Henderson + Carthage Renew Rivalry On Heels Of District 9-4A Division I Co-Championship Last Season
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Carthage Bulldogs (3-2)
Henderson Lions (5-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Lion Stadium, Henderson
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Henderson: Phil Castles
- Carthage: idle
- Henderson: idle
- Carthage: at Kilgore, Oct. 16
- Henderson: at Brownsboro, Oct. 16
- TE/DL Jarrod McLin, Sr., 6-3, 215 (39 tackles; committed to UTSA)
- WR/TE Marquise Guinn, Sr., 6-4, 220 (22 catches, 291 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Jarod Blissett, Sr., 6-1, 200 (97-170, 1,217 yards, 9 TDs, 3 INTs)
- WR Jakeldric Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160
- OL Cagan Baldree, Sr., 6-4, 250
- RB Ravodney Hardy, Sr. (4 games played, 79 caries, 440 yards, 1 TD)
- ATH Hunter Townsend, Soph., 5-11, 185 (19 catches, 311 yards, 2 TDs)
- FB Brewster Griffith, Jr. (39 tackles)
- OL Brandon Carlson, Sr., 5-11, 260
- WR Trestan Ebner, Jr., 5-11, 175 (17 carries, 254 rushing yards, 4 TDs, 4 catches, 86 yards, 1 TD; offers from Kansas and SMU)
- RB/DB La’Kendrick Vanzandt, Jr., 6-1, 185 (70 carries, 440 yards, 6 TDs)
- OL Raini Dorman, Jr., 6-2, 245
- ATH Matthew Childers, Jr., 6-4, 180 (47 carries, 247 yards, 4 TDs)
- OL Weston Thomas, Jr., 5-11, 250
- LB Cadarius Caldwell, Sr., 5-8, 180 (61 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack)
- DL Jaxon Goode, Sr., 6-1, 220 (25 tackles, 4 for loss, 15 QB pressures)
- DB Justin Rojas, Sr. (23 tackles, 3 PBUs)
- LB Keaton Hand, Jr., 5-10, 195 (36 tackles, 1 sack)
Just the facts
- The two schools have a long history, meeting every single year between 1958 and 2011.
- Henderson leads the series, 39-29-3, but Carthage had won six of the past seven meetings prior to the Lions' 38-16 victory last season.
- The Lions posted their first perfect non-district schedule since 2011 with a win two weeks against Daingerfield. Henderson reached the regional championship game the last time it started a season 5-0.
- Carthage is in much better position for this meeting than it was last season. The Bulldogs last squared off with Henderson with a 1-4 overall record. The team is 3-2 this season with losses coming by a combined four points.
- The Bulldogs closed non-district competition two weeks ago with an 18-15 loss to Gilmer.
- However, Carthage's narrow loss was Gilmer's closest game within its current 21-game winning streak.
- Bulldogs quarterback Jarod Blissett ranks seventh among East Texans in passing yardage. He has 1,217 yards and nine touchdowns to just three interceptions.
- Henderson senior linebacker Cadarius Caldwell ranks eighth among East Texans in total tackles. He has 61 takedowns through five games.
- Friday's game is the District 9-4A Division I opener for both teams. All six league teams will simultaneously be in action.
- While Carthage lost to Henderson last year, it still claimed a minority share of the district championship. The Bulldogs did not lose another district game, so the team has a four-game league winning streak to uphold. Henderson was upset by Kilgore on the final night of the regular season.
- Carthage is 2-1 against Class 4A competition this season. Henderson is 3-0, but it has not played a team its own size in nearly a month.
- Henderson has not scored less than 32 points through five games. Carthage has never allowed more than 32 points through regulation in the same span.
Key matchup: Henderson's offense versus Carthage's defense.
The Lions will have to score against a Bulldogs offense that no one other than an unbeaten Gilmer has been able to considerably restrict through five games.
Henderson does enter the district slate with the best point margin -- only Carthage and Brownsboro will begin 9-4A Division I with positive margins aside from the Lions -- but the team had games against Class 3A opponents Newton and Daingerfield to pad the statistic.
The Lions have six runners over the 100-yard mark, headlined by Lakendrick Vanzandt's 440 yards, for a total of 1,355 yards on the ground on 214 total carries. The passing game is about on par in production per play with 448 yards and roughly a .500 completion percentage on 61 passing plays.
However, Carthage's defensive front is a force to be reckoned with. Its goal will be to force the Lions to embrace their passing game.
Jarrod McLin, a UTSA defensive line commitment, has been outstanding in his past two games. The front unit as a whole forced a run-heavy Gladewater team to throw and pressured Gilmer into leaning on first-year starting quarterback Zac Spears and its own defense in the same two-game span. Both games were decided by a combined four points with the Bulldogs splitting the games.
Don't be surprised if: Henderson junior receiver Trestan Ebner ups his numbers. He has early offers from Kansas and SMU, but has been much more productive in the running game with 17 carries from a second-best 254 yards behind Lakendrick Vanzandt. He only has 86 yards on nine catches at his natural position. Carthage's defense has done a good job lately of forcing opposition out of its offensive element. It might be Ebner's turn to lead the Lions. Win or lose.