Jacksonville Can Bolster Playoff Chances By Knocking Off Ennis
Ennis Lions (5-2, 2-0)
Jacksonville Indians (4-3, 1-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tomato Bowl, Jacksonville
- Ennis: Jack Alvarez
- Jacksonville: Wayne Coleman
- Ennis: vs. Nacogdoches, Oct. 28
- Jacksonville: vs. Lindale, Oct. 28
- RB Tycen Thompson, Jr., 5-9, 170 (122 carries, 950 yards, 7 TDs; 17 catches, 160 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Kyre Holloway, Jr., 6-0, 190 (86 carries, 779 yards, 9 TDs; 4 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD)
- WR JT Mackey, Sr., 6-3, 195 (17 catches, 399 yards, 3 TDs)
- QB Kademon Graff, Jr., 5-9, 150 (60 of 125, 771 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs)
- LB Brandon Bata, Sr., 5-10, 185 (54 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 2 INTs)
- DB Kevion Gabriel, Jr., 5-10, 180 (24 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 2 PBUs)
- DB Chris McDonald, Jr., 6-2, 185 (31 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 4 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
- DT Jaylan Hill, Sr., 6-2, 275 (18 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
- QB Cameron High, Sr., 5-9, 165 (45 of 81, 603 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs; 190 carries, 1,217 yards, 13 TDs)
- RB/LB Vadall Johnson, Sr., 5-9, 210 (68 carries, 356 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Dee Spencer, Jr., 5-10, 175 (25 carries, 234 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 81 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Camryn Franklin, Jr., 6-3, 170 (8 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Braden Horn, Sr., 5-11, 180
- DT Taqualen Thompson, Soph.
- WR William Garland, Sr., 5-9, 165 (3 catches, 115 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Ashton Melton, Sr., 5-11, 170 (11 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Ennis is 14-2 in district games since the 2014 season.
- The Lions' two losses this year have come against John Tyler (30-14) and Waxahachie (50-20), who are a combined 12-2 on the season.
- Ennis running backs Tycen Thompson and Kyre Holloway are each on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards during the regular season.
- The Lions' final two district games are against Nacogdoches and Corsicana, which are a cumulative 8-6 (3-1 in district).
- Jacksonville is 3-13 in district games since the 2014 season.
- The average margin of victory in games involving the Indians this year is 9.4 points.
- Jacksonville quarterback Cameron High has rushed for at least 121 yards in all seven games this season.
- The Indians' final two district games are against Lindale and Nacogdoches, which are a cumulative 5-9 (1-3 in district).
Key matchup: Ennis rushing attack vs. Jacksonville defensive front. There's no doubt what opposing defenses' objectives are when they face Ennis' offense: contain the running game. Not only is the Lions' running back duo of juniors Tycen Thompson and Kyre Holloway both on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards during the regular season, they are each averaging more than 7.9 yards per carry, and have combined to score 18 of Ennis' 29 offensive touchdowns. The Lions average almost 300 rushing yards per game, and the number is on the rise during district play. Ennis is coming off a 376-yard rushing performance last week against Lindale, and as you might expect, Thompson and Holloway had a major impact with a combined 342 yards and five touchdowns.
Jacksonville, which rallied in the second half to defeat Whitehouse a week ago, was in position to win its district opener against Corsicana and, as a result, enter Friday's game at 2-0 in 17-5A. The Indians prevailed last week by forcing four turnovers and holding Whitehouse scoreless in the second half. Jacksonville, which has won just three of its last 16 district games, has been at its best this season when the defense has been on its game. In the Tribe's four victories, opponents are averaging a little more than 17 points per game. Meanwhile the losses have told a different story, as Jacksonville surrendered an average of 41.7. For the most part, the Indians' run defense has been strong all year, and it will need to be again on Friday.
Don't be surprised if: The game comes to an end quickly, and not in terms of the scoreboard, but in the amount of time elapsed. Both Ennis and Jacksonville will feature strong rushing attacks, and neither of the offenses figure to put the ball in the air that often. The Lions only attempt about 18 passes per game, while Jacksonville's commitment to the running game is even more pronounced; the Indians throw the ball just 12 times per game on average. Ennis' reasons for sticking with the run have been explained, and Jacksonville's situation on offense is similar. But not at running back. The Indians rely on the legs of quarterback Cameron High to get things done on offense. High is third in the area in rushing with more than 1,200 yards on the season, and his 190 carries is near the top as well. The only way this game goes long as if it goes to overtime or the teams score significantly more than their season average.