CLASS 5A DIVISION II
Region III Area Playoff

Lindale Eagles (7-4)

vs.

Port Neches-Groves Indians (8-3)

8 p.m. Friday
NRG Stadium, Houston

Coaches

  • Lindale: Chris Cochran
  • Port Neches-Groves: Brandon Faircloth

Last week

Next week

  • Winner vs. A&M Consolidated or Fort Bend Marshall, 5A Division II regional semifinal

Players to watch

Lindale

  • QB Dillon Heinaman, Sr., 6-1, 230 (217 of 320, 2,777 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs)
  • RB Jordan Jenkins, Soph., 6-2, 195 (250 carries, 1,403 yards, 16 TDs)
  • WR Conner Boyette, Jr., 5-9, 150 (72 catches, 735 yards, 6 TDs)
  • WR Brennan Moore, Sr., 6-0, 150 (42 catches, 502 yards, 6 TDs)
  • WR Colton Brown, Sr., 6-1, 180 (40 catches, 529 yards, 9 TDs)
  • WR/DE Jaymond Jackson, Soph., 6-3, 185 (10 catches, 152 yards, 4 TDs; 48 tackles, 10 for loss, 8 sacks, 2 PBUs)
  • FS Arik Williams, Soph., 5-9, 140 (69 tackles, 5 for loss, 4 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 defensive TD)
  • LB Kolton Primeaux, Jr., 6-0, 180 (65 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 3 PBUs)

Port Neches-Groves

  • QB Roschon Johnson, Sr., 6-2, 197 (144 of 240, 2,010 yards, 23 TDs, 8 INTs; 201 carries, 1,284 yards, 21 TDs; committed to Texas)
  • WR Jose Ceja, Sr., 5-10, 160
  • RB Jaylan Williams, Sr., 5-10, 172
  • OL Jaylen Garth, Jr., 6-4, 270
  • RB Gavin Deslatte, Jr., 5-9, 185
  • WR Cooper Hammond, Sr., 6-0, 205
  • WR Kaleb Wuenschel, Jr., 5-11, 165

Just the facts

  • Lindale is averaging 34.3 points per game.
  • Eagles senior Dillon Heinaman is one of five East Texas quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown passes this season.
  • The cumulative record of Lindale's opponents is 60-55 (.522).
  • Lindale is allowing 37.4 points per game.
  • Port Neches-Groves is averaging 38.4 points per game.
  • According to 247sports.com, Indians senior quarterback Roschon Johnson is the fourth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation.
  • The cumulative record of Port Neches-Groves' opponents is 65-52 (.556).
  • Port Neches-Groves is allowing 25.4 points per game.
Lindale QB Dillon Heinaman. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Port Neches-Groves quarterback Roschon Johnson vs. Lindale defense. Simply put, the outcome of Friday's area-round playoff game will come down to how the Eagles defend one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks. Johnson, who is committed to Texas, has totaled almost 3,300 yards and accounted for 44 touchdowns on the season. And that's after he was sidelined for a game early in the season because of an ankle injury. Johnson is about as complete a quarterback as there is at the high school level. He has two games this season in which he's thrown four touchdowns, and two where he's run for four scores. He also has three additional contests in which he's run for three touchdowns. Johnson has had a 382-yard passing night, and a game where he run for 258 yards

Lindale WR Brennan Moore. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

It truly is a pick-your-poison proposition for the Lindale defense, which has had problems on that side of the ball this season. The Eagles are allowing a little more than 37 points per game, which means there will be pressure on Lindale's offense to keep pace with an explosive PNG attack. The closet comparison to Johnson the Eagles have seen this year is Marshall junior quarterback JJ Green. In that game, Green's effectiveness on the ground was modest, as he ran six times for 24 yards. But Lindale allowed 243 yards and five touchdowns through the air that night. The Eagles will need to somehow limit Johnson's impact on the game both as a passer and a runner, a feat few teams are capable pf achieving.

Don't be surprised if: Lindale sophomore running back Jordan Jenkins plays a starring role Friday night. Jenkins has been a force all season long with more than 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns during his breakout campaign. With the problems Johnson poses to Lindale's defense, expect the Eagles to focus on establishing the running game in an attempt to keep Port Neches-Groves' dynamic offense off the field as much as possible. Jenkins must have a big game if Lindale is to come away with a victory against a team led by one of the state's most exciting players.