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Preview: Lancaster vs. Wichita Falls Rider
December 13, 2012By Tim Polzer of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
4A Division II State Semifinal
Lancaster vs. Wichita Falls Rider
7:30 pm, Friday at Justin’s Northwest ISD Stadium
These two teams are making their own playoff history. Lancaster (13-1) is enjoying its longest postseason run, as is Rider (12-2).
Lancaster has beaten an impressive lineup of playoff foes including Lovejoy, Prosper and Mesquite Poteet.
Quarterback Demarcus Ayers and receiver Nick Harvey are two of the area’s most dynamic playmakers still playing. Ayers, a Washington State commit, has passed for 1,531 yards and 20 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,286 yards and 14 TDs. Harvey, a junior who has committed to Texas A&M, has 48 receptions for 719 yards and eight TDs, but has also rushed for 739 yards and eight TDs.
Lancaster’s defense held off a Poteet rally that ended at the Tigers’ 4-yard-line in last week’s Region II final win. Defensive end Daeshon Hall, a Washington commit, anchors the Lancaster defense that has allowed 17 points or less in nine games.
Before last week’s win over Frenship in the Region I final, the fourth round of the postseason had been a dead-end for Rider. The Raiders ended a streak of five-straight fourth-round losses, three of which involved North Teas area teams:
2011 – Waco Midway 54, Rider 34
2010 – Denton Ryan 46, Rider 15
2007 – Everman 21, Rider 19
2006 – Frenship 20, Rider 17
2004 – Aledo 40, Rider 35
Rider’s offense relies on the run – but two of quarterback Chase London’s four completions went for touchdowns last week against Frenship. Running back Dominic Thrasher has rushed for 1,349 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Rider’s defense shut down Frenship’s passing game last week, sacking quarterback Trevor Lloyd five times and picking off two passes in 13 attempts. The Raiders also limited Frenship running back D’Maujeric Tucker to 159 yards on 33 carries. Tucker entered the game having rushed for 2,637 yards and 32 touchdowns on the season.
Rider’s D.J. Arnold tallied his school season-record eighth interception last week.
Allen (11-1) is making its first third-round appearance since winning the 2008 5A Division I state championship. Westwood (9-3) has advanced to the third round for the first time in school history.
Allen’s defense flexed its muscles in last week’s 42-28 win over Mesquite, limiting the potent Skeeters’ offense to 205 yards and 37 rushing yards. The Eagles face a Westwood offense led by quarterback Bear Fenimore, who threw two touchdown passes in a 34-26 win over The Woodlands. Westwood running back Ty Marshall has 111 receptions on the season – reportedly a state-high. Marshall had just 17 catches and one TD as a junior last year. Marshall is a short-yardage, chain-moving specialist who is averaging just 8.8 yards per catch. He also lines up behind center in Westwood’s Wildcat formations.
Fenimore should feel the pressure of an Allen defense that sacked Mesquite quarterback Alex Cooper eight times last week.
Allen sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray remained steady, if not explosive against Mesquite, completing 11-of-21 for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Murray also rushed for 85 yards and two TDs. He also proved steady during fourth-quarter drives that helped fight off a Mesquite comeback and seal the win.
The Eagles will have to cut down on the turnovers – a season-high three lost fumbles and a blocked punt against Mesquite – to avoid an upset.