3A/2A/1A/PVT/6M Preview: Week 8
An expansive look at the best small-school action this weekend.
Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF
LIVE Tonight, 7-11 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest!
LIVE FROM DENTON GUYER AT WICHITA FALLS RIDER!
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 biggest games across Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A, Six-Man and the private school ranks. You won't want to miss these games!
Fredericksburg (6-1, 2-0) at Geronimo Navarro (7-0, 2-0)
We haven’t talked a whole heck of a lot about District 27-3A so far – a district normally dominated by Wimberley – but this is, by far, the biggest game in the district this season. Fredericksburg has been a great story, having already eclipsed their win total from a 5-5 season last year, and a lot of it is due to its defense. DB BRayden Beard and DT Devin Castaneda have helped the Battlin’ Billies get where they are, with a chance to take over sole possession of first place. To get there, they’ll need to slow down Luke Jasorewski, Jay Leal and the thundering Navarro rushing attack, which is averaging more than 360 yards per game on the ground. Beyond that, the Panthers have a pretty good defense of their own thanks to LB Justin Harless, and that could make it tough sledding for Fredericksburg junior QB Kyle Grona. Two great defenses will determine the district title, but it should be Navarro’s offense, especially at home, that pushes them over the top.
Tepper’s pick: Geronimo Navarro 31, Fredericksburg 21
Carthage (7-1, 2-0) at Jasper (4-2, 1-0)
It seems like a while since we’ve really sat down and looked at Carthage. Maybe the shootout loss to Whitehouse took a little bit of the sheen off of the Bulldogs, but this is still as dangerous a team as you’ll find in 3A. When QB Blake Bogenschutz, RB Tevin Pipkin, WR/DB Tee Goree and DT Mario McClain are going good, they’re as good as anyone. Now, their toughest district test – and, with all due respect to the other 20-3A teams, their only district test – comes on the road against a feisty Jasper defense that’s allowing just 13.3 points per game. LB DeAnthony Cuney has more than lived up to the preseason praise alongside LB Deroddrick Hadnot. The offense hasn’t been great, but the running game of OL Terrell Cuney blocking for brother RB Terrence Cuney has been good enough. Carthage is probably the better team overall, but Jasper’s a tough place to play, and the defense gives it more than a puncher’s chance.
Tepper’s pick: Carthage 38, Jasper 24
Lorena (6-1, 1-1) at Robinson (7-0, 2-0)
Meanwhile, over in central Texas, I promise we’ll stop talking about District 17-3A after this week. That’s because this is the last real mega-matchup in what has shown to be one of the most entertaining districts in Texas. Lorena bounced back well from its loss to Waco Connally, and there’s still a lot to like about this squad – QB Harris Coleman (a DCTF favorite) and RB Duggan Burch lead what’s been a really fun offense. Robinson survived a challenge from Connally last week and seemingly has one more obstacle in its way for an unbeaten regular season. The offense has been ludicrous behind QB Michael Davila, RB Le’Vonte Owens and WR Jacob Fuentes. But here’s the catch: neither defense has shown particularly well in recent weeks. That’s why I think this could get into shootout territory – the 40s and 50s – before we finally put the final piece of the puzzle together in the district.
Tepper’s pick: Robinson 49, Lorena 42
Levelland (5-2, 1-1) at Lubbock Cooper (6-1, 2-0)
Let’s take a moment to admire what Levelland RB/DL Deshawn Fitts did against Andrews last week. He ran for 202 yards and a touchdown, which is pretty good. And then he racked up six tackles, a tackle for loss that resulted in a safety, a forced fumble and a scoop-and-score fumble return touchdown. Have yourself a night, young man! Does Levelland, mired in the middle of a fierce 2-3A playoff battle, have another big performance in it for Cooper? The Pirates’ offense has been as advertised, as QB Stanton Keane has lit people up. Cooper’s defense has only been OK, which should open up an opportunity for QB Kain Alexander and the Lobos…but their offense hasn’t exactly been flying these days. If Levelland can find some offense, this game is there to be won, but Cooper’s passing attack should keep it unbeaten in district and set up a tasty showdown with Shallowater for the district crown.
Tepper’s pick: Lubbock Cooper 38, Levelland 26
Other 3A Games to Watch…
Tyler Chapel Hill (5-3, 3-1) at Kilgore (6-0, 3-0)
Tepper’s pick: Kilgore 34, Tyler Chapel Hill 24
Buna (5-3, 2-2) at West Orange-Stark (5-1, 3-0)
Tepper’s pick: West Orange-Stark 29, Buna 14
Wharton (7-1, 3-1) at Bellville (5-2, 2-1)
Tepper’s pick: Bellville 24, Wharton 21
Venus (5-2, 0-1) at Stephenville (6-1, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Stephenville 46, Venus 28
Troup (5-2, 1-1) at White Oak (6-1, 1-1) [9-2A DI]
Is District 9-2A DI the best district in 2A? There are a couple of districts – specifically 13-2A DI and 9-2A DII – that could put up a fight, but there’s no denying the district’s greatness. Tatum, having beaten both of these two teams, appears to be cruising toward the top spot, which leaves these two, plus Gilmer Harmony and Jefferson (who also play tonight), to sort out the final two playoff spots. White Oak, aside from the loss to Tatum, has been darn near perfect; the defense of DE Hayden Nichols and DL Dee Sutton has been suffocating, and WR Jansen McCurdy and QB Dylan Gale have been leading an explosive offense. Troup has been similarly excellent, but now they'll have to do it without star QB (and new Baylor commit) Blake Lynch, who broke his wrist last week against Tatum. They'll need to get the ball to WR Hitachi Lydia in some way; he's their game-breaker. But White Oak’s defense has been half-a-tick better this season, and especially at home, that should pay dividends in what looks like a tight game.
Tepper’s pick: White Oak 34, Troup 28
Daingerfield (5-3, 4-0) at Mount Vernon (5-2, 3-0) [8-2A DI]
Just up the proverbial road (and the actual road, Highway 259) sets up the de facto 8-2A DI title game. Remember when Daingerfield was 1-3? Remember when they were giving up nearly 30 points per game? That seems like forever ago, especially considering in their last four games, they haven’t given up 30 points combined. The defense of LB Calvin Bryand and DB Jesse Biles has come together, and the offense – which we knew would be good with QB Keris Alexander and RB Cordarious Anderson – has hit its stride as well. One last big obstacle in their way to a district crown, though, and that’s Mount Vernon, who has a knack for winning the close game. What do I mean? Four of its five wins have come by six points or fewer – and another loss to Winnsboro came by a single point. So, if the game’s close, expect RB Kris Ables and LB Mason Cook to make the big plays for Mount Vernon. But will it be close?
Tepper’s pick: Daingerfield 42, Mount Vernon 24
Jarrell (6-2, 3-1) at Rogers (7-0, 3-0) [14-2A DII]
Confession: whenever I say or think the name “Rogers”, I do so in the voice of the guy from the State Farm commercial. OK, now that that’s over with: Rogers is really good. That running game of Brody Malovets and Carson Skala is hammering people week in and week out, and the defense, while maybe not as dominant as years past, is still pretty darn good as long as LB Jackson Sodek is leading things. If District 14-2A DII is going to be anything other than a Rogers clean sweep (barring an upset by Lexington or Johnson City, which would surprise me), it’s up to Jarrell to get it done on the road. The Cougars’ offense has been pretty salty this season, as QB Emilio Villafranco and WR Tony Brown have Jarrell in playoff contention a year after going 2-8, but if they’re going to get there, it’ll need its defense to step up, be it LB Gage Ayala, DB Josue Garcia or someone else. That’s a tall order against the rushing attack of “RAWJAHS!” (See? Told you.)
Tepper’s pick: Rogers 44, Jarrell 24
Winnsboro (5-2, 3-0) at Lone Oak (6-1, 3-0) [7-2A DI]
Now, it’s not guaranteed that both of these teams are going to make the playoffs – Quitman could still sneak in there – but it looks like both the Red Raiders and Buffaloes are postseason bound. These two teams want to play at different speeds. Lone Oak wants to get the score up, up, up, using breakout sophomore QB Jake Williams to dictate a fast pace. Winnsboro is more suited for a lower-scoring game, using the defense of LB David Santoy and LB Brian Winburn to keep the game in the 20s. Which pace wins out? If the game gets much above 30 points, Lone Oak has the advantage; below that threshold is where Winnsboro can win.
Tepper’s pick: Lone Oak 38, Winnsboro 28
Other 2A Games to Watch…
Edgewood (8-0, 4-0) at Cooper (7-0, 3-0)
Tepper’s Pick: Cooper 38, Edgewood 20
Gilmer Harmony (5-2, 1-1) at Jefferson (4-3, 1-1) [9-2A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Gilmer Harmony 29, Jefferson 27
Pilot Point (6-2, 4-0) at Whitesboro (6-1, 3-0) [5-2A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Whitesboro 35, Pilot Point 17
Elysian Fields (3-4, 3-1) at Hughes Springs (7-0, 4-0) [9-2A DII]
Tepper’s pick: Hughes Springs 44, Elysian Fields 21
Teague (5-2, 2-0) at Elkhart (5-2, 1-1) [11-2A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Teague 42, Elkhart 22
Cameron Yoe (6-1, 3-1) at Troy (5-2 3-1) [13-2A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Cameron Yoe 31, Troy 21
Comanche (6-1, 3-0) at Clyde (6-2, 4-0) [4-2A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Comanche 27, Clyde 24
Falls City (7-0, 1-0) at Woodsboro (7-0, 2-0) [14-1A DII]
We saw this showdown coming a couple of weeks ago, when Woodsboro knocked off Runge, because we knew then that these two teams would likely be unbeaten heading into this showdown. It’s hard to tell which direction is going to go because there’s not a weakness. Woodsboro’s offense is awesome, led by QB Lionel Brown and WR Andy Villarreal; and the defense has been even better, with DB Jonathan Flores and DE Jacob Nesloney. Falls City is basically the same thing, except even better. The offense is averaging 46.4 points per game behind Hemphill transfer Justin Twine, do-it-all athlete Dean Gaskamp and a monstrous offensive line; and the defense is maybe the best in 1A in the state (and I mean that) with LB Eric Wiatrek heading toward another all-state campaign. So, who knows. This one’s as up in the air as it can be. I lean toward Falls City, but if Woodsboro wins it, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Tepper’s pick: Falls City 31, Woodsboro 28
Shamrock (5-1, 0-0) at Wellington (6-0, 0-0) [1-1A DII]
Don’t you just love four-team districts? Sure, three of these teams are making the playoffs (and considering Wheeler is 1-6, we can probably figure out who’s the odd man out), but here we go with a three-week, winner-take-all sprint to the finish! Shamrock’s been a captivating story out west – remember, the Fighting Irish were just 3-6 last year – and it’s because the defense has been electrifying. NG Trent Angton and DE Aaron Hunt headline a tough front seven that’s allowing just 12.5 points per game. But Wellington’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. The Skyrockets’ offense has been bordering on unfair. If it’s not QB Klark Ashmore, it’s RB Terry Gilbreath. And even if the offense scuffles even a half-bit, you’ve got a defense that’s allowing just about 10 points per game behind LB Edgar Tellez. Shamrock’s probably still a playoff team, but this looks like too much too soon.
Tepper’s pick: Wellington 45, Shamrock 21
Iraan (7-0, 3-0) at Wink (5-2, 2-1) [5-1A DII]
And then there’s District 5-1A DII, which can only be described as weird in the best way possible. This is a four-team district, but instead of doing what most four-team districts do, they opt for the double round-robin. What’s that mean? Each team plays every team twice – home and away. So this is our first second go-around, if that makes sense. The first time these two teams got together, Iraan took down Wink, 31-14, scoring the final 17 points in the fourth quarter behind QB Devan Griffin and holding down Wink QB Riley Richardson for the most part. The game was much more evenly matched than the score indicates – Iraan only outgained Wink by about 50 yards – which makes the rematch in Wink all the more captivating. This’ll come down to whether or not Wink can find a way to move the ball and, perhaps more importantly, not turn the ball over (three turnovers really killed them). These two teams are evenly matched, but is home-field advantage worth 17 points?
Tepper’s pick: Iraan 28, Wink 21
Muenster (7-0, 2-0) at Munday (3-4, 2-0) [8-1A DII]
What in the world do we make of Munday? It’s easy to say, “Oh, star QB/DB Dee Paul graduated, that’s why they’re worse” but that’s too easy. For one: they’ve been banged up. Star DE L.J. Collier – also a key player on offense, as is wont to happen in the smallest 11-man classification – has been hurt, but is back now. And, yes, there have been growing pains, especially defensively. But this is still a pretty darn good team, with lots of talent and one of 1A’s best coaches in Patrick Corcoran, so you can never count out the Moguls. Now…can they scale Mount Muenster? That defense has been ludicrous. DE Cole Walterscheid has been one of 1A’s most dominant forces, and behind him, LB Dalton Bartell and Mason Binder have been crushing it. Oh, and RB Clint Sidwell’s been pretty darn good, too, on the offensive side. Is this the official changing of the proverbial guard in District 8-1A DII? Or does Munday still have some magic in them?
Tepper’s pick: Muenster 34, Munday 24
Other 1A Games to Watch…
Mason (5-1, 2-0) at Junction (5-2, 1-1) [14-1A DI]
Tepper’s pick: Mason 44, Junction 21
DeLeon (6-1, 1-0) at Goldthwaite (4-4, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Goldthwaite 38, DeLeon 22
Cayuga (6-0, 2-0) at Italy (3-4, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Cayuga 40, Italy 24
Thorndale (5-1, 1-0) at Flatonia (6-1, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Thorndale 25, Flatonia 24
Farwell (5-3, 2-0) at Sudan (3-4, 0-1)
Tepper’s pick: Sudan 28, Farewell 24
Bartlett (4-3, 2-0) at Burton (3-4, 2-0)
Tepper’s pick: Bartlett 23, Burton 17
Plano Prestonwood (7-1, 4-0) at FW Nolan Catholic (5-2, 3-0)
If it seems like we’re previewing a game from TAPPS District 1 Division I every week, it’s because we are. Why? It’s the deepest district in private schools, and this game is a perfect example. Prestonwood’s offense has been off-the-charts good behind the increasingly more common dual-QB system, utilizing the more mobile Twayne Blackwell and the bigger-armed Ryan Cash in tandem. The defense has been lit up from time to time, which could be problematic when going up against Nolan’s bruising run game of RB Luke Alves. Neither of these defenses are world-beaters, but when it comes to getting the key, critical stop at the key, critical moment, Prestonwood’s had a knack for it. That’s where we lean.
Tepper’s pick: Plano Prestonwood 48, FW Nolan Catholic 45
Austin Hyde Park Baptist (7-0, 4-0) at Austin Regents (7-0, 5-0)
Now this is what I’m talking about! By my count, one of only three battles of unbeatens in Texas this weekend (the others being Falls City-Woodsboro and Cooper-Edgewood). Both of these teams have tremendous defenses, but Hyde Park Baptist’s has been a touch better, with DB Dustin Quigley and DE Paul Jones. Both of these teams have crazy-big offenses, but Regents’ has been a little crazy-bigger, as QB Grant Brown has gone berserk this season (2,66 yards, 27 touchdowns through seven games). These are extremely evenly matched teams, but the best unit on the field by a very thin margin looks like Regents’ offense. Expect a classic.
Tepper’s pick: Austin Regents 28, Austin Hyde Park Baptist 27
Houston Second Baptist (4-2, 2-0) at Houston Lutheran South (5-2, 2-2)
TAPPS District 4 Division II is a mess. You’ve got a team at 2-0 (Second Baptist), two teams at 2-1 (Katy Pope John Paul XXIII and Northland Christian) and another two teams at 2-2 (Fort Bend Baptist and Lutheran South). We’ll start to tease all of this out tonight, when we find out if Second Baptist’s defense, with DL Micah Adickes and LB Tyler Morland, can slow down what’s been a pretty explosive Lutheran South offense, led by QB Trent Franson. Worth noting: Lutheran South is averaging ten points more at home than on the road; will that play into this one?
Tepper’s pick: Houston Lutheran South 34, Houston Second Baptist 31
Six-man guru Leman Saunders offers his take on a big weekend of six-man football across Texas.
Highland v Rotan
Highland is hitting on all cylinders having won 4 straight games after losing their first 3. Rotan in just their 2nd season of six-man football is fairing a little better with a 3-4 record. This will be the district opener for both with the winner becoming the lucky frontrunner to do battle with powerhouse Ira for the district title.
Zephyr v Santa Anna
In what likely is the toughest district in six-man football, this game features two teams that need a win to stay in the playoff hunt, and both have had brief time in the top 10 this season. Zephyr is 0-1 in district play while Santa Anna is 0-2. It would seem that at 0-2 Santa Anna will be more desperate for the win even if the game is at Zephyr.
Mullin v Richland Springs
Both Mullin and Richland Springs have the very essence of a six-man team that being a small squad all working together hell bent on winning. Mullin will be the home team and looking to unseat the Coyotes and their long standing streak of district titles. Richland Springs has history on their side having not lost to a Mullin squad since 1998.
Waco Live Oak v Bryan Allen Academy
In a great matchup of private school teams Waco Live Oak vs Bryan Allen Academy. Bryan Allen Academy is 6-1 and has relatively flown under the radar, while Waco Live is 6-2 and are ranked in the top six private schools by texasfootball.com. This game has all the makings of a barnburner. It would be my six-man game of the week…and don’t be surprised is Allen Academy walks away victorious either.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.