3A Games to Watch: Can Lovejoy, Wimberley keep dreams alive?
By Dennis Hall/Texas Football
Lucas Lovejoy is the Cinderella story of the 3A playoffs, reaching the state semifinals in only its second season of varsity play. Last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win over defending state champion Prosper served notice that Lovejoy is a legitimate title contender. Wylie, of course, has been considered a title contender since the summer. The Bulldogs have rolled through three playoff games, outscoring the opposition 105-28. Wylie had two 100-yard rushers, Robert Miller and Jon Miller, in last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 39-21 win over Burkburnett. Lovejoy is led by dual-threat QB Michael Means, who had 247 total yards against Prosper.
Prediction: Wylie 31, Lovejoy 27
Jerry Forrest's pick: Wylie by 9
Gilmer (13-0) vs. Cuero (13-0), 6:00 Saturday at Huntsville's Bowers Stadium
If you like quarterback battles, this should be a good one. GilmerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Darian Ã¢â‚¬Å“StumpÃ¢â‚¬Â Godfrey is one of the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most dynamic double threats, capable of running or passing for a touchdown at any time. Godfrey threw four TD passes and ran for another in last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thrilling 42-35 win over Navasota. CueroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tyler Arndt is also a dangerous passer, with 2,184 passing yards and 26 TDs on the season. And he has the added advantage of having RB Trent Jackson in the backfield to take away some pressure. Gilmer is the favorite here, but the Gobblers will provide a stiff test. Expect a shootout.
Prediction: Gilmer 45, Cuero 33
Jerry Forrest's pick: Gilmer by 6
Besides Lucas Lovejoy, the other big surprise story in Class 3A is the Wimberley Texans, who were 6-4 in the regular season but have heated up at just the right time. RB Dennis Smith has guided Wimberley to impressive wins over Glen Rose, Iowa Park and Brownwood. WimberleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense will have to be ready for a big performance against Graham and QB Case McCoy, who also has been red hot for the past month. Graham is averaging 38 points per game in the playoffs.
Prediction: Graham 27, Wimberley 23
Jerry Forrest's pick: Graham by 11
Pleasant Grove pulled off a big upset against Argyle last week to advance to a matchup against a fellow East Texas school, Pittsburg. Pleasant Grove QB Antonio Graves had a huge game, passing for 253 yards and rushing for 178 more to keep his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s playoff hopes alive. Pittsburg features a power running attack led by RB Ted Burns. Pittsburg showed its fortitude last week when it rallied to score the game-winning touchdown in the final minute against Kennedale.
Prediction: Pittsburg 37, Pleasant Grove 30
Jerry Forrest's pick: Pittsburg by 5
Carthage is the overwhelming favorite in this game and the defending state champs will continue to be favorites as long as theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re around. With an offense that is producing 46.3 points per game, led by standout RB OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Bryan Washington, the Bulldogs are as unstoppable as any team in the state. Lorena has a stingy defense and will need a big effort to keep its playoff streak alive. LorenaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top offensive threat is Evan Ward, who rushed for 234 yards and four TDs in an exciting 33-29 win last week over Coldspring-Oakhurst.
Prediction: Carthage 39, Lorena 20
Jerry Forrest's pick: Carthage by 16
Speaking of unstoppable offenses, La Grange is averaging 43.7 points per game in the postseason. QB Josh Schneider is coming off a huge game against Devine in which he passed for 396 yards and two touchdowns. Sinton QB Josh Harrison is also having an excellent season, and he has guided the Pirates to three narrow victories. Sinton has won its three playoff games by a total of 15 points. SintonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense has been good but will need to be great to stop La Grange.
Prediction: La Grange 38, Sinton 31
Jerry Forrest's pick: La Grange by 15