When Washington County runs the ball:
The Bulldogs are led by Holcombe, who has rushed for 1,579 yards (7.8 per carry) and 31 touchdowns this season. Complementing Holcombe will be speedster Keyshaun Abston (728 yards, nine touchdowns) and quarterback Kerrigan Pennington who has 644 yards and 11 touchdowns and averages 8.9 yards per carry.
Defensive lineman Baltazar Rubio makes the job for the rest of the Tanner defense much easier by consistently getting into the opponent’s backfield. Rubio is second on the team with 63 tackles behind linebacker Mayberry, who has 74 tackles and three interceptions. Like Washington County, Tanner prides itself in stopping the run and will crowd the line to force the pass.
Advantage: Washington County
When Washington County throws the ball:
Washington County quarterback Kerrigan Pennington has similar numbers to Fletcher. Like Tanner, the Bulldogs would like to keep the ball on the ground. When they do throw, Pennington’s favorite target in the red zone is 6-foot, 3-inch, 238-pound Cedric Chapman. The senior has just 16 receptions all season, but seven have been for touchdowns.
Tanner has been susceptible to the pass at times, but found a way to get enough stops against Montgomery Academy in the quarterfinals to leave with a win. Senior Deshun Freeman led the way with two interceptions during the playoffs and leads the team with six this season.
Intangibles: Tanner has several things going for it entering this game. While they may not be as dominant as last year, these Rattlers have been tested in each of their playoff games and will be ready to respond if they fall behind.
While the Bulldogs are no strangers to the big stage, Tanner’s juniors and seniors have played in the 2A championship game for three consecutive seasons.