PRICE - After starting the season 0-2, the Carlisle Indians rallied to go 7-1 the rest of the way to claim second place in District 10-2A and will face Leon in the first round of the playoffs Thursday night at Palestine Westwood. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The Cougars finished third in District 9-2A with a 3-2 mark and finished with a 3-7 season record, but Carlisle coach Clay Baker said to not let that season record fool you. “They may be the best 3-win team in the state,” he said. “They’re good, really good.”
The Cougars run a spread offense with receivers Tyson Cornett and Harris Sherrod bring the focal points, Baker said. “They can both fly and that’s two are who they target. They both run good routes and they’ll put them in the backfield every once in a while.
“Their quarterback (Jacob Robinson) can sling it and he makes really good decisions in their passing game. He’s tall and he’s runs pretty good,” Baker said. “He’ll throw to anyone.
“It’s a tough matchup for us, plus we haven’t gone against a true spread offense since the second week of the season.”
Carlisle, 7-3, brings a three-game winning streak in postseason; something Baker challenged his team with after falling to Alto in the second district game. “I told them we needed to go 3-0 the next three games to get where we wanted to be going into the playoffs and that’s exactly what they did,” he said. “I’m proud of them.”
The Indians’ three losses all came against teams that qualified for the playoffs - Sabine, Troup and Alto. Sabine and Troup are both 3A while Alto is one of the best teams in Region III. Carlisle is one of only two teams to hold the undefeated Yellowjackets to less than 30 points in a 28-7 loss; plus, Simms Bowie, who Carlisle beat 45-6 in the final non-district game, qualified for the playoffs in Class 2A Division II.
The Indians are coming off a dominating 54-0 win over Hawkins.
Junior QB Carlos DeLeon, who ran for a career-high 224 yards the week before against Big Sandy, completed nine of 11 passes for a career-best 234 yards against the Hawks. DeLeon has rushed for 989 yards and thrown for 1,157 yards on the season.
Running back Jamion Turner, also just a junior, ran for 83 yards on just six carries and caught three passes for 130 yards, including two for touchdowns. For the year, Turner has 860 yards on just 94 carries, a 9.1 average, and has caught 23 passes for 361 yards and five touchdowns.
Levi Gholson, a key contributor for the Tribe at receiver and defensive back, should return after missing the last two games with a concussion, Baker said.