6A/5A Preview: Week 2
Preparing for the first Friday night of high school football season in Class 6A and 5A.
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It’s Friday night in Texas, which means tonight belongs to high school football! DCTF’s Greg Tepper previews the 12 biggest games in 6A and 5A this weekend (plus some games that just missed the cut). That way, you’ll know which ones you should really have your eye on.
Just Missed The Cut…
Rockwall-Heath vs. Euless Trinity, 5 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium
Tepper’s pick: Euless Trinity
FW Nolan Catholic at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Lancaster
Dallas Skyline vs. Arlington Martin, 5:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium
Tepper’s pick: Dallas Skyline
Nacogdoches at Hallsville, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Nacogdoches
Sharyland at Laredo United, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bill Johnson Student Activity Center
Tepper’s pick: Sharyland
San Antonio Alamo Heights at San Antonio O’Connor, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Alamo Heights
CC Calallen at Kerrville Tivy, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Calallen
Friendswood at Richmond George Ranch, 7 p.m. Saturday at Guy K. Traylor Stadium
Tepper’s pick: George Ranch
La Marque at Texas City, 7 p.m. Friday at Stingaree Stadium
Tepper’s pick: La Marque
Kilgore at CC Flour Bluff, 2 p.m. Saturday at Galena Park
Tepper’s pick: CC Flour Bluff
Richmond Foster at A&M Consolidated, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: A&M Consolidated
Houston Memorial at Pearland, 7 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Pearland
Liberty Hill at Brenham, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Brenham
Amarillo at Wichita Falls Rider, 7 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Wichita Falls Rider
Canyon Randall at Lubbock Cooper, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Canyon Randall
EP El Dorado at Wolfforth Frenship, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper’s pick: Wolfforth Frenship
The Top 12 Games In 6A and 5A
12. Crosby (1-0) at Angleton (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wildcat Stadium
OK, fess up: who kidnapped Crosby and replaced them with a different football team hoping we wouldn’t notice? The Cougars’ 25-20 win over Nederland was decidedly un-Crosby-like, considering the Code Red offense averaged 51.8 points per game last season…and allowed nearly 27 per game. But if this is the new-look Cougars, led by the defense of DT Josh Opiela and DB Joseph Pinckney, we’d better get used to it. Now, they’ll get a tough road test against Angleton, a team with plenty of weapons, most notably dual-threat QB K’Vonte Jackson. It was a decent start for the Angleton defense, led by LB Mark Banaba, but it’ll need to get better as the season goes on. Can Crosby’s offense find its rhythm behind RB Vernon Allen? Or will the Angleton defense keep it in check? A lot of question marks in this one.
Tepper’s pick: Crosby 33, Angleton 28
11. Abilene Cooper (0-1) at Austin Vandegrift (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ed W. Monroe Stadium
Abilene Cooper can’t help but feel like it got the short end of the stick in last week’s weather-shortened loss to Wichita Falls Rider, but there are a lot of positives to take from the loss, specifically the emergence of RB Skylar Wilson. But the defense, which struggled to contain the run, will need to be on point when it travels to the Hill Country to take on a surging Vandegrift squad. Diual-threat QB Jamie Hudson is a man among boys, but what could make the Vipers’ attack even more menacing is continued strong play from RB Travis Brannan. Adding another element to the offense could turn this offense from good to watch-out. But like Cooper, the defense was vulnerable in its opening week win over Elgin. Which defense tightens it up and, perhaps more importantly, can Cooper avoid the turnovers that short-circuited its offense last week?
Tepper’s pick: Austin Vandegrift 44, Abilene Cooper 31
10. Harlingen (0-0) at San Antonio Reagan (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Heroes Stadium
It’s the much-anticipated debut of Valley darling Harlingen, and the Cardinals should once again be potent offensively…that is, if they find a quarterback. WR Bowie Davis and RB Fidencio Gonzalez are stolid weapons, but the Manny Gomez offense is always predicated on signal-caller play. Who will step in? And, perhaps more importantly, is the defense ready to make the next step? There’s talent there in safety suo Elijah Deleon and Felix Reyna, and they’ll be tested early by a Reagan team still steaming after its opening week loss to O’Connor. Plain and simple: the Rattlers outplayed O’Connor, but made too many mistakes to capitalize. If they clean up the mistakes, and the QB platoon of sophomores Cade Bormet and Kellen Mond continues to make strides, the defense — anchored by DCTF favorite Garrett Strauss at DB — will carry them where they want to go. Welcome to 2014, Harlingen; here’s your chance to announce your arrival.
Tepper’s pick: San Antonio Reagan 34, Harlingen 28
9. Leander Rouse (0-1) at Cedar Park (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at A.C. Bible Jr. Stadium
Cedar Park began the year at No. 5 in our 5A rankings, Rouse at No. 25 in our 6A rankings…and one of them will be 0-2 later tonight. But both losses (Rouse’s Week 1 loss to SA Brennan and Cedar Park was edged by Aledo) will fall clearly in the “good losses” category. Rouse could never get it going offensively last week, and that’ll be a priority against a Cedar Park defense that looked every bit the part of a state title contender. QB Billy Ray McCrary must find a way to jumpstart the offense, else the Timberwolves’ LB Thomas Hutchings and DE Myles Cheatum swallow the attack whole. Cedar Park’s offense looked OK, but it found some weapons in QB Jake Pokorney and RB Joey Carter. If the Rouse offense can’t get going, it’ll be up to LBs Chris Hoad and Ryan Heinrich to keep this game low-scoring.
Tepper’s pick: Cedar Park 28, Leander Rouse 20
8. Arlington Bowie (1-0) at Cedar Hill (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Longhorn Stadium
If you like offense, there’s no question that this is the game for you. Arlington Bowie exploded for 872 total yards — nearly 16 yards per play — in the Week 1 win over Jesuit, while Cedar Hill hung 56 points and 439 yards on a South Oak Cliff squad loaded with FBS recruits. Whether it’s Bowie QB Tony James, Cedar Hill WR DaMarkus Lodge, Bowie RB DeAndre Cook, Cedar Hill QB Justin McMillan, Bowie WR Anthony Hawkins or Cedar Hill RB Aca’Cedric Ware, there are explosive elements all over the field. So…anyone care to play defense? Neither D looked particularly adept last week, and whomever can find a stop first will probably win what could be a wild shootout.
Tepper’s pick: Cedar Hill 55, Arlington Bowie 45
7. Lake Travis (0-1) at Copperas Cove (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldawg Stadium
Let’s talk for a moment about Copperas Cove, which scored one of the most impressive wins in the state last week by shellacking A&M Consolidated. QB Manny Harris was the maestro behind an 818-yard assault, spreading the ball around to guys like WR Tre Powell and RBs Trent Canion and LeDarian Johnson to the tune of 9.6 yards per play. It was an outrageous performance, and now they have an opportunity to prove they’re no one-hit wonder. The problem with analyzing this game is that we have no idea what Lake Travis will look like. LT lost to Hewitt Midway last week, but that was without major pieces like QB Dominic De Lira. Will he and some of the other key players be back? We don’t know. One thing is for sure: the defense has to be better, especially against the pass. A lot of this game depends on which players suit up for LT, but Cove’s offense has an opportunity to make that irrelevant.
Tepper’s pick: Copperas Cove 42, Lake Travis 35
6. Denton Guyer (0-1) at Ennis (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lion Memorial Stadium
Another example of a game in which one team will start 0-2 with two really, really good losses. Denton Guyer was ripped apart by the Kyler Murray Experience and Allen last week, but while the defense struggled, the offense settled in with new QB Shawn Robinson. The sophomore seemed to justify the substantial preseason hype surrounding him, racking up 425 yards of total offense. Can the defense bounce back? Ennis, a preseason darling, looked mortal in its 34-21 loss to a darn good Mansfield Timberview team. QB Devin Smith is solid, but it must get more from its running game (RB Tre Elliott et al) and defense, which really struggled against Timberview’s dual-threat signal-caller. That’s problematic vs. the very mobile Robinson. Unless DE James Lockhart and company can find an answer for the dual-threat, the Lions could be staring at 0-2.
Tepper’s pick: Denton Guyer 35, Ennis 24
5. Temple (1-0) at Austin Westlake (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chaparral Stadium
So Todd Dodge’s Westlake debut didn’t go as planned, dropping the opener in Southlake Carroll. The defense still looked fantastic behind LBs Breckyn Hager and Hudson Hall, and while it couldn’t find the right play at the right time, QB Sam Ehlinger and WR Sam Klubnick showed flashes of potential. It’s the defense, though, that provides the tantalizing matchup here, as Temple and QB Chad President roll into town. The Wildcats’ attack sputtered early in its win over Round Rock, but President and RB Jeff Carr found their groove. And Carr is perhaps the x-factor here: if Temple can become more than just Chad President and become President and Carr? That’s scary. Of course, the defense, led by DB Clint Cole and LB Ty McCorkle, must continue to play well. We’ll have another data point for both of these squads tonight, and it’ll tell us a lot more about the future of both teams, but near- and far-term.
Tepper’s pick: Temple 28, Austin Westlake 24
4. Converse Judson (0-1) at San Antonio Brandeis (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rutledge Stadium
You know what I like about San Antonio Brandeis? And this is going to sound like an insult, but it’s true: they’re not a “sexy team.” They don’t have these big superstars that you see scattered throughout the Alamo City. Instead, they have a great coach (John Campbell, perpetually underrated), a solid 1-2 punch offensively (QB Paul Lozano and RB Tommy Woods), a big-play wide receiver (Derek Dennard) and a strong defense (led by DB Kadarius Lee and LB Joel Flores). What can Judson do to take them down? Sean McAuliffe’s head coaching debut didn’t go well, dropping a 37-34 decision to Pflugerville Hendrickson, and the defense has to make strides, especially against the run. DB Dominic Cameron and LB Jonte Turner are solid players, and things will improve, but can it happen in time to take down Brandeis? And can QB Michael Malato continue to mature at the signal-caller spot? While Judson has a few questions, Brandeis appears to have all the answers right now.
Tepper’s pick: San Antonio Brandeis 34, Converse Judson 28
3. John Tyler (1-0) at Longview (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lobo Stadium
Alright, Longview: here’s your opportunity at a clean slate. Last week’s 44-14 drubbing at the hands of a then-underrated Lufkin team is put aside. Win this one, and nobody will remember it. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, because CUJO looks terrific, especially defensively, holding Plano to 210 total yards and forcing three turnovers. The defensive front of DL Braylon Jones and DE Jassavia Reese, plus the playmaking styles of DB Bryston Gipson (an INT return TD and a fumble return TD), makes CUJO — which we knew would have a great offense with QB Geo McCollister — all the more dangerous. For Longview, the fixes are two-fold: defense and holding on to the ball. For the first, someone has to step up, be it DB Keenan Madden or LB Jaylan Jackson or someone else. For the second, RB Tylan Miller looked pretty good in place of the injured JaMycal Hasty, but he and QB Dezmond Chumley have to take care of the ball. All told, this looks like a classic clash between two East Texas powers, and we’ll find out, in both cases, if Week 1 was an aberration or a sign of things to come.
Tepper’s pick: Longview 31, John Tyler 28
2. Houston Lamar (1-0) at Fort Bend Elkins (1-0), 6 p.m. Saturday at Hall Stadium
Not to be a spoiler, but for the first time since I can remember, the top two games are from the same region — the Houston area. It is an absurd slate of games in H-Town this weekend, and Saturday’s crown jewel includes two teams that really impressed in Week 1. We didn’t know how the new pieces would fit at Houston Lamar — what with the offseason transfers of QB J.W. Ketchum and RB Tyreik Gray into the mix — and while they’re still looking for the right formula, there’s no doubt that the Lamar offense has weapons on weapons on weapons (let’s not forget RB Ronnie Wesley). But it was the defense that led the way in the season opener against Brenham, as DB Holton Hill and Trevion Duncan continue to hold down the fort. And is there a challenge for them on Saturday, as QB Jonathan Giles — one of the most explosive athletes in the state — is suiting up. Giles is great, but it’s the addition of RB Aidan Edison (who ran for 180 yards and 4 TDs in the win over Houston Bellaire) that has to have defensive coordinators trembling. The defense will need to get better after surrendering 8 yards per carry to Bellaire, but the defensive front of DE Leroy Godfrey and DT Brandon Jones is not lacking for talent. The key here is Elkins’ front seven against Lamar’s offensive line; if Lamar’s able to run the ball, that’s problematic not just for Elkins, but for every team in Lamar’s way.
Tepper’s pick: Houston Lamar 38, Fort Bend Elkins 35
1. Galena Park North Shore at Manvel, 7 p.m. Friday at Alvin Memorial Stadium
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. The DCTF office has been buzzing about this game since last weekend, when both North Shore and Manvel showed in their openers that they are worthy of the preseason hype as some of the best teams in the Houston area (and probably Texas). Manvel may have been the most impressive team in the state last week, dismantling Spring Westfield through QB D’Eriq King and a blistering defense led by DB Will Lockett and LB Shane Jackson. And North Shore, thought not as impressive offensively, was its usual dominant defensive self, with DE Dorrance Armstrong and DB Eric Monroe crushing Clear Springs. North Shore’s offense, triggered by QB MIchah Long, took some time to get up to speed, but once it did, zoooooooooom with RB Tristan Houston. We’re dealing with small sample sizes here, but this feels like the tone will be set early — both teams are good enough to run away with this game, making a quick start a necessity. And this’ll be a huge test for the Manvel front, containing the running game of North Shore. Long is a good quarterback, but Tristan Houston represents almost sure destruction if he gets loose. On the other side, North Shore has to find a way to contain D’Eriq King, which should provide for a fascinating speed-on-speed matchup. Just…go to this game. Period.
Tepper’s pick: Manvel 28, Galena Park North Shore 24
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