Something’s Got to Give When Unbeatens Henderson + Carthage Collide
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
No. 7 Henderson Lions (5-0, 1-0)
No. 3 Carthage Bulldogs (3-0, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, Carthage
- Henderson: Phil Castles
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Henderson: def. Chapel Hill, 40-14
- Carthage: idle
- Henderson: idle
- Carthage: at Kilgore, Oct. 7
- WR/DB Trestan Ebner, Sr., 5-11, 190 (20 catches, 409 yards, 7 TDs; 5 carries, 31 yards, 1 TD; 12 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 2 defensive TDs; committed to TCU)
- RB/DB Lakendrick Van Zandt, Sr., 6-1, 196 (46 carries, 461 yards, 7 TDs; 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumbles, 1 PBU; committed to TCU)
- QB Trae Hall, Jr., 6-3, 185 (43 of 65, 542 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 19 carries, 208 yards, 3 TDs)
- ATH Tariq Gray, Sr., 5-10, 184 (6 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD; 8 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBUs)
- WR Matthew Childers, Sr., 6-5, 185 (14 catches, 130 yards, 2 TDs; 12 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD; 3 of 3, 74 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB/LB Lynn Freeney, Jr., 5-11, 170 (33 carries, 216 yards, 2 TDs; 9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB pressure)
- DE De'Braylon Garrett, Jr. (27 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 8 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Ty Blanton, Jr., 6-1, 175 (58 tackles, 12 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
- RB Keaontay Ingram, Jr., 5-11, 198 (59 carries, 444 yards, 4 TDs; 11 catches, 60 yards)
- QB Kason Davis, Sr., 6-2, 180 (55 of 95, 754 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT)
- LB Mykel Gates, Jr., 6-0, 215 (35 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 PBUs)
- DE Tre Gatlin, Sr., 6-6, 250 (21 tackles, 1 for loss, 8 QB pressures, 2 PBUs)
- WR Roderic Calloway, Sr., 6-2, 179 (9 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Dee Bowens, Jr., 5-7, 140 (20 catches, 324 yards, 6 TDs)
- CB Mekhi Colbert, Jr., 5-10, 180 (13 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- CB Nic Moore, Sr., 5-11, 150 (23 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
Just the facts
- This is the 73rd meeting between Henderson and Carthage. Henderson leads the all-time series, 39-30-3.
- Carthage has had an upper hand in the recent series history, owning an 18-15-1 edge since 1980 and 7-2 since 2005.
- Henderson is averaging 48.2 points and 390.8 yards per game -- 246 rushing and 144.8 passing.
- The Lions are shooting for their first 6-0 start to a season since 2011.
- The cumulative record of Henderson's first five opponents is 11-13.
- Carthage is averaging 37.3 points and 421.7 yards per game -- 170.3 rushing and 251.4 passing.
- Under head coach Scott Surratt, the Bulldogs are 40-3 in district games.
- The cumulative record of Carthage's first three opponents is 9-6.
Key matchup: Carthage running game vs. Henderson defensive front. In a game of this magnitude, there will be several keys to determining the outcome. Both Henderson and Carthage come in unbeaten and ranked in the top 10 in the state by the Associated Press. Each team has District 9-4A Division I championship aspirations that can likely only be achieved by coming away with a win Friday night. And both schools are two of the fiercest rivals in all of East Texas, which makes this week's clash one of the most anticipated in the series' history.
Carthage is at its best when its pro-style offense is able to find balance, which was evident for most of last season's run to the state semifinals. It wasn't until running back Keaontray Ingram emerged during the postseason that the Bulldogs were able to tap into their full potential. In upset playoff wins over previously unbeaten Stafford and defending state champion Navasota, Ingram combined to rush for 366 yards and five touchdowns. And so far this season, Carthage's offense has benefitted greatly from big performances from Ingram. In wins over Liberty-Eylau and Gilmer, in which Carthage combined for 89 points, Ingram rolled up 387 yards and four touchdowns. In its narrow 23-13 defeat of Whitehouse, the junior running back managed just 57 yards on 17 carries and was kept out of the end zone.
While Carthage quarterback Kason Davis is more than capable of carving up opposing secondaries, Henderson must first set its sights on stopping Ingram. On the season, the Lions have had great success in controlling the ground game. Just last week in its 40-14 rout of Chapel Hill, Henderson limited the Bulldogs to negative rushing yards, making an incredible 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. And for the season, the Lions enter Friday's game with a whopping 59 tackles for loss as a team -- an average of almost 12 per game. If Henderson can create enough negative plays early in the down-and-distance, and force Carthage into second- and third-and-long situations, the Lions can go into pass-rush mode, where they've excelled to the tune of 14 sacks on the year.
Don't be surprised if: Don't be surprised if turnovers are the deciding factor. Often times when two teams as evenly matched as Henderson and Carthage meet, mistakes ultimately determine the winner. So far this season, the Lions have forced 10 turnovers (seven fumbles, three interceptions), while Carthage comes in having created seven takeaways in three games (five fumbles and two interceptions).