Henderson Faces Top-Ranked Gilmer on Saturday Night in Longview
Henderson Lions (1-4, 0-1)
No. 1 Gilmer Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Saturday
Lobo Stadium, Longview
- Henderson: Phil Castles
- Gilmer: Jeff Traylor
- Henderson: idle
- Gilmer: won 56-28 at Chapel Hill
- Henderson: vs. Spring Hill
- Gilmer: idle
- WR/DB Tre' Hollins, Sr., 5-11, 175 (24 catches, 414 yards, 3 TDs)
- QB Zane Boles, Jr., 6-5, 200 (81 of 154, 1,106 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INTs; 44 carries, 156 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB/DB Randy Davis, Jr., 6-0, 175 (83 carries, 273 yards, 4 TDs; 2 catches, 18 yards)
- WR Vince McNew, Sr., 5-8, 155 (19 catches, 230 yards, 2 TDs)
- ATH Zedrick Lister, Sr., 5-9, 170 (13 catches, 199 yards, 2 TDs; 3 carries, 15 yards)
- DT Brandon Armstrong, Sr., 5-9, 260
- TE Jordan Dickeson, Sr., 6-0, 175
- LB Dalton Goode, Jr., 5-11, 190
- DE Ta'Ondrick Thurkill, Sr., 6-1, 220
- DE Jake Staneart, Sr., 6-3, 200
- LB Josh Walker, Sr., 6-1, 200 (committed to Texas A&M; 30 tackles, 2 sacks, 11 QB pressures)
- RB/DB Kris Boyd, Jr., 6-0, 175 (56 carries, 616 yards, 8 TDs; 7 catches, 52 yards; 19 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass break-ups)
- QB Tanner Barr, Sr., 6-1, 180 (100 of 138, 1,646 yards, 22 TDs, 5 INTs; 57 carries, 266 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Demarco Boyd, Soph., 6-0, 205 (33 tackles, 14 for loss, 5 sacks, 4 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
- ATH Devondrick Dixon, Sr., 5-9, 180 (committed to Texas State; 10 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD; 5 catches, 139 yards, 2 TDs; 21 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass break-ups)
- WR Desmond Pollard, Jr., 6-1, 180 (24 catches, 518 yards, 9 TDs)
- HB Jaidon Parrish, Sr., 6-0, 185 (23 catches, 351 yards, 2 TDs; 2 carries, 29 yards)
- RB Jamel Jackson, Jr., 5-8, 170 (46 carries, 335 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Darrian Lewis, Sr., 6-0, 190 (26 carries, 246 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Chase Tate, Jr., 5-7, 150 (18 catches, 314 yards, 4 TDs; 8 carries, 56 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Henderson and Gilmer have met 16 times, but just five times since 1996. Gilmer leads the all-time series, 12-2-2.
- The Lions, at 1-4, are off to their worst start since 2008.
- Three of the last four meetings between Henderson and Gilmer have been decided by seven points or less.
- Henderson is averaging 25 points and 340.4 yards per game. The Lions' defense is giving up 36.8 points per game.
- The combined record of the four teams to beat Henderson -- Plano Prestonwood, Nacogdoches, Hallsville ant Chapel Hill -- is 15-7.
- Gilmer, which is averaging 57.5 points per game, has gone over 50 points in all six games this season.
- The Buckeyes, averaging 583.3 yards per game, have run 363 plays from scrimmage and are averaging 9.6 yards per snap.
- The average margin for victory for Gilmer this season is 36.2 points.
- Under head coach Jeff Traylor, Gilmer has compiled a record of 154-24 in 13-plus seasons.
- The combined record of Gilmer's six opponents -- Atlanta, Plano Prestonwood, Jacksonville, Daingerfield, Gladewater and Chapel Hill -- is 17-17.
Key matchup: Gilmer offensive skill-position players vs. Henderson's back-seven defenders. The Buckeyes' offense has been simply unstoppable this season, and one of the main reasons why is their extremely deep pool of backs and receivers. In six games, 13 different Gilmer players have scored touchdowns. Receiver Desmond Pollard and running back Kris Boyd lead the team with nine and eight touchdowns, respectively, but seven other Buckeyes have at least two touchdowns on the season.
That's made life pretty easy for quarterback Tanner Barr, who's completing 72.4 percent of his passes and averaging 16.5 yards per completion. It seems as if another Gilmer player breaks out each week, which was the case last week when senior running back Darrian Lewis exploded for 148 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Chapel Hill. Gilmer's uptempo, spread attack is among the most balanced offenses in the area. The Buckeyes have run for 1,843 yards and 23 touchdowns, while throwing for 1,657 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Henderson's linebackers and defensive backs will have quite the challenge on their hands come Saturday night. No team has come close to shutting down Gilmer's high-powered attack, which means there is no blueprint that currently exists on how to contain the Buckeyes. Gilmer proved last week that if opposing defenses apply pressure to the passing game, it's more than capable of exploiting teams on the ground. The Buckeyes were held to a season-low 144 passing yards against Chapel Hill, but countered with a season-best 441 yards on the ground.
It truly is a pick-your-poison proposition facing the Henderson defense. Either sell out against stopping the run and let Barr pick apart the secondary, or send extra pass rushers and have the Buckeyes' plethora of backs gash you on the ground.
At this point the only hope Gilmer opponents have is the Buckeyes hurting themselves with turnovers and penalties. And even that hasn't necessarily slowed the Gilmer freight train. In the second week of the season, Gilmer turned it over five times and racked more than 100 yards in penalties, but still inflicted a 34-point rout on Plano Prestonwood.
Don't be surprised if: Gilmer's offense is too much for Henderson to overcome. To this point in the season, it hasn't mattered what opposing defenses have done to attempt shutting down the Buckeyes. It hasn't worked. Gilmer was held scoreless for the first 18 minutes last week, but the Buckeyes were able to adjust on the fly and score 29 points in the final 5:41 of the first half to build a 22-point halftime lead. Chapel Hill's defense was coming after Barr and disrupting the timing of his receivers, but Gilmer adapted by putting a greater emphasis on running the ball. If Henderson attempts a similar approach this week, expect Gilmer to shift gears and begin pounding the Lions on the ground.