By Nikki Chavanelle | @NikkiChavanelle
It’s going to be a shootout in Abilene, Texas, on Saturday afternoon as Midland Lee and Euless Trinity go head-to-head in the third round of the UIL Playoffs.
Both teams enter the regional round at 10-2 on the season after scraping by with close wins a week ago.
Trinity squeaked by national power Duncanville with a 28-27 win at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Trojans’ steady run game, led by senior Courage Keihn, proved to be the difference.
Midland Lee is also coming into the regional round after a 42-38 win over Lamar, which missed four — four! — extra-point attempts.
The Rebels may have the upper hand this Saturday thanks to a multi-dimensional offense that’s averaging 45.5 points per game. Dual-threat quarterback Colby Standard is throwing for 187 yards per game at a 63.6 percent clip. The senior is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 14 scores on the ground and over 1,000 yards. Watch out for Standard’s three favorite targets on Saturday: senior Grant Brown, junior Sheldon Bass, and sophomore Loic Fouonji.
Standard can’t do it all, however, and that’s where Lee's running backs factor in the offensive attack. Junior Josh Traylor has 18 rushing touchdowns on the year, and he’ll likely be on the brink of 1,500 total yards when the game clock runs out on Saturday — he’s just 105 yards away from that benchmark. Senior running back Avery Akbar carries the rest of the load for the Rebels, rushing for 95.3 yards per game this season with 15 touchdowns.
Trinity’s ground-and-pound offense depends on rushing yards from Keihn who has started 10 games for the Trojans this season and is averaging 133.5 yards per game with 15 scores. Keihn splits carries with another senior, Simeon Ellsworth, but the Trojans tend to keep the ball in Keihn’s hands in the red zone. Junior quarterback Laki Ellis is completing 56.4 percent of his passes this season but has just 101 total attempts through 12 games.
The deciding factor on Saturday will be whether or not the Trinity defense can make stops or come up with turnovers against the Rebels. The Trojans have only allowed 17.9 points per game this season, but they surrendered 21 and 27 to Plano and Duncanville, respectively, through the first two rounds.
Will the Trinity run game be enough to advance or will Midland Lee push past the Trojans? Find out LIVE on FloFootball at 4 PM CT on Saturday.