3A/2A/1A/PVT/6M Preview: Week 6
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!
Graham (6-0, 0-0) at Vernon (5-1, 0-0)
Like most of the 3A districts, District 5-3A kicks off tonight, and wouldn’t you know it? The two best teams square off in the opener! Graham’s been absolutely incredible this year, especially offensively, where QB Ben Davis and WR Bryce Reeves have lit up opponents to the tune of 48.3 points per game. But don’t forget about the Steers’ defense, where NG Husky Melendez anchors things in the middle. Can Vernon, coming off their first loss of the year, find its legs again? The defense has been strong all year behind LB Zach McMahan, but they’ll need the running game of RB Orlando Haymon to pace things if they’re going to knock off the district favorites.
Tepper’s pick: Graham 44, Vernon 26
La Vernia (5-1, 0-0) at Pleasanton (6-0, 0-0)
It’s a huge week in South Texas, and this is one of the gems of the slate. District 28-3A is a three-team race – lump Somerset in with these two – and so this one should help define the direction of the district. La Vernia’s offense has been as consistent as the day is long, hanging around the 24-35 point range thanks to RBs Vince Gill and Jevante Anderson. So, allot them 28 points, for the sake of argument. Can LV’s defense of DE Zach Beach and LB Koby Bullard hold Pleasanton under 28 points? QB Jacob Arevalo has been dynamite this year – 24 touchdowns in all – so it’s a tall ask. Winner becomes the de facto favorite.
Tepper’s pick: Pleasanton 31, La Vernia 28
Lorena (5-0, 0-0) at Waco Connally (4-1, 0-0)
Much like 28-3A, District 17-3A appears to be a three-team race between Lorena, Connally and Robinson, so when you’ve got two of the three best teams in the district locking horns, how can you not be excited? I’ve made no bones about my affinity for Harris Coleman, the Lorena QB – he’s got 565 yards and 4 TDs passing to go along with 741 yards and 10 TDs rushing, but that’s beside the point – but Connaly’s going to have a real shot to slow him down. DB D’Oreyan Thornton and LB Patrick Smith have formed a powerful unit on defense, and Connally will try to keep the ball out of Lorena’s powerful offensive hands by running the ball with QB Kristian Brown and RB Josh Terrell. Will it work? Lorena’s defense, specifically LB Kyle Perlowski, need to be ready for a dogfight.
Tepper’s pick: Lorena 35, Waco Connally 28
Big Spring (4-1, 0-0) at Abilene Wylie (3-2, 0-0)
How much does strength of schedule matter? Out west, we’re finally going to see what Big Spring is all about. Yes, the Steers are 4-1 behind the strength of QB Tobyn Tannehill and a pretty good defense, but let’s just say that the strength of schedule (aside from the 38-3 loss to Midland Christian) leaves something to be desired. Abilene Wylie, on the other hand, has run a gauntlet – including Argyle and Graham – and have come out tested. Can LB Jacon Bounds slow down Tannehill? Can Big Spring’s defense with DB Devin Roberson befuddle Wylie RB Hayden Lewis? We’ll have a lot better feel on both of these teams after this one.
Tepper’s pick: Abilene Wylie 31, Big Spring 24
Other 3A Games to Watch…
Gainesville (5-0, 0-0) at Decatur (4-2, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Gainesville 38, Decatur 31
Pittsburg (2-3, 0-0) at Paris North Lamar (2-3, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Pittsburg 31, Paris North Lamar 28
Rio Grande City Grulla (5-1, 0-0) at Raymondville (4-2, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Raymondville 38, RGC Grulla 33
Ingleside (3-2, 0-0) at Sinton (4-1, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Sinton 32, Ingleside 31
Burnet (4-1, 0-0) at Brownwood (2-3, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Brownwood 41, Burnet 38
White Oak (5-0, 0-0) at Tatum (5-0, 0-0)
In an impossibly loaded 2A schedule, this one stands out as the top tilt. With all due respect to Troup, these are the two best teams in District 9-2A DI, and one of them will have pole position after tonight. Yes, Tatum’s offense has been pretty good from WR Deyante Roberson and RB Jaylen Shans, but the defense has been flat-out absurd, allowing 13 points all season. From DL Collin Gage to LB Kyshaun Smith, the Eagles’ D is crazy-good. Can White Oak break through? They’ve had a knack for the big play thanks to QB Dylan Gale and WR Jansen McCurdy. And the defense has been pretty equally phenomenal, as DE Hayden Nichols and DL Dee Sutton provide a salty front seven. This one comes down to little things, like special teams and turnovers, and right now, it’s hard to pick against that phenomenal Tatum defense.
Tepper’s pick: Tatum 27, White Oak 24
Malakoff (6-0, 2-0) at Lone Oak (4-1, 1-0)
In the mood for another district showdown? In 7-2A DI, Malakoff has been absolutely obliterating people. Why? An insane running game led by RB Damontes Dowell – insane as in more than 350 yards a game insane – and a defense that doesn’t let people breathe thanks to LB Jordan Harris and DB Dariuhn Jackson. But Lone Oak won’t go quietly, not after their red-hot start to the season has vaulted them into district contention. The defense is the key here – DB Ryan Basye and DL Micah Radney have to slow down Malakoff in order for the Buffaloes to have a chance. The lower the score, the better it bodes for Lone Oak.
Tepper’s pick: Malakoff 43, Lone Oak 23
Newton (5-0, 2-0) at East Chambers (4-1, 2-0)
Coming into the season, we thought that there were two teams in District 10-2A DI that could give top-ranked Newton a scare. The first was Kirbyville, whom the Eagles beat by 37 last week. The other? East Chambers. Why are they a threat? Defense, and lots of it. LB Cody Casey and DB Jarrod Guillory lead a unit that’s hit opponents early, often and hard. Can they take down RB Kevin Shorter and company, slowing down that calamitous Newton running game? Even if they do, they’d still need to find a way to break through the Newton defense, led by LB Anthony Hadnot, a squad that’s allowed just about 10 points per game. It’s going to take a very special effort to beat Newton, and if it doesn’t happen tonight, it might not happen until the playoffs – if at all.
Tepper’s pick: Newton 38, East Chambers 17
McGregor (5-0, 2-0) at Troy (4-1, 2-0)
Do you see what I mean about an impossibly loaded 2A schedule? Central Texas will be rocking with this one, as District 13-2A DII – which really may be the deepest district in 2A – takes shape tonight (between this and Yoe-Lago Vista). McGregor’s roll has been fueled by its defense, where DE Brett Boles and LBs C.J. Sims and G.C. Davis have stifled opponents. The offense has been good behind QB Troy Allison, but it really hasn’t needed to be great. Can it find that extra gear it’ll need on the road against Troy? The Trojans’ D has been great the last two weeks, thanks to DB Ryaln Cox and LB Austin Talasek. But they get their points on the ground, running it with Kevin Whitley and Coby Herring. Their goal: keep the ball away from Allison and the quick-strike offense. Will it work? We’re not sure, but we can’t wait to find out.
Tepper’s pick: McGregor 31, Troy 28
Dublin (4-1, 1-0) at Comanche (5-1, 2-0)
We usually only preview four games, but c’mon…2A’s outrageous this week. And we can’t pass this one up, which really may be the biggest game for Dublin in the past, oh, ever. It’s important to remember where we started with these two teams: we picked Comanche fifth in District 4-2A DI, and we picked Dublin seventh – as in dead last – in the district. But the Lions have been turning heads this year and it’s because of the defense, with DB Dirk DeVries anchoring a unit that’s allowed just 17.4 points per game. Comanche’s got a little more scoring punch thanks to QB Cassion Montieth, but they want to win with defense, too. These are teams built in very similar styles – they prefer to win low-scoring affairs, but can hang in shootouts. Who make sthe plays tonight and continues their dream start?
Tepper’s pick: Comanche 33, Dublin 28
Other 2A Games to Watch…
Paul Pewitt (3-2, 1-1) at Hughes Springs (5-0, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Hughes Springs 34, Paul Pewitt 18
Winona (4-1, 1-0) at Garrison (6-0, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Garrison 44, Winona 28
Corrigan-Camden (5-0, 0-0) at Deweyville (5-0, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Corrigan-Camden 34, Deweyville 32
Cameron Yoe (5-0, 2-0) at Lago Vista (2-3, 0-2)
Tepper’s pick: Cameron Yoe 35, Lago Vista 21
Bangs (3-2, 1-0) at Wall (6-0, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Wall 48, Bangs 20
Sonora (4-1, 0-0) at Alpine (3-2, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Sonora 27, Alpine 23
Denver City (5-0, 0-0) at Kermit (2-2, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Denver City 44, Kermit 22
Chilton (5-1) at Wellington (6-0)
This game is not happening. It's been canceled because -- and this is a very Class 1A reason, which will warm your heart -- there is a band competition on the day that this was supposed to be played (Saturday), and too many of the Wellington football players are also in the band. Good for them -- go win that band competition! -- but we're robbed of what would've been one of the best 1A games in the state this year. A true shame.
Tepper’s pick: :(
Runge (4-0, 0-0) at Woodsboro (5-0, 0-0)
District 14-1A DII is absolutely loaded, from top to bottom. Falls City is probably your favorite, but these two squads are right on the Beavers’ heels, and it starts with defense. DT Ryan Saucedo and LB Jeric Esparza have led a blistering Runge defense, while Woodsboro relies on DB Jonathan Flores and DE Jacob Nesloney to get the job done. So don’t expect a lot of points, but instead, we’re left to wonder which team can break through. Will it be Runge’s running game of RB Corey Barnes? Or will it be Woodsboro’s exciting QB Lionel Brown? First one to 24 really may win this one.
Tepper’s pick: Woodsboro 28, Runge 21
Hico (6-0, 0-0) at Goldthwaite (2-4, 0-0)
So, remember a couple of weeks ago, when Goldthwaite was 0-4 and we were worried about them? Uh, not so much. Back-to-back wins – including a victory over 1A power Mart – have the Eagles back on track, and it’s because the defense has really come on strong. We knew it was a matter of time until DL Jaggar Parrish and company started playing up to capability, and now it’s in time for District 5-A DI play. But their first test will be their toughest: Hico, a squad that’s looked every bit the district title contender we thought they’d be. RB Blake Hyles and WR Duane Hyles have been the guiding forces behind an offensive explosion, and the defense, led by DL Jon Hartgraves, has held up its end of the bargain. So, once and for all: was Goldthwaite’s slow start a product of tough scheduling? Are they really the team to beat in this district? We’ll find out tonight.
Tepper’s pick: Goldthwaite 33, Hico 30
Brackettville (5-0, 0-0) at Junction (4-1, 0-0)
Most people think of District 14-1A DI as “the Mason district” and understandably so: the Punchers have been the dominant force here for a while. But these two squads look like they’re up to snuff this season, too. Not much to nitpick about Brackett – DB Ez Rivas has been a gamechanging defender, and QB Coltan Stephenson has steered the Tigers’ offense to an unbeaten start. Junction’s got one loss, but the defense has been very sturdy all year, with DB Dontay Foy and LB Justus Young. Can the offense with QB Drew Martinez find enough pop to kick off district play on the right foot?
Tepper’s pick: Brackettville 35, Junction 23
Other 1A Games to Watch…
Stratford (5-0, 0-0) at Panhandle (3-2, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Stratford 42, Panhandle 22
Holland (5-1, 0-0) at Flatonia (4-1, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Flatonia 27, Holland 25
Muenster (5-0, 0-0) at Electra (4-1, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Muenster 37, Electra 21
Seagraves (3-3, 0-0) at Ralls (5-1, 0-0)
Tepper’s pick: Ralls 42, Seagraves 39
Dallas Bishop Lynch (3-2, 1-1) at Addison Trinity Christian (4-1, 0-1)
Are you a believer in carryover, that one loss can affect the next game? Because if so, ooh boy, did TCA-Addison get punched in the gut. An overtime loss on a two-point conversion handed the Trojans their first loss of the year. Can Bishop Lynch capitalize? This is an offense built on the big play – mostly from QB Barrett Renner and WR Tremel Glasper – so a few quick strikes may get in TCA’s head. Of course, it also may not matter at all, not with TCA quarterback Christian Hutzler and RB Nahshon Ellerbe calling the shots. Consider this a mental toughness check on TCA-Addison.
Tepper’s pick: TCA-Addison 37, Dallas Bishop Lynch 24
Houston Second Baptist (3-2, 1-0) at Sugar Land Fort Bend Baptist (6-0, 2-0)
Hey, not sure if you’re paying attention to them, but Fort Bent Baptist is really…really good. How? Defense, defense, defense. They’ve shut out three of their five opponents (they won last week via forfeit), and held the other two to a combined 36 points. QB Jacob Bruns has been strong as well, but the defense of LB Jackson Beasley and LB Conner Cubes has been the driving force. Can Houston Second Baptist break through? Their offense has been pretty good – at the very least, very balanced, with QB Chase Wertheimer and RB Lynnard Rose. Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone lighting up FB Baptist right now.
Tepper’s pick: Sugar Land Fort Bend Baptist 35, Houston Second Baptist 27
Austin St. Michael’s (2-2, 0-0) at San Antonio Central Catholic (2-3, 0-0)
Don’t blame the St. Michael’s offense. QB Reed Carlton and RB Malcolm Postell have held up their in of the bargain. But the defense has been torched for 40 points a game this year, and that’s not going to fly, especially going up against a Buttons squad that features dual-threat QB Joseph Nava and an array of wideouts. Not that Central Catholic has lit the world on fire defensively, either. Basically, these are two teams desperate to find some defense; whichever one does first probably comes out with a victory.
Tepper’s pick: Austin St. Michael’s 42, SA Central Catholic 41
Other Private School Games to Watch…
Dallas Bishop Dunne (4-2, 1-1) at Argyle Liberty Christian (3-2, 1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Argyle Liberty Christian 45, Dallas Bishop Dunne 38
Waco Reicher (2-3, 1-0) at Fort Worth Southwest Christian (3-3, 1-1)
Tepper’s pick: FW Southwest Christian 55, Waco Reicher 38
Be sure to check out Ken Capps’ six-man blog for even more six-man coverage.
Six-man guru Leman Saunders breaks down the biggest game of the week in the six-man realm. Take it away, Leman!
Week 6 will feature some tough tests for a few of the remaining undefeated teams spread out across the state in the six-man world.
DI #3 Crowell (5-0) @ DII #2 Follett (5-0) – Two top ranked teams…two undefeated teams…two different divisions. I like this game and would love it if Lex Bond was playing (not sure if he is still injured) but it is still going to be a good one! Follett favored by 2 (sixmanfootball.com) and features one of the best athletes six-man football has to offer in DC cover boy Dakota Woods. However, Crowell is a bruiser of a team that has had its depth on the bench play a huge roll in their success this season. They have no fear and have demolished all teams set before them regardless of the circumstances, so I am sure the 200+mile drive to Follett won’t affect them. I will go the other way and pick Crowell by 2.
DII #6 Blackwell (6-0) v DI Highland (3-3) – The Battle for Nolan County! Just 23 miles separate these two schools. It is a big rivalry game that has lost its muster since the early 2000s as it has been dominated by Highland during that span...maybe this game will bring the spark back. Highland is full strength and coming off a big win over a good Lueders-Avoca team by the mercy rule. Blackwell is undefeated and coming off a one sided victory in which Blackwell scored 78 point in one half. Forget the records; this game is going to be a knock down drag out!
PS #5 Waco Methodist (5-0) v PS #6 Waco Live (5-1) – Two of the best private school teams square off this week and they happen to reside in the same city! Call this one The Waco Shoot Out and go enjoy the show! All things being equal and myself being a McMurry University grad…I will take Waco Methodist in a close one!
DII # 5 Newcastle (4-2) @ DII Loraine (5-0) - Loraine folks...here it is...a test to see how good you are...spread is 17 points in favor of Newcastle. Loraine squeaked out a win over Hermleigh last week (55-48) but remains undefeated on the season. Newcastle has played one of the toughest schedules in six-man, of their six games, four have been against top ranked teams throughout the six-man world (Private School #2 ACHS, DI #5 May, DI #8 Knox City, DII #3 Strawn) and are coming off a loss to Strawn. They are battle tested for sure and will be ready for Loraine.
DI Whiteface(5-1) v DI Ropes (2-4) - I think Whiteface (5-1) has been flying under the radar, their one loss is to a high ranked DII Dawson (#7) and they almost won that game (66-62 loss). Ropes almost pulled off an upset of DI #7 Rankin last week losing in a squeaker 52-50. Don’t let Ropes’ record fool you; they have three losses to top ranked teams in DI (#7 Rankin, #6 Garden City, and #4 Ira). Can Whiteface continue their great season? Can Ropes bounce back after a heart breaking loss? These questions will be answered Friday night.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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