Henderson Lions (2-0)

vs.

Pittsburg Pirates (2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Pirate Stadium, Pittsburg

Coaches

  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Pittsburg: Brad Baca
Last week

Next week
  • Henderson: vs. Pine Tree, Sept. 16
  • Pittsburg: at Paris Sept. 16
Playmakers

Henderson

  • WR/DB Trestan Ebner, Sr., 5-11, 190 (10 receptions, 201 yards, 4 TDs, 4 carries, 23 yards, 5 tackles, 1 INT; committed to TCU)
  • RB/DB Lakendrick VanZandt, Sr., 6-1, 196 (24 carries, 183 yards, 1 TD, 2 tackles; committed to TCU)
  • DB/WR Tre Blanton, Jr., 5-11, 165 (30 tackles, 2 for loss)
  • ATH Matthew Childers, Sr., 6-5, 185 (6 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD)
  • QB Trae Hall, Jr., 6-3, 185 (20-of-27 passing, 228 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 9 carries, 109 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL Raini Dorman, Sr., 6-2, 245
  • LB Keaton Hand, Sr., 5-10, 205 (21 tackles)

Pittsburg

  • WR Dejour Dowell, Sr., 6-2, 196 (5 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD)
  • DB JaKeivian Hughes, Sr., 5-9, 150 (16 tackles, 1 INT)
  • RB/WR/DB Red Shields, Sr., 5-10, 180 (44 carries, 357 yards, 5 TDs, 4 catches, 66 yards
  • DL Bradlee Warrick, Sr., 6-2, 260 (26 tackles, 5 for loss)
  • DL E.J. Hill, Sr., 6-2, 250 (21 tackles, 2 for loss)
  • QB Jaylon Jimmerson, Soph., 5-11, 165 (21-of-32 passing, 268 yards 3 TDs, 2 INTs)
Just the facts
  • Henderson and Pittsburg last met in 2011.
  • The Lions won that meeting, 38-13, in its run toward the old Class 3A Division I, Region III championship game.
  • Both teams are off to impressive starts this season. ETSN.fm declared this head-to-head contest the Dairy Queen Game of the Week.
  • The Lions are ranked third in this week's ETSN.fm Class 4A Poll. The Pirates are ranked sixth.
  • Henderson, a Class 4A Division I program, has drilled respected programs in Atlanta and Tatum by a combined score of 89-26.
  • Pittsburg, a Class 4A Division II school, has quality wins against Crandall and against Pine Tree from Class 5A.
  • Both teams have at least two players that will compete at the collegiate level in future years.
  • The Lions have athletes Trestan Ebner and Lakendrick VanZandt, both of whom are verbally committed to TCU.
  • The Pirates have senior receiver DeJour Dowell and sophomore receiver Keontae Burns. Dowell is being recruited by Stephen F. Austin and Burns is targeted by Southern Miss.
  • Pittsburg head coach Brad Baca owns a 12-2 record through a season and two games on the job. The Pirates went 4-7 the year before he arrived.
  • Baca has a 5-1 record at Pirate Stadium.
  • Henderson will travel 63 miles one-way to Pirate Stadium.
Henderson defensive back Tariq Gray has a team-best two pass breakups and also is tied for the team lead with one interception. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Henderson's defensive backfield versus Pittsburg's dynamic offense.

Pirates head coach Brad Baca, formerly Chapel Hill's offensive coordinator, has his program at a completely different offensive level compared to where it was before he arrived in Camp County. This season, he's spending some time grooming quarterback Jaylon Jimmerson into potentially a three-year solution as a quarterback.

Pittsburg is not as effective throwing the ball as it was last season with former senior Brian Baca -- Brad Baca's little brother -- at quarterback, but Jimmerson is still passing for more than 100 yards per game while Red Shields has taken 44 carries for 357 yards to spearhead a running attack that averages 6.3 yards per carry.

Rest assured Henderson will try to jam Shields and a stable of two other backs with considerable yardage through two games. If that happens, Jimmerson will have to go to the next level against Trestan Ebner and potentially Lakendrick VanZandt, both of whom are TCU verbal commitments, as well as an overall strong defensive backfield to keep the chains moving.

Pittsburg receiver DeJour Dowell, a senior, has college interest from Stephen F. Austin. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

How's that for a growing-up moment?

The Lions' secondary has recorded three interceptions and seven pass breakups. And their defense as a whole has allowed opponents exactly 13 points in both of its lopsided wins.

 

Don't be surprised if: Henderson athlete Trestan Ebner has another big game.

The Lions are upset about how last season ended and Ebner seems to embody their early charge.

On top of his one interception returned for a touchdown and one pass deflection, Ebner has 201 yards on 10 catches and four scores. He also returned a punt for a touchdown against Atlanta and threw one to Matthew Childers last week versus Tatum.

Henderson athlete Trestan Ebner. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)