Jacksonville Daily Progress
There is catchy acronym — W-E-B-O (We Believe in Orange) – that has been floating around Lancaster High School for quite some time now, in much the same fashion as is found at a couple of other perennial football powers, John Tyler (CUJO) and Odessa Permian (MOJO).
It's a no brainer as to why Tiger fans have so much faith in this years football team, who will put their 9-1 record and Class 4A top-10 ranking on the line at 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening at City Bank Stadium in Forney when Lancaster faces Jacksonville (4-6) in a Region II, Division II bi-district affair.
Yes sir, the Orange and Black are one prep powerhouse, indeed.
The Tigers have been ranked as high as No. 2 in the state this year and they own a win over John Tyler as well.
“Yes, they are a very good football team,” Jacksonville head coach Chris Taber said.”They have the athleticism and speed of John Tyler, but mentally they are much different.
“It's no secret that they like to run the ball, but they throw it with success, too.”
The only chink in the Tigers' armor was a 17-0 upset lost to district rival Red Oak that came on the last Friday night in October.
Red Oak is not chopped liver — the Hawks finished the year 7-3 and are also representing District 15-4A in the state playoffs.
“When the playoffs roll around anything can happen” Taber said. “It's a whole new game for everybody.
“Realistically, Lancaster has been defeated this year and they have not gone out and just totally dominated everyone from start to finish. As good as Lancaster has been, there have been several games where the opponent had a chance to beat them and we have to keep that in mind.”
Most of Lancaster's close games came earlier in the season, however, and following the loss to Red Oak, the Tigers have knocked off opponents by an average score of 49-15, so it is safe the say that the Tigers are coming into the game in good form.
Statistically, the Tigers have gained an average of 402 yards a game while allowing the opponents just 236 total yards.
That 402 yard figure is broken down with the Tigers averaging 267 yards on the ground a night to garnering 136 through the skies.
Quarterback Demarcus Ayers (5'11”, 165 lbs.) is the centerpiece of the Tiger offense.
Ayers has received at least 20 NCAA Division I offers and has verbally committed to Washington State University.
He has rushed 102 times for 857 yards for an average of 8.4 yards per carry.
Ayers has gone 67-119 — 1,005 yards and 13 TDs, 7 INTs via the air.
In a nutshell, he can run the ball, pass the ball and even catch the ball when called upon, so the Tribe defense will have to keep him in check if Jacksonville is to have a chance.
Running back Joseph Paden (119-847, 10 TDs) is another speed demon that has had a big year for Lancaster, who is coached by Chris Gilbert, this year.
The Tribe will be looking for leadership and performance out of its 27 seniors says Taber.
“It's been on those 27 seniors' shoulders all year to lead and for our younger guys to follow them,” Taber said. “That want change any Thursday night.”
NOTES: Jacksonville and Lancaster have never met in football...The winner between the Indians and the Tigers will advance into the Area round next week and will play either Lucas Lovejoy or Hallsville.