MILDRED — —
Region II-2A DII Area Round
Mildred (9-1) vs. Cooper (8-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Lindale’s Eagle Stadium
Radio: The Ranch 106.9 FM (7 p.m. pregame)
Mildred RB Draylon Sterling vs. Cooper LB Colby Early
Sterling averages a ridiculous 13.8 yards per carry, and keys a ground game that chews up almost 280 per game. Early, just a sophomore, leads the Bulldogs with 12.5 tackles per game. Sterling has speed and will go outside, but the Eagles like to run it up the middle, too.
Handle the role
Mildred must prove it can avoid a letdown and handle the favorite role. Cooper’s record is deceiving, Mildred coach Patrick Harvell insists. Three of the teams that beat Cooper are still playing. Only one that did missed the playoffs (Mount Vernon) finished fourth in a district with Daingerfield, New Boston and Redwater.
The line of scrimmage
Harvell has a favorite saying, “the guys with their hands on the ground win games.” This game should be a good one up front. The Bulldogs are big and physical on the lines, Harvell said, and Mildred has been dominant on both sides. Expect a slugfest between two talented groups.
Mildred hasn’t had to pass out of necessity, but has done very well behind senior Nic Shimonek (120-185-4-1,963, 27 TDs), the most prolific passer in the history of the Golden Circle. Cooper’s Kasey Leatherwood has attempted 10 or more passes only four times this season, three times in losses, and completed 44 percent of his passes on the season. He has as many interceptions (5) as TD passes.
— Raymond Linex II