The Crosstown Showdown will bring together the community and pit the two local teams against one another.
While history favors Wylie East (4-0, 6-0), Wylie (3-1, 4-2) is competing to climb up the District 9-6A standings, currently tied for second place. Both teams have a lot to gain with only four games left until the postseason and playoff positioning on the line.
Here are the three keys to Wylie facing Wylie East Friday night at Wylie ISD Stadium.
1. The battle of the trenches
Both teams have been built from the line of scrimmage, with two of the best defensive lines in District 9-6A.
Wylie is led by the play of several key players in the front seven, mainly defensive end Dane Farley and defensive tackle Cam Draper. They have eight of the team’s 31 sacks and have held four of their six opponents under 100 yards on the ground. Wylie East is a run-first offense and will have to work hard to beat one of the best front sevens in the area.
Not to be outdone, Wylie East has an equally impressive defensive line play, led by the University of Washington commit Anthony James and defensive tackle Robert Ngasoh. They don’t have as many sacks as the Pirates’ defense, but use their length and speed to get a lot of pressure and make it very difficult to run on. They’ll face a strong Wylie offensive line, led by veteran players Ralston Ulmer and Matthew Schell.
Whoever wins this game is going to have to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, as both teams set a major priority to win in the trenches.
2. Who contains the skill players
Terrell Washington Jr. is one of the best-skill players in the area. He leads the Raiders with 395 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns, along with 318 yards rushing and four scores on the ground. The Purdue commit is a dangerous weapon that Wylie East moves across the field, and Wylie head coach Jimmy Carter called him the best athlete in District 9-6A.
To stop him, Wylie will have to stay disciplined on defense and the edge. Outside linebackers Brady Dalton and Trevor Ferland have been two of the best players in the district at their position, with Dalton’s eight sacks among the district’s best.
Wylie’s defense will have a tough task slowing down Washington Jr. and other Wylie East offensive players Tristan Lee, Kason Atkins and Alex Ainsworth, who have all been able to produce explosive plays.
3. Which quarterback will step up?
Both teams went into the season with new starting quarterbacks and have seen promising results to start the season. Wylie’s Jagger Bale took over the job as a starting sophomore and has had some of his best games in district play to keep the Pirates in the playoff hunt.
Last week, Bale scored four touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air, bringing his total to 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He’s been accurate and careful with the football, as Wylie’s offense has continued to improve this season.
Wylie East’s Jaedon Hubbard took over as the full-time starter this season after playing some last season and started the season hot. He’s thrown 767 yards over six games and 12 touchdowns, and most importantly, zero interceptions. Backup quarterback Maddox Fuller also has five touchdowns and zero interceptions this season and will likely make an impact this week as well.
All three quarterbacks will need to show their composure against tough defenses in the rivalry match. The one who makes the least amount of mistakes will likely win the game.