It’s almost a cliché, but Lindale High School Head Football Coach Chris Cochran knows there’s a ring of truth in the axiom that once a team begins district play, each team is on equal footing.
“This week, (the coaches) have stressed that everyone in our district is 0-0,’’ Cochran said, referring to this Friday’s Homecoming foe Marshall. “Those pre-district records really don’t mean anything once district starts.’’
Kickoff for the first 9-5A game is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Eagle Stadium.
For clarification purposes, both Lindale and Marshall are 1-2 so far with Lindale’s win coming against Forney two weeks ago and the Maverick’s victory coming against Tyler Robert E. Lee three weeks ago.
Since that time, Marshall has lost to a very good 6A team (Longview) and an equally as strong 4A team (Carthage).
The Mavericks will pose quite a challenge to Cochran’s young Eagles, sporting lots of team speed and physicality.
“Their wide receivers are very, very good,’’ he said, “and their linebackers are very aggressive and they play downhill.’’
The Mavericks’ top receiving threat is Tahj Washington, a 6-4, 170 pound speedster who runs a 4.4, 40-yard dash. Quarterback Jacarrion Green is a force as well, Cochran said.
Lindale’s offense has shown the ability to not only score, but maintain possession with a steady ground game, led by sophomore bruiser Jordan Jenkins.
He’s picked up 326 yards on 69 carries and scored four touchdowns while proving to be quite a load for opposing defenses.
Quarterback Dillon Heinaman is a steady presence in the pocket, composing 62 of 91 attempts for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.
His favorite targets so far this year have been Brenna Moore (17 catches, 281 yards and three TDs), Conner Boyette, (21 receptions, 258 yards and three TDs), Colton Brown, (10 catches, 127 yards, two TDs), Dylan Worrell, (five catches, 50 yards) and Jaymond Jackson (three receptions, 27 yards).
Defensively, the Eagles have been led by senior defensive back Jaron Covey with 13 solo tackles, followed by sophomore Airik Williams (19), Walker Oglesby (12), Kolton Primeaux (7), Matt Grady (5) and James Grady (4).
While Cochran and his staff have been working on ways to beat the Mavericks, he understands the first order of business has to be getting the Eagles on track after a big loss to Van two weeks ago.
“We’ve been preparing for Marshall, sure,’’ the coach said. “But our main focus has been to fix the Lindale Eagles.’’
This means finishing drives and when the offense gets into the red zone, score touchdowns. Defensively, Cochran said, his players have to not only be in position, but make the play as well.
“Our young guys are growing up each week,’’ he said. “They’ve gained a lot of confidence and believe they can play.’’