Nacogdoches Hosts Lindale In Must-Win Game For Both Teams
Lindale Eagles (2-5, 1-3)
Nacogdoches Dragons (5-2, 2-2)
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Lindale: Mike Meador
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Lindale: vs. Ennis, Oct. 31
- Nacogdoches: vs. Whitehouse, Oct. 31
- RB Aaron Jackson, Sr., 5-10, 170
- QB Kam Neely, Jr.
- ATH Kolton Pierce, Sr., 6-1, 183
- LB Stephen Clemmons, Sr.
- LB De Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 195
- ATH Tayton Williams, Jr., 5-7, 160
- OL Colton Moore, Sr.
- K Rudy Fuentes, Sr. (3 game winning kicks)
- S Jaylon Lane, Sr., 6-2, 180 (East Texas’ Class of 2015 scholarship leader with 38 offers; 44 tackles, 4 PBU, 1 INT)
- S Corey Lane, Jr., 5-11, 185 (52 tackles)
- LB Jesse Graham, Sr. (66 tackles)
- QB Hunter McClellan, Sr., 6-2, 175 (101 of 178, 17 passing TDs, 4 INTs, 1,727 passing yards, 45 carries, 180 net rushing yards)
- WR Ken Rogers, Sr., 5-11, 167 (21 catches, 461 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR Tae Thomas, Sr., 5-7, 160 (22 catches, 342 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Coronado Tolbert, Sr. (197 carries, 1,283 yards, 8 TDs)
Just the facts
- Due to distance and Lindale's time in Class 3A, there's still not much of a history between Nacogdoches and the Eagles. The two teams first met in 2008.
- Lindale holds a 3-1 series advantage, but Nacogdoches won the 2013 meeting 47-28.
- The most recent news from Nacogdoches is receiver Ken Rogers picked up his first scholarship offer. FCS member Incarnate Word in San Antonio offered him Monday. Rogers joins teammates Brandon Jones, Corey Lane, Jaylon Lane as a player on the Dragons roster with a football opportunity after high school.
- Jaylon Lane, a senior, and Brandon Jones, a junior, lead their respective East Texas graduation classes in terms of total FBS offers. Both players have more than 30 scholarship opportunities.
- Safety Brandon Jones' is questionable. He tore the PCL in his knee early in the season but has said he plans to return at some point this season.
- The Dragons are undefeated at home.
- Lindale's playoff hopes are in hot water. The team is tied for sixth place with Whitehouse and Jacksonville with three games to go.
- Nacogdoches appeared to carve a road for itself with a district-opening win against Lufkin, but a five-overtime loss to Jacksonville last week has the bottom pack back within striking distance.
- If Whitehouse beats Jacksonville on Friday, the Wildcats have the opportunity to even their district record with Nacogdoches' and own the first tiebreaker in a head-to-head game on Halloween.
- If Nacogdoches does not beat Lindale this week and Whitehouse simultaneously defeats Jacksonville, Whitehouse can play for a better record in its meeting with Nacogdoches next week.
- In a perfect setting, a Lindale win could put the Eagles in a five-way tie for third place in the district standings with two games remaining.
- A perfect situation for Lindale would be a win against Nacogdoches in addition to Ennis beating Lufkin and John Tyler beating Corsicana.
- That scenario is plausible. With both Whitehouse and Jacksonville sitting at 1-3 in district play, it does not matter which team wins that head-to-head game Friday.
- A win Friday would put Lindale in a multiple team tie for third or fourth place, depending on how everything else plays out.
Key matchup: Nacogdoches' balanced attack offense versus Lindale's defense. The Dragons will move the ball while the Eagles have been outscored by 113 points through seven games. Lindale must play its best defensive game of the season to keep its realistic playoff hopes alive.
There's not a great way to shut down the Dragons offense. Running back Coronado Tolbert is one of the most productive backs in East Texas while quarterback Hunter McClellan headlines a good passing game.
Nacogdoches' worst loss of the season, 57-26 at Ennis, came when the passing game failed to click with exception to one 50-yard touchdown pass. Tolbert still had a productive night.
Teams have not been able to do much to slow down Tolbert all season. The best Lindale can do on defense is take away the passing game and make the Dragons rely nearly exclusively on their star running back, but that's an incredibly tall task.
Eagles defensive back Kolton Pierce gives the unit at least one obvious option for slowing down the Dragons' pass offense. He's quick, athletic and could double dip as a receiver. Linebacker De Jackson can help with a good pass rush and will have to be one of the first responders when Tolbert runs.
Lindale will need points as well. The starting unit's best district performance against an exclusively starting defense was 23 points in a 24-23 loss against Corsicana on Sept. 26. It scored 28 points last week in a 63-28 loss to Lufkin.
It has to be more productive.
Don't be surprised if: Lindale plays its best game of the season. This is the Eagles' final real opportunity to turn the tide and put itself in position for a playoff spot. Likewise, Nacogdoches needs the game to fend off competition beneath it in the district standings.
Expect a hard fought game Friday.