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8 State Titles and Counting: The Carthage Bulldogs

Carthage Bulldogs

A 37-game winning streak and a 7-0 record so far this season. That’s what Carthage brings to the table as they march on toward the playoffs and possibly a third consecutive 4A state title.

The Carthage Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have made it a habit of camping out at Jerry’s World (AT&T Stadium) in Arlington in mid-December. Coached by Scott Surratt, they are the 8-time Class 4A state champions and won it all in 2019 and 2020.

The Bulldogs are scoring 36 points per game on offense, and the always dominating defense is allowing just 11 points per game scored against them.

The Carthage Offense

The offense is led on the field by junior QB Connor Cuff. Cuff has passed for 1302 yards and 18 touchdowns, and only 5 INTs (in 172 pass attempts). He has also added a touchdown on the ground.

The running game has been primarily Zsemad Williams and Viencint Cabada. Williams has rushed for 413 yards and 3 TDs, and he has 3 receiving touchdowns. Cabada has filled in for an injured Williams and has rushed for 227 yards and a touchdown, 168 of those yards coming against Rusk last week.

Cuff has thrown to three primary targets: Braeden Wade (19 catches, 291 yards, 3 TDs), Noah Paddie (19 catches, 254 yards, 3 TDs), and Montrel Hatten.

Hatten, a 6-1, 175-pound converted quarterback, has caught 45 balls for 769 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has stepped up his game in such a way that it goes beyond his own stat sheet. He is the ultimate team player, working on his skills in practice to make himself and his teammates better in games.

Hatten has worked on and improved his skills that are required when his number is not called, like blocking.

Avoid the Upset

Last week vs Rusk, the Bulldogs found themselves in a tough spot in the first half. They committed four first-half turnovers (2 INTs, 2 fumbles), six total for the game. You would be hard-pressed to find any Carthage teams of the past that committed that many turnovers in a game, much less one half of football.

But the always tough, always dominant Bulldogs defense came out in the second half and shut down Rusk. Carthage held them scoreless in the second half, allowed Rusk just 41 yards of total offense, and recorded 5 sacks of Rusk QB Owen McCown en route to a 35-14 win.

That dominant defense was led by:

  • DB Brandon King: 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
  • Zykerrian Tatum: 2 sacks
  • Kip Lewis: 1 sack
  • Giancarlos Riascos: 1 sack
  • Je’Kerrick Johnson: 1 sack

Cuff was 15 of 26 passing for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns and 4 INTs. Cabada played in place of Williams at running back and gained 168 yards rushing. Hatten caught 8 passes for 121 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Next up…

Carthage takes on Madisonville (4-4) tomorrow night, a team they defeated 56-0 last year.

Will Carthage win their third consecutive 4A state championship? Leave a comment below?


Material and Stats for this article sourced from Defense, Hatten lead Carthage Bulldogs to 35-14 win over Rusk. | Sports | (Ryan Silapan); High School Football: Carthage’s Hatten leads the team in catches, yards, and TDs | Sports |; (Ryan Silapan); Carthage Bulldogs coaching staff (Micah Smith).


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