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    Daniel Gilbertson runs with the ball during the Steers win against Vernon on Nov. 8. A big game by GIlbertson will be important for the Steers against Hillsboro on Friday. Leader photo by Mike Williams

A look ahead: Steers versus Eagles in bi-district

The Steers will travel to White Settlement Brewer tomorrow night to open the playoffs with a 7 p.m. kickoff against Hillsboro. The matchup will be the first between the two teams since 2017, a 59-7 bi-district win for the Steers. Daniel Gilbertson had 10 carries for 55 yards in the game as well as one catch for 38 yards.

One key to the game for the Steers will be a quick start. When the Steers can get off to a fast start, they have been able to maintain and earn victories. They’re averaging 14 points in the first quarter this year. Hillsboro is only averaging seven. That said, the second quarter could prove just as crucial in this game. Hillsboro is outscoring Graham in the second quarter of games this season by a small margin.

The second key to this game will be stopping quarterback Thomas Pratt. He’s only averaging 130.6 passing yards per game (Hunter Lanham averages 150.2); however, Pratt can earn yards on the run. He has four games with more than 40 yards rushing, including a 110-yard effort.

The third and quite possibly most important key to this matchup will be the ground game. When the Steers’ rushing attack struggles, the entire offense struggles. It’s that simple for the Steers. Without the threat of the run, the Steers lack their quick-strike ability. An aspect of this key to victory is also defending the run. Brandon Montoya will take the bulk of the carries for the Eagles. He has multiple 100-plus rushing yard games and does not see many passes out of the backfield. The defensive line will see Montoya try to pound the middle on several occasions in the game.

The Eagles will enter the game with a 4-6 record. Both teams struggled in non-district play. The Steers went 2-3 and the Eagles were 2-4. The difference came in district play. The Steers went 4-1, only losing to Iowa Park. The Eagles went 2-2, dropping games to Glen Rose and Godley.

 

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Nov. 13 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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