CLASS 4A DIVISION I
REGION II CHAMPIONSHIP

Henderson Lions (11-2)

vs.

Carthage Bulldogs (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Homer Bryce Stadium, Nacogdoches

 

Coaches

  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces either Waco La Vega or Liberty Hill, state semifinals

 

Playmakers

Henderson

  • QB Trae Hall, Sr., 6-3, 185 (128 of 193, 1,888 yards, 14 TDs, 2 INTs; 159 carries, 1,006 yards, 18 TDs)
  • WR/LB Tyrek Blanton, Sr., 6-2, 205 (19 catches, 222 yards, 1 TD; 94 tackles, 20 for loss, 4 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 5 INTs, 6 PBUs, 2 defensive TDs)
  • DL De"Braylon Garrett, Sr. (74 tackles, 19 for loss, 9 sacks, 22 QB pressures, 1 PBU)
  • LB Brady Odom, Soph. (139 tackles, 18 for loss, 8 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 3 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)
  • LB Garrett Lybrand, Sr., 6-2, 200 (120 tackles, 26 for loss, 2 sacks, 29 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • WR Caleb Medford, Soph., 6-1, 175 (38 catches, 788 yards, 8 TDs)
  • RB Lynn Freeney, Sr., 5-11, 180 (137 carries, 794 yards, 11 TDs; 4 catches, 24 yards)
  • RB/DB Keshoyn Alexander, Jr., 5-8, 165 (23 carries, 108 yards, 3 TDs; 54 tackles, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 defensive TD)
  • WR/DB Treylyn Blanton, Sr., 6-0, 185 (43 catches, 619 yards, 4 TDs; 65 tackles, 4 INTs, 8 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • TE/DL Keivie Rose, Jr., 6-3, 242 (16 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 8 QB pressures)

 

Carthage

  • RB Keaontay Ingram, Sr., 6-0, 190 (180 carries, 1,827 yards, 30 TDs; 21 catches, 255 yards, 2 TDs; committed to Texas)
  • QB Gunner Capps, Sr., 5-11, 170 (184 of 288, 3,170 yards, 42 TDs, 6 INTs)
  • LB Mykel Gates, Sr., 6-1, 221 (130 tackles, 17 for for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 2 defensive TDs)
  • LB Ahmad Brown, Sr., 6-0, 225 (128 tackles, 21 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • WR Dewaylon Ingram, Sr., 6-1, 160 (52 catches, 971 yards, 14 TDs)
  • WR/DB Mekhi Colbert, Sr., 5-9, 190 (42 catches, 697 yards, 5 TDs; 15 carries, 192 yards; 24 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 5 INT, 6 PBUs)
  • DL Quinton Owens, Soph., 6-3, 220 (68 tackles, 9 for loss, 5 sacks, 18 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 defensive TD)
  • WR Dee Bowens, Sr., 5-7, 140 (50 catches, 1,080 yards, 19 TDs)
  • DB Jacorey Ware, Jr., 6-0, 155 (27 tackles, 8 INT, 6 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 2 defensive TDs)
  • LB Jose DeJulian, Sr., 5-10, 195 (103 tackles, 14 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)

 

Just the facts

  • This is the76th all-time meeting between Henderson and Carthage.
  • Henderson leads the all-time series, 40-32-3.
  • Henderson and Carthage will meet for the fourth time in two seasons Friday. Carthage was won the last two encounters.
  • Henderson's average margin of victory this season is 12.0, while Carthage's is 26.8.
  • Henderson is averaging 32.2 points and 353.9 yards per game -- 207 rushing and 146.9 passing.
  • Henderson put up 235 yards of offense in its 42-17 regular-season loss to Carthage.
  • Henderson quarterback Trae Hall has accounted for 62.8 percent of his team's total yards, and 60.4 percent of the touchdowns.
  • Henderson is allowing 20.2 points per game, and has forced 24 turnovers -- 16 interceptions and eight fumbles. The Lions have three defensive touchdowns.
  • Carthage is averaging 47.3 points and 462.2 yards per game -- 214.1 rushing and 248.1 passing.
  • Carthage put up 350 yards of offense in its 42-17 regular-season win over Henderson.
  • Carthage receiver Dee Bowens is averaging 21.6 yards per catch, and 19 of his 50 receptions have gone for touchdowns.
  • Carthage is allowing 20.5 points per game, and has forced 33 turnovers -- 17 interceptions and 16 fumbles. The Bulldogs have seven defensive touchdowns.

 

Key matchup: Carthage passing attack vs. Henderson secondary. In the regular-season matchup between these two back in October, Henderson did as good a job as any team has all season in defending Carthage's running game. Bulldogs superstar running back and Texas commit Keaontay Ingram was limited to a season-low 61 yards on 16 carries. But instead of leading to a victory, Carthage was able to take to the air for big plays in its 42-17 rout on Oct. 6.

Carthage WR Dee Bowens. (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Bulldogs junior quarterback Gunner Capps, who's coming off a seven-touchdown performance in last week's 64-36 win over Silsbee, was an efficient 12 of 14 for 241 yards and four touchdowns against Henderson. The biggest plays in the game all came through the air, including touchdown passes of 70 and 74 yards to senior receiver Dee Bowens.

Carthage is among the most balanced offensive attacks in the area, which makes it difficult to defend. Ingram has rushed for 32 touchdowns and is closing in on 2,000 yards on the season, but Capps and a deep receiving corps has made life doubly difficult on opposing defenses. Capps has thrown for 42 touchdowns and has eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark on the year, while the trio of Bowens, Dewaylon Ingram, and Mekhi Colbert are as strong a receiving trio in the state at the 4A level. Bowens has 19 touchdown catches, but Dewaylon Ingram and Colbert have combined for 1,668 yards and 19 scoring receptions.

Henderson DB/WR Treylun Blanton. (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

If Henderson is to have any chance of avenging its regular-season loss, it must prevent Carthage from making big plays in the passing game. The Lions have 16 interceptions as a team, led by the duo of Tyrek and Treylun Blanton, who have five and four, respectively. The Lions can help their secondary out with a solid pass rush, and Henderson certainly has the pieces to do it. Henderson comes into Friday's game with 37 sacks as a unit. Lineman De"Braylon Garrett leads the way with nine, while sophomore linebacker Brady Odom has registered eight sacks.

Don't be surprised if: Henderson pulls out all the stops. In order for the Lions to come out of this one with a win, they must find creative ways to find an edge. Carthage's defensive front was able to pressure Henderson quarterback Trae Hall for most of the night in the Week 6 encounter, and the Lions' running game was never much of a factor.

It would not be surprising to see a few trick plays here or there in an effort to catch the Carthage defense off guard. But aside from that, Henderson must be able to control time of possession but establishing a running game. The Lions only ran for 82 yards in the regular-season affair, and much of that came in the second half after Carthage built a substantial lead. If Henderson cannot dictate the tempo, it would be hard to imagine Carthage not earning its 24th consecutive win.