PREVIEW: Rivals Carthage + Henderson Meet For District Lead
DISTRICT 10-4A DIVISION I
No. 1 Carthage Bulldogs (8-0, 3-0)
Henderson Lions (6-2, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Lion Stadium, Henderson
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Henderson: Phil Castles
- Carthage: vs. Kilgore, Nov. 9
- Henderson: at Van, Nov. 9
Players to watch
- QB Gunner Capps, Sr., 6-1, 195 (133 of 203, 1,943 yards, 22 TDs, 3 INTs)
- WR Kelvontay Dixon, Jr., 6-0, 173 (44 catches, 695 yards, 8 TDs; 12 carries, 97 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Ty'kieast Crawford, Jr., 6-6, 310 (committed to Baylor)
- DB Ja'Corey Ware, Sr., 6-0, 170 (29 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 3 INTs, 2 PBUs)
- RB Tucker Smith, Sr., 5-11, 180 (90 carries, 539 yards, 10 TDs; 24 catches, 342 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Kel Williams, Jr., 6-0, 150 (26 catches, 477 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Quinton Owens, Jr., 6-3, 200 (42 tackles, 6 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- RB Mason Courtney, Soph. (56 carries, 394 yards, 6 TDs; 2 catches, 34 yards)
- WR Caleb Medford, Jr., 6-3, 185 (21 catches, 451 yards, 6 TDs; 29 carries, 255 yards, 4 TDs; 5 of 8, 40 yards)
- DE Keivie Rose, Sr., 6-3, 240 (28 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 13 QB pressures, 2 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- LB Brady Odom, Jr., 5-11, 210 (104 tackles, 17 for loss, 1 sack, 9 QB pressures, 1 INT, 7 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
- RB Kevin Fields, Jr., 6-0, 190 (112 carries, 588 yards, 6 TDs; 4 catches, 50 yards)
- RB Eli Jones, Jr., 5-10, 210 (71 carries, 445 yards, 6 TDs)
- CB Keuntaye Dunham, Sr., 5-8, 165 (11 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 12 PBUs)
- QB Sevastian De Leon, Sr., 5-8, 155 (61 of 110, 1,004 yards, 11 TDs, 6 INTs; 44 carries, 154 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Kourtland Jackson, Sr., 5-7, 150 (20 catches, 233 yards, 1 TD; 6 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- This is the 77th all-time meeting between Henderson and Carthage. Henderson leads the series, 40-33-3.
- Friday will mark the fifth meeting between Henderson and Carthage since 2016. Carthage has won the previous three games, twice in the playoffs.
- Carthage is averaging 42.3 points and 398.8 yards per game -- 155.9 rushing and 242.9 passing.
- Bulldogs junior receiver Kelvontay Dixon is averaging 14.1 yards per touch, and has 11 of the team's 43 offensive touchdowns.
- Carthage is allowing 17.6 points per game, has 15 sacks, and has forced 22 turnovers -- 14 interceptions and eight fumbles.
- Henderson is averaging 32.6 points and 340.1 yards per game -- 209.6 rushing and 130.5 passing.
- Lions junior receiver Caleb Medford is averaging 14.1 yards per touch, and has 10 of his team's 30 offensive touchdowns.
- Henderson is allowing 17.3 points per game, has 18 sacks, and has forced 17 turnovers -- six interceptions and 11 fumbles.
Key matchup: Carthage passing attack vs. Henderson secondary. The Bulldogs no longer have star running back Keaontay Ingram in the backfield; he's now applying his trade in major college football at the University of Texas. But in last year's two meetings between Carthage and Henderson, it wasn't the Bulldogs' running back that was the difference in the outcome. That's because quarterback Gunner Capps was busy exposing the Henderson secondary with long touchdown passes. In Carthage's two wins over rival Henderson last year, Capps was 20-of-29 for 462 yards and six touchdowns -- four of which covered at least 55 yards. Dee Bowens, who caught all four of those long bombs, graduated, but junior receiver Kelvontay Dixon has picked up the slack this season. He enters Friday's game with 44 catches for 695 yards and eight touchdowns.
Henderson's defensive backs will need to play coverage better than they have all season in order to keep Carthage's receivers from having a major impact Friday night. Carthage has a big offensive line that's protected Capps well for most of the year, which means a strong Henderson pass rush might be neutralized to a degree this week. And that will make the job of the Lions' secondary much tougher. However, if Henderson can limit the big plays though the air, the Lions should have an excellent shot at ending Carthage's 34-game winning streak.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is low scoring. Henderson has won six consecutive games, and the main reason for that has been a defense that's clicking on all cylinders right now. Henderson has allowed only 14 points total in its three district games, and is coming off a shutout of Chapel Hill. Carthage's offense will present a big test, of course, but the Lions' defense should be good enough to keep them in the game into the second half. Carthage, meanwhile, has excelled on the defensive side of the ball for most of the year. The Bulldogs allow a little more than 17 points per game on the year, shut down Marshall's high-powered passing attack in non-district, and surrendered only seven points to Van in the district opener three weeks ago. The first team to 21 points might be the winner.