It's the perfect matchup — offense vs. defense.

Bishop Gorman's top-ranked offense against All Saints' top-ranked defense.

Add in two teams unbeaten in league play and you've got a recipe for an epic clash between cross-town foes.

The Trojans (4-1, 2-0) head across town today to face the Crusaders (5-0, 2-0) in a TAPPS D-II District 2 showdown. Kickoff is 7 p.m. from McCallum Field on Pink Out Night.

"That's always kind of the classic matchup," All Saints coach Mike Hall said. "It'll be interesting to see how it plays out."

The Crusaders enter with an offense that's piling up 529.0 yards and 43.0 points per game. Quarterback Michael Goodwin has led the attack with 1,389 yards through the air and 400 on the ground. He has 15 passing TDs to four interceptions.

That unit will face off against a Trojans defense allowing 202.8 yards and 13.2 points per game led by Luke Lee (58 tackles, 10 tackles for loss) and KJ Bickham (48 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss). All Saints has forced 14 turnovers (six interceptions, eight fumbles) in five games.

All Saints has allowed 285 yards passing all year, less than the 286.4 yards passing Gorman averages each game.

"They're really doing a great job shutting down the run game and getting pressure on the quarterback," Gipson said of All Saints. "They have a couple players that are just really outstanding in Luke Lee and KJ Bickham. … Two outstanding players but also very fundamentally sound, very well coached, very opportunistic. They force turnovers and force three-and-outs — everything a great defense does."

Hall said Gorman's offense is a true spread and that makes it harder to defend.

"They do a nice job in their spread offense making you play the entire field," Hall said. "We're going to have to be very sound and we're going to have to make sure that we make good tackles. And if we do that, I think that we can do what we've been doing to other teams and give ourselves a chance to win and the offense will have to come through on that side of the ball."

All Saints beat Legacy Christian 9-7 last week with just 180 yards of offense thanks to its defense. Gorman's top two receivers, Connor Hobbs (37 catches, 683 yards, five TDs) and Judah Bell (21-318-6), average that many yards by themselves every Friday.

The Crusaders won last year's meeting 53-12 but the Trojans earned a 29-27 win two years ago.

The winner of tonight's game will have an inside track toward a playoff spot at 3-0 in district with four games remaining, though both teams still have to face tough foes like Bullard Brook Hill, Grace and Dallas Christian.

For Gipson, he sees unbeaten Gorman as a climber halfway up the mountain.

"The fact that we're 5-0 means we're progressing and have stayed focused but it's still a long season, a lot of football left to play," Gipson said. "The hardest parts are still in front of you."

 

BULLARD BROOK HILL AT GRACE COMMUNITY

The most recent Tyler school to win TAPPS D-II District 2, Grace Community finds itself as the only East Texas team with a league loss two games in.

But that doesn't mean the Cougars are out of the hunt for a district title, not with current front-runner Bullard Brook Hill coming to town tonight.

Grace (3-2, 1-1) and Brook Hill (3-1, 2-0) face off for the third time at 7 p.m. today from Clyde-Perkins Stadium on homecoming week at Grace. The game will be streamed live on ETFinalScore.com and broadcast on KCEB (Suddenlink channel 2).

The Guard, having beaten two-time defending champion Dallas Christian, are in the driver's seat on the road to a league title, but the Cougars could create a four-way tie for second (behind the All Saints-Gorman winner) with a win today.

"It's still early in the district race," Cougars coach Mike Maddox said. "It just adds a lot to our district to have, right now as it stands, there's three Tyler schools undefeated. I think it's a good thing for our district to see the representation in the Tyler schools doing this well."

Quarterback Grant Hanks heads the Brook Hill offense that can strike through the air or on the ground. Hanks has thrown for 969 yards and nine touchdowns.

Former Grace student Gabe Lucio is the team's top tailback with 455 yards and four touchdowns on 82 carries. A talented receiving corps is headlined by Seth Brasher, who has 25 catches for 453 yards and eight touchdowns.

"They are really balanced on offense and defense," said Maddox, who is 1-1 against Brook Hill. "They throw the ball really well and run the ball really hard.

"Hanks does a good job keeping his eyes down the field when he's scrambling. Their corps of receivers is probably as good as there is in TAPPS."

Grace has been powered by the running of Zach Tatman, who has accumulated 738 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. His 8.7 yards per carry have helped the Cougars rush for 264 yards per game. With 230 yards in the passing game, Tatman needs just 38 yards tonight to reach 1,000 total yards.

Through the air, Chandler Nutt has completed 59 percent of his passes for 811 yards and 10 touchdowns, adding 303 yards and five more scores on the ground. Jonny Spitzer has been his favorite target having hauled in 20 passes for 268 yards and four TDs.

The four East Texas TAPPS teams play each other this week and next. After two games against Metroplex schools, the East Texas schools conclude the season with rivalry games — Grace-Gorman and All Saints-Brook Hill.

Before all that, tonight's games will have plenty to say about how the district race shapes up.

"A lot of the kids and coaches are pretty close in the communities and it's going to bring out a lot of fans," Maddox said. "It's going to be an exciting game and great atmosphere."

 

NEXT UP

Oct. 17: Grace Community at All Saints, 7 p.m.; Bishop Gorman at Bullard Brook Hill, 7 p.m.

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