PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Bishop Lynch at Midland Christian

Grayson Murphy (8) and Gabriel Murphy (5) look to lead a tough Friars' defense tomorrow when they open the playoffs in Midland. (Photo by Andy Reine)
Grayson Murphy (8) and Gabriel Murphy (5) look to lead a tough Friars' defense tomorrow when they open the playoffs in Midland. (Photo by Andy Reine)

The Friars take a two-game win streak on a long road trip to open the TAPPS Division I playoffs against Midland Christian. 


WHO: Bishop Lynch Friars vs Midland Christian Mustangs

WHERE: Gordon Awtry Field, Midland

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 16 @ 6:00 pm

RECORDS: Friars are 5-4; Mustangs are 8-2

LAST WEEK: Bishop Lynch def. John Paul II, 31-0; Midland Christian def. FW All Saints, 32-26




The Mustangs put up an average of 28 points and 345 yards per game (184 rushing, 161 passing). Quarterback Riggs McDonald hasn't put up eye-popping numbers this season (1,471 yards, 10 TD, 10 INT on 41% completions), the Mustangs have a trio of backs they can rely on, including Ben Gibbs (788 yards, 6 TD), Rhett Clark (490 yards, 6 TD) and Mathew Madison (353 yards, 15 TD). McDonald will spread the ball out among four different receivers – Kage Gilbreath (22 catches, 443 yards, 3 TD), Joe Rawicki (21-366-4), Brandon Fields (17-254-1) and Gibbs (14-231-0). Rawicki has connected on 26-of-28 PATs and both of his field goals, with his longest coming from just 26 yards.



A defensive unit yielding 23 points per game is led by senior Micah Strahan, who tallied 128 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Clark (98 tackles, 4 TFL), Gilbreath (80 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks) and John Graniczny (70 tackles, 16 TFL, 2 sacks) also have a nose for the football. Freshman safety Brannan Mannix leads the team with three interceptions and Madison has pulled down two. The defense gave up 40+ points in two games, losses to Liberty Christian (41-34) and Nolan Catholic (42-13).



The Friars' magic number appears to be 30, as in 30 points or more. The team is 5-0 when reaching that mark, including the last two games. However, those five wins all came at home, so the Friars will once again be looking for their first road win of the season. The offense's numbers continue to climb, now at 286 yards and 33 points per game. Charles Crawford sat out last week but enters the postseason with 15 rushing TDs and 126 yards per game in seven starts. Jack Bradley (22-352-2) and Jaedon Wilson (20-204-0) are the leading receivers.



Last week's shutout helped take the defense's average points against to just 17.7 while giving up just 258 yards per contest. Seniors Grayson and Gabriel Murphy continue to produce at a high level as the team's top two tacklers, while a defensive front of Warren Walls, Ayden Howard, Caleb Ajakaiye, Michael Schwartz, and Aaron Hunter have posted 21 of the units' 26 sacks and a total of 49 tackles for loss. The defense has intercepted five passes in the last three games and forced 18 turnovers on the year.