3A-2A-1A preview: W. Orange-Stark, Newton return
By Dennis Hall / Texas Football
West Orange-Stark (2-1) at Kirbyville (5-0)
We can talk all we want about X’s and O’s, but this game is going to come down to emotion. West Orange-Stark will be hitting the field for the first time since the tragic death of QB Reggie Garrett, who never regained consciousness after suffering a seizure during the Mustangs’ game against Jasper on Sept. 17. West Orange-Stark players will be filled with emotion as they take on undefeated Kirbyville and star RB LeFrederick Ford. Kirbyville would be the clear favorite under normal circumstances, but expect West Orange-Stark to play at a high level in this one.
DCTF Prediction: West Orange-Stark 35, Kirbyville 34.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Kirbyville by 8.
Caldwell (4-0) at Brookshire Royal (5-0)
Caldwell is the next team to get a chance to try to stop Brookshire Royal RB Brandon Williams, who already has almost 1,300 rushing yards at midseason. Williams seems to get 200 yards against just about anybody, and that theory will be tested this week against an undefeated Caldwell team that already has posted two shutouts and has only allowed 25 total points in four games. Royal has scored at least 32 points in every game.
DCTF Prediction: Caldwell 30, Brookshire Royal 29
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Royal by 4.
Graham (3-1) at Bridgeport (4-1)
Bridgeport suffered its first loss last week against Alvarado, but the Bulls are still in the midst of a remarkable season. QB Cody Henson has established himself as one of 3A’s top passers, and the Bulls have already scored 197 points in five games (almost 40 ppg). Graham was expected to slip a bit this year with the departure of coach Brad McCoy and star QB Case McCoy, but the Steers have fared well under new coach Kenny Davidson. Graham has beaten Abilene Wylie and Borger, and its only loss came against the top-ranked team in the state, Brownwood.
DCTF Prediction: Bridgeport 44, Graham 38.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Bridgeport by 2.
Lubbock Estacado (4-0) at Abilene Wylie (1-4)
We keep waiting and waiting for Abilene Wylie to get its act together and start winning football games, but after four consecutive losses, it’s starting to look like the Bulldogs just aren’t as good as they have been in recent years. That’s especially true of the offense, which got shut out last week by Lucas Lovejoy and has only generated 90 points in five games. Estacado is unbeaten but it’s hard to determine whether Matadors are legit. Estacado hasn’t played any of West Texas’ top teams yet, so this game against Wylie is the Matadors first real test.
DCTF Prediction: Wylie 28, Estacado 21.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Wylie by 2.
Shallowater (3-1) at (1A) New Deal (5-0)
It’s pretty rare for a 3A team to dip all the way down to 1A when scheduling non-district games, but Shallowater could have its hands full against a top-10 rated New Deal team. Shallowater also opened with a highly regarded 1A foe, Muleshoe, and that was the Mustangs’ only loss of the year. New Deal has a complete team, capable of controlling the clock with a tough ground-oriented attack and capable of stopping the opponent with a hard-nosed defense. New Deal has already posted two shutouts this sason and offensively the Lions average 40 points per game.
DCTF Prediction: New Deal 28, Shallowater 27.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Shallowater by 5.
Cuero (3-2) at La Vernia (1-3)
There was bad news in Cuero this week. Star RB Trent Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury, which ends what was shaping up to be a tremendous junior season. It also puts a big damper in Cuero’s season, just as the Gobblers are heading into district play. Cuero has had its struggles in non-district play, losing to Wimberley and Liberty Hill, but we expected the Gobblers to get better as the season progressed and be regional title contenders before it was all said and done. With Jackson out, that opens the door for someone else to end Cuero’s streak of regional title appearances. Despite its losing record, La Vernia presents a significant challenge for Cuero. La Vernia already has knocked off one elite team in Giddings.
DCTF Prediction: La Vernia 31, Cuero 28.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Cuero by 11.
Muleshoe (4-0) at Bushland (2-2)
This is the battle of injured quarterbacks. Muleshoe’s Cooper Washington has been limited by a shoulder injury in recent weeks, while Bushland’s Brett Wilhelm is coming off a thumb injury. Wilhelm appears to be closer to 100 percent – he threw for 296 yards and four TDs last week against Slaton. These teams last met in the 2008 playoffs, when Muleshoe beat Bushland in the first round, 28-14, en route to winning the state championship. Bushland, of course, made it all the way to the state title game last year before falling to Daingerfield.
DCTF Prediction: Bushland 31, Muleshoe 28.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Muleshoe by 15.
Eastland (4-1) at Godley (5-0)
Godley has been one of the state’s most impressive teams so far, posting an undefeated record through five games and winning by an average margin of 45 points per game. Likewise, Godley RB Landry Martinez has been one of the state’s most impressive individual players, averaging 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns per game. This is easily the Wildcats’ toughest opponent to date, as Eastland’s tough defense has allowed only 16 points per game. But Godley might not truly be challenged until the playoffs this year.
DCTF Prediction: Godley 42, Eastland 28.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Godley by 41.
Friona (2-2) at Lubbock Roosevelt (3-1)
Roosevelt had a wonderful run through non-district play, going 3-0 and looking like a team on the rise. But with last week’s district-opening loss to Muleshoe, Roosevelt suddenly finds itself in a near must-win situation against Friona. District 1-2A DI is one of 2A’s toughest districts. There are eight teams, and the power at the top is impressive: Muleshoe, Bushland and Littlefield. Roosevelt can’t afford to drop to 0-2 in district play and still remain in contention. You could say the same for Friona, which won its opener but needs to keep winning so that it only needs to pull off one upset to be a part of the playoff picture.
DCTF Prediction: Roosevelt 28, Friona 21.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Roosevelt by 4.
East Chambers (2-2) at Newton (3-1)
For the first time in 37 years, Curtis Barbay won’t be walking the sidelines for the Newton Eagles. Barbay, a coaching legend and a 300-game winner, suffered a heart attack last week and passed away following his team’s 42-27 win over Buna. Newton players and coaches are sure to be overwhelmed with emotion as they try to return to action this week against a tough East Chambers team. Newton will be led tonight by interim coach Johnny Westbrook. Expect Newton players to come out full of fire and determination, trying to win this big district game for their coach.
DCTF Predition: Newton 35, East Chambers 21.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Newton by 27.
Thorndale (5-0) at Rogers (5-0)
Rogers has gotten all of Class 2A’s attention with back-to-back wins over Mart and Franklin. Now they’ll try to seize control of the 12-2A II race by knocking off yet another unbeaten team, Thorndale. Thorndale is averaging 39 points per game and has a tough running back in Seth Rutter, who has 351 yards. But Rogers has been tremendous on both offense and defense, including a dominating 41-14 win over previously unbeaten Franklin last week. Rogers piled up 428 rushing yards in that game.
DCTF Prediction: Rogers 39, Thorndale 21.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Rogers by 26.
Winters (5-0) at Albany (5-0)
Winters is another team that has posted an unbeaten record this season but has yet to face a true challenge. The Blizzards’ opponents have a combined record of 5-17, which might explain how Winters has been able to pile up more than 30 points and 400 yards per game. The schedule gets much tougher starting tonight when Winters takes on unbeaten Albany, a state title runner-up last year that has designs on making another long run this year. Albany, led by RB Aaron Faith, already has beaten three Class 2A teams.
DCTF Prediction: Albany 35, Winters 17.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Albany by 28.
Archer City (5-0) at Stamford (5-0)
Archer City has a tremendous defense that has allowed only 39 points in five games, and they’ve been pretty good offensively as well. But Archer City hasn’t face anyone nearly as good as Stamford, so this will be a good test for both units. Stamford is also unbeaten and has only been challenged in one game, an 18-13 win over Hamlin last week. Watch out for Stamford WR Jesse Ramos, who already has 643 receiving yards and eight touchdows on the season.
DCTF Prediction: Stamford 24, Archer City 14.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Stamford by 6.
Clarendon (4-1) at Sunray (4-1)
This is a non-district game, but it should be a dandy, and potentially one of 1A’s best of the season. Clarendon QB Johnny Gaines is coming off a huge game in last week’s 49-20 win over Wellington, in which he accounted for 203 total yards and five touchdowns. Sunray has won three in a row since suffering its only loss of the season, a three-point defeat against 2A Sanford-Fritch.
DCTF Prediction: Clarendon 35, Sunray 24.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Clarendon by 5.
Plains (5-0) at Sundown (4-1)
Led by QB Josh Brock, Plains is off to a hot start this season, and the Cowboys put their unbeaten record on the line tonight against Sundown. Sundown, led by RB Hunter Berry, has an explosive offense that has surpassed 60 points in its past two games. Sundown’s only loss came to 2A Abernathy.
DCTF Prediction: Plains 27, Sundown 24.
Jerry’s Forrest’s pick: Plains by 5.