5A/4A Preview: Week 5
The 12 biggest games in Class 5A and 4A across Texas.
Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF
LIVE Tonight, 7-11 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest!
LIVE FROM ABILENE AT ABILENE COOPER!
Dave Campbell's Texas Football has again teamed up with Fox Sports Southwest to bring you Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF, a four-hour live high school football show coming to you from the site of one of the biggest games of the week. Join Jeff Power, Angela Hamann and DCTF associate editor Greg Tepper as they bring you unprecedented Texas high school coverage, with highlights, score updates, analysis and more from all across Texas. It all starts on Friday, and it all starts on Fox Sports Southwest!
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…
San Antonio Brackenridge (3-2, 1-0) at San Antonio Brennan (5-0, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: San Antonio Brennan 38, San Antonio Brackenridge 17
San Antonio Reagan (4-0, 0-0) at San Antonio Lee (3-2, 0-1)
Tepper’s pick: San Antonio Reagan 41, San Antonio Lee 21
Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway (4-1, 1-0) at Port Lavaca Calhoun (4-1, 0-1)
Tepper’s pick: Port Lavaca Calhoun 48, CC Tuloso-Midway 24
Hewitt Midway (3-1, 1-0) at Temple (2-2, 1-0)
Tepper’s pick: Hewitt Midway 44, Temple 37
The Top 12 Games
12. Abilene (1-4, 1-2) at Abilene Cooper (3-2, 2-1)
We start with…the site of Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF! That’s right: we’re headed west to beautiful Shotwell Stadium to broadcast live for four hours, 7-11pm on Fox Sports Southwest! My television bunkmates Jeff Power, Angela Hamann and I will bring you four hours of live, continuous high school football coverage from across Texas, with a special emphasis on this game. So tune into Fox Sports Southwest (or set your DVR) for 7-11pm on Fox Football Friday! I’ll be the one wearing makeup!
As far as this game is concerned…well, it’s big. Even if you take the rivalry aspect out of this – which you can’t, because these two teams reeeeeeally don’t like each other – this is a critical game for both teams. Abilene is off to an unusually slow start and will need to find some offensive consistency, be it from RB Jay Robinson or QB Derek Scott – the sub-300 yards per game average isn’t going to cut it. The defense has been solid with star DL Jake McMillon, but it’s on the offense. For Cooper, it’s been an up-and-down year – beating Cedar Park was incredible, losing to Midland Lee was…not – but it’s still in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot. QB Lorenzo Joe and RB Trey Dye are extraordinary, but the defense, led by LB William Coleman, has to keep them in games. Here’s what we know: the stadium will be raucous, and the winner has new life in the District 2-5A matchup. That’s about it. Expect, as usual when these two rivals hook up, a classic.
Tepper’s pick: TO BE REVEALED ON FOX FOOTBALL FRIDAY, 7-11PM ON FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST
11. Mesquite Horn (5-0, 1-0) at Rockwall (3-2, 1-0)
Do you have your tickets for the Mesquite Horn bandwagon? Get them soon, because it’s filling up. QB Destri White and RB Justyn Olyphant have helped to form one of DFW’s most electrifying offensive combinations, and that’s been enough to push them to a perfect record halfway through the year. The defense has been a little up-and-down, but there’s still talent there with DT Andrew Morris clogging up the middle. For Rockwall, well, the Yellowjackets suffered a big blow recently when star RB Chris Warren went out with what may end up being a season-ending injury. They’ll need to find some offense from somewhere else, maybe from QB Will Reed or backup RB Tamba Juanah. But the bigger problem for them in this game: the defense, which has been roasted this season. If they can’t slow down White and Olyphant, it doesn’t matter if or from whence the offense comes.
Tepper’s pick: Mesquite Horn 52, Rockwall 28
10. Edinburg North (5-0, 3-0) at Donna (3-1, 2-0)
We head down to the Valley for the first of two really fun RGV matchups, this one in District 30-5A. Edinburg North is off to a red-hot start, and appears to be the best threat to Mission Sharyland for district supremacy. The reason: an outrageous defense led by LB Lupe Quintero and DE Joe Orozco that’s allowed just 17 points all season. But Donna appears up to the task, especially at home, and it starts with the grinder himself, TB Aldo Silva. He’s going to run right at this North front and challenge them. Can he break through? And, perhaps more importantly, can Donna’s talented defense anchored by DB Augustin Cantu slow down North’s running game, featuring Michael Whitesides and Adrian Alvarez?
Tepper’s pick: Edinburg North 31, Donna 21
9. El Paso El Dorado (2-2, 1-0) at El Paso Montwood (3-1, 1-0)
We’re heading west for Fox Football Friday, but you’ll have to head even farther west to find this gem of a matchup out of District 1-5A. Montwood was (and, I suppose, still is) considered the favorite in the district. If you take away the bludgeoning at the hands of Smithson Valley (totally understandable), they’ve been pretty good; the defense has been solid with big DL Jorge Rodriguez, and the offense has begun to find its way behind QB Jacob Aguilar. But El Dorado’s got the man himself, RB LeDerrick Wilson, and he’s not messing around. The defense will need to play well, but to me, this comes down to two players: El Dorado sophomore QB Austyn Hill and Montwood WR Warren Redix. Whoever hits the big play wins.
Tepper’s pick: El Paso Montwood 32, El Paso El Dorado 24
8. San Antonio Roosevelt (3-2, 1-0) at San Antonio Madison (4-1, 1-0)
Staying in 5A, 26-5A all of a sudden has some intrigue to it. Reagan-Lee will be fascinating, but we can’t stop thinking about this matchup. Is Madison’s offense stuck in neutral? Two straight weeks – the loss to Smithson Valley and the edge-out win over Churchill – the offense has struggled. We know there’s talent – QB Cody Ennis and WRs Ja’Michael Brown and Byron Daniels especially – but maybe they need to get RB Dominique Daniels going. Roosevelt is loaded defensively, with recruit-supreme DB Arrion Springs and DE John Taylor, and the offense has come on strong of late behind QB Jacob Preciado and RB Jaroyce Batcher. To be clear: I think Madison’s the better side here. But if the offense plays with its food like it has the past couple of weeks, Roosevelt could win, and then District 26-5A will get really wild.
Tepper’s pick: San Antonio Madison 38, San Antonio Roosevelt 24
7. Fort Bend Ridge Point (3-1, 1-0) at Fort Bend Marshall (3-0, 1-0)
There was some hand-wringing when Fort Bend ISD had to split its teams into two districts – 23-5A and 22-4A – but the results have been even more boffo football. Case in point: this tilt, which may pit the two best teams in the district against one another. Marshall’s been exceptional on both sides of the ball so far this year – QB J.W. Ketchum has continued to blossom, RB Davon Crookshank has been a perfect complement, and the defense of DB Dominique Roberson and DT Arthur Johnson has held opponents to barely more than 10 points per game. But this will be their toughest test yet, as Ridge Point is for real. It’s a defense-first squad with DB Camyron Brown and LB Cameron Townsend, but when they do have the ball, they’ll focus on the ground with RBs Jemarcus Johnson and Reggie Taylor (though they do utilize the two-QB system with Troy Alexander and Jesse Crebbe). Can Marshall’s defense slow down the rushing game? Can Ridge Point find the ever-elusive answer for J.W. Ketchum? We can’t wait to find out.
Tepper’s pick: Fort Bend Marshall 36, Fort Bend Ridge Point 27
6. The Woodlands (3-2, 1-0) at A&M Consolidated (3-1, 1-0)
District 14-5A is going to make a lot more sense after tonight, and it’s largely because of this game. The Woodlands, at its core, is still a defense-first squad – when DL Matt Miller and DB T.C. Schneider are playing well, the Highlanders tend to play well. But let’s not overlook their offensive weapons, especially RB Patrick Carr, who has been really terrific. For Consolidated, the search for defense continues – they’ve scored 162 points, and allowed 161. We’re still waiting for the big game from LB Riley Garner and DB Sherman Wilder and company, but until then, we’re left to marvel at the big-play offense led by WR Derrick Dick and RB Brandon Jackson. Now, keep in mind: The Woodlands has been lit up before, by the likes of Katy and Skyline. Can they find a way to get a stop, or perhaps more pressing, can they match Consol score-for-score?
Tepper’s pick: The Woodlands 44, A&M Consolidated 35
5. Midland (3-1, 2-0) at San Angelo Central (5-0, 3-0)
We’ll be in Little Southwest country this week for Fox Football Friday, so why not take a gander at this 2-5A matchup as well? We probably haven’t talked enough about Midland, and that’s a shame, because the Bulldogs are playing good ball these days. The defense has been salty with DE Brady Watson and DB Xzavier Martinez, and the offense, while up and down, has found some consistency thanks to RB Lance White. But…I mean…San Angelo Central, y’all. Mickey Scott, y’all. The Bobcats’ quarterback has been insane in the membrane. How insane? He has 28 total touchdowns (16 passing, 12 rushing)…which is more than 194 other teams in 5A. Yeah. The defense has only been OK, but it’s hardly necessary, and I still like DT Joseph Brooks up front. San Angelo Central is your clubhouse favorite for District 2-5A, and unless Midland can overcome both the long travel and Mickey Scott, it’ll stay that way.
Tepper’s pick: San Angelo Central 48, Midland 32
4. Katy Morton Ranch (3-1, 0-1) at Katy Cinco Ranch (3-1, 1-0)
Call this the, “Hey, We’re Still Here!” bowl. Coverage of District 19-5A is generally dominated by Katy, and understandably so – they may be the best team in the state. But the Tigers’ district bunkmates are pretty darn good as well, and this game is proof positive. Morton Ranch’s defense did the unthinkable last week, holding Katy to just 28 points (albeit in a loss), as DE Kevin Adeboyejo and LB Zach Thibodeau really showed well. The offense starts with RB E.J. Achelus, which tends to open things up for QB Ryan Barciaga. On the other side, Cinco Ranch has a big offense thanks to QB Luke Klingler and his top target, WR Sam Straughan. It’s strength-on-strength – Morton Ranch’s D vs. Cinco Ranch’s O – and here’s an early indicator: if Cinco Ranch RB Blake Hirsch gets going early, that bodes very well for CR. A loss doesn’t kill either team, but safe to say that a win is far, far preferred.
Tepper’s pick: Katy Cinco Ranch 34, Katy Morton Ranch 23
3. Harlingen (3-1, 2-0) at Los Fresnos (4-1, 3-0)
I told you it was a big week in the Valley! District 32-5A is heading up and is looking surprisingly deep this year, thanks in large part to the emergence of Los Frenos. The Falcons have found one heck of a signal-caller in QB Javier Cruz, who is averaging nearly 250 total yards and 3 TDs per contest. Now, if they’re going to spring the upset – and make no mistake: this would still be an upset – they’ll need RB William Cox and the defense anchored by DB Nick Alegeria to continue to play well. Harlingen, arguably the most consistent program in the Valley over the better part of the last decade, has found an offensive groove thanks to QB Brandon Garza and WR Brandon Vasquez, and the defense of DL Adrian Lopez and DB Felix Reyna is beginning to round into form. This is a litmus test game for Los Frenos: you have one of the district favorites in your place, with a red hot team.
Tepper’s pick: Harlingen 41, Los Frenos 37
2. Austin Bowie (5-0, 1-0) at Lake Travis (3-1, 1-0)
Last week, I said that if Austin Bowie beat Westlake, I’d hop on the bandwagon. So here I sit, wearing my little Austin Bowie propeller cap, waving my Austin Bowie pennant. There’s no doubt about it now: Bowie is for real. And now, they get a chance to take down another District 15-5A giant. Lake Travis’ offense appears to have gotten on track, as QB Dominic De Lira and RB Varshaun Nixon have started humming now. And the defense, well, the defense was never in question, especially with DB Luke Hutton and DL Zach Davies manning things on that end. Does Bowie have another statement win in them? When you’ve got QB Austin Eschenberg, you’ve got a chance, but it’ll take another Westlake-like effort from the defense to make it two in a row.
Tepper’s pick: Lake Travis 29, Austin Bowie 24
1. Pearland Dawson (4-0, 1-0) at Texas City (4-0, 1-0)
And now, the main event. It’s not often that you have two Top 10 teams battling it out for district supremacy, but here we are, with No. 9 Pearland Dawson visiting No. 7 Texas City. It’s hard to nitpick either of these teams. Both have big offensive weapons (RB Brett Winnegan and WR Tony Upchurch for Dawson; the Foreman Bros., WR Armanti and RB D’Onta for Texas City. Both have exceptional defenses, led by DT Eric England for Dawson and LB D’Vonta Hinton for the Stings. And both have two of the very best coaches in the area in Dawson’s Eric Wells and Texas City’s Leland Surovik. This is truly too close to call. If you’re looking for one key matchup, it’s the Texas City offensive line against Dawson’s England and DE Brent Johnson. If QB Andrew Allen can have a big night for the Stings, they’ll be on their way not only to a signature victory, but the driver’s seat for the 24-4A crown. Expect one of the very best games of the year.
Tepper’s pick: Texas City 31, Pearland Dawson 28
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.