5A/4A Preview: Week 2
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…
Odessa Permian (0-2) at Odessa (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Odessa 31, Odessa Permian 27
Round Rock Westwood (1-1) at Lake Travis (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Lake Travis 26, Round Rock Westwood 21
Beaumont West Brook (2-0) at Houston Lamar (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Houston Lamar 37, Beaumont West Brook 27
Arlington Bowie (2-0) at Dallas Skyline (1-1)
Tepper’s pick: Dallas Skyline 31, Arlington Bowie 25
Converse Judson (1-1) at San Antonio Churchill (2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Converse Judson 39, San Antonio Churchill 32
The Top 12 Games
12. Abilene Cooper (1-1) at Midland Lee (1-1)
The Little Southwest Conference – District 2-5A – gets in full swing tonight. Has anyone in the state had a more heart-stopping first two weeks than Cooper? A gut-wrenching loss to Wichita Falls Rider in the opener, followed by a last-second (and second-straight) game-winning field goal from Zach Lehr to beat Cedar Park. Hard to beat that. The reviews, as you can imagine, have been mixed. The offense has looked great behind QB Lorenzo Joe and the emergence of RB Trey Dye, but the defense has been shaky at times, and with the reported arrest of star DB Cordell Dorsey, it could get even shakier. Enter Midland Lee, who is coming off a 49-point drubbing at the hands of Southlake Carroll. Everything went wrong, but you chalk it up to a tough opponent, ball it up, toss it in the trash. The talent is there, especially WR/DB Alex Bell and flashes from QB Caden Coots; it just has to show up. This is a critical matchup in that it will tell us if Abilene Cooper is really the district frontrunner we thought they were, and if Lee can play spoiler in the LSWC.
Tepper’s pick: Abilene Cooper 38, Midland Lee 24
11. Rockwall (1-1) at Coppell (2-0)
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Anyways, on to the game, where there’s one super-intriguing matchup: Rockwall’s running game against Coppell’s vaunted defense. If you haven’t heard of Chris Warren, the Rockwall RB, you should educate yourself. He’s run for 575 yards in two games, including a 350-yard effort in the opener, and he looks like he’s just getting started. It’ll be up to all-everything DE Solomon Thomas and the Coppell defense to bottle him up, which is far easier said than done. As far as the other side is concerned, there are still questions: can Coppell score consistently with RBs Gavin McDaniel and Charles West? Can Rockwall stop anyone with their LB corps of Chris Hinckley and Josh Rippy? I’m not sure, but I’m fired up to find out.
Tepper’s pick: TO BE REVEALED ON FOX FOOTBALL FRIDAY POWERED BY DCTF, 7PM TONIGHT ON FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST
10. Edinburg Economedes (2-0) at Edinburg North (2-0)
All you folks in DFW, Houston, San Antonio, Austin…you should pay attention to football in the Rio Grande Valley. Why? Because it’s almost completely unpredictable. This battle of Edinburg gives us two squads that are looking to continue what have been strong starts. For Economedes, the offense has been just fine behind RB Tony Izaguirre, but the defense has been spotty, especially in giving up 242 yards and three scores to McAllen Memorial’s Trevor Speights last week (albeit it in a win). North, on the other hands, has had plenty of success defensively thanks to LB John Silva and DB Rudy Acuna, but the offense tends to wax and wane behind QB Alex Guerrero and RB Matthew Whitesides. There’s the obvious strength-on-strength of the Econ O vs. the North D, but it’s the flip of that that will determine this one.
Tepper’s pick: Edinburg North 29, Edinburg Economedes 26
9. Corpus Christi Calallen (2-0) at Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (2-0)
You might as well bill this as Old vs. New, the established power vs. the upstart. You know Calallen. Everyone knows Calallen. And you know exactly what Calallen’s going to do: smother you with their defense, led by LBs Kade Young and Trevor Moses, and big NG Creyton McDermett) and sit on the ball with their running game (though QB Derek Scheilbe has shown an ability to diversify the offense). But Flour Bluff wants to become The Program in Corpus Christi, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be considered for the position. The defense is terrific, led by DB Adrian Hynson in the back and DT Mason Carrell in the front. The offense has relied a lot of QB Cody Brewer thus far, but a running game really needs to develop if Flour Bluff is going to be a true threat. Corpus has been a Calallen town for decades; that won’t change overnight, but a Flour Bluff victory could begin to turn that tide.
Tepper’s pick: CC Calallen 36, CC Flour Bluff 25
8. Pflugerville Hendrickson (2-0) at Austin Vandegrift (2-0)
So, last week went pretty well for Pflugerville Hendrickson. The Hawks soared to a 52-0 win over state-ranked Leander, and really, that doesn’t tell the whole dominant tale. They were up 39-0 at half, and star RB Samaje Perine didn’t touch the ball after halftime. But everything is working for Hendrickson right now, from QB Xavier Conley, the defense of DB Chance Waz and Nico Delacruz (which hasn’t allowed a point yet) to just the general attitude of the program. Vandegrift’s been solid so far, thanks in large part to the emergence of QB Jamie Hudson, who has 553 total yards and five scores in the first two games. It’ll be up to the defense of DL Gunner Linhart and LB Elliott Byrd to make plays, and give their offense an opportunity to win this one. I don’t believe in momentum, but I believe in confidence, and right now, Hendrickson’s about as flush with swagger as possible.
Tepper’s pick: Pflugerville Hendrickson 31, Austin Vandegrift 18
7. A&M Consolidated (2-0) at Austin Westlake (1-1)
We know that these two teams can score. Consolidated and Westlake have put up points in bunches – a combined 164 in two games – but haven’t shown much propensity for slowing anyone down. There will be fireworks, be it from Consolidated’s QB Kobe Miller, WRs Derrick Dick and Dniel Zivney, or RB Brandon Jackson; or from Westlake’s QB Jordan Severt, WRs Shawn Rawlings and Patrick Elliott. But who breaks serve first? Which defense steps up? Talent’s not the issue there: Westlake’s got LBs Breckyn Hager and Hudson Hall, while Consolidated’s got LB Riley Garner. It’s a matter of execution, of making a big play at a critical moment. Otherwise, we could be seeing a 65-64 game break out. Someone’s got to make a stop in this one, and I think it’s the home team.
Tepper’s pick: Austin Westlake 44, A&M Consolidated 33
6. El Paso Montwood (2-0) at Smithson Valley (2-0)
In general, El Paso teams don’t have a ton of success outside of El Paso. That’s not really an opinion as much as it is a truism. But Montwood’s already bucked that trend in beating Odessa Permian earlier this year, and they’ve looked like the clear-cut Best Team In El Paso so far this year. The reason isn’t QB Jacob Aguilar or WR Warren Redix, like we thought it would be (though they’ve been good); it’s the defense. The front of DLs Jorge Rodriguez and Aaron Certantez has been stifling this season, and that’s what could turn them from “really good El Paso team” to “really good team.” But they’ll have their hands full with Smithson Valley QB Garrett Smith, who’s already torched opponents to the tune of 669 total yards and six scores, and RB Cameron Jones ain’t been bad, either. This will likely be the best defense Montwood has faced – DB Bryan Westerfer and Des Mason Nasis and Tyler Matthews are the key cogs – and you can’t overestimate the travel impact. Montwood’s the best team in El Paso, but Smithson Valley’s looking like one of the best teams regardless of region.
Tepper’s pick: Smithson Valley 38, El Paso Montwood 21
5. Leander (1-1) at Manor (2-0)
Will the real Leander please stand up? The Lions were the toast of the Hill Country after Week 0 after an impressive win over Pflugerville Connally…but a 52-0 loss to Hendrickson later, and now we’re really confused. The talent is there – QB Brandon Hopp can sling it, and DE Michael Epley is a force off the edge – but it’s a matter of the week-in, week-out execution. That execution had better be pure this week as they travel to Manor, where the defense has been the story. LBs Jonathan Johnson and Curtis Williams have been terrific for the Mustangs, and the one-two punch of QB Denzell Feaster and RB Tyrone Owens gives them some firepower. It’s a matter of which Leander team shows up, but if you’re looking for an X-factor, it’s probably Manor WR Datrin Guyton – he’s a big-play threat on the outside at any moment.
Tepper’s pick: Manor 31, Leander 27
4. Wichita Falls Rider (1-1) at Amarillo (2-0)
Out in Big Country, there’s not much to complain about through two weeks with Mel Maxfield’s Amarillo squad. The offense is flying behind QB Isaac Garcia and a mammoth offensive line led by 6-5, 270-pound Tate Stavenhagen; the defense his knocking people out with DB Braden Marusak; and coach Maxfield is pressing all the right buttons. Rider, on the other hand, is still smarting coming off a 42-10 thrashing at the hands of Denton Ryan, where it was the same song, different verse: a failure to get a stop. It didn’t cost them against Abilene Cooper in the opener, but it did against Ryan. Can LB Bradley Goldtstein, DB Carlos Fleeks and LB Caleb Levell turn the Rider defense from liability to asset? If so, the offense is still talented enough with QB Chase London and WR Davon Allison to get Rider where they want to go. But it’ll have to come a long way quickly to topple Amarillo on the road.
Tepper’s pick: Amarillo 35, Wichita Falls Rider 24
3. Tyler Lee (2-0) at John Tyler (1-1)
Who would’ve thought that the Rose City Rivalry would have this much intrigue this year? Three weeks ago, if you’d asked me what I thought of this game, I’d guffaw and point to the fact that Tyler Lee scored all of 137 points last season before predicting a JT romp. Now? Oh wow, how things have changed. Tyler Lee is the hottest thing in East Texas, and it’s thanks in large part to sophomore QB Zach Hall, who has given the Red Raiders’ offense an improbable boost. Couple that with RB Tavon Wesley, WR Bryce Wilkerson and others, and you have a Lee team looking for its first 3-0 start since 2003. But John Tyler won’t go quietly, especially coming off of a thrilling last-second win over Lancaster last week. QB Geovary McCollister seems to be maturing, and RB Reggie Gipson seems due for a big breakout. It’ll come down to whichever team plays defense – be it JT’s Terry Ausborne and Bralon Jones, or Lee’s Triston Taylor and Isjuwan Barker. The Rose City Rivalry hasn’t been this exciting in years, and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top.
Tepper’s pick: Tyler Lee 34, John Tyler 31
2. The Woodlands (1-1) at Katy (2-0)
The Woodlands is really, really good. Really good. Between the notoriously impregnable defense, this year led by DL Matt Miller and DB T.C. Schneider, and a better-than-last-year offense thanks to the dual-quarterback system with Dylan Larsen and Christopher “Please Tell Me How You Pronounce Your Last Name Because I Keep Butchering It” Andritsos, this is an awesome Highlanders team. And it may not matter one bit, because Katy is a remorseless killing machine. If it’s possible the offense looks even better without Adam Taylor, as RB Rodney Anderson has been unstoppable thus far. And the defense, led by LB Jake Blomstrom and DE Tim Wilkerson, is just lethal. There was a chink in the armor when QB Kiley Huddleston went down to a shoulder injury last week, but Garrett Dorion stepped in and looked, well, pretty much just like Kiley Huddleston. As I said: The Woodlands is really good. But Katy’s on another planet.
Tepper’s pick: Katy 38, The Woodlands 20
1. Euless Trinity (0-1) at DeSoto (2-0)
It’s funny that these two teams meet, because the similarities are so striking and yet the differences are so stark. Let me explain. Both teams have some of the best coaches in the state (Steve Lineweaver for Trinity, Claude Mathis for DeSoto). Both are perennial contenders for Best Team In DFW. And yet DeSoto is go-go-go-go-go-, while Trinity is slow-slow-slow-slow-slow, pace-wise. DeSoto wants to get out in space and let their athletes, like QB Desmon White, fly while their defense relies on big plays predicated on speed from DB Nick Orr and their front of DLs Shaquel Jackson and Bryce English. Trinity, on the other hand, wants to grind it out with that running game with Isaac Ellsworth and Ja’Ron Wilson, and dominate at the line of scrimmage with DLL Hafoka Olie with support from DB Dany Mulanga behind. Two styles that couldn’t be more different, yet the results have been largely the same over the past half-decade. In this one, though, I just think DeSoto’s the more balanced team with the single best player (White) and the better defense.
Tepper’s pick: DeSoto 27, Euless Trinity 24
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.