Baylor-Ensworth meet in state-final tonight

Baylor-Ensworth meet in state-final tonight

December 1st, 2011 in Sports - Preps

Baylor quarterback Matthew Oellerich, No. 11, advances the ball up the field during Baylor's last meeting with Ensworth earlier this year. Baylor won 42-14.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

BAYLOR RED RAIDERS (11-1) vs. ENSWORTH TIGERS (11-1)

Tonight, 8 (Eastern)

Coaches, records: Baylor's Phil Massey (106-60); Ensworth's Ricky Bowers (131-26)

Last meeting: Baylor won 42-14 on Sept. 16; Ensworth won 28-21 in last year's state championship game.

How they got here: Both had first-round playoff byes; Baylor defeated Montgomery Bell Academy 20-10 and Christian Brothers 31-28 and Ensworth won 42-17 over Father Ryan and 28-0 over Memphis University School. Each had one loss in the regular season, Ensworth to Baylor and Baylor to Brentwood Academy. Baylor gained the overall No. 1 seed by tiebreaker.

The key: Bowers said everything that could go wrong for his team did in that meeting earlier this year. Baylor recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass, and quarterback Matthew Oellerich had one of his best performances, rushing for four touchdowns and throwing for another. The Red Raiders are likely to miss junior running back Houston Clements, who suffered a knee injury and was lost for the year. Baylor, while keeping one eye on Tigers running back Corn Elder, must keep another on quarterback Andrew Bowers. The coach's son teamed up with wide receiver and Vanderbilt commitment Cory Batey for 139 of his 266 passing yards. The Tigers depend greatly on Elder as both a rushing leader (2,030 yards) and as a receiver (400 yards), and Baylor was the only team to hold the junior to less than 100 rushing yards this year.

Players to watch: Oellerich has 2,458 yards of offense and is Baylor's leading rusher with 950 yards. He also is the team's leader scorer with 92 points, 13 more than kicker Henrique Ribeiro, who has made 11 of 14 field-goal tries, including eight from 40 or more yards. He is 3-for-6 on kicks longer than 50. The Red Raiders offense, operating behind a line that includes Vanderbilt commitment Barrett Gouger, has two primary options at running back -- Connor Davidson, the team's second-leading rusher (783), and George Porter, who has been limited to 299 yards in recovering from a preseason ankle injury. Oellerich's top passing targets are 6-foot-5 Reggie Upshaw and Deosha McColley, who have six TD receptions apiece. Baylor's leading tacklers are safety Spencer Craig and linebackers John Tipton, Colton Jumper and Wyatt McRae. Eight players have interceptions for the Red Raiders, led by Russell Burton, Bryce Reynolds and Landry Taylor with three apiece. The Tigers offense goes as Elder goes but QB Bowers has been able to ease the pressure by throwing for 1,733 yards with just four interceptions. Most of his completions have gone to Batey (40, 759 yards, 9 TDs). Ensworth's defensive leaders are Elder (five interceptions), Batey (54 tackles), Kenshonn Carter (6.5 tackles for loss) and Michael Sawyers (5 sacks). Baylor, with Andrew Priddy and Ribeiro, possesses a likely edge in the kicking games. Priddy has averaged 38.6 yards per punt.