5A/4A Preview: Week 1
The 12 biggest games in Class 5A and 4A across Texas.
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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 5A and 4A this weekend (plus some games that just missed the cut). That way, you know which ones you should really have your eye on.
Just Missed The Cut…
SA O’Connor (1-0) at SA Reagan (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper's pick: SA O'Connor 33, SA Reagan 30
Copperas Cove (0-1) at Waco (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper's pick: Copperas Cove 35, Waco 30
Temple (1-0) at Austin Westlake (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper's pick: Austin Westlake 51, Temple 42
Amarillo Tascosa (1-0) at Amarillo (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tepper's pick: Amarillo 48, Amarillo Tascosa 28
The Top 12 Games
12) SA Madison (1-0) at Kerrville Tivy (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
There are few teams in Texas that had a better opening week than San Antonio Madison. Jim Streety’s crew’s comeback win over Cibolo Steele resonated across the state and turned QB Cody Ennis into an overnight sensation (oh, and RB Dominique Daniels and WR Byron Daniels ain’t bad, either). But Kerrville Tivy, even while the search for QB Parks McNeil’s replacement continues, looked like it’ll be dangerous with its 25-0 win over Del Rio, as LBs Payeton Becker and JT White helped the Antlers hold Del Rio to 126 yards, picking off four passes in the process. But this is as much a seemingly strength-on-strength matchup – Madison’s offense against Tivy’s defense – as it is relative weakness on weakness. Can Madison’s defense shore up behind DL CJ Reese? Can Tivy’s offense get out of neutral with RB Adrian Medron? That question, more than the other side of the matchup, will determine this one.
Tepper’s pick: SA Madison 36, Kerrville Tivy 20
11) Cedar Park (1-0) at Abilene Cooper (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Maybe it’s proximity bias – we were there, after all – but I was super-impressed by Cedar Park last week. QB Nate Grimm made me look prophetic in declaring him our Player of the Night-to-be, and WR Bill Estevanott’s two touchdown catches were things of beauty. But the defense…well, it wasn’t great. That’s where Abilene Cooper has its biggest advantage, as the Cougars’ offense looked mighty powerful in the near-miss loss to Wichita Falls Rider. We knew QB Lorenzo Joe would be good, but if RB Trey Dye keeps on keepin’ on? Yowza. But these two teams combined to give up 70 points last week; which defense will show up this time? My guess is DB Ryan Lemmons and Cedar Park.
Tepper’s pick: Cedar Park 38, Abilene Cooper 35
10) Hewitt Midway (1-0) at A&M Consolidated (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
If you have “A&M” in your name, you were making national noise this week. Consolidated’s incredible, unbelievable, watch-it-again-to-believe-it last-second walk-off kickoff return for a touchdown was all over the Internet and television this week, but lost in the (justified) hubbub were two things. First, Consolidated’s offense with RB Brandon Jackson and WR Derrick Dick looked pretty good. Second…they gave up 41 points. That’s got to get better in a hurry, as Hewitt Midway looks to temper Consol’s excitement. Coach Marty Herbst’s new offense still has that new-car smell, but they got plenty of big plays from plenty of places last week, be it QB Ben Hicks, LB Dustin Vasek (fumble return TD) or DB Cayson Buchele (punt return TD). Can they find those big plays again, and continue to play good defense? Or is Consolidated just flying way, way too high right now to come down?
Tepper’s pick: Hewitt Midway 35, A&M Consolidated 27
9) Leander (1-0) at Pflugerville Hendrickson (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Aside from their uniforms – seriously, guys, those were somethin’ -- I loved everything about Leander’s debut. The offense was balanced with QB Brandon Hopp and RB Darion McClatcher, the young defense showed promise with DE Michael Epley, the special teams were sound. Now, can they prove that wasn’t a one-off occurrence? Pflugerville Hendrickson has the showstopper – RB Samaje Perine – but even when he’s not getting the ball, he has an impact, opening the offense up for RBs Tazh Maloy and Lane Griggs, plus QB Xavier Conley. Oh, and the defense was fantastic against Leander Rouse, shutting them down to the tune of 163 yards thanks to DBs Chance Waz and Trai Mosley. Leander impressed me last week, and Hendrickson proved worthy of the preseason hype; which continues this week?
Tepper’s pick: Pflugerville Hendrickson 29, Leander 26
8) Odessa Permian (0-1) at Wolfforth Frenship (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Hey, West Texas! We’re coming to you! At long last, Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF is coming to the Panhandle, setting up shop at this clash of West Texas titans. I’ll be co-hosting alongside my television life partners Jeff Power and Angela Hamann, bringing you four hours of unprecedented high school football coverage from across Texas. We’ve got score updates, highlights, analysis, live reports from this game, hijinks, and if none of that interest you, you can sit on your couch and laugh at me! So tune in, because that’d make me happy. So either come out and see us in Wolfforth, or watch on your television, or set your DVR to watch on your television at your leisure. The choice is yours, but choose one.
Anyways, on to the game, which seems to be the tale of two teams trying to find their offense. Permian scuffled and struggled in their loss to El Paso Montwood last week, the first lost to an El Paso team at home in the program's long and illustrious history. There's talent there -- especially RB Mikorban Fields and QB Heath Woods -- but can new coach Blake Feldt harness that quickly enough for this one? Frenship's offense looked pedestrian, too, but at least they had a win to show for it. There are lots of moving parts here -- RB Grant Sandercox is replacing star D'Maujeric Tucker, last year's QB Trevor Lloyd is moving to WR, much-lauded transfer form New Mexico Trevor Eulenbach is stepping in at QB -- but eventually, those pieces have to settle in. What I look for is a low-scoring, hard-hitting game featuring two great defenses -- Permian's still got DB Garrett Woodall and DE Josh Ontiveroz, while Frenship's LB Hayden Harrison is a Panhandle punisher -- that could come down to which team hits one or two big plays. Should be great, though.
Tepper's pick: TUNE IN TO FOX FOOTBALL FRIDAY AT 7 PM ON FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST TO FIND OUT
7) Lufkin (1-0) at Tyler Lee (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Maybe we’re reading too far into one game. Maybe it’s just one week, and neither of these teams are as good as they looked. Maybe. Or maybe Lufkin, which drilled John Tyler behind an exceptional effort from QB Trey Cumbie, WRs KeKe Coutee and Jamal Jeffrey, and an astonishing 16 (that’s right, sixteen) sacks from the defensive front led by DJ Williams and DJ Alexander, really is that good. Maybe Tyler Lee, which stunned Sulphur Springs 55-20, scoring its most points in five years thanks to a jaw-dropping debut from QB Zach Hall and a solid defensive effort from DLs Triston Taylor and Etim Asanagsni, is ready to put the past in the past. Maybe. Just maybe.
Tepper’s pick: Lufkin 40, Tyler Lee 30
6) Stephenville (1-0) at Aledo (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Two teams coming from very, very different places after their Week Zero wins. For Aledo, it’s all sunshine and daffodils after drubbing Highland Park. The smart QB play of Luke Bishop, the big-play ability of WR Taco Anderson, the bruising running of FB Daythan Davis, the dominating front of DLs Zach Hyles and Cory Stitle…it all looked like the Aledo teams of old (you know, the ones that won titles). For Stephenville…well, it’s better than a loss! The Yellow Jackets barely escaped Monterrey Prepa Tec, the Mexican squad, but did so with outstanding defense led by game-changing DB Mookie Carlile and DE Jonah Noah. We knew there would be some growing pains with Jarrett Stidham taking over under center, but maybe those are behind them. If Stephenville is as good as we think they’ll be, and Aledo is as good as we think they’ll be, we’re in for a heck of a treat here. The difference: can Stephenville’s offensive line match up with Aledo’s front?
Tepper’s pick: Aledo 28, Stephenville 23
5) CC Calallen (1-0) at Weslaco East (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
I’m unnaturally excited about this game, and I’m not sure why. Is it the running games? Calallen spread the ball around to nine different ball-carriers last week in the win over Mercedes, while Weslaco East grinds out win after win behind “Better Call” Saul Cuellar. Is it the defenses? Both look great, with Calallen LBs Kade Young, Trevor Moses and Austin Revels, and Weslaco East’s DEs John Adame and Ray Flores. Is it the location? For some reason, Calallen going to down to the Valley has “WARNING” signs written all over it. Weslaco East is going to be fired up, and Calallen better be ready to weather an early storm.
Tepper’s pick: Corpus Christi Calallen 26, Weslaco East 23
4) Lancaster (0-1) at John Tyler (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Saturday
The most exciting battle of winless teams in Texas. Lancaster’s first game since its close loss in last year’s state title game wasn’t exactly inspiring; while QB Chris Thomas did his part, the defense and the running game never came around. We know the weapons are there in the form of WR Nick Alexander, DB Vontre McQuinnie and LB Derrick Leonard, but can they play up to their potential? John Tyler, on the other hand, got blasted by Lufkin specifically because the defense couldn’t get a stop. Maybe Lufkin is a great offense, but 45 unanswered points, especially from a unit that has DB Terry Ausborne and DL Travaughn Moore, is unacceptable. Here’s the good news for Tigers and Lions fans: you can guarantee that Lancaster coach Chris Gilbert and JT coach Ricklan Holmes have been all over their players this week. Both teams are better than they looked in Week Zero, and should show it this week.
Tepper’s pick: John Tyler 33, Lancaster 26
3) Cibolo Steele (0-1) at Converse Judson (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
So, let me get this straight: Converse Judson beat Lake Travis on the road, and Cibolo Steele is struggling with its defense? Right. Just like we all predicted, except the opposite of that. Judson looked fabulous against LT, holding the Cavs to just 207 total yards behind the workmanlike efforts of LBs Justin Johnson and Mailk Pryor. The offense got the job done behind QB RayJohn Austin-Ramsey, but if the running game of RBs Brandon Sanders and Jo’Von Kyle get going, then the Rockets are really in business. Steele, on the other hand, has to figure out what happened to its vaunted defense after getting carved up for 46 points in the loss to Madison, but the good news is the offense looks dynamite: QB LG Williams has emerged as a perfect complement to the always-sturdy RB Justin Stockton. So here’s the question: how much of a mirage was Week Zero? Is the Steele defense much better than it looked? Is Judson as good as it looked? Maybe I’m overzealously operating off of a small sample size, but I like the Rockets here.
Tepper’s pick: Converse Judson 31, Cibolo Steele 30
2) Cedar Hill (1-0) at Allen (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Remember how I said that there were few teams in Texas who had a Week Zero better than San Antonio Madison? Both of these teams qualify. Allen looked like it never even left Cowboys Stadium from the 5A DI title game last week, drubbing Southlake Carroll thanks to Kyler Murray doing #KylerMurrayThings like throwing for 464 yards and three touchdowns while running for 80 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, Cedar Hill has already faced the other quarterback who can lay claim to Best QB In North Texas – Denton Guyer’s Jerrod Heard – and beaten him, holding down the star defensively and getting a great game from QB Justin McMillan and WR Damarkus Lodge. There’s a delicious matchup here: Kyler Murray against the vaunted Cedar Hill defense, featuring CB Marcus Green and LB Doveon Dillard. But what you may forget is that Allen’s defense looks mighty fine as well, especially LBs Christian Sam and Tay Evans. That could prove to be the difference in this one.
Tepper’s pick: Allen 35, Cedar Hill 21
1) Manvel (1-0) at Galena Park North Shore (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Hello, matchup of perennial Houston-area powerhouses, how are you? What’s great about this one is that both teams come from defense-first backgrounds. Manvel’s DE Koda Martin, along with DB Gary Haynes and DL Victor Green, head up a traditionally potent offense-stopper, while Galena Park North Shore’s best teams have always been led by their defense (and this looks no different, especially with star LB Zach Whitley and LB Christian Jacobs). So, defense: check. Offense? Judging from last week, you betcha. Manvel’s two-QB system looked pretty good, with Stefan Khan handling the throwing while Deriq King took care of the running. And North Shore’s list of weapons – QB Jawance McCardell, RBs JaReel Cooper and Michah Long – would take too long to list. This one could go a variety of different ways, which makes it, in my estimation, the best big-school game this weekend.
Tepper’s pick: Galena Park North Shore 27, Manvel 21
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.