DISTRICT 11-6A

Rockwall-Heath Hawks (4-2, 2-1)

vs.

John Tyler Lions (5-1, 2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler

Coaches

  • Rockwall-Heath: Mickey Moss
  • John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
Last week
  • Rockwall-Heath: Idle
  • John Tyler: Idle

Next week
  • Rockwall-Heath: vs. Mesquite, Oct. 21
  • John Tyler: at Longview, Oct. 21
Playmakers

Rockwall-Heath

  • RB J'corian Jimmerson, Sr., 5-8, 160 (86 carries, 572 yards, 7 TDs)
  • RB/DB Tanner McCallister, Jr., 6-0, 185 (46 carries, 380 yards, 5 TDs, 3 forced fumbles)
  • RB Jordan Kempf, Jr., 5-11, 185 (48 carries, 375 yards, 3 TDs)
  • SB Tyus Fort, Jr., 5-10, 160 (28 carries, 329 yards, 6 TDs)

John Tyler

  • QB Bryson Smith, Sr., 6-0, 170 (89-of-154 passing, 1,456 yards, 18 TDs, 5 INTs, 76 carries, 675 yards, 7 TDs; committed to Houston)
  • WR Damion Miller, Sr., 6-2, 195 (15 catches, 400 yards, 4 TDs; committed to Texas)
  • DE Dekalen Goodson, Jr., 6-3, 205 (32 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 PBU)
  • CB Javonta Mosley, Sr., 6-2, 170 (29 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT; committed to UTSA)
  • DE Howard Hawkins, Sr., 6-0, 266 (46 tackles, 17 for loss, 6 sacks, 15 QB pressures)
  • RB Justin Samples, Jr., 6-2, 205 (Questionable; 79 carries, 357 yards, 5 TDs)
  • LB Tre Allison, Jr., 6-2, 205 (60 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT, 3 PBUs)
  • WR Michael Givens-Washington, Jr., 5-7, 165 (23 catches, 397 yards, 5 TDs)
Just the facts
  • All District 11-6A teams were off last week.
  • Rockwall-Heath, which was previously undefeated in the league standings, lost to North Mesquite in its last game Sept. 30. That left Longview as the only undefeated team in the league.
  • The Lions travel to Longview next week.
  • Assuming John Tyler wins Friday, defeats Longview next week and wins its final two district games, the Lions will have all the district tiebreakers they need to win the league.
  • Heath and John Tyler last met in the third round of the 2014 Class 5A Division I playoffs at Baylor's McLane Stadium. The Lions won that game, 49-21.
John Tyler defensive end Dekalen Goodson, a Mississippi State recruiting target, will be a key piece in Friday's game against Heath. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: John Tyler's defensive front versus Rockwall-Heath's single wing offensive formation.

Heath effectively has no quarterback and no passing game. It has completed two of 10 passes all season versus 280 rushing play calls for more than 2,000 ground yards.

All of Heath's offensive action comes very near the line of scrimmage. Its five offensive linemen and a tight end set up to block, four backs pack in tight behind them and a receiver is lined up away from the pack near a sideline so the team can threaten to pass.

Heath's best offensive athlete lines up about three yards behind the center, takes the snap and either hands the ball off to one of the backs -- all of which are going different directions -- or fakes a handoff and takes off running while the other backs set up blocks.

The key to Heath's offensive success is how tight the unit is packed together. It's just hard for opposing defenses to see where the ball is going with so much movement in such a small space.

A John Tyler victory is in the hands of its defensive front and its defense at large. The Lions are going to have to win the battles at the line of scrimmage and need the back layers of the defense fit into the holes carved by the front.

John Tyler's safeties will be taxed as well. They have to assume they're coming forward to defend the run, but they always have to be wary of a rare Heath pass attempt.

Because Heath runs so much, it's easy for the team to catch a defense off guard by throwing.

It should be a tougher than normal task for Heath to run outside of its offensive tackles this week. Defensive ends Howard Hawkins and Dekalen Goodson have performed very well for the Lions with a combined 78 total tackles and 25 tackles for loss.

Linebacker Tre Allison is another obstacle if Heath runs up the middle. He is the team's leading tackler with 60 in six games played.

 

Don't be surprised if: Turnovers determine the winner of Friday's game.

Heath wants to maintain possession of the ball and continuously burns through the clock since it does not throw often. A John Tyler turnover could be costly because it could be between five and eight minutes of game time before the Lions get another shot to score, and Heath might have added points in the meantime.

Quarterback Bryson Smith and the Lions' offense will have to make the most of limited possessions.

However, Heath's offensive choice will work against it if it turns the ball over.

It takes time for the unit to score against a formidable defense. The clock will become an enemy if it goes down multiple possessions to the Lions' high-powered offense.

John Tyler free safety Tyus Grayson. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)