CLASS 4A DIVISION I
State Quarterfinal

Henderson Lions (9-4)

vs.

No. 1 Carthage Bulldogs (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Lobo Stadium, Longview

Coaches

  • Henderson: Phil Castles
  • Carthage: Scott Surratt

Last week

Next week

  • Winner vs. Liberty Hill or La Vernia, 4A Division I state semifinal

Players to watch

Henderson

  • WR Caleb Medford, Jr., 6-3, 185 (30 catches, 542 yards, 6 TDs; 52 carries, 452 yards, 6 TDs; 14 of 26, 232 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs)
  • CB Pedro Garza, Jr., 5-7, 150 (40 tackles, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 2 defensive TDs)
  • LB Brady Odom, Jr., 5-11, 210 (164 tackles, 23 for loss, 3 sacks, 16 QB pressures, 1 INT, 9 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • DE Keivie Rose, Sr., 6-3, 264 (45 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 24 QB pressures, 4 PBUs, 4 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
  • RB Kevin Fields, Jr., 6-0, 190 (166 carries, 802 yards, 7 TDs; 5 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB/LB Eli Jones, Jr., 5-10, 210 (114 carries, 613 yards, 6 TDs; 26 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks)
  • RB/FS Keshoyn Alexander, Sr., 5-9, 185 (29 carries, 326 yards, 6 TDs; 45 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBUs)
  • QB Sevastian De Leon, Sr., 5-8, 155 (105 of 184, 1,380 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs; 60 carries, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
  • LB Hernan Hernandez, Sr., 5-6, 178 (95 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks, 9 QB pressures, 1 INT, 4 PBUs, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • WR/CB Ke’untaye Dunham, Sr., 5-8, 165 (23 catches, 282 yards; 4 carries, 23 yards; 21 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 16 PBUs)

Carthage

  • QB Gunner Capps, Sr., 6-2, 205 (229 of 366, 3,299 yards, 40 TDs, 5 INTs)
  • WR Kelvontay Dixon, Jr., 6-0, 173 (74 catches, 1,150 yards, 9 TDs; 18 carries, 199 yards, 3 TDs)
  • OL Ty’kieast Crawford, Jr., 6-6, 310 (committed to Baylor)
  • WR Kel Williams, Jr., 6-0, 144 (43 catches, 798 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB Mason Courtney, Soph., 5-9, 185 (118 carries, 833 yards, 11 TDs; 7 catches, 108 yards)
  • DE Quinton Owens, Jr., 6-3, 200 (70 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 6 QB pressures; 2 forced fumbles)
  • CB Ja’Corey Ware, Sr., 6-0, 170 (35 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 7 INTs, 5 PBUs)
  • RB Tucker Smith, Sr., 5-11, 180 (131 carries, 786 yards, 12 TDs; 36 catches, 514 yards, 7 TDs)
  • OL Kevion Booty, Sr., 6-2, 270
  • LB Rayvon Ingram, Jr., 5-10, 205 (109 tackles, 15 for loss, 3 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 1 defensive TD)

Just the facts

  • This is the 78th meeting between district rivals Henderson and Carthage. Henderson leads the all-time series, 40-34-3.
  • This is the third consecutive season Henderson and Carthage are meeting in the state quarterfinals.
  • Henderson is averaging 28.8 points and 327.5 yards per game -- 203.5 rushing and 124 passing.
  • The Lions' offense was shut out and limited to 205 yards of offense in their 34-0 regular-season loss to Carthage on Nov. 2.
  • Henderson junior linebacker Brady Odom is averaging 12.6 tackles per game.
  • Henderson is allowing 18.2 points per game, has 29 sacks, and has forced 25 turnovers -- 12 interceptions and 13 fumbles.
  • Carthage is averaging 43.5 points and 431.6 yards per game -- 253.8 rushing and 177.8 passing.
  • The Bulldogs put up 454 yards of offense in their 34-0 regular-season win over Henderson, including 335 rushing.
  • Carthage senior quarterback Gunner Capps has thrown 89 touchdown passes in his two years as starter.
  • Carthage is allowing 18.2 points per game, has 17 sacks, and has forced 31 turnovers -- 21 interceptions and 10 fumbles.
Carthage OL Kevion Booty. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Carthage offensive line vs. Henderson defensive front. Not only is Carthage currently on a four-game winning streak against Henderson, the Bulldogs have also eliminated their biggest rival in the state quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons. If both streaks are to be broken this week, Henderson's defense must find an answer for Carthage's high-powered attack. The Bulldogs have been led this season by senior quarterback Gunner Capps, who has thrown for 40 touchdowns and is closing in on 3,300 passing yards in 2018. His options in the passing game have given opposing defenses fits all season long, whether it's receivers Kelvontay Dixon and Kel Williams, tight end Kaden Holcomb, or running back Tucker Smith. But oddly enough, it wasn't the Carthage passing game that hurt Henderson the most in their regular-season encounter on Nov. 2. Capps was just 15 of 33 for a season-low 119 yards in Carthage's 34-0 win. The running game, however, erupted to the tune of a season-best 335 yards, as the Bulldogs averaged more than 11 yards per carry that night.

(© Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

The strength of Henderson's defense is up front. The foursome of Jay'Quan Barnett, Clayton Conrad, Dalton Modisette, and Keivie Rose have combined for 12 sacks and 48 tackles for loss this season. Linebackers Brady Odom and Hernan Hernandez are both all-district caliber performers as well, and will be key to keeping Carthage ball carriers from getting past the second level. Henderson racked up four sacks and eight tackles for loss in last week's hard-fought 21-20 win over Van, and will need more of the same this week if Henderson is to pull the big upset of Carthage.

Don't be surprised if: Mother Nature plays a factor in the outcome. The latest forecasts suggest heavy rain throughout East Texas on Friday night, and despite a few other games in the area being moved up to Thursday, Carthage vs. Henderson is expected to go on as scheduled at Lobo Stadium in Longview on Friday. Torrential rain will have an obvious impact on how the game will be played, but the possibility of lengthy and/or multiple lightning delays could completely change the complexion of this week's contest.