they’ve beaten Gilmer, Celina, Graham and other big-time teams. We’re pretty darn sure Fairfield is really good – they did beat Navasota, after all – but they maybe haven’t run the gauntlet that Argyle has. And in a game that again I have no feel for, I lean toward the devil I know. One thing to remember: Argyle has one of the best kickers in the country in Cole Hedlund, and indoors, he could be a huge game-changer. Of course, if you have a time machine, go there and tell me what happens. It’ll help me with this game.
Tepper’s pick: Argyle 38, Fairfield 35
Click here to see AG Sports’ simulation of the game!

4A Division I State Championship
Denton Guyer (13-2) vs. San Antonio Brennan (15-0)
8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium
This is why you love Texas high school football: the unstoppable force against the immovable object. We’re speaking, of course, about Denton Guyer’s electrifying Jerrod Heard-led offense against Brennan’s impenetrable Deric Roberson-led defense. This is the showdown we’ve waited for. But it’s important to remember that Guyer isn’t just Heard: they’ve got a strong running game with DJ Breedlove and Anthony Taylor as well. But have they faced a defense like Brennan? As you probably know by now, the Bears have allowed six offensive touchdowns this season. Six. In fifteen games! They dominate the line of scrimmage with the DE Roberson and LB Grant Watanbe, and then they have playmakers in the secondary to punish the pass. Is Guyer the team to crack the code? But with all the focus on Heard vs. the Bears defense, there’s an equally interesting other side to it. QB Da’Shawn Key has been outstanding for  Brennan, a sensational dual-threat signal-caller who is perhaps more dangerous with his feet than with his arm. But Guyer’s defensive front has been special as well, with DE Thomas Ferguson and DT Carl Thompson. That’s a fantastic matchup as well: how Guyer slows down Key. But that’s boring, right? We all want to know who’s winning Jerrod Heard against the Brennan D. And the answer is: I don’t know. The key for Brennan will be to make sure Heard doesn’t beat them with his legs: he’s dangerous with his arm, but he’s lethal with his legs. Contain him in the pocket, make him beat you with his arm. But in the end, special players make special plays on the biggest stage. Jerrod Heard is a super-special player, and when the lights shine the brightest – as he’s shown – he has a flair for the dramatic. Expect a thriller.
Tepper’s pick: Denton Guyer 21, San Antonio Brennan 17
Click here to see AG Sports’ simulation of the game

Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and

He can be reached via e-mail, via Twitter (@Tepper) and via the DCTF Facebook page.

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