1A Weekend Preview: Can Collinsville, Mart keep playoff dreams alive?
Canadian won last week's biggest 1A playoff showdown with a 48-31 victory over Wellington that established the Wildcats as the favorite to win the state championship. QB Brandon Robinson is Canadian's playmaker. He won a showdown with Wellington's Westin Williams last week when Robinson rushed for 240 yards and passed for 116 more. Olton will have to contain Robinson and force some turnovers to pull off the upset. Olton QB Bobby Wayne Workman is a Player of the Week candidate after passing for 483 yards and 4 TDs in a 14-point win over Stanton.
Prediction: Canadian 45, Olton 28
Jerry Forrest's pick: Canadian by 23
Neither of these teams have impressive records, but no apologies are necessary. If you're still around at this point in the playoffs, you've earned it. Collinsville pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the playoffs with a first-round upset of undefeated Quinlan Boles. Collinsville followed up with a rout of De Leon. Haskell has edged out Winters and Seymour. The win over Seymour was a big upset made possible by a strong rushing game by Tyler Rodriguez (140 yards) and an outstanding defensive effort.
Prediction: Collinsville 35, Haskell 24
Jerry Forrest's pick: Collinsville by 4
Joaquin running back Jeffrey Rico is on a roll, with three consecutive 200-yard rushing efforts coming into this game. Rico leads a powerful offense that produced a whopping 461 rushing yards last week in a blowout win over Hawkins. Riesel is a bit more of a surprise to still be alive at his round of the playoffs. Riesel, which won only one game last year, had to rally from behind three timeslast week to advance with a 49-34 win over Colmesneil.
Prediction: Joaquin 42, Riesel 28
Jerry Forrest's pick: Joaquiin by 13
We've been closely following Goldthwaite ever since the Eagles opened the season with a pair of shutouts against Collinsville and Hamilton. Goldthwaite has continued to play great defense throughout the season with four more shutouts, including a 23-0 win over Shiner last week. Goldthwaite's unbeaten record includes some impressive wins over quality opponents like San Saba, Mason and Mart. Junction is following the same script it followed last season: A mediocre regular season then a nice playoff run. Junction reached the state semifinals last year for the first time in school history.
Prediction: Goldthwaite 28, Junction 20
Jerry Forrest's pick: Goldthwaite by 19
Stratford has won four in a row since a tough loss to district rival Canadian. The Elks won a hard-fought 28-20 game against Clarendon last week to keep alive their hopes of repeating as state champion. Stratford is led by RB Bryce Cummings (1,355 yards, 17 TDs). Springlake-Earth had a surprisingly easy time last week against a good Seagraves team, winning 33-14. Springlake-Earth is led by QB Blake Betz (1,956 passing yards, 21 TDs) and an outstanding defense that allows only eight points per game.
Prediction: Stratford 32, Springlake-Earth 24
Jerry Forrest's pick: Stratford by 11
Sunray (9-2) vs. New Deal (12-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Canyon's Kimbrough Stadium
Speaking of outstanding defenses, New Deal has the best in Class 1A, having allowed only 55 points all season. New Deal actually had its worth defensive effort of the season last week in a 28-17 win over Iraan. Before that, New Deal hadn't allowed double-digit points since Week 2. New Deal will need to have another big effort against Sunray, which finished third in the mighty 1-1A and has only lost to a pair of defending state champs, Canadian and Stratford. New Deal is led by two-way threat Stephen Bryant, who has committed to TCU. RB Colton Wilson and QB Ty Dooley lead the way for Sunray.
Prediction: New Deal 28, Sunray 27
Jerry Forrest's pick: New Deal by 8
Munday QB Kenyin Thompson has been red hot of late, including a 287-yard, 5-TD performance last week in a come-from-behind win over Bronte. Thompson has almost 2,000 rushing yards for the season. Thompson will need another big game this week, because Lindsay has an outstanding defense that forced five turnovers in a blowout win over Tolar last week. Lindsay has a lot of size and strength on the lines and has shown the ability to impose its will on the opposition.
Prediction: Munday 34, Lindsay 29
Jerry Forrest's pick: Lindsay by 8
Albany (12-0) vs. Muenster (9-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mineral Wells HS
Albany has a simple recipe for success: Control the ball and the clock with RB Elijah Hudson (1,963 rushing yards, 32 TDs) and an outstanding defense that has allowed more than 20 points only once all season.Albany has worked that formula to perfection this season and will need more of the same against a dangerous Muenster squad that has the ability to score a lot of points behind QB Levi Trubenbach (2,235 passing yards, 31 TDs).
Prediction: Albany 39, Muenster 31
Jerry Forrest's pick: Albany by 21
Tenaha is the undefeated team, but it's hard to call Mart an underdog against anybody the way the Panthers have been playing. Mart, a state finalist last year, has won its first two playoff games against Dawson and Evadale by a combined score of 104-7. And Mart's dominance actually stretches back to a 41-7 win over Riesel in the regular-season finale. Evadale was unbeaten heading into last week's game against Mart but walked away with a 60-7 loss. Tenaha needs a big game from two-way star Cobi Steadman to emerge with a win. Steadman is the team's top rushing threat and he also had a key interception last week against Maud.
Prediction: Mart 35, Tenaha 29
Jerry Forrest's pick: Pick
Cayuga (10-1) vs. Lovelady (12-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Whitehouse HS
We've been hearing from Lovelady fans that the Lions' stellar defense would be ready for this game. They had better be, because Cayuga has the best 1-2 punch in Class 1A. RB Traylon Shead is now the second-leading rusher in Texas high school football history, trailing only the legendary Kenneth Hall. And Shead hasn't even been Cayuga's most consistent threat this year. That has been QB Malcome Kennedy, who carried the load when Shead struggled with an ankle injury early in the year. Lovelady hasn't allowed more than 22 points in a game all season, and we'll see if they can continue to make that claim after facing Shead and Kennedy.
Prediction: Cayuga 35, Lovelady 28
Jerry Forrest's pick: Lovelady by 1
Falls City has had it on cruise control most of the season, but now it's time to get focused. Chilton is a dangerous opponent despite its 8-2 record. Chilton opened the season with an impressive win over Mart, and its two losses are to strong teams: Italy and Goldthwaite. Chilton has an outstanding running game led by Mantraze Landrum, who ran for 182 yards and 2 TDs last week against Louise. Falls City faced its first big test last week against Mason and escaped with a 37-31 overtime win. QB Will Kirchhoff leads Falls City with his running and passing ability.
Prediction: Falls City 38, Chilton 30
Jerry Forrest's pick: Falls City by 11
Ganado (7-4) vs. La Pryor (11-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Converse HS
La Pryor is undefeated, but we're still witing to see just how good the Bulldogs are. They have dominated competition in their region but haven't yet faced a top state power. Ganado has a mediocre record and, because of a first-round bye, has only had to win one playoff game to get this far. But Ganado was impressive in a 36-12 win over Bartlett last week. Ganado had 300 rushing yards in the first half alone and ended three straight Bartlett drives with interceptions. That same recipe will be needed to stay in the game this week against La Pryor.
Prediction: La Pryor 32, Ganado 21
Jerry Forrest's pick: La Pryor by 11