Henderson Lions (8-1, 4-0)

Vs.

Kilgore Bulldogs (3-6, 2-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore

 

Coaches
  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Kilgore: Mike Wood
Last week
Next week
  • Henderson: vs. Silsbee, tentatively set for Nov. 14 at Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium
  • Kilgore: vs. Jasper, tentatively set for Nov. 13 at Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium
Just the facts
  • Henderson and Kilgore love to play each other whether they're in the same district or not. The two teams have met every year since 1980 except for the 1987 season.
  • Kilgore holds a 19-14 advantage dating back to 1980.
  • The series has seen some wild swings. Henderson had stretches of dominance from 1981 through 1985 and then again from 1990 through 1994. Kilgore lost one game against the Lions between 1995 and 2008, the 1999 game.
  • Kilgore has won the last two meetings against Henderson. The Lions won the two games prior to the Bulldogs' current streak.
  • Henderson is contending for the District 9-4A Division I championship. A win will keep the Lions from having to share the district title with either Carthage or Chapel Hill.
  • It should be noted Henderson beat both Carthage and Chapel Hill.
  • The four teams going to the playoffs from District 9-4A Division I are set. Kilgore is the fourth place finisher regardless of the outcome of Friday's game and Henderson will be the league's No. 1 seed.
  • Jasper has already won the District 10-4A Division I title and awaits Kilgore in the playoffs next week after a game against Silsbee in exactly the same circumstances.
  • Henderson will play Silsbee next week.
  • Henderson and Carthage could theoretically meet in the Class 4A Division I, Region III championship game in early December.
Playmakers

Henderson

  • QB Zane Boles, Sr., 6-5, 210 (3 of 8, 20 yards, 25 carries, 181 net rushing yards, 3 TDs last week vs. Chapel Hill)
  • RB/LB Randy Davis, Sr., 6-0, 180
  • LB Dalton Goode, Sr., 5-11, 205
  • LB Seth Hensley, Sr., 5-11, 205
  • DL Zach Allen, Sr., 6-1, 190
  • DL Cadarius Caldwell, Jr.
  • DB Tre Lewis, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • OL Trevor Still, Sr., 5-11, 225

Kilgore

  • RB Kevrin Justice, Sr., 6-0, 180 (8 games played, 124 carries, 632 yards, 8 TDs; 12 catches, 172 yards; committed to Houston)
  • RB Jacquorius Smith, Jr., 5-8, 175 (124 carries, 854 yards, 12 TDs)
  • LB Kris Haynes, Sr., 5-11, 220 (107 tackles, 14 for loss, 4 sacks)
  • QB/CB William Colbert, Sr., 6-0, 170 (Filling in at QB for injured starter Xavier Gaona; 29 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 PBUs)
  • OL Blake Guthrie
  • DL Jacobie Wafer, Sr. (50 tackles)
  • LB Mason Shelton, Jr. (83 tackles, 1 INT)
Henderson quarterback Zane Boles breaks a tackle to score a touchdown during the Lions' 37-14 home win last week against Chapel Hill. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Kilgore's defense versus Zane Boles and Henderson's offensive attack. There's no question the Bulldogs are going to be hard-pressed to find points if Xavier Gaona is unavailable for the season finale. The team scored 27 points against Brownsboro last week, a program not going to the postseason.

Furthermore, Henderson has linebackers Seth Hensley and Dolton Goode. Both players are leading tacklers in the East Texas region.

 

The silver lining is key Bulldogs running backs Kevrin Justice and Jacquorius Smith have not gone off for a huge game this season. They could really help their team limit the Lions' possessions.

 

Kilgore's William Colbert (right) hands the ball off to Kevrin Justice during the Bulldogs' 38-21 home loss to Chapel Hill on Oct. 24. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

As it is, this is a game Kilgore will hope to keep low scoring. That's going to be a challenge with Boles' running ability at quarterback and running back Randy Davis. Davis could finish the regular season with 1,000 yards if he has a 169-yard performance.

Fortunately for Kilgore, linebacker Kris Haynes is playing at a high level and should make the Lions think hard about utilizing Boles in the running game with the playoffs coming up and no seeding ground to gain. Haynes has 107 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and four sacks on the season. Cornerback William Colbert is an asset against the pass with three interceptions and six pass breakups.

Don't be surprised if: This is a senior's night to shine. Both teams are locked into playoff positions, Henderson in first place and Kilgore in fourth place. There's not much to gain in this game other than rivalry bragging rights while the bigger prize is well ahead of both teams. It might be time to let fresh faces enjoy some time under the lights after a serious half of football.

Henderson LB Seth Hensley. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)