Coverage Breakdown: Kosciusko @ Houston
Players to Watch
Urriah Shephard - The Houston offense certainly operates at a more prolific rate when Shephard is on his game. When the run is working, it’s hard to stop the Toppers at all, but when the junior signal caller gets going, they are impossible to stop. He has thrown for over 600 yards and seven scores, while rushing for 500-plus yards and nine touchdowns.
Taylor Baskin - While Baskin fits right in with a talented front seven on the defensive side of the ball for Houston, his effort and motor makes him stand out. When I watched him play against Pontotoc earlier this season, he was probably the most impressive player on the field because of the effort and energy he brought on each play. We’re talking about a guy that is a hard-nosed linebacker then he blocks, catches passes and runs the ball on offense. He is just a good football player.
Johnta Walker - Throughout his career Walker has been a sack artist. Heck, he just gets into the backfield. The destruction and devastation he’s caused in the backfield his senior season has been just as impressive. His numbers through seven games: 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss, seven sacks, five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal.
Jalon Gates - Like many guys for the Toppers, Gates plays a role on both sides of the ball. His 323 rushing yards and 9.8 yards per carry and four touchdowns on the ground have been impressive, but so have his 38 tackles, 10 pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one interception on defense.
Tanner Bullock - Without anyone even with 10 tackles of him, Bullock leads the team with a whopping 74 tackles. That tells the tale about his ability to get to the ball carrier and bring him down. He just makes the plays in front of him and provides solid leadership for the Toppers. His presence is felt each Friday night.
KaDarius Banks - Banks is the player that defenses better have a keen eye on in preparation before facing Kosciusko. He is a player that simply needs the ball in his hands on offense and he can go. Through six games he has 535 rushing yards, with three 100-yard games, and 175 yards on the ground. He makes a lot of explosion plays and will need to do so in this game.
Clark Dean - The Whippets could stand to improve their passing attack. After all, Dean has only one touchdown toss this season, but three rushing scores. He averages over 70 yards through the air per game. If he can limit his turnovers then look for him to be able to put his team in a position to get a big win tonight.
Stefan Harmon - Harmon gets his hand on the football a lot over the course of a football game. Sometimes it is handed to him. Sometimes it’s thrown to him, whether by Dean or the opposing quarterback. He has 250 rushing yards, 93 receiving yards and one interception this season.
Clint Williams - Williams leads the team with 55 tackles, along with his seven tackles for loss, two pass deflections and one sack. He is a spark plug at linebacker and I expect he will make a lot of plays against the Toppers, if only due to how much they will attack the Whippets with the run.
Ariyan Love - Similar to Williams, Love operates at a high level from the second level of the Kosciusko defense. Love stands right in the middle, at inside linebacker, and is second on the team with 42 tackles.
Keys to the Game
The Kosciusko linebackers are active but the Houston running game is prolific. Who wins that battle will have a huge leg up in this game.
Houston is stout on defense and the Kosciusko offense is still finding it’s way and trying to cut down on turnovers. That matchup favors the Toppers.
Houston comes into this game riding a six game winning streak, while Kosciusko has lost three straight. Momentum would have to reverse itself to favor the Whippets.
KaDarius Banks has performed well all season and is capable of carrying the Whippets to a win. He can contribute in the passing game and the running game, making him a difficult matchup for the Hilltoppers.
Johnta Walker - His pass rush skills could play BIG in this game. The Whippets will need to throw it to find success, but Walker has the ability to squash that before it even gets going.