Divison 3A Week 2 Showdown: Gunter vs. Pottsboro

Gavin DunawayBy Gavin DunawayAugust 29, 20204 Minutes

On Friday, September 4, the Pottsboro Cardinals will face the Gunter Tigers in a home non-conference game. Both teams had a phenomenal week one performance and will be looking to recapture the immense success they earned last season.

In week one, the Cardinals rolled over the Nevada Community Braves with a final score of 42-13. Pottsboro ended the game with nearly 600 yards of total offense with 332 of them coming from rushing yards. They also managed to hold the Braves to just 192 yards of total offense.

The Tigers earned similar success to the Cardinals, ending week one with an outstanding 48-7 victory over the Van Alstyne Panthers. The defending Division 3A-2 state champions had tremendous success in both the air and ground game, finishing the first half with two rushing touchdowns and three passing touchdowns.

While the Tigers won the state championship in their division last season, they were not undefeated. Their one blemish of that season came in the form of a 27-14 loss against the Pottsboro Cardinals.

This year, the Cardinals return a fair amount of the same cast from last season. Among them is star quarterback Braden Plyler. The dual-threat QB threw for over 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns in the 2019-2020 season. He hustled for 6 touchdowns last week against the Braves.

Although Pottsborro returned several key players, they also lost some important pieces. Among the players lost to graduation was first-team all-state RB Cy Shope. The Western Colorado University commit rushed for 2,070 yards and 36 touchdowns last year, breaking the Cardinals’ previous school record in rushing.

The Tigers lost multiple key starters for this season and will rely heavily on those who did return. Arguably the most notable in those returning for Gunter is QB Hudson Graham. In last week’s game against the Panthers, Graham completed all 12 of his passing attempts for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

One major player that won’t be on the Tiger roster this season is star LB Peyton Lowe. Lowe capped off his senior year with an exceptional 126 tackles, six defensive touchdowns, and five interceptions. Lowe also earned the honor of State Championship Defensive MVP last season.

While Hudson Graham has shown the capability to throw and run the ball at a high level in the past (and even in week one), he has yet to prove that he can do so against a top-ranked team like Pottsboro this season with a largely new O-Line. The same thought process could be applied to Braden Plyler, however, Pottsboro is returning more starters to their O-Line than Gunter is.

Although both squads had impressive week one victory, I am convinced that Pottsboro will come out on top this week. Not only do they hold the advantage of having an older, more experienced team, but they also have home-field advantage. Ultimately, it will be the Cardinal’s greater-developed team chemistry that will give them the edge in this contest.

Gavin’s Prediction: Pottsboro to win by at least 10 points