DISTRICT 16-5A

Lufkin Panthers (4-3, 3-1)

vs.

Ennis Lions (4-3, 3-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Lion Memorial Stadium, Ennis

Coaches
  • Lufkin: Todd Quick
  • Ennis: Jack Alvarez
Last week
Next week
  • Lufkin: vs. Corsicana, Oct. 30
  • Ennis: vs. Lindale, Oct. 30

Playmakers

Lufkin

 

  • DL/OLB Bronson “Boom” Massie, Sr., 6-3, 210
  • OL Jerrod Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 285
  • QB Kordell Rodgers, Jr., 6-0, 175
  • WR Dhailon Phillips, Jr., 6-3, 195
  • RB Ellis Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 170
  • WR/DB Jeremiah Davis, Soph., 6-0, 175
  • WR Malik Jackson, Soph., 5-11, 175
  • DB LaVante White, Sr., 6-1, 170

 

Ennis

 

  • QB Tre Elliott, Sr., 5-11, 210
  • WR 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
  • Friday's game has some playoff implications despite the fact Lufkin can only go to the Class 5A Division I state playoffs and Ennis to the Class 5A Division II bracket.
  • The Panthers and Lions sit in a three-way tie for second place in District 16-5A along with Corsicana. Lindale trails the group by a game and will simultaneously play a Nacogdoches team looking for its first league win.
  • Corsicana has the difficult task of hosting John Tyler, so the winner of the Lufkin-Ennis game will likely take exclusive control of the second-place spot.
  • However, if Corsicana upsets John Tyler, either Lufkin or Ennis can reenter the first place slot along with Corsicana and John Tyler.
  • The Panthers and Lions currently share three common district opponents -- John Tyler, Nacogdoches and Whitehouse.
  • Lufkin fell to John Tyler two weeks ago, 41-38. John Tyler defeated Ennis at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium last week, 40-29.
  • Both the Panthers and Lions easily handled Whitehouse, but Ennis struggled to a one-touchdown win against Nacogdoches while Lufkin won its particular meeting with Nacogdoches by 38 points the week prior.
  • Ennis has not lost to an East Texas opponent at home since joining District 16-5A for competition last season.
  • Lufkin is 2-1 in true road games this season and 2-2 in all games away from Abe Martin Stadium.
  • The Lions won the 2014 Class 5A Division II and own two other championship trophies this century.
Ennis' Kyre Holloway (23) is one of three running backs around 600 yards through seven games for the Lions. (Michel Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Ennis' running game against Lufkin's defensive front.

The Lions performed sub-par on the ground for their standards last week against John Tyler -- 205 yards. You can bet they'll try to reestablish that facet since it averaged 350 yards per game before last week's loss.

Running backs Tycen Thompson and Kyre Holloway both have more than 600 rushing yards this season. Treyvon Smith is 10 yards shy of breaking the threshold as well.

Ennis has 24 touchdowns on the ground to 10 through the air this season.

Lufkin has dealt with strong running games in three of its four district games. Add in non-district games against Longview, Tyler Lee and Louisiana's West Monroe, defending the run isn't anything new for the Pack.

This is a big game for defensive end Bronson Massie and the Panthers' defensive front at large. But on the heels of holding Lindale's punishing running back Ryan Taylor to 116 yards on 27 carries, things are looking alright.

Lufkin's offense can also play a role against Ennis' offense.

Quarterback Kordell Rodgers has helped the Pack become the third highest-scoring unit within the eight team league. If the offense finds its rhythm early and the front does its job when the Lions have the ball, that can ultimately force Ennis into making up for lost time with the passing game.

The Lions have completed 44-of-103 passes -- a tad under 43 percent efficiency -- for 694 yards. That's about 99 yards per game.

John Tyler forced Ennis into 16 of those 103 attempts last week. Six completions.

Don't be surprised if: Weather has an impact on the two team's strategy. The current forecast for Ennis on Friday features a 100 percent chance of rain. Lufkin quarterback Kordell Rogers might have to get it done with his feet more than he'd prefer under ideal conditions.

Lufkin quarterback Kordell Rodgers evades tackle attempts by Nacogdoches' Derrick Wright (34) and Daryan Williams (32) during their game Sept. 25 in Lufkin.