Carthage is ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 3A poll, with Gilmer at No. 2 and Palestine making a strong bid to join Class 3A's best with a 3-0 record.
Jacksonville and Henderson will enter play Friday having a handful of injuries, mostly affecting offensive players, that could have each offensive unit playing at less than full strength.
Often when a game pits evenly matched teams against each other the end result comes down to coaching, and such could be the case in this one.
The tell of the tape could be revealed by how well the team that trails at halftime responds in the third quarter.
Jacksonville coach Chris Taber and Henderson mentor Phil Castles have only a brief history of coaching against each other — Castle's Corsicana club got by the Indians 35-25 on Nov. 9, 2012 in a District 16-4A contest.
Interesting enough, when Castles departed from Chapel Hill following the 2008 season, it was then offensive coordinator Taber, who came in at Chapel Hill as a member of head coach Thomas Sitton's staff.
Jacksonville will close out the non-district portion of its docket with another road game next week when the Tribe travel to Marshall.