PREVIEW: Jacksonville Meets Whitehouse in Pivotal District Clash
DISTRICT 9-5A DIVISION II
Jacksonville Indians (1-3, 0-1)
Whitehouse Wildcats (3-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse
- Jacksonville: Wayne Coleman
- Whitehouse: Marcus Gold
- Jacksonville: vs. Pine Tree (at Tyler), Oct. 12
- Whitehouse: at Nacogdoches, Oct. 12
Players to watch
- ATH Deshawn McCuin, Sr., 6-0, 170 (24 carries, 264 yards, 5 TDs; 4 catches, 96 yards, 2 TDs; 5 tackles, 1 INT; committed to TCU)
- QB Tristen Shewmake, Jr., 6-0, 185 (28 of 76, 501 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs)
- LB Shiloh Canady, Jr., 6-1, 190 (11 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 2 INTs)
- WR/DB Chris Carpenter, Jr., 6-0, 170 (13 catches, 185 yards, 2 TDs; 9 carries, 58 yards; 2 tackles, 2 INTs)
- DB Braelyn Riden, Sr., 6-1, 170 (4 tackles, 1 INT; committed to Texas Southern)
- RB TJ Ratliffe, Sr., 5-10, 175 (55 carries, 178 yards, 2 TDs; 5 catches, 27 yards)
- WR Joydaysion Thompson, Jr., 6-0, 165 (5 catches, 134 yards, 2 TDs)
- DL/LB Taqualan Thompson, Sr., 5-9, 200 (11 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack)
- QB Flint Herrington, Sr., 6-0, 165 (73 of 121, 998 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs)
- LB Michael Raabe, Sr., 5-11, 210 (32 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs)
- WR Kendrion Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 195 (26 catches, 492 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB/LB Peyton Kennedy, Jr., 5-11, 190 (9 carries, 82 yards, 5 TDs; 41 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 QB pressure, 1 INT)
- RB Jaden Haskins, Sr., 5-7, 155 (47 carries, 320 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Cameron Cantrell, Sr., 6-1, 175 (6 catches, 114 yards, 2 TDs; 3 carries, 23 yards; committed to Texas Tech)
- DB Chaez Spurlock, Sr., 5-10, 180 (23 tackles, 1.5 for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 PBUs)
- WR Kendahl Fry, Sr., 5-8, 170 (26 catches, 218 yards, 2 TDs)
Just the facts
- This is the 27th meeting between Jacksonville and Whitehouse. Jacksonville leads the all-time series, 15-11.
- Whitehouse is 10-2 vs. Jacksonville since 2006.
- Jacksonville is averaging 32.5 points and 287 yards per game -- 136.8 rushing and 150.2 passing.
- Indians ATH Deshawn McCuin has seven touchdowns on just 28 offensive touches.
- Jacksonville is allowing 40 points per game, and has forced 11 turnovers -- six interceptions and five fumbles.
- Whitehouse is averaging 38.3 points and 373 yards per game -- 122.3 rushing and 250.7 passing.
- Wildcats senior receiver Kendrion Johnson has a touchdown reception in every game this season.
- Whitehouse is allowing 18.8 points per game, and has forced six turnovers -- five interceptions and one fumble.
Key matchup: Whitehouse passing attack vs. Jacksonville secondary. Following an uncharacteristically down year on offense in 2017, the Wildcats appear to be back on track this season. Senior quarterback Flint Herrington and his trio of receivers -- Kendrion Johnson, Kendahl Fry, and Texas Texas commit Cameron Cantrelll - have ignited an offense that is averaging a little more than 38 points per game. Herrington has two 300-yard passing games this year already, and has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all four games. Johnson has been the primary target, as he enters Friday's game averaging almost 19 yards per reception. He's also caught at least one touchdown every week. After missing two games to injury, Cantrell returned in last week's win over Mount Pleasant, hauling in one of Herrington's four touchdown passes.
Jacksonville's pass defense was fairly solid during non-district, limiting opponents to an average of just 141 passing yards per game. The Indians allowed six touchdowns through the air in those three games, but also registered five interceptions as the teams completed passes at just a 54-percent clip. However, in last week's 45-41 district-opening loss to Nacogdoches, the pass defense struggled mightily. The Dragons put up 327 yards and tossed four touchdowns. Seniors Deshawn McCuin (TCU commit) and Braelyn Riden (Texas Southern) and junior Chris Carpenter are all standouts in the Jacksonville secondary, so continued struggles don't seem likely.
Don't be surprised if: McCuin becomes even more involved in the offensive game plan. It's clear through four games that the Jacksonville superstar athlete is the most explosive player the Indians have on the offensive side of the ball. Not only is McCuin averaging 11 yards per carry and 24 yards per reception, he has accounted for seven touchdowns despite only touching the ball seven times per game. Last week, McCuin ran for three touchdowns and caught another, but still only got the ball only 10 times. If Jacksonville wishes to avoid an 0-2 start to district, it needs to feed its best player as much as possible.