Henderson Lions (4-1)

Vs.

Carthage Bulldogs (1-4)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

 

Coaches
  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

 

Last week
  • Henderson: idle
  • Carthage: idle

 

Next week
  • Henderson: vs. Brownsboro, Oct. 17
  • Carthage: vs. Kilgore, Oct. 17

 

Playmakers

Henderson

  • QB Zane Boles, Sr., 6-5, 210 (35 of 70, 558 yards, 3 passing TDs, 4 INTs)
  • RB/LB Randy Davis, Sr., 6-0, 180 (67 carries, 519 yards, 8 TDs)
  • LB Dalton Goode, Sr., 5-11, 205 (51 tackles)
  • LB Seth Hensley, Sr., 5-11, 205 (60 tackles)
  • DL Zach Allen, Sr., 6-1, 190 (2 forced fumbles)
  • DL Cadarius Caldwell, Jr.
  • DB Tre Lewis, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • OL Trevor Still, Sr., 5-11, 225

 

Carthage

 

  • QB Jarod Blissett, Jr. (88 of 178, 1,198 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INT)
  • DL Jarrod McLin, Jr., 6-3, 220 (36 tackles)
  • LB James Marshall, Sr., 6-0, 200 (41 tackles)
  • DL Chris Howard, Sr., 5-10, 190 (26 tackles)
  • WR Jakeldric Jackson, Jr., 5-8, 160 (28 catches, 441 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Kirston Ingram, Sr., 5-9, 175 (13 catches, 154 yards, 2 TD)
  • OL/DL Cagan Baldree, Jr., 6-3, 230
  • OL Branton Halcumb, Sr.

 

Just the facts
  • Carthage and Henderson will begin their District 9-4A Division I schedules against each other Friday.
  • The two schools have a long history. Carthage and Henderson met every single season between 1958 and 2011.
  • Henderson leads the all-time series 38-29-3, but Carthage has won six of the last seven meetings.
  • Don't discount Carthage too much. While the team is 1-4, the losses came against Hallsville and Nacogdoches from Class 5A plus early Class 4A state contenders in Gladewater and Gilmer.
  • Nevertheless, this is Carthage's worst start to a season since 2001. That team finished the year 1-9, so another loss would tie that season's 1-5 mark.
  • Henderson's lone non-distict loss came by four points at home against Atlanta. Atlanta reached the midway point of the regular season undefeated.
  • The Lions are enjoying their best start to a season since 2011. That team reached the month of December in the Class 3A Division I playoffs.
  • Carthage and Henderson both had open dates last week. There's no advantage here.
  •  Friday's game at Bulldog Stadium will be Carthage's third home game of the year. The team is 1-1 on their own campus.

 

Henderson quarterback Zane Boles can hurt opposing defenses through the air or with good mobility. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Henderson's offense versus Carthage's defense. The Bulldogs had a lot to address in their open week after getting blown out by Gilmer, 58-21, in its non-district finale. Early turnovers took all hope away from the team by the end of the first quarter, but its offense showed it can move the ball and sustain drives when there are not critical errors.

Assuming the Bulldogs don't commit multiple turnovers, the program's defensive play has been generally adequate.

The Lions have some players that can threaten the Carthage defense, however.

Quarterback Zane Boles has performed well through the air and is built like a professional signal caller. He's 6-5 and 205 pounds with some mobility. Combined with running back Randy Davis' above-average numbers and a strong supporting cast, the Bulldogs will have to pick a poison -- the run or the throw.

The best thing Carthage can do is force the pass. It has the basis for a nice front with big defensive end Jarrod McLin and athletic linebackers headlined by James Marshall and Johnathan Brown. Henderson has not thrown the ball nearly as much as it has rushed, so that seems like a natural thing to try to force.

Carthage's defensive front features athletic linebackers, including Johnathan Brown. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

When Carthage has the ball, the Lions can expect the pass early and often. Jarod Blissett, a junior, is in his first season as the Bulldog's starting quarterback, but he's already near the top in passing yardage within the region. Jakeldric Jackson and Kirston Ingram have explosive play potential. The passing game has been the Bulldogs' crutch all season as it develops some young running backs.

Don't be surprised if: Carthage looks like a new team Friday. The group had a week to return focus mostly on itself. It's a now or never situation for the Bulldogs with a high-profile game against Kilgore next week and other respectable teams coming up.

Will it be enough though?

Henderson is on a nice roll and should have plenty of confidence. Beating a program that won the Class 3A Division I state championship just 10 months ago would be a nice feather in the cap to kick off the league schedule.

Expect a tough game.

Henderson running back Randy Davis has 519 yards and eight rushing scores this season. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)