Carthage Bulldogs (3-2)


Henderson Lions (5-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Lion Stadium, Henderson

  • Carthage: Scott Surratt
  • Henderson: Phil Castles
Last week
  • Carthage: idle
  • Henderson: idle
Next week
  • 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.
Carthage DL Jarrod McLin (90) has put together a strong resume since committing to UTSA in August. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

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.

Henderson linebacker Cadarius Caldwell enters Friday's game ranked eighth among East Texans in total tackles with 61 takedowns. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)