DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I

Henderson Lions (6-2, 1-2)

vs.

Chapel Hill Bulldogs (2-6, 1-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill

Coaches
  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Henderson: vs. Kilgore, Nov. 6
  • Chapel Hill: at Carthage, Nov. 6

 

Playmakers

Henderson

  • WR Trestan Ebner, Jr., 6-1, 220 (14 catches, 169, 2 TDs; 21 carries, 277 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB/DB Lakendrick VanZandt, Jr., 6-1, 185 (88 carries, 508 yards, 6 TDs; 6 catches, 155 yards, 2 TDs; 1 INT, 4 PBUs)
  • QB Matthew Childers, Jr., 6-4, 180 (27 of 59, 433 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INTs; 87 carries, 587 yards, 12 TDs)
  • RB Lynn Freeney, Soph., 5-11, 180 (44 carries, 265 yards, 5 TDs)
  • QB Trae Hall, Soph., 6-2, 175 (20 of 31, 301 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 14 carries, 122 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL Raini Dorman, Sr., Jr., 6-2, 245
  • LB Cadarius Caldwell, Sr., 5-8, 180 (90 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DL Jaxon Goode, Sr., 6-1, 220 (47 tackles, 10 for loss, 1 sack, 15 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery 1 PBU)

 

Chapel Hill

  • QB Reggie King, Sr., 5-11, 220 (16 of 36, 262 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 53 carries, 236 yards, 7 TDs)
  • RB/DB Ja'Braylon Franklin, Sr., 5-8, 160 (63 carries, 428 yards, 3 TDs; 23 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)
  • WR Kenyotta Henderson, Sr., 5-8, 180 (11 catches, 189 yards, 2 TDs; 45 carries, 446 yards, 2 TDs)
  • OL Jeremy West, Sr., 6-3, 295
  • WR/DB Deundre Phillips, Sr., 5-8, 180 (5 catches, 46 yards, 1 TD; 87 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 defensive TD)
  • WR Zack Walters, Sr., 6-3, 200 (22 catches, 356 yards, 3 TDs)
  • LB Brysien Cross, Sr., 5-11, 175 (89 tackles, 7 for loss)
  • LB Ladarian Hudson, Jr., 5-11, 180 (62 tackles 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT)

 

Just the facts
  • This is the 33rd all-time meeting between Henderson and Chapel Hill. Henderson leads the all-time series, 26-6-1.
  • Since Henderson and Chapel HIll met in the 2010 Class 3A Division I state title game, Henderson has posted a record of 40-20 (.667), while Chapel Hill is 35-24 (.593).
  • Henderson is averaging 34.1 points and 331.5 yards per game -- 239.5 rushing and 92 passing.
  • The Lions are yielding 17.9 points per game.
  • Henderson is shooting for its fifth playoff berth in six years.
  • Chapel Hill is averaging 20.5 points and 314.6 yards per game --- 204 rushing and 110.6 passing.
  • The Bulldogs' two wins have come against Tatum and Palestine, which are a combined 1-15 on the season.
  • Chapel Hill is 2-6 for the first time since 2012, a year following the Bulldogs' 3A Division I state championship.

 

Henderson LB Cadarius Caldwell. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Chapel Hill running game vs. Henderson defensive front. It's been a difficult season for the Chapel Hill Bulldogs, especially on the offensive side of the ball, which was supposed to be a team strength. A Week 1 injury to starting quarterback Konnor Hitchcock has taken away Chapel Hill's aggressiveness on offense. In his debut season at quarterback in 2014, Hitchcok showed tons of promise, especially late in the season and in the playoffs. He continued his development during the offseason, helping Chapel Hill reach the semifinals of the state 7-on-7 tournament in College Station. But since the injury in the Bulldogs' season-opening loss to Lindale, the Bulldogs have used two quarterbacks, and are attempting just 15 passes per game since Week 1. Between junior Tanner Heckel and senior Reggie King, a converted receiver, the Bulldogs' completion percentage is less than 50 percent with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

This has put more pressure on an inexperienced offensive line to successfully run block for its talented collection of backs. Despite its struggles in the passing game, Chapel HIll is still averaging more than 200 rushing yards per game, and if the Bulldogs are to get back to the playoffs, they will need a huge performance from their ground attack. Seniors Ja'Braylon Franklin and Kenyotta Henderson are averaging eight yards per carry as a duo, but have just five total touchdowns to show for it. Chapel Hill will likely need to break off a few explosive plays with its running backs in order to leave the field with a victory.

Chapel Hill RB Kenyotta Henderson. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

That may be easier said than done against a Henderson defense that's among East Texas' stingiest units. The Lions enter Friday's game allowing just less than 18 points per game, and are coming off a shutout of Palestine. If Chapel Hill is unable to keep the Henderson defense honest with the pass, the Lions' assignment of shutting down the run becomes much easier. As a team, Henderson has recorded 32 tackles for loss on the year, which equates in four per game. Chapel Hill cannot afford to stay off schedule with negative plays.

Don't be surprised if: Each team's offense struggles with consistency. Henderson averages 34 points per game, but its total yards-per-game average is not that much higher than that of Chapel Hill. Coming into the season, the Bulldogs' weakness was expected to be on the defensive side after allowing a scoring average of 36.7 points per game. This season, the defense has done a much better job, especially when taken into account the team's unexpected deficiencies on offense. Chapel Hill gives up 31 points per game, but during district play only 22. At first glance, this matchup seems to favor Henderson by a wide margin. However, a senior-heavy Chapel Hill team is playing its final home of the year with a playoff spot on the line. For Henderson, a surprising 0-2 start to district has made Friday's game an awfully big one with district-leading Kilgore looming next week.