Many Yellow Jackets fans are quite familiar with Denison’s bi-district opponent. Sulphur Springs had been a staple of the schedule for five straight seasons before a one-year hiatus and now the teams square off in Friday’s game at Texas A&M-Commerce.

Many Yellow Jackets fans are quite familiar with Denison’s bi-district opponent. Sulphur Springs had been a staple of the schedule for five straight seasons before a one-year hiatus and now the teams square off in Friday’s game at Texas A&M-Commerce.


Not much has changed for the Wildcats since Denison last saw them in 2011. Sulphur Springs scores a boatload of points with a fast-tempo offense while giving up points at almost as fast a pace.


First the history — this is a series that dates back to 1922 and includes the first game at Munson Stadium but the recent streak will have a little more weight.


The teams split non-district contests in 2006 and 2007 before meeting in the region semifinals in 2008. The Wildcats came away with a 42-21 victory, which was the only Denison loss that season, on the way to winning the state title. The Jackets avenged that loss in 2009 with a 49-35 victory in the region final, which is Denison’s last playoff win. Realignment put them together for 2010 and 2011, both Sulphur Springs victories.


This season the Wildcats, who are in the playoffs for the seventh straight season, finished 7-3 overall and with a 4-1 record in District 14-4A, good for second place behind Texas High.


Texas High shut down the Wildcats, 43-7, and Sulphur Springs’ other losses are against Whitehouse, 61-22, (which is who the winner of Denison-Sulphur Springs plays in the area round), and 55-20 against Tyler Lee.


Sulphur Springs averaged 43.4 points per game while giving up 36.9 per contest, which includes a 77-65 win over Corsicana.


The two have a pair of common opponents — Sherman and Paris. Sulphur Springs beat Sherman, 34-14, and Paris, 43-9. Sherman actually held the Wildcats to their lowest point total in a victory — the other six wins all included at least 43 points.


Larry Pryor has completed 154-of-244 passes for 2,349 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions and also run 121 times for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns.


The junior is joined in the backfield by Willy Ivery, who has 1,386 yards and 25 touchdowns on 157 carries. Ivery is the school record-holder with 47 rushing TDs and is only three shy of the single-season school mark. Those are the main rushing threats — no other Wildcat is averaging even three carries per game.


Sulphur Springs does as probably as good a job as an offense can in spreading the ball to its receivers. Four Wildcats have at least 25 catches, 300 yards and multiple TDs with two other moderate threats. Isaiah Lacy has 35 catches for 694 yards and seven touchdowns while Alex Burney has 40 catches for 559 yards and seven touchdowns. Throw in Ivery (20 for 359 and 4 TDs) and Dillon Carpenter (25 for 314 and 3 TDs) to say nothing of Mitchell DeYong and C.J. Stephens, who have combined for 31 catches.


The line is mostly upperclassmen and led by juniors Landon Watkins and Jess Jenkins.


On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Dedric Smith is the leading tackler with 90 total (25 more than defensive end Garrett Hood) and 63 are solos. As a team the Wildcats are averaging six tackles for a loss per game, with Cain Cody collected five sacks and Hood notching four.


Brennan Brock and Pryor, who was an honorable mention all-state selection at safety last season and holds scholarship offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech, each have a pair of interceptions for Sulphur Springs, which has just nine interceptions on the season. The Wildcats do have 12 fumble recoveries.


Ryan Watson has made just one field goal this season — from 32 yards — and attempted only one other. He is averaging 36.3 yards on 27 punts.