MIDLOTHIAN — While the Jaguars shred their opponents through the air, the Pirates do their dirty work on the ground. Each team will test the other’s defenses during a rematch of last year’s shootout 7:30 p.m. Friday at MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium.
Midlothian Heritage High School (3-0) will not only look to remain inside the Associated Press top 10 UIL 5A football poll at No. 8, it will look to earn its first district win during its Homecoming weekend.
Crandall High School (2-1) will look to sidestep a replay of 2016 when they allowed 21 first downs and 441 yards of total offense. It will need to limit key performers from the previous matchup — namely junior quarterback Landon Ledbetter (13-21, 183 yds, 1 TD), senior running back Nathan Gaskamp (20 rush, 124 yds, 3 TD), and junior wideout Kerrion Fields (140 total yds, 2 TD) — to avoid a repeat of last season’s 48-31 loss.
Ledbetter, who finished last season the classification’s top QB in terms of yardage (3,235 yards) and accuracy (64.2 completion percentage) is already scaling to the top of the 4A passing mountain. After three games against Benbrook, Decatur, and Sunnyvale High Schools, he’s completed 41 of his 55 attempts and thrown for 487 yards, seven touchdowns, and a single interception.
Six of those touchdowns went to Fields (16 rec, 286 yds, 17 YPC, 5 TD) and sophomore receiver Jay Wilkerson (12 rec, 146 yds, 12.2 YPC, 1 TD).
The Jaguars running game, though, may be the most potent its been since the school’s opening in 2015. Both Gaskamp (46 rush, 315 yds, 4 TD) and senior Raja Banks (20 rush, 200 yds, 3 TD) have at least two scores. Midlothian Heritage’s third back, Christian Elliott is 52 away from breaking the 100-yard barrier.
The Pirates return dual-threat junior quarterback Josh Redding to their crew. He has already thrown 350 yards and four touchdowns on 22 for 38 (57.9 percent) passing and run for 143 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. And he’s not even the most dangerous ball carrier in Crandall’s backfield.
Toting the rock will be 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior scatback Tyson Gatewood, responsible for 294 yards on 38 carries (7.7 YPC) and six touchdowns through three games. Behind Gatewood, Redding, and a full-sail Pirate offense, Crandall will look to build momentum toward District 8-4A-1 play and reach the postseason for a third consecutive season.
The matchup will be only the second time the two teams have met in varsity football action and Midlothian Heritage holds a 1-0 series advantage. It will also be the first time they meet at MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium.
Marcus Matthews-Marion is the managing editor of Texas HS Football. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.
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