PREVIEW: Jacksonville Can Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Nacogdoches
Nacogdoches Dragons (1-8, 1-4)
Jacksonville Indians (5-4, 1-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tomato Bowl Stadium, Jacksonville
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Jacksonville: Wayne Coleman
- Nacogdoches: lost to Ennis 49-21
- Jacksonville: def. Lindale, 25-15
- Nacogdoches: Nothing
- Jacksonville: Playoffs
- LB/DB DaRyan Williams, Sr., 6-0, 195 (71 tackles, 5 PBUs)
- DL Brad Williams, Jr., 5-11, 195 (28 tackles, 6 sacks)
- OL Harrison Gibbs, Sr., 6-2, 295
- DB Lovenski Simon, Jr., 5-9, 165 (6 PBUs, 1 INT, 29 tackles)
- WR Jed Morgan, Sr., 5-7, 165 (26 catches, 309 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR James Sowards, Sr., 6-3, 195 (50 catches, 878 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Jake Smith, So., 6-1 (130-of-216, 1,753 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs)
- QB Dontrail Sessions, Sr., 6-1, 170 (96-of-181, 1,581 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs)
- TE/LB Josh McDowell, Sr., 6-3, 210 (14 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD; 57 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Shiloh Canady, So. (83 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
- DB Braelyn Riden, Jr. (6 INTs, 5 PBUs, 5 forced fumbles)
- WR Jaeshun Bush, Sr. (30 catches, 462 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Cade Chandler, Sr., 5-11 (10 catches, 422 yards, 5 TDs)
Just the facts
- Jacksonville can clinch a playoff spot for certain with a victory in this game. If the Indians don't, they can still get in with a Lindale loss.
- The Indians are averaging just 267.5 yards per game.
- Before the victory this past week, Jacksonville was on a three-game losing streak.
- Nacogdoches has been close in many games this season, losing by two touchdowns or less five times (and single digits three times).
- James Sowards is one of the top 10 receivers in East Texas as far as yardage goes, with more than 800 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Jacksonville is 8-5 against Nacogdoches since 2004.
- The Indians won last season's matchup, 46-45.
Key matchup: Jacksonville secondary against the Nacogdoches passing game.
James Sowards is one of the best receivers in the region. Jake Smith is no slouch at quarterback, either. If there's an area where Nacogdoches excels, the passing game is it.
Smith has thrown for more than 1,500 yards, over 800 of which have gone to Sowards. The two have connected nine times for touchdowns. Defenses have so far struggled to slow the duo.
Jacksonville, however, has plenty of talent in its secondary. Braelyn Riden ranks in the top five for interceptions in East Texas with six. His teammates combine to add four more.
This secondary is going to be up for a big task, but with the playoffs on the line, there should be no need for motivation.
Don't be surprised if: Dontrail Sessions throws for plenty of yards. He has more than 1,500 so far this season.
The Indians have a good passing game, highlighted by Sessions and receivers Jaeshun Bush and Cade Chandler. The two have combined for 884 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
With two weapons, the Nacogdoches defense has its work cut out for it. Not to mention, Sessions has been relatively good at making decisions this season. He has throw only six interceptions.