3A/2A/1A/6M/PVT Preview: Week 1
An expansive look at the best small-school action this weekend.
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Dave Campbell's Texas Football has again teamed up with Fox Sports Southwest to bring you Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF, a four-hour live high school football show coming to you from the site of one of the biggest games of the week. Join Jeff Power and DCTF associate editor Greg Tepper as they bring you unprecedented Texas high school coverage, with highlights, score updates, analysis and more from all across Texas. It all starts on Friday, and it all starts on Fox Sports Southwest!
It's Friday night in Texas, which means tonight belongs to high school Football! DCTF's Greg Tepper previews the biggest games across Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A, Six-Man and the private school ranks. You won't want to miss these games!
Port Neches-Groves (1-0) at West Orange-Stark (1-0)
PNG is just a week away from a surprisingly dominant win over what I still think is a very good Silsbee team, so now why not take on its district bunkmate and biggest competitor? West Orange-Stark played a typically West-Orange Stark game last week against Little Cypress-Mauriceville: great defense (check), efficient if grinding offense (check) and sound special teams (check). With RB Chris James doing most of the work offensively and DB Deionte Thompson and NG Octavious Crosson doing its part defensively, West Orange-Stark once again looks dangerous. But the more I look at PNG, the more I wonder if they have a little something this year. The defense, especially up front with Chris Mangini and Austin Milan, looks strong, and QB Ky Walker and RB Brant Halfin have formed a powerful one-two punch. If they can hit a couple of big plays, PNG’s got a great shot to be 2-0. Easier said than done against WO-S, of course.
Tepper’s pick: West Orange-Stark 22, Port Neches-Groves 20
Navasota (1-0) at Coldspring-Oakhurst (1-0)
Staying in Southeast Texas, boy, Navasota didn’t miss a beat, did they? QB Shelton Eppler was exceptional, WR Tren’Davion Dickson and RB Derrion Randle provided explosiveness, and the Jordan Wells-led defense was, well, itself. But now they head to Coldspring-Oakhurst, and they’re looking like the C-O tems of old: an unstoppable running game featuring Alec Dunham and Patrick Giddens, and a defense with speed to burn, including Giddens and DB Douglas Johnson. It’s a game dictated by pace: C-O wants it slow and steady, Navasota wants to get up and down. Whoever wins that battle wins the game.
Tepper’s pick: Navasota 33, Coldspring-Oakhurst 31
Plano Prestonwood (1-0) at Gilmer (1-0)
A year after coming up short in the title game, Gilmer looks like it’s on a mission, if the 57-7 drubbing of Atlanta is any indication. But Plano Prestonwood is one of the very best private school teams in the state, even without the Mitchell Bros., as that lightning-quick defense led by Austin Tankersly and Jake Reed will put Gilmer’s high-octane attack of QB Tanner Barr and RB Kris Boyd to the test. It’s conceivable that this is a matchup of eventual state champions.
Tepper’s pick: Gilmer 34, Plano Prestonwood 24
Texas City (1-0) at La Marque (1-0)
What a big weekend of small-school action in Southeast Texas! La Marque’s Laderrian Ellis-Jones is pretty incredible, doing it all for coach Mike Jackson’s squad, and that defense of LB Val Allen and DB Reggie Franklin (who had a punt return TD last week) helps things hum. But Texas City is one big fish, especially when the Foreman Bros. – RB D’Onta and WR Armanti – get going. Beyond that, the defense led by DE Ramsey Ramirez is looking stout. Can La Marque slow down the Stingarees’ attack, and can anyone stop LE-J?
Tepper’s pick: Texas City 35, La Marque 21
Fort Worth Nolan Catholic (0-1) at Argyle (1-0)
Argyle saw all of its preseason hype and said, “You might need to get some more.” Between do-it-all ATH Ian Sadler, bruising LB Sam Sizelove and ballhawk DB Connor Wilson (oh, and maybe Texas’ best kicker in Cole Hedlund), the Eagles look like the real deal. But what, exactly, is up with Fort Worth Nolan? Our preseason No. 1 private school took a tumble last week at the hands of Arlington Seguin – Arlington Seguin?! – and is scrambling for some offensive consistency. All’s well if RB Luke Alves gets going, but even so, they defense has to slow down Argyle to have a shot. Nolan could be staring at 0-2.
Tepper’s pick: Argyle 39, FW Nolan 20
Other 3A Games To Watch…
Gladewater (1-0) at Pittsburg (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Pittsburg 27, Gladewater 20
Houston Kinkaid (1-0) at Bellville (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Houston Kinkaid 31, Bellville 28
Raymondville (1-0) at Orange Grove (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Orange Grove 34, Raymondville 29
Stratford (1-0) at Canadian (1-0)
Remember when this was an in-district rivalry? Man, I’m getting old. Anyways, even though they’re the smaller school here, there’s a lot to like about Stratford – LB Chase Lutes is a consummate leader in the middle, and WR Sterling Audrain provides big-play ability alongside RB Ricky Garay. But man…I’m not sure anyone’s slowing down Canadian this year. QB Ben Arbuckle and WR Boston Hudson were back to their normal selves last week, bombing away with one of Texas’ most explosive passing attacks. Until someone slows them down – let alone stops them – I’m picking the Wildcats.
Tepper’s pick: Canadian 43, Stratford 29
Atlanta (0-1) at Daingerfield (0-1)
So Week Zero didn’t go as planned for either of these teams, but in their defense, Gilmer (which drubbed Atlanta) and Gladewater (which edged Daingerfield) look pretty darn good. And there are positives! For Daingerfield, the defense looked fantastic, especially LB Calvin Bryant and DB Corey Smith. It’s just a matter of getting QB Keris Alexander and RB Cordarious Anderson going, and that’s largely dependent on the offensive line. For Atlanta, well, they have their health! And the defensive front of Kenneth Houff and Gerald Andrews looks promising! One of these teams is going to be 0-2 with two losses to two really good teams by this time Saturday.
Tepper’s pick: Daingerfield 28, Atlanta 14
Tenaha (1-0) at Garrison (1-0)
We probably haven’t paid enough attention to Garrison lately. They’re good. Or, at least, they have a chance to be really good. QB Cameron Rodriguez can sling it, RB Logan Clark can run it, and WR William Rogers can catch it (and the line can block…it, I guess, I’m sorry, that doesn’t really work). The onus was always going to be on the defense, and judging from last week’s shutout of Hemphill, that’s looking fine. Tenaha’s the smaller school (1A DII), but they’re very big on experience and that showed in last week’s 47-6 drubbing of a pretty good Joaquin team. It’s still early, which means the experience of RB Chavis Gregory and WR/DB Keontas Davis (among about a million other returning starters) is still a huge advantage. Is it enough of an advantage here?
Tepper’s pick: Tenaha 36, Garrison 31
Shiner (1-0) at Hallettsville (1-0)
Mike Forman, our South Texas correspondent in the DCTF Regional Roundup (every Tuesday and Thursday!), pointed out a pretty amazing stat: despite being 14 miles apart, this is just the 11th time these teams have ever played. Shiner would like to forget last year’s meeting – a 49-28 loss – but has a chance for redemption tonight as the veer offense comes careening into Hallettsville. RB Marcus Coleman and QB Tyler Patek are good, but the real star of this team is the defense, anchored by all-everything LB Jacob Stafford (who’s also one of the team’s leading rushers). Hallettsville will counter through the air, with QB Nate Kowalik spearheading the Brahmas’ attack. It’s an interesting clash of styles offensively, but it’s the defense that will matter most in this one.
Tepper’s pick: Hallettsville 30, Shiner 21
Italy (1-0) at Malakoff (1-0)
Italy was one of the darlings of 2012, pushing all the way to the 1A DI state semifinals; can it bottle some of that magic for 2013? Gone are stars like Ryheem Walker and Marvin Cox, but defensive stalwart DL Zain Byers is back, and that’s a pretty good place for coach Hank Hollywood to start. Malakoff won’t be impressed by last year’s results – not when RB Damontes Dowell and a big offensive line to block for him are showing up. That will be a fun matchup throughout the night: Malakoff’s offensive line against Italy’s defensive line. Of course, if Italy can get some big plays form WR Cody Boyd, that’ll help, too.
Tepper’s pick: Malakoff 32, Italy 27
Other 2A Games To Watch…
Stafford (1-0) at Hempstead (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Hempstead 31, Stafford 25
Frisco Lone Star (1-0) at Whitesboro (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Whitesboro 41, Frisco Lone Star 38
Refugio (1-0) at Edna (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Refugio 43, Edna 20
Lexington (0-1) at Cameron Yoe (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Cameron Yoe 41, Lexington 21
Munday (0-1) at Stamford (1-0)
A year ago, it was the biggest darn 1A game maybe ever. Now? Well, it’s still a really, really good game. Stamford doesn’t look like it’s missed a beat without QB Hagen Hutchinson, not when Bo Wimberley (also a star in the secondary) steps in to take his place and WR James Washington does his thing. But Munday’s suffering from a little Dee Paul withdrawal, as the offense just couldn’t get on track long enough and the defense gave up 19 unanswered points in a lost to Windthorst. We know how good guys like DE LJ Collier and RB Zac Edgar are; it’s just a matter of giving newcomers like QB Alfonso Nunez time to figure it out. Unfortunately for the Moguls, LB Ty McLemore and company aren’t the kind of defense that lets quarterbacks mature on their watch.
Tepper’s pick: Stamford 35, Munday 19
Poth (0-1) at Falls City (1-0)
I love South Texas small school football. You better put on your big boy britches to play, and this one looks just like one of those matchups. Poth was a hard-luck loser last week to Marion, giving up a touchdown in the final minute, but that grind-it-out, win-with-your-defense style is back with RB Thomnas Kraweitz and DB Blake Lyssy. Falls City, on the other hand, got an impact transfer in the offseason in the person of Justin Twine, he of the third-best single-game rushing total (534 yards in 2011 vs. West Sabine) when he was with Hemphill. That’s changed the offense for the Beavers, and given athletes like WR Dean Gaskamp and LB Eric Wiatrek yet another explosive teammate. A good one brewing here.
Tepper’s pick: Falls City 28, Poth 21
Goldthwaite (0-1) at Mason (1-0)
It’s time to start realizing that it’s not just the great running backs – like David Mora and Rio Schmidt – that make Mason great. It’s the offensive line, this year led by monster Drigo Martinez. The Punchers are churning again, and now Goldthwaite’s got to figure out a way to slow it down. No such luck last week against McGregor, so the Eagles better figure out something quick. The good news: DL Jaggar Parrish is still on the team, and he’s a pretty good guy at sports. It’s a matter of getting the supporting cast – including BR Dakota Perry – going.
Tepper’s pick: Mason 44, Goldthwaite 26
Hubbard (1-0) at Bosqueville (1-0)
Hey, central Texas, what are you doing tonight? ONLY ACCEPTABLE ANSWER: Going to a football game. Which one? ONE OF ONLY A FEW ACCEPTABLE ANSWERS: This one. Hubbard’s smash-mouth running game is back in action with RB Trey Henderson and RB Logan McClinton, but they’ll be challenged by a Bosqueville defense that’s, well, really tough against the run. DL Trent Andrews is an all-state caliber force, LB Will Carpenter is a promising youngster, and LB Luis Juarez provides support. That’s a great matchup, but as always, it’s the other matchup that’ll decide things. Can Bosqueville’s CJ Collins pass on Hubbard’s experienced defense led by Jordan Johnson? Regardless, prepare for fun.
Tepper’s pick: Bosqueville 29, Hubbard 20
Nocona (1-0) at Muenster (1-0)
I spent 10 minutes trying to think of a knock-knock joke to use Nocona or Muenster in, but you’re reading this sentence so it obviously didn’t end well. Anyways, if you like hard-hitting old-school offense, you’ll love this North Texas battle. Muenster wants to run, run, run with RB Clint Sidwell and let their resident man-child DE Cole Walterscheid do the rest. Nocona wants to run, run, run with RB John Gennings and Christian Ibarra, and let their bruising defense led by LB Caleb Swofford do the rest. Sound familiar? It should. This game might feature 100 rushing attempts, and that’s how they like it. It’s the battle in the trenches that will decide things, and that’s where Muenster has the advantage.
Tepper’s pick: Muenster 28, Nocona 21
Other 1A Games to Watch…
Tulia (1-0) at New Deal (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: New Deal 39, Tulia 27
Leonard (0-1) at Honey Grove (0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Honey Grove 25, Leonard 19
Iraan (1-0) at Ozona (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Ozona 32, Iraan 24
Sabinal (0-1) at La Pryor (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: La Pryor 26, Sabinal 24
Christoval (1-0) at D'Hanis (0-1)
Tepper’s pick: D’Hanis 38, Christoval 35
Big Spring (1-0) at Midland Christian (1-0)
It’s just one game, but boy howdy, Big Spring looked like a team that was angry to be picked last in its district. QB Tobyn Tannehill (yes, it’s his brother) was a man possessed, running, passing, stirring the Gatorade, driving the bus, and RB Preston Alexander was awful impressive, too. Midland Christian, however…they’re not impressed. Their demolition of a pretty good Monahans team last week sent the message to everyone: we’re not going anywhere. QB Mason McClendon and a fabulous defense means trouble for everyone in their path.
Tepper’s pick: Midland Christian 38, Big Spring 20
Mart (1-0) at Dallas St. Mark's (0-0)
The No. 1 team in Class 1A Division I takes on a rising DFW-area private school team? Sign me up! Mart edged out a signature win over Teague last week, and it’s all the pieces you liked last year except even better: QB DeNerian Thomas, WR D’Marcus Cosby, LB Collin Nail. Can St. Mark’s, a squad that could challenge FW All Saints for SPC-North supremacy, top that in its opener? There’s tons of explosiveness on offense, with QB John Webb, WR John Caldwell and RB Malcolm Bowman; the bigger question is on defense. This really could turn into a shootout.
Tepper’s pick: Mart 45, St. Mark’s 40
Austin Regents (1-0) at Austin St. Stephen's (0-0)
Here’s what we learned about Austin Regents last week: they can flat-out score, especially when QB Grant Brown has time in the pocket; the defense looks pretty good, especially when LB Kai Rice is as active as he should be; they are better than The Woodlands Christian. Here’s what we know about Austin St. Stephen’s: Almost nothing. The last we saw star athlete Carl Austin III, he was being carted off with a knee injury in the second game of 2012. Is he healthy? If he is, all of a sudden, the Spartans could play spoiler for a lot of teams.
Tepper’s pick: Austin Regents 46, Austin St. Stephen’s 31
Other Private School Games to Watch…
SA Holy Cross (1-0) at SA Antonian Prep (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: SA Antonian 29, SA Holy Cross 22
Dallas Prime Prep Academy (1-0) at Dallas Bishop Dunne (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Dallas Bishop Dunne 34, Dallas Prime Prep Academy 33
Abbott (0-1) at Milford (0-1)
Our Six-Man Game of the Week on Fox Football Friday, we’ll have in-game reports from Ken Capps – who has a new six-man blog on TexasFootball.com that you should really check out. This is a rematch of an instant classic last year, when MIlford edged Abbott 44-42 in 107-degree heat. But there are a lot of pieces missing from that game – most notably Abbott RB Tyler Russell and Milford SB Jairus Russell. There are growing pains for both teams, but Milford’s defense led by LB Eric Evans sets it apart.
Tepper’s pick: Milford 56, Abbott 36
Garden City (1-0) at Borden County (0-1)
To borrow an Internet meme, GARDEN CITY BACK? The 57-0 drubbing of Tioga was impressive, even if Tioga’s still getting its feet underneath it as a six-man program. Coach’s son QB Austin Odom is an impressive piece, as is LB Juan Bustos…but Borden County ain’t Tioga. The Coyotes are loaded with talent (like ATH TJ Basquez) and hoppin’ mad after last week’s loss to Newcastle. Garden City, if you’re really back, this is a nice way to show it.
Tepper’s pick: Borden County 48, Garden City 40
Abilene Christian (1-0) at Newcastle (1-0)
Speaking of the aforementioned Newcastle, that was quite a win last week! RB Tyler Mays is the truth, and if that defense, anchored by DE Nathan Wilson, keeps playing like that, they’ll win a lot of games. Abilene Christian is one of the state’s very best private six-man teams, and they can score points in bunches with RB Samai Massaquoi and WR Reuben Byrd. Newcastle will get its second big test in two weeks; can they move to 2-0?
Tepper’s pick: Newcastle 54, Abilene Christian 50
Other Six-Man Games to Watch…
Ropesville Ropes (0-1) at Spur (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Ropesville 44, Spur 38
Rotan (0-1) Knox City (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Knox City 66, Rotan 56
Blackwell (1-0) at Jayton (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Jayton 54, Blackwell 42
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.