PREVIEW: Rivals Lindale + Van Meet Friday Night
Lindale Eagles (1-1)
Van Vandals (1-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Memorial Stadium, Van
- Lindale: Chris Cochran
- Van: Jared Moffatt
- Lindale: def. Forney, 31-27
- Van: lost to Gilmer, 42-41
- Lindale: idle
- Van: at Pittsburg, Sept. 21
Players to watch
- QB Dillon Heinaman, Sr., 6-1, 230 (46 of 65, 598 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT)
- RB Jordan Jenkins, Soph., 6-2, 195 (52 carries 255 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Brennan Moore, Sr., 6-0, 150 (13 catches, 220 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Conner Boyette, Jr., 5-8, 150 (18 catches, 230 yards, TD)
- CB Walker Oglesby, Jr., 6-1, 160 (4 tackles, 2 PBUs)
- LB Kolton Primeaux, Jr., 6-0, 180 (10 tackles)
- S Arik Williams, Soph., 5-9, 140 (8 tackles)
- LB James Grady, Jr., 5-10, 170 (7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)
- RB Elijah Rankine, Jr., 5-10, 164 (36 carries, 251 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 62 yards, TD)
- WR Ethan Robinson, Sr., 5-10, 145 (`15 catches, 284 yards, 3 TDs)
- QB Jayton Moffatt, Jr., 5-10, 170 (20 of 24, 288 yards, TD; 4 carries, 9 yards, TD)
- QB Liam Nielson, Sr. (24 of 34, 317 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB/LB AJ Zarate, Sr., 6-0, 205 (9 carries, 38 yards, TD; 26 tackles, 1 for loss)
- DE Jayden Jacobs, Jr., 6-2, 195 (13 tackles, 6 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 PBU)
- S Ridge Preston, Sr., 5-11, 150 (14 tackles)
- LB Mauricio Herrera, Soph., 5-7, 177 (19 tackles, 3 for loss)
Just the facts
- Lindale and Van have met in each of the previous eight seasons. Van has won three of the past four matchups.
- Lindale won eight consecutive meetings over Van from 1998-2011.
- Lindale has averaged 32 points in its first two games of the season.
- Lindale is playing its final non-district game of the season Friday night. The Eagles are 10-18 in non-district since 2012.
- Lindale begins district play Sept. 28 at home against Marshall.
- Van has averaged 37.5 points and 466.5 yards through its first two games.
- Van quarterbacks Jayton Moffatt and Liam Nielson have combined to complete 76 percent of their passes.
- Van finishes district play with games against Pittsburg and Brownsboro later this month.
Key matchup: Van passing attack vs. Lindale secondary. It's not often that teams have success by using two quarterbacks, but in the case of Van, its two-man rotation behind center could not have gone much better through two weeks. Both Jayton Moffatt and Liam Nielson have helped the Vandals to an impressive start to the 2018 season, combing to complete more than 75 percent of their passes for four touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. In last week's 42-41 loss to fifth-ranked Gilmer, a game that wasn't decided until the final second, Moffatt and Nielson combined for 365 yards through the air. That success in the passing game has given Van incredible balance as it comes into Friday's game averaging 301 yards passing and 164 on the ground. Four different players have at least six receptions, but Ethan Robinson leads the way with 15 catches for 284 yards and three TD's.
Lindale has struggled on the defensive side of the ball in two games, allowing almost 40 points per game. And while the Eagles struggled containing the run in a 52-33 loss to Kaufman in the season opener, it's been the pass defense that's hurt Lindale in both contests. Forney was limited to three offensive touchdowns a week ago, but all three came via the pass -- each covering at least 18 yards. Van running back Elijah Rankine has gone over the 100-yard rushing mark in both games in 2018, and he'll surely be a challenge for the Lindale defense. But keeping the Vandals quarterbacks and receivers from making big plays downfield will be of utmost importance to the Eagles this week.
Don't be surprised if: Lindale tries to establish its running game in the first half. Eagles quarterback Dillon Heinaman has been great so far, passing for almost 600 yards, but sophomore running back Jordan Jenkins has been a revelation. Jenkins carried the ball 30 times against Forney, totaling 139 yards, including a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns that put the game away in the Eagles' favor. Van's offense has been clicking on all cylinders in the early going, so it would be in Lindale's best interest to control time of possession by going to the ground.