The Jacksonville Indians return home Friday night to play what will be their next-to-last home game of the 2013 campaign.
The Tribe (0-7, 0-2 in District 16-4A) will be going up against the Lions of John Tyler, who are 5-2 overall, and 2-0 in conference play, under the guidance of head coach Ricklan Holmes.
Jacksonville, coached by Chris Taber, is in a rebuilding year and has faced the upper echelon of 16-4A the past two weeks when the Tribe have come up short versus Nacogdoches (31-0) and Whitehouse (70-21).
A reloading JT team has circuit triumphs over Corsicana (51-22) and Lindale (49-17), two teams that are, like the Indians, winless in district play.
The Lions' losses have both been suffered at the hands of Class 5A opponents as JT has dropped decisions to Lufkin (52-28) and to Mesquite Horn (47-17).
JT can clinch a playoff spot with a win Friday, while the Tribe will need to win two of its final three conference games to advance to post season play.
Jacksonville closes the regular season out by visiting Lindale next week and entertaining Corsicana on Nov. 8.
The Lions are averaging 428 yards per game and as always have a potent offensive attack.
JT prefers the sky to the turf as the Lions average just over 260 yards of passing an outing.
Junior Geovari McCollister (6'2”, 200 lbs.) is the spark plug that ignites the Lions.
He has thrown for 1,824 yards and 16 touchdowns this year and is 112-165-5 in the passing department.
McCollister also leads the Lions in rushing (108-524, 3 TDs). He averages nearly five yards a scamper.
JT has four receivers who have over 300 yards receiving thus far.
Nick Cain, a 5-9 junior, leads the team with 33 grabs fro 609 yards and five scores.
Sophomore Duntavion Gross has tallied 31 snags for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
JT lacks a tall pass catcher, with the Lions' top-four receivers all being 5-foot-9 or below, which enhances the matchups for the Indians.
Jacksonville will have to be cautious in not allowing the Lions to go off for a slew of unanswered points like the Lions chalked up in their win over Corsicana.
In that game the Tigers led 14-0 to start the second period, but from that point on JT scored 44-unanswered points.
In last week's loss to Whitehouse the Indians surrendered 56-straight points to the No. 3-ranked Wildcats, after jumping out to take an early 7-0 lead.
NOTE: In other 16-4A tilts on the docket for Friday, Whitehouse visits Nacogdoches and Corsicana takes on the Eagles in Lindale.