3A/2A/1A/6M/PVT Preview: Week 2
An expansive look at the best small-school action this weekend.
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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!
Abilene Wylie (1-1) at Graham (2-0)
You couldn’t ask for a more pronounced battle of styles in this one. In one corner, there’s Wylie, apparently fully recovered from their Week Zero thrashing at the hands of Argyle, will bring its sturdy run game with Tye Calhoun, Hayden Lewis and Blake Frampton along with its sturdy defensive front seven led by LB Jaxon Bounds. And then there’s Graham, who will air it out with QB Ben Davis and WR Bryce Reeves. But the Steers, known for their offense, have been fabulous defensively through the first two weeks, especially up front with NG Husky Melendez and LB Spur Hearne. That ability to stop the run – and Wylie’s apparent weakness at stopping the pass – could be the difference here.
Tepper’s pick: Graham 38, Abilene Wylie 24
Tyler Chapel Hill (1-1) at Carthage (2-0)
I do think that Tyler Chapel Hill will make a comeback this year, closer to their 2011 state title team than their 2012 disappointment. There’s too much talent – guys like LB Wesley Thompson, RB Joseph Clark and QB Andrew Black – for there not to be improvement. But last week, Whitehouse’s Pat Mahomes carved up the Bulldogs, and it’s hard to imagine that Carthage QB Blake Bogenschutz, WR Tee Goree and RB Tevin Pipkin don’t do the same. Plus, Carthage’s defense has been excellent, especially up front with DL Mario McLain. This looks like Carthage’s week.
Tepper’s pick: Carthage 35, Tyler Chapel Hill 21
Port Isabel (2-0) at Raymondville (1-1)
Let’s be honest: we should probably refrain from jumping to conclusions about Port Isabel so far. Their two wins have been dominant, but over teams they’ve overmatched. Still, the running game – Jaime Gonzalez, Jacob Losoya, Juan Aguilera – is hard not to respect, and that hard-hitting defense continues to thrive. But here comes the first real big test of the season against a Raymondville squad that can run the ball as well with RB Jesse Valladares and stop the run with LB Edward Chavez. It’s strength on strength on strength, but the Tarpons’ strength appears to be stronger. Strength.
Tepper’s pick: Port Isabel 33, Raymondville 22
La Marque (1-1) at Coldspring-Oakhurst (1-1)
Both teams have impressive wins over teams they’re just a lot better than, and both teams have decisive losses to ranked teams (Texas City for La Marque, Navasota for Coldspring). Here’s what you should expect: both teams will try to establish the run in different ways – LM with dynamo QB Ladarrian Ellis-Jones, Coldspring with RBs Alec Dunham and Patrick Giddens. That puts the onus on both the offensive lines (where Coldspring’s is slightly better) and the defensive front (where La Marque’s, led by LB Val Allen, is superior). This is a really, really tight game to call, and probably the 3A pick I feel least confident about.
Tepper’s pick: La Marque 26, Coldspring-Oakhurst 23
Gunter (2-0) at Melissa (1-1)
Gunter is one of those team’s that is really good but you’re not paying attention to, probably because they don’t do it in a sexy way. Coach Jake Fiezel’s Tigers do it with defense, led by DL Luis Martinez and DB Rhett Taylor, and they grind you out with a big offensive line and sturdy running game. But they’re playing up – 2A DII vs. 3A – as they travel to Melissa. And while the Cardinals came up short in the opener against Celina, the offense seems to be humming behind QB Taylor McGehee, RB Marcus Ellis and WR Jackson Webb. When the defense shows up, they’re dangerous; can they slow down Gunter’s ground game enough to get the ball enough times to score enough to win? (Yes, that’s a lot of dependents, but you know what I mean.)
Tepper’s pick: Melissa 28, Gunter 21
Other 3A Games to Watch…
Bay City (0-1) at El Campo (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: El Campo 41, Bay City 14
Childress (1-1) at Vernon (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Vernon 35, Childress 18
Bellville (1-1) at Giddings (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Bellville 36, Giddings 21
Kaufman (1-1) at Palestine (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Palestine 41, Kaufman 29
Lago Vista (1-1) at Refugio (2-0)
So Refugio isn’t scoring crazy amounts of points with QB Travis Quintanilla yet. So what? The Bobcats have still been outstanding defensively, per usual, thanks to DE Devon LaFrance, LB Alex Coronado and DB J.B. Brown. And don’t worry about Quintanilla: that offense will be just fine. Lago Vista will do what it usually does – try to grind people out with that running game of RB Scott Zufelt, then win with its patented blistering defense – but last week’s loss to Grandview was telling. The defense was just fine, but the offense could never get into gear (152 yards of total offense). If the Refugio offensive line can keep Quintanilla clean from menacing DE Colton Schwartz, the Bobcats will score, and if the Bobcats score, I’m not sure the Vikings can keep up.
Tepper’s pick: Refugio 32, Lago Vista 17
East Bernard (2-0) at Hempstead (1-1)
The defending 2A Division II state champ (EB) and the 2011 2A DI runner-up (Hempstead) tangle in this one. Hempstead’s M.O. is to win with defense, and they have, with stars like DE Fred Tompkins, LB Alexis Jasso and DB Deondre Lee guiding the way. When they need points, they can get them from dual-threat QB Will Smith, but the defense comes first. But man, East Bernard hasn’t skipped a beat, even without Ty Slanina. The Brahmas have scored 125 points in two games thanks to QB Grant Aschenbeck, RBs Cedric Perkins and Joc Richardson and a still-bruising offensive line. Oh, and the defense is still the star, with LBs Cody Rosales and youngster Zach Stavinoha plugging gaps. Hempstead’s pretty good, but East Bernard looks every bit as title-worthy as they did 12 months ago.
Tepper’s pick: East Bernard 39, Hempstead 20
Pittsburg (2-0) at New Boston (2-0)
A tantalizing 3A vs. 2A matchup out east, I hate to boil it down to one matchup, but it sticks out like…something that sticks out (similes were never my thing). It’s Pittsburg QB Garret Truitt – who’s thrown for 442 yards and six TDs in two games, without an interception, completing almost 70% of his passes – against the New Boston defense, which features Northern Illinois commit DB Jawuan Johnson, DL Wesley Holmes (also an OL stalwart) and LB Wes Teague. There’s more to this game, obviously (like the New Boston offense, led by RB Keith Baldwin) but that’s the one that’ll determine it. Pittsburg’s hung 90 points on its first two opponents; New Boston’s given up 13 points to its first two foes. Something’s gotta give.
Tepper’s pick: New Boston 34, Pittsburg 26
Idalou (2-0) at Littlefield (1-1)
Here’s the great news for Littlefield: the offense looks fantastic. QB Josh Culpepper has been great, RB De’Vonte Mathis is rolling, the offensive line looks solid. Here’s the bad news for Littlefield: the defense just got torched by Shallowater’s running attack, and guess what Idalou’s going to try to do? RB Koal Houchin is the new Wildcat Of Note in the backfield for Jeff Lofton’s squad, and that could spell trouble for Littlefield. And it’s not like Idalou’s defense is any pushover; far from it. DE Kleat Smith and DB Alex Tarin lead an experienced and fearsome defense that’s allowed just 27 points through its first two games. The chances that Littlefield scores are pretty good, though hardly guaranteed; can they stop anyone? I’ll say this: if Littlefield gets above 30 points, it probably wins. But Idalou hasn’t allowed 30 points in a year.
Tepper’s pick: Idalou 28, Littlefield 24
Blanco (2-0) at Luling (2-0)
This is one of those games that if you just tell me the final score – without the teams, of course – I bet I can guess the winner. 55-40? Luling probably won. 27-20? Probably Blanco. Luling wants to get up and down the field with its fearsome offense triggered by QB Trayden Staton and RB Brenden Cubit; Blanco wants to slow things down, win with its defense of LB Aikman Elrod and DB Colton Elrod, then grind you down with Adrien Dominguez’s running. This could go either way, but it’ll be determined by pace.
Tepper’s pick: Blanco 31, Luling 27
Sonora (2-0) at Wall (2-0)
Yes, I absolutely brain-farted on this one and forgot it. For some reason, I had it in my mind that this clash of titans was next week. Guess what? It's tonight! You have your classic strength-on-strength here, with Sonora's rushing attack of Sid Anderson and Michael Rollert going up against the Wall...well, wall, as in defensive front. Between DB Brent Matschek and DE Marcus Michalwicz, the Hawks barely give you room to breathe, let alone operate an offense. Who breaks through? But perhaps more importantly, what happens on the other side of the ball? Can Wall QB Luke Dacy carve up the Sonora defense like he has pretty much everyone else in his path?
Tepper's pick: Wall 36, Sonora 20
Other 2A Games to Watch…
Yoakum (0-2) at Hallettsville (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Hallettsville 34, Yoakum 17
Waco Reicher (1-1) at McGregor (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: McGregor 44, Waco Reicher 40
Grandview (2-0) at Eastland (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Grandview 21, Eastland 17
Andrews (1-1) at Brownfield (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Brownfield 36, Andrews 31
Canadian (1-1) at Perryton (0-2)
Tepper’s pick: Canadian 35, Perryton 24
Elysian Fields (0-2) at Arp (0-2)
Tepper’s pick: Arp 27, Elysian Fields 21
Shiner (1-1) at Schulenburg (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Schulenburg 27, Shiner 21
Quanah (2-0) at Tulia (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Quanah 41, Tulia 36
Alto (1-1) at Tenaha (1-1)
It’s not an overwhelming crop of elite-level 1A games this week, but boy howdy, do we have one here. Two of Class 1A’s super-elite squads take flight tonight. For Tenaha, it’s still early, and the Tigers will want to ride their most valuable asset: experience. From QB J.R. Hill to RBs Chavis Gregory and Cobe Caraway to star two-way player WR/DB Keontas Davis, this is a battle-tested squad that’s played in the big games. Oh, and they’re pretty good, too. Big things were – and still are – expected of Alto largely because of RB Jacolby Whitaker, who is absolutely sensational. But the defense has betrayed the Yellowjackets of late, and if they’re going to win this one – and win all the ones they want to after this – it’ll be on DE JaVie’Ontae Mumphrey and DB Leroy Lewis to get the defense in order. Expect a classic.
Tepper’s pick: Tenaha 33, Alto 29
Gruver (2-0) at Sunray (2-0)
Not a game you were expecting to see here? Both the Greyhounds and Bobcats are off to fast starts, and they’ve been doing it with exceptional balance. Sunray’s running over folks with RB Alexi Mendoza, but the defense, of which Mendoza and DB Mario Lechuga are key cogs, has been excellent as well. As for Gruver, you’d probably reverse the order: the defense has been great thanks to LB Johnny Terrazas and DB Cesar Mendoza, and then they’ve been getting big plays from star ATH Beau Blankenship. This has the feeling of a low-scoring slugfest, but Gruver – with Blankenship – has the better chance of hitting a big, game-changing play.
Tepper’s pick: Gruver 21, Sunray 18
Hawley (1-1) at Hamlin (0-1)
OK, so Hamlin’s season didn’t start off as they planned, as the Pied Pipers took a tumble at the hands of Anson. But there are positives there, specifically the emergence of junior QB Caymon Georges. The defense has to clean things up, though, and fast, because Hawley can score. QB Travis Schoonmaker has proven himself to be an asset, but again, the defense has had trouble. With two combustible offenses and two, let’s say, passable defenses, we could be in for a fun one.
Tepper’s pick: Hamlin 44, Hawley 38
Tuscola Jim Ned (1-1) at Anson (2-0)
It’s possible to have talent on offense but not score a lot of points. Case in point: Tuscola Jim Ned. Junior QB Tanner Locklear is brimming with talent, but it just hasn’t translated into a boatload of points yet. And then there’s what you usually see with big talent: big points. Case in point: Anson. QB Jalen Garza has turned West Texas into his own personal firing range, and the Tigers, in their most anticipated season ever, look ready to roar. Unless Jim Ned suddenly starts throwing points up in bunches, I’m not sure they can keep up.
Tepper’s pick: Anson 42, Tuscola Jim Ned 24
Deweyville (2-0) at San Augustine (0-1)
Doesn’t it feel like this is how San Augustine’s season always starts? They schedule a murderer’s row of non-district schedule, lose close ones and end up dangerous in the playoffs. This year’s no different, as the offense the offense of QB Jamikel Roberts and WR Desmond Randle looked great against Tyler Grace Community, but the defense scuffled. That defense better be ready: Deweyville can light up the scoreboard. They’ve outscored opponent 127-6 in their first two games, and while the opponents aren’t exactly your Marts and Stamfords of the world, that’s impressive. QB Cody Dupuy and RB Ryan Collins operate behind one of east Texas’ best offensive lines with big OL Mitchell Brown plowing the road. And the defense has been great, though largely untested. This is a sneaky-fun game that could go a lot of directions.
Tepper’s pick: Deweyville 38, San Augustine 30
Other 1A Games to Watch…
Springlake-Earth (0-2) at Panhandle (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Panhandle 38, Springlake-Earth 21
Seymour (2-0) at Electra (1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Seymour 29, Electra 26
McCamey (1-1) at Christoval (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Christoval 23, McCamey 20
Be sure to check out Ken Capps’ Six-Man Blog for even more six-man coverage.
Ira (2-0) at Ropesville Ropes (1-1)
In the land of offense, he with defense is king. That seems to be the mantra for both of these teams, as they’ve shown some defensive chops so far, with Ira led by DBs Jared Cotton and Logan Morris, and Ropes getting great play from DE Jovan Molina and LB Caleb Richardson. But Ira will have the best offensive player on the field in QB Tyler Goodwin, and that’s likely the difference.
Tepper’s pick: Ira 56, Ropesville Ropes 28
Water Valley (2-0) at Robert Lee (2-0)
Another defense-first squad, DBs Trae Hannon and Connor Copley form a dynamic defensive duo for Water Valley, but the Wildcats’ inconsistency on offense nearly cost them in a close Week Zero win over Grandfalls-Royalty. Can QB Kellan Kirkland get on track early against a Robert Lee squad that features one of six-man’s most versatile players in Will Howard?
Tepper’s pick: Water Valley 64, Robert Lee 48
May (2-0) at Newcastle (2-0)
The darlings of the six-man world through two weeks, May made statewide headlines by snapping Richland Springs’ 45-game winning streak, and they haven’t stopped there. But don’t view them as a flash in the pan: the Tigers can play, especially when the running game of Kendrick Aguirre and Justin Howard gets going. But Newcastle – and it seems like blasphemy to say – may be the best team they’ve played so far this year, thanks to the incredible RB Tyler Mays. This may be the best six-man game of the weekend.
Tepper’s pick: Newcastle 66, May 60
Other Six-Man Games to Watch…
Blanket (2-0) at Gordon (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Gordon 66, Blanket 36
Petersburg (1-1) at Anton (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Petersburg 48, Anton 40
Knox City (2-0) at Aspermont (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Aspermont 42, Knox City 40
Jonesboro (2-0) at Aquilla (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Jonesboro 68, Aquilla 50
Coolidge (1-1) at Trinidad (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Trinidad 44, Coolidge 32
Celina (2-0) at Argyle Liberty Christian (2-0)
Like in Class 1A, it’s not an overwhelming slate of private school games this week, but this qualifies as must-see. If you haven’t seen Argyle Liberty Christian yet, you’re missing out on one of the private schools’ most diverse offensive attacks. QB Colby Moore is recovered from a scary hairline fracture in his vertebra and is slinging the ball around; RB JonAaron Howell is a bruising presence; and WR Hunter Griffith is the most reliable receiver on the team. But the defense has struggled a bit, and that’s problematic when you’re facing Celina QB Nathan Elliott, who has been lights-out for the Bobcats this season. What’s more: the defense, led by Braylin Brown and Micah Nelson in the secondary, has lived up to its end of the bargain. Liberty needs to get into a shootout to win this one.
Tepper’s pick: Celina 36, Argyle Liberty Christian 23
Marion (2-0) at Austin St. Michael’s (1-1)
I’m comfortable calling St. Michael’s QB Reed Carlton the best player in Austin that you’re not paying attention to. He’s been extraordinary: 283 yards and 4 TDs (oh, and no INTs) passing; 257 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. Like I said: extraordinary. But now he goes up against a bruising Marion defense that loves to win ugly. DE Lorenzo Washington and LB Miguel Vega will have their sights set on Carlton, and then the Bulldogs will sit on the ball with RB Rafael Dehoyos. St. Michael’s can win this one by hitting big plays; the Marion offense isn’t built for quick scores, so getting ahead is critical.
Tepper’s pick: Austin St. Michael’s 34, Marion 20
Houston KIPP Sunnyside (1-1) at Fort Bend Christian (2-0)
Who says running teams can’t score? Fort Bend Christian has hung 110 points on the board in two games thanks primarily to the ground game of QB Jacob Bruns and RBs Jackson Beasley and Justin Wherry. That’s problematic for Sunnyside, a team with some talent – especially defensively with DB Sterling Reed and LB Willie Gabriel – but has had trouble scoring.
Tepper’s pick: Fort Bend Christian 41, Houston KIPP Sunnyside 20
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.