Nacogdoches Hosts Defending State Champ Ennis As Dragons Search For First League Win
Ennis Lions (2-2, 1-0)
Nacogdoches Dragons (1-3, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Ennis: Jack Alvarez
- Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes
- Ennis: vs. Whitehouse, Oct. 9
- Nacogdoches: at Corsicana, Oct. 9
- QB Tre Elliott, Sr., 5-11, 210 (23 of 52, 344 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs; 25 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Tycen Thompspn, Soph., 5-9, 160 (9 catches, 221 yards, 4 TDs; 21 carries, 248 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Kyre Holloway, Soph., 5-11, 185 (38 carries, 404 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 25 yards)
- RB Treyvon Smith, Sr., 5-8, 215 (42 carries, 367 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Deven Collins, Jr., 6-2, 315
- OL Trendon Rolen, Jr., 6-4, 315
- RB Zach Rhone, Sr., 5-11, 190 (12 carries, 138 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR JT Mackey, Jr., 6-3, 185 (5 catches, 91 yards)
- DB Brandon Jones, Sr., 6-0 , 190 (52 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
- DB Corey Lane, Sr., 6-0, 185 (40 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
- RB Phillip Jones, Sr. (113 carries, 575 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Noah Hildebrand, Jr., 6-1, 180 (43 of 85, 627 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs)
- WR Alex Gregory, Sr., 6-0, 175 (18 catches, 339 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jaylon Maxie, Jr., 6-0, 165 (7 catches, 98 yards, 1 TD)
- DL Kyle Consford, Sr., 6-2, 200 (21 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks, 5 QB pressures)
- DB Josh Thompson, Jr., 6-0, 175 (15 tackles, 4 INTs)
Just the facts
- Ennis won last season’s meeting with Nacogdoches, 57-26.
- The cumulative record of Nacogdoches’ opponents this season — Kilgore, Hallsville, Carthage, and Lufkin — is 10-8.
- Ennis is averaging 32.3 points and 435.5 yards per game — 331.5 rushing and 104 passing.
- The Lions are allowing 22 points and 298 yards per game — 173.5 rushing and 124.5 passing.
- Ennis is currently riding a 15-game district winning streak.
- Nacogdoches is averaging 18.3 points and 301.8 yards per game — 145 rushing and 156.8 passing.
- The Dragons are allowing 24.8 points per game.
- Nacogdoches hasn’t begun district play 0-2 since 2012.
Key matchup: Ennis rushing attack vs. Nacogdoches defensive front. Both Ennis and Nacogdoches come into Friday night’s clash on opposite ends of the spectrum. Ennis is on the heels of a dominating 57-0 shutout of Jacksonville in which the Lions rolled up 444 rushing yards. For the season, Ennis averages more than 330 yards on the ground per game, and the Lions’ will no doubt look to lean on its backs in this week’s encounter. Ennis has five ball carriers with at least 124 rushing yards on the season, and that doesn’t include last year’s 1,000-yard rusher Tre Elliott, who has switched to quarterback and has yet to factor prominently into Ennis’ rushing attack. Kyre Holloway. a sophomore, is the Lions’ leading rusher and most explosive back, averaging more than 10 yards per carry. But Treyvon Smith and receiver Tycen Thompson are also big-time contributors on the ground.
Nacogdoches was thoroughly dominated in last week’s 38-0 district-opening loss to Lufkin, which did just about everything it wanted on the offensive side of the ball. It is imperative that the Dragons contain Ennis’ rushing attack, not only because it’s the Lions’ strength on offense, but because the Lions do not have an experienced passer behind center. Elliott, who’s only completing 44 percent of his passes, has spent the last couple of seasons at running back and isn’t asked to do too much from a throwing standpoint. However, if Nacogdoches can keep Ennis’ backs from running wild, the Dragons should be able to force Ennis’ hand on offense.
Don’t be surprised if: Nacogdoches performs better on offense this week. The Dragons were limited to just 148 yards of total offense in last week’s loss to Lufkin, which had built up two years worth of frustration in losing in consecutive seasons to its oldest rival. While the normal intensity of a district game should be there, the level of emotion won’t likely be as high when these two teams hit the field on Friday. The Dragons need another good performance from running back Phillip Jones, who’s gone over 100 yards rushing in each of his first four games this season. But Nacogdoches also needs a big night from its passing game. Junior quarterback Noah Hildebrand struggled a week ago, completing just six of 21 passing attempts. If Hildebrand can take full advantage of a strong receiving corps led by Alex Gregory, Nacogdoches should at least remain competitive with Ennis.