DISTRICT 16-5A

Lindale Eagles (4-4, 2-3)

vs.

Ennis Lions (4-4, 3-2)

7 p.m. Thursday

Lions Memorial Stadium, Ennis

Coaches
  • Lindale: Mike Meador
  • Ennis: Jack Alvarez
Last week
Next week
  • Lindale: vs. Whitehouse, Nov. 6
  • Ennis: at Corsicana, Nov. 6

Playmakers

Lindale

 

  • LB Kale Ridge, Jr., 6-3, 210
  • RB Ryan Taylor, Sr., 5-8, 175
  • OL Justin Fisher, Sr., 6-0, 285
  • DL Bryce Barkowsky, Sr.
  • QB Montana Meador, Jr., 5-11, 155
  • WR Kendrick Price, Sr., 6-3, 185
  • TE Cameron Sir Louis, Jr., 6-3, 205
  • WR/DB Tayton Williams, Sr., 5-7, 160
  • DB Carson Mizell, Sr., 6-1, 185

 

Ennis

 

  • QB Tre Elliott, Sr., 5-11, 210
  • ATH Tycen Thompson, Soph., 5-9, 160
  • RB Kyre Holloway, Soph., 5-11, 185
  • RB Treyvon Smith, Sr., 5-8, 215
  • OL Deven Collins, Jr., 6-2, 315
  • OL Trendon Rolen, Jr., 6-4, 315
  • RB Zach Rhone, Sr., 5-11, 190
  • WR JT Mackey, Jr., 6-3, 185

 

Just the facts
  • The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but it was moved to a 7 p.m. kick Thursday to avoid a second consecutive week of weather issues. Rain is expected to move into the all-encompassing area Friday.
  • Ennis will enter the game very frustrated. It lost to Lufkin on a coin toss Friday after that game was rained out and the two teams could not logistically find a workaround.
  • The loss knocked Ennis into a two-team tie with Corsicana for third place, and Ennis does not have an extremely favorable game left on its schedule.
  • Lindale is in serious trouble after losing to Nacogdoches last week. Nacogdoches converted a two-point attempt inside the final 40 seconds for the win.
  • The Eagles are currently tied for fifth place with Nacogdoches. Only the top four district teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the postseason.
  • There is still hope for Lindale. Among Corsicana, Ennis and Nacogdoches, the Eagles have the most favorable final two games -- Ennis and an already eliminated Whitehouse team.
  • Corsicana faces Lufkin this week and then Ennis for its finale while Nacogdoches will probably have to get by John Tyler in the final week to make the playoffs in addition to beating Whitehouse this week.
  • Bottom line, Lindale needs to win Thursday.
  • The Eagles and Ennis share three common opponents, excluding Lufkin -- John Tyler, Jacksonville and Nacogdoches. Lindale went 1-3 against those teams with two, one-point losses. Ennis went 2-1. Both lost by multiple possessions to John Tyler.
  • While Lufkin won on a technicality, Ennis has not lost to any league teams at home since joining District 16-5A in a contested game.
  • Ennis won last year's meeting, 54-13, en route to the Class 5A Division II state championship.
Defensive lineman Bryce Barkowsky is another weapon along the Lindale defensive front. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Lindale's defense against Ennis' ground attack.

The two teams were made for each other.

Lindale's defense is very tough, especially along the front, and the absolute strength of the team this season. The Eagles gave up 389 points last season. They're on pace to only cede 211 this year with an also improved offense to back them up.

Ennis has been more of a ground based team under head coach Jack Alvarez -- this was the high school that produced Texas Tech star quarterback Graham Harrell 11 years ago under head coach Sam Harrell -- but Alvarez could dial up some passes last year. In fact, Ennis won the 2014 title in the final seconds on a long ball.

Ennis just hasn't been able to rely on the pass as much this season. Primary quarterback Tre Elliot has a 41.9 completion percentage and 536 passing yards through seven games played. And 352 of those yards have gone to sophomore Tycen Thompson, so defending the passing game is straightforward.

Yet Lindale's opponent makes up for its weaker hand with a productive running game. Thompson has a team-best 636 rushing yards, and two running backs are hovering right around the 600-yard mark as well.

The Eagles forte is stopping the run. Linebacker Kale Ridge anchors a front that has been consistently difficult to solve and equally resilient. There's not a loss you can lay at the defense's feet -- the unit has never allowed more than 30 points, and that was once against league-leading John Tyler.

Lindale's offense has to offer support, but defending Ennis' trio of strong runners is a great place to start.

Don't be surprised if: A special teams play or post-touchdown play determines the winner of Thursday's game. Both teams are at their strongest when running the football, which burns the clock, so both offenses will have to be efficient with more limited possessions than what the sides are used to against predominantly passing teams elsewhere in the district. A big return or gutsy call late might be the only thing that can separate these two teams.

Lindale junior quarterback Montana Meador. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)