DCTF's Greg Tepper prepares you for all the small-school action across Texas.
Yes, there are a lot of teams taking a bye week this time around.
No, that doesn't mean there's any lack of fantastic games across Texas.
You should know that by now.
Without further ado, here is your 3A, 2A, 1A, six-man and private school preview for Week Five of the 2012 Texas high school football season.
Kilgore (4-1, 1-0) at Bullard (4-0, 0-0)
Is Kilgore the new favorite in District 16-3A – the so-called District of Doom? Maybe, just maybe. Defending 3A DI champ Tyler Chapel Hill is struggling badly, Henderson looks beatable, and…OK, well, Gilmer still looks really good. The point is, Kilgore’s been fantastic so far, especially with that sensational defense, led by LBs AJ Davis and LaDarrin Anthony. They’re forcing a ton of turnovers, and that’s going to be the name of the game for Bullard: protecting the ball. This is an explosive Bullard offense with QB Colton Mebane and RB Houston Alexander, but Kilgore is a team of ballhawks. I also like the Bullard defense, but has it been tested? They’ll get a test when the steady running game of RBs Juju Brown and Austin Jordan come calling.
Tepper’s pick: Kilgore 34, Bullard 20
Alvarado (4-1) at Decatur (3-2)
OK, Alvarado, time to dust yourself off after your normally steady offense got derailed in a 14-13 loss to Waco Connally. It’s time to get RBs Lee Hardy and Marcus McNeil back on track running the ball, and they should have some success against a Decatur defense that’s only looked OK so far. Where the Eagles really excel is on the offensive side, where QB Grayson Muehlstein is doing his thing with both his arm and his legs, and RBs Levi Rust and Max Junkert are gashing opponents for better than 7 yards a carry. I think Alvarado gets their points, but can they slow down Decatur?
Tepper’s pick: Alvarado 37, Decatur 21
Tyler Chapel Hill (1-4, 0-1) at Gilmer (4-1, 1-0)
Gilmer has looked good. Really, really good. They’re giving up more points than they’d probably like, but the Buckeyes offense is humming, as QB Tanner Barr has been playing like a man possessed. And now, they have a chance to possibly put the final nail in Tyler Chapel Hill’s coffin. The Bulldogs have had all sorts of trouble scoring, and Gilmer’s defense should be able to smell blood in the water. And make no mistake: if Chapel Hill loses this one – and unless QB Andrew Black or RB Joseph Clark get going, they will – they’re in serious trouble of missing the playoffs, being 0-2 in district with tough games at Bullard and against Kilgore still to play.
Tepper’s pick: Gilmer 37, Tyler Chapel Hill 21
Bellville (3-2, 1-0) at El Campo (4-0, 0-0)
I think both of these are playoff teams out of the very top-heavy District 25-4A, but this one could be critical for playoff positioning. El Campo’s defense has been nearly flawless, allowing just 10 points per game and have been mauling people with DB Jack Davis and LB Brett Prihuda. Not exactly easy pickings for Bellville, though the Brahmas have had a lot of success moving the ball with QB Kyle Fuchs and his talented receiving corps. This one, to me, comes down to whether or not Bellville can stop El Campo’s bruising running game anchored by RBs Montray Johnson, BJ Flagg and Keith Sparks.
Tepper’s pick: El Campo 29, Bellville 14
Graham (4-1) at Bridgeport (2-3)
Our 3A Facebook Friend Request comes from Gentry Little, as we look at two teams fighting to get some momentum heading into district play. Graham’s been quite solid all year, as QB Ben Davis and RB Dillon Gonzales have taken turns making opposing defensive coordinators nauseated. And the defense hasn’t been half-bad either, an acceptable 31-7 loss to Abilene Wylie nonwithstanding. Bridgeport’s probably going to be able to move the ball – RB Gabe Huerta is averaging over 160 yards per game on the ground – but I’m not sure the Bulls can slow down the Graham offense.
Tepper’s pick: Graham 38, Bridgeport 28
Other 3A Games to Watch…
Fairfield (3-2) at Glen Rose (5-0)
Tepper’s pick: Glen Rose 48, Fairfield 35
Wharton (4-1, 1-0) at Sealy (4-1, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Sealy 36, Wharton 34
Vernon (5-0) at Gainesville (5-0)
Tepper’s pick: Vernon 33, Gainesville 30
Daingerfield (3-2, 1-0) at New Boston (5-0, 1-0)
We knew District 8-2A DI had a chance to be really special, and so far…we’re right! And these two teams look like the class of the district. New Boston…I mean, what is there to say? The defense has been unbelievably effective. The offense – especially RB Damien Hoskins – has made people say “Shakeem Jefferson who?” Daingerfield, in general, has been a little hit-and-miss – sometimes the offense, led by WR Edwin Mims, has looked great, and the defense has followed suit, and sometimes it…well, hasn’t. If Good Daingerfield shows up, this one’s down to the wire. But if the other Daingerfield shows up – or New Boston forces the other Daingerfield to show up – NB could roll.
Tepper’s pick: New Boston 38, Daingerfield 21
Kirbyville (1-3, 1-0) at Newton (4-0, 1-0)
A nice district 10-2A DI rivalry game! Unfortunately, this year, it looks like a mismatch. Newton’s been dominant and complete – from the running game of RBs Kevin Shorter and Brandon Johnson that has paced the Eagles to 47.5 points per game, to the demolition squad that is the Newton defense of LBs Raylin Davis and Corey Jenkins, this team has been great. Kirbyville’s offense has really struggled of late, and while they’ve got some big-time playmakers in RB Red Haywood and WR Quinton Jacko, I’m not sure it’s enough.
Tepper’s pick: Newton 44, Kirbyville 14
McGregor (4-0, 1-0) at Lago Vista (3-1, 1-0)
There’s no tougher district in 2A than District 13-2A DI. From Cameron Yoe to McGregor to Lago Vista, this one is as top-heavy as it gets. And here we have two of them playing one another! Wee! On paper, I can see how one could side with McGregor. The defense has been a force, with Des Dylan Brown and Brandon Sulak putting constant pressure on opposing offenses, and QB Troy Allison in complete control of the Bulldogs attack. But I like Lago Vista here for a couple reasons. First, they’re at home; can’t overlook that. Second, the defense has been tested more, and I think LB Brad Hood has a big game. Third, I think they can run the ball with RB Seth Lozano and take the air out of the ball. This one’s close, but I think the Vikings take it.
Tepper’s pick: Lago Vista 29, McGregor 26
Rogers (5-0, 1-0) at Blanco (2-2, 0-0)
To borrow a phrase from the kids, the Rogers offense makes me LOL. In the last two weeks, the Eagles have hung 144 points on the opposition…and one of those was then-top-ranked-in-1A Mart. It’s like coach Jeff Walker went up to RBs Carson Skala and Brody Malovets and said “Let’s stop being polite and start getting real.” It’s up to the Blanco defense – which has been very good with LB Tyler Brown and DE Britton Wagner – to slow them down. And at this point…that’s the worst errand in the world.
Tepper’s pick: Rogers 46, Blanco 28
Odem (3-2, 1-0) at Aransas Pass (3-2, 1-0)
This week’s 2A Facebook Friend Request comes to us from Payne Whatley, who wants to see his Odem Owls’ matchup with Aransas Pass previewed. Odem’s flown a bit under the radar so far this season, scratching and clawing to a 3-2 record – including an upset of previously unbeaten Falfurrias last week – thanks to the emergence of QB Jake Ray. But Aransas Pass is going to be a tall order, especially if Panthers defense flies around like it did during last week’s demolition of Bishop. This one’s tough to call, and has playoff implications.
Tepper’s pick: Odem 28, Aransas Pass 27
Other 2A Games to Watch
Mathis (3-2, 1-0) at San Diego (4-0, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: San Diego 31, San Diego 27
Goliad (4-1, 1-0) at Luling (2-3, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Luling 26, Goliad 20
Pilot Point (4-1, 1-0) at Boyd (3-2, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Boyd 33, Pilot Point 31
Crawford (4-0, 1-0) at Centerville (4-0, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Centerville 44, Crawford 24
Springlake-Earth (5-0) at Abernathy (3-1)
Tepper’s pick: Abernathy 23, Springlake-Earth 14
Stamford (4-1) at Seymour (4-1)
This one come down to one player: Stamford QB/DB Hagen Hutchinson. He went out last week against Cisco with a thumb injury, and is reportedly a game-time decision for the game. He’s the best player on the field every time out, unless he’s playing Munday and Dee Paul, and he’s a true game-changer. Now, Stamford managed to pull out a great win over Cisco without Hutchinson, thanks to backup QB Bo Wimberly, but they’re much better with him. Meanwhile, can Seymour recover from a baffling loss to Hawley last week? The offense short-circuited, managing just a touchdown after averaging almost 40 points per game previously. QB Zach Barton has to get going. But for all the talk of the offenses, it’s the defenses that are the true stars of this game. I expect a low-scoring slugfest, with the last team with the ball winning.
Tepper’s pick: Stamford 24, Seymour 21
Sundown (4-1) at Forsan (4-1)
I love, love, love this Sundown defense. They’re hard-hitting, with DL Troy Holdman and DB Kyler Marshall, and they don’t let you breathe. The offense, while it isn’t sexy, has a huge advantage up front with one of 1A’s best offensive lines. Can Forsan, who has been very good this year, bounce back from last week’s loss to Crane? RB Brendan Roman has been the engine of the offense, but the defense, led by DB Trevor Burchett and LB Garrett Kilgora, has been the story. Which D blinks first?
Tepper’s pick: Sundown 23, Forsan 10
Chilton (2-3) at Mart (3-2)
So, let me get this straight: Mart has two strange losses – a jaw-dropping 84-58 loss to Rogers, and a 28-12 loss to Dallas St. Mark’s – and then goes out and beats a good Goldthwaite squad? Weird. The defense finally found some traction last week, and that will have to continue against Chilton, a team whose own offense has run hot and cold behind do-it-all wonder Kyrondis Landrum. Just a bizarre game that I could see going any which way.
Tepper’s pick: Mart 34, Chilton 24
Quanah (4-1) at Wellington (5-0)
More West Texas goodness! I think Wellington is one of 1A’s most complete teams. The offense has hummed with QB Klark Ashmore and RB Terry Gilbreath, and the defense has been strong (though a bit susceptible on the ground). Quanah, looking to bounce back after a loss to Childress last week, has gotten big offensive numbers from QB Clay Robertson and WR Austin Williams, but I think this comes down to Quanah’s ability to stop the pass, which it hasn’t shown a particular propensity for doing. I like Wellington here, if only because of the transitive propery (Wellington beat Childress, Childress beat Quanah, so POOF!).
Tepper’s pick: Wellington 38, Quanah 27
Tahoka (2-3) at Anson (5-0)
Our 1A Facebook Friend Request comes to us this week from the unstable named “Greg Greg” – though if that’s your real name, that’s great hustle. Maybe you haven’t heard of Anson, and we forgive you if you haven’t. The Tigers have been on tough times lately, entering 2012 with a 15-game losing streak. In comes Frisco Heritage assistant coach Keith Woolf – the Tigers’ fourth coach in four years – and now they’re 5-0 and rolling behind a big-play offense anchored by WR Hayden Stovall and a hard-hitting defense led by LB Collin Heidenheimer. Tahoka’s one of those teams that’s pretty good at most things – DE Smith McCLelland and LB Ray Parmer are strong defensively, and undersized but effective RB Ke’Shawn Hood leads the offense – but not particularly great at any one thing. Give me Anson, and not just for the storyline.
Tepper’s pick: Anson 37, Tahoka 20
Other 1A Games to Watch…
Flatonia (3-2) at Burton (3-1)
Tepper’s pick: Burton 23, Flatonia 16
Wink (3-2, 1-0) at McCamey (3-2, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: McCamey 34, Wink 23
Detroit (5-0) at Celeste (3-2)
Tepper’s pick: Detroit 26, Celeste 10
Frost (5-0) at Perrin-Whitt (3-1)
Tepper’s pick: Frost 18, Perrin-Whitt 17
San Augustine (2-2) at Tenaha (2-3)
Tepper’s pick: San Augustine 29, Tenaha 16
Bosqueville (5-0) at Bremond (4-1)
Tepper’s pick: Bosqueville 37, Bremond 21
Thorndale (4-1) at San Saba (2-3)
Tepper’s pick: Thorndale 41, San Saba 31
Borden County (4-1) at Water Valley (5-0)
And, as always, here’s your premier six-man game of the week, because there is always one really awesome six-man game. To me, this is one of those games that, at the end of it, if you tell me the score but not who won, I could guess which team came out on top. Water Valley’s strength is largely in its defense – LB Trae Hannon and DB Connor Copley anchor one of six-man’s best units. The offense is good, but the defense is great. Borden County’s strength is in its offense: QB Tanner Richey is, well, he’s just one of six-man’s best players, and that is the end of this sentence. Again, the defense is good, but the offense is great. Game in the 60s or 70s? Give me Borden County. Game in the 30s or 40s? Give me Water Valley.
Tepper’s pick: Water Valley 48, Borden County 40
Windthorst (3-2) at Throckmorton (4-1)
Our Facebook Friend Request for this one comes from Irenee Shubert, and THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER. You see, Windthorst…is a 1A school. As in, they play 11-man ball. Throckmorton is one of six-man’s best programs, the reigning Division I state champions. AND THEY ARE PLAYING ONE ANOTHER TONIGHT! How’s it going to work? The first half will be played by 11-man rules – so, yes, Throckmorton will put five more players on the field. The second half will be played by 6-man rules – so, yes, Windthorst will remove five players from the field. AND IT IS GOING TO BE THE COOLEST THING EVER. It’s strictly an exhibition, but OH MY GOSH THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.
Tepper’s pick: EVERYONE WINS.
Other Six-Man Games to Watch…
Follett (3-2) at Turkey Valley (4-1)
Tepper’s pick: Turkey Valley 56, Follett 36
Happy (3-2) at Motley County (4-1)
Tepper’s pick: Motley County 68, Happy 56
Houston St. Thomas (4-0, 0-0) at Houston St. Pius X (3-1, 0-0)
Houston’s two best private schools? I’m certainly open to that theory. St. Pius X, as we’ve gone on and on about, has one of the state’s best signal-callers in Kohl Stewart, the Texas A&M commit, but the defense has been pretty good as well. St. Thomas has a pretty remarkable player of their own in RB Christopher Zook, who is about as big of a threat out to catch a pass out of the backfield as he is to bust a big run. With so much firepower, this one comes down to defense, and I think I trust St. Pius’ defense just a bit more.
Tepper’s pick: St. Pius X 34, St. Thomas 28
Dallas Christian (4-0, 1-0) at Dallas Parish Episcopal (4-0, 1-0)
Our Facebook Friend Request game for the private schools is at the behest of Gary Crouch, and it’s a big district game between two undefeated squads. Dallas Christian’s defense has been a wrecking crew, allowing just 21 points in its first four games thanks to yeoman’s work rfrom DL Chase Robertson, DE Stephen Forrester and LB Preston Nix. It also helps to have QB Alex Craig, one of the breakout stars of the young season, and RB D’Andre Cannon leading the way offensively. For Parish, it’s all about that running game, baby. RBs Tre Vance and Zach Shelley have been a two-man road paving service so far this year, combining for 1,168 yards and 19 touchdowns (though Shelley has 15 of them, which isn’t very nice, c’mon Zach, share the wealth). Something’s got to give.
Tepper’s pick: Parish Episcopal 28, Dallas Christian 24
Other Private School Games to Watch…
FW Nolan Catholic (3-2, 1-0) at Addison Trinity Christian (3-1, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: FW Nolan 38, Addison Trinity Christian 31
Houston St. John's (5-0, 3-0) at Bellaire Episcopal (4-1, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Bellaire Episcopal 48, Houston St. John’s 40
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.