Royse City run vs. Greenville

Champ Petty-Dozier tries to turn the corner with the football on a run for the Royse City Bulldogs during their 17-14 win over Greenville last year. The two teams will battle again tonight in Royse City.

  Both teams are already assured of berths in the state football playoffs.

  The game between the 4-2 Greenville Lions and 4-2 Royse City Bulldogs at 7:30 tonight at Royse City ISD Stadium determines playoff seeding. The winner earns the third playoff seed in District 8-5A-II. The loser goes in as the fourth seed.

  No. 1 state-ranked Ennis secured the top seed and the district championship by routing North Forney 38-14 on Thursday night. North Forney will be the second seed.

  Greenville and Royse City both went 2-1 in their zones to nail down the playoff spots. Greenville’s only zone loss was to North Forney, 57-25, and Royse City’s only zone loss was to Ennis, 71-18.

  The Lions got the go-ahead to play though the Greenville Independent School district has shut down its campuses this week due to COVID-19.

  “Nobody with football has been quarantined or affected by that,” said Lions coach Darren Duke.

  Royse City leads the series 8-2, including a 17-14 victory last year. All-state defensive lineman Jamie Cortez preserved Royse City’s victory with a quarterback sack on a fourth-and-seven play from the Bulldog 34 with 2:34 remaining.

  “We’ve come up on the short end too many times,” said Duke. “I know as a head coach we’re 0-4. I know some of them have been competitive.”

  Royse City won 60-41 in a wild game in 2015 as the two teams combined for 1,102 yards and 13 touchdowns. Royse City quarterback Courtland Vance threw for 320 yards in that game and Greenville running back Carandal Hale, who is now at Texas A&M-Commerce, ran for 379 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 carries.

  Both head coaches said the game could be high scoring again.

  “You would expect it,” said Duke. “Both teams have big-play kids.”

  “It’ll probably be a high-scoring game,” said Bulldog coach David Petroff, who added that he would rather for it not to be that way.

  “We’re pretty young on the defensive side,” said Petroff. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

  The Lions, led by quarterback Brandon Stephens, running back-receiver Miles Denson and wide receiver Shawn Brown, are averaging 34.8 points and 374.2 yards per game. Stephens is 47-of-89 passing for 884 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception and has rushed for 334 yards and six TDs. Denson is averaging 11 yards per carry with 538 yards and seven TDs on 49 carries and has caught 13 passes for 189 yards. Brown is averaging 29.6 yards per catch with 15 receptions for 44 yards and six scores.

  Royse City is averaging 40.3 points and 490 yards per game. Junior quarterback Joe Veracruz is 91-of-125 passing for 1,391 yards and 17 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

  Running back Champ Petty-Dozier has rushed for 688 yards and five TDs on 64 carries.

  Wide receiver Ketron Jackson has caught 34 passes for 704 yards and 10 TDs.

  Royse City will have a size advantage up front.

  “I like our offensive line,” said Petroff. “I think we’re big and physical.”

  The Lions’ team motto for the last two seasons has been T.O.B. as in tough ol’ boys.

  Greenville’s last victory in the series was 27-24 in 2014.

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