District 16-5A

John Tyler Lions (1-3, 1-0)

vs.

Lindale Eagles (3-1, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Eagle Stadium, Lindale

Coaches
  • John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
  • Lindale: Mike Meador
Last week
Next week
  • John Tyler: at Lufkin, Oct. 9
  • Lindale: vs. Jacksonville, Oct. 9
Playmakers

John Tyler

  • DL Braylon Jones, Sr., 6-3, 290 (18 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 QB pressures; committed to Houston)
  • DL Pierre Leonard, Sr., 5-9, 245 (20 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 blocked punts)
  • DB Bryston Gipson, Sr., 5-10, 170 (32 tackles, 2 PBUs, 1 blocked kick)
  • WR Damion Miller, Jr., 6-1, 200 (12 catches, 278 yards, 4 TDs; committed to Texas)
  • QB Bryson Smith, Jr., 6-0, 170 (49 of 88, 805 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs; 53 carries, 437 yards, 5 TDs)
  • OL Adrian Harris, Sr., 6-3, 290
  • WR Duntayviun Gross, Sr., 5-8, 150 (18 catches, 294 yards, 2 TDs)
  • LB Shaundrick Williams, Jr., 6-0, 210 (37 tackles)

Lindale

  • LB Kale Ridge, Jr., 6-3, 210 (26 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 INT)
  • RB Ryan Taylor, Sr., 5-8, 175 (84 carries, 524 yards, 7 TDs)
  • OL Justin Fisher, Sr., 6-0, 285
  • DL Bryce Barkowsky, Sr. (22 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 QB hurries, 2 PBUs)
  • QB Montana Meador, Jr., 5-11, 155 (47-90, 602 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs)
  • WR Kendrick Price, Sr., 6-3, 185 (10 catches, 152 yards)
  • TE Cameron Sir Louis, Jr., 6-3, 205 (10 catches, 90 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR/DB Tayton Williams, Sr., 5-7, 160 (12 catches, 170 yards)
  • DB Carson Mizell, Sr., 6-1, 185 (40 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs)
Just the facts
  • Friday's meeting is the fourth all-time between John Tyler and Lindale. The Lions lead the series, 3-0.
  • John Tyler won last season's meeting, 76-13.
  • This is the only District 16-5A game featuring two 1-0 league teams.
  • Lindale topped an undefeated Corsicana team last week, 19-7, on the road.
  • The Lions got their first win of 2015 last week, 65-32, against Whitehouse.
  • Lindale, one of the smallest schools in the state in its classification, is seeking its second playoff appearance in its fourth straight year as a Class 5A program. It reached the postseason in 2013.
  • John Tyler has not missed the playoffs in head coach Ricklan Holmes' three and a half seasons. It reached the state semifinals in 2012 and 2014.
  • The Eagles' defense has only given up 58 points through four games, an average of 14.5 points per contest. Furthermore, the unit has helped the team out to a +5 turnover margin.
  • Lindale averages 24.5 points per game.
  • John Tyler has averaged 33.5 points, so something has to give in Friday's contest. Defensively, it has given up 41.8 points out to its 1-3 overall record.
John Tyler junior quarterback Bryson Smith nearly doubled his passing yardage Friday in a win against Whitehouse.

Key matchup: John Tyler's offense versus Lindale's defense.

The statistics say the Eagles will try to run their way to victory with a balanced offense and heavy reliance on their defensive counterpart.

John Tyler's offense seemed to turn the corner last week with a breakout game against Whitehouse in which Bryson Smith nearly doubled his passing yards, so Lindale will have to bring its defensive A-game to support an offense that is just seeking to be efficient while limiting overall possessions between the two teams.

The Lions' running game has not been great, however, and it's never a good sign on the Class 5A level when the leading rusher is the quarterback.

A big key for the Eagles will be containing Smith in the pocket and taking away his option to run out of trouble. They have that potential with a strong defensive front headlined by junior linebacker Kale Ridge. Holding Smith in the pocket could help the Eagles win third and fourth down battles.

But maybe the best thing about Lindale's defense is its distribution of tackles. Five players have more than 20 tackles and no player has more than 40 tackles. It's not like the secondary is having to shoulder the load on its own. And that's a big problem for other teams at every level of football.

Senior Lindale safety Carson Mizell has a team-best 40 tackles and two interceptions. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

John Tyler's clear offensive strength is the passing game, and it's going up against a unit with four interceptions. Receivers Damion Miller, a Texas commitment as a junior, and Duntayviun Gross plus Smith at the quarterback spot hold the key to wearing down the defense. They'll have to maintain the chemistry they only found last week.

Senior Carson Mizell anchors the Lindale secondary with two interceptions and a team-best 40 tackles.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's meeting is a much closer game than last year's laugher in favor of John Tyler. Lindale is a team with confidence and the numbers to back it up in addition to a 3-1 record compared to last season's 1-3 start. If the Eagles can establish their running game against John Tyler's defensive strength along the line, it's not going to be easy for the Lions to sustain momentum in Eagle Stadium. Along the same thought, running back Ryan Taylor and the Eagles could limit possessions for an opposing offense that has not put together back-to-back consistently strong offensive performances through four games. But Lindale will have to turn in its best all-around performance yet to move to 2-0 within district.

John Tyler junior receiver and Texas commitment Damion Miller. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)