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Henderson Hopes to Find Cracks in No. 4 Kilgore’s Dominant Defense

Kilgore’s LaDarrin Anthony collects one of his three sacks during the Bulldogs’ 27-14 win at Bullard on Oct. 5. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Henderson Lions (5-3, 3-1)
vs.
No. 4 Kilgore Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore

Coaches
Henderson: Dickey Meeks
Kilgore: Mike Wood

Last week
Henderson: def. Bullard, 24-14
Kilgore: def. Chapel Hill, 31-2

Next week
Henderson: vs. Gladewater
Kilgore: at Gilmer

Playmakers
Henderson

  • ATH Patrick “Monster” Brown, Sr., 5-10, 175 (12 of 22, 232 yards, 84 carries, 613 yards, 6 TDs; 18 catches, 319 yards, 2 TDs; 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass break-ups; 8 punt returns, 18.9 yards per return, 1 TD)
  • RB Diamante Wright, Sr. (135 carries, 664 yards, 10 TDs)
  • WR/DB J’Korrie Centers, Sr., 6-0, 180 (9 carries 104 yards; 39.5 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles)
  • DE Bo Brady, Sr., 6-1, 195 (45 tackles, 7 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • OL Nick Siler, Sr., 6-4, 255 (committed to Air Force)
  • RB/LB Jamal Kind, Sr., 5-10, 185 (21 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD; 76.5 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 2 pass break-ups)
  • DT Contrell Phillips, Sr., 6-1, 230 (20.5 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)

Kilgore

  • QB Cooper Coldiron, Sr., 5-11, 170 (34 of 64, 771 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs)
  • RB Austin Jordan, Sr. (72 carries, 562 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB JuJu Brown, Jr. (102 carries, 491 yards, 8 TDs)
  • WR Aaron Foy, Jr. (11 catches, 285 yards, 4 TDs)
  • DT LaDarrin Anthony, Jr., 5-11, 225 (55 tackles, 7 for loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
  • LB A.J. Davis, Sr., 6-0, 220 (67 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles)
  • CB Benny Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 175 (27 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 pass break-ups; 1 forced fumble)

Just the facts

  • Henderson and Kilgore have met 31 times since 1980 with the Bulldogs holding am 18-13 all-time advantage. The Lions, however, have won the last three meetings.
  • In last week’s win over Bullard, Henderson attempted a season-low three passes. It wasn’t needed, however, with the Lions rushing for 380 yards as a team.
  • Ever since moving Patrick “Monster” Brown to quarterback, Henderson’s main mode of attack on offense has been its running game. For the season, the Lions average 217.5 yards per game on the ground.
  • Henderson and Kilgore share three common opponents — Chapel Hill, Spring Hill and Bullard. The Lions have outscored those three, 90-34, while Kilgore won by a combined score of 99-16.
  • Kilgore’s defense has been dominant, to say the least. In addition to allowing an area-low 5.8 points per game, the Bulldogs give up just 188.1 yards per outing.
  • The Bulldogs struggled in the first half two weeks ago, leading Gladewater just 10-8 at halftime. Kilgore remedied that last week against Chapel Hill, jumping out to a 24-0 halftime lead.
Henderson ATH Patrick “Monster” Brown. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
Kilgore LB A.J. Davis. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Henderson running game vs. Kilgore defensive front. With Brown at quarterback, Henderson would prefer to just stick to the ground almost exclusively. That’s easier said than done against a Kilgore defense allowing just 94 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses, including a 3.1 yards-per-rush average. Lions coach Dickey Meeks challenged his offensive line last week in preparation for a solid Bullard defense, which worked. The Lions put in the air just three times and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. If Henderson is ineffective with the ground game, the Lions may turn to Janson Moore, a more experienced passer who began the season as the starting quarterback. If that happens, Brown may become less of a factor simply because his touches will automatically be limited by moving back to receiver. So, in order to keep its best athlete at quarterback, it is vitally important Henderson establish a solid and consistent rushing attack against a Kilgore defense that’s stopped every opponent from running the football thus far.

Don’t be surprised if: Henderson gets creative with its play-calling on offense, which has become a staple of Meeks-coached teams in the past. In the 2010 3A D-I state championship against heavily-favored Chapel Hill, the Lions called several quick passing plays to negate a strong Chapel Hill pass rush. And in the running game, instead of relying on its leading rushers, Henderson turned to a bruiser in Cord Fletcher for short-yardage situations. Plain and simple: Henderson can’t be as vanilla on offense as it was last week and expect to knock off the fourth-ranked team in the state on Friday.

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