WEEK 6 PREVIEW: Breaking down the biggest games in Texas high school football

A titanic clash between Kennedale and West Orange-Stark, plus Arlington has a chance to prove its a real contender hosting Mansfield

Kennedale (4-0) vs. West Orange-Stark (3-0):
This is a fascinating inter-regional matchup in which, one of DFW’s Top 4A programs faces off against Southeast Texas’ premier program and two-time defending state champion West Orange-Stark. The Mustangs hold the state’s longest current winning streak at 30 games, but this will likely be their toughest regular season test. Kennedale, a Division I state semi-finalist a year ago, comes in on an absolute tear, outscoring opponents 224-52 in four games. Last week, the Wildcats ripped a good 5A opponent in Whitehouse 56-13. D.J. Kirven ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns and Jaden Knowles ran for 271 yards and two touchdowns as Kennedale outscored Whitehouse 35-0 in the final three quarters of the game. The Wing-T offense looks to keep it rolling against the “Chain Gang” defense of WOS that had massive success shutting down run based offenses like the Wing-T and Slot-T. Junior quarterback Chaka Watson has stepped in at the position and the Mustangs haven’t missed a beat. They were tested in a 34-17 win over Silsbee a week ago, but WOS led, by Watson (140 yards rushing; 3 TDs) and running back Kavyn Cooper (199 yards rushing; 2 TDs), scored the game’s final 14 points to hold off a good Silsbee squad. Kennedale will match WOS on the speed and athleticism department. This game comes down to Kennedale’s veteran offensive line. Can they hold off a very disciplined but fast WOS defense? WOS and its coaching staff have a track record in big games and a track record of slowing down potent ground based offensive attacks, so the edge in this one goes to the proven commodity.
Stepp’s Pick: West Orange-Stark by 7
Max’s Pick: Kennedale
Ishmael’s
 Pick: West Orange-Stark
Brady’s
 Pick: Kennedale
Tepper’s
 Pick: West Orange-Stark

A&M Consolidated (5-0, 1-0) at Temple (3-2, 1-0)
The unbeaten Tigers opened district play with a test that was tougher than anticipated against Waco, but they escaped with a 35-31 win. Sophomore quarterback Gage Pahl stepped in for the injured Caden Fedora in the first quarter and threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for a score. He also led A&M Consolidated on a 75-yard scoring drive culminating in a 30-yard touchdown pass to Steven Ray and lift Consolidated to the come-from-behind win. Temple, after a brutal non-district slate that featured four 6A opponents, found the going a bit easier against Waco University as the Wildcats rolled to an easy 56-3 road victory.  Quarterback T.J. Rumfield tossed three touchdown passes in the win while the Wildcats added a safety and a pair of special teams scores in the victory. Many will talk about the A&M Consolidated quarterback situation and Fedora’s injury, but Pahl showed he’s more than capable of leading the offense and with a week of game planning and reps he’ll be fine. The key in this one is which defense can step up and contain the opposing offense? Both teams are explosive with multiple playmakers, but the edge goes to Temple it’s are at home and winning at Wildcat Stadium can be a tall order for any visitor.
Stepp’s Pick: Temple by 6
Max’s Pick: Temple
Ishmael’s
 Pick: A&M Consolidated
Brady’s
 Pick: Temple
Tepper’s
 Pick: Temple

Boerne (5-0) at Wimberley (5-0)
Two teams that play in five-team districts will finally close out a long non-district schedule this week. Boerne had no trouble with a struggling Bandera squad last week as the Greyhounds rolled to an easy 37-0 win. Quarterback Brooks Klutts only completed eight passes in the win, but three went for touchdowns, while the Boerne defense completely dominated. The Greyhounds face a stern test this week against a Wimberley squad fresh off a thrilling overtime win over previously unbeaten Fredericksburg, 37-34. The Texans trailed 31-17 in the fourth quarter but quarterback JoJo Weeks led WHS on back-to-back scoring drives to tie the game with little more than five minutes remaining and nearly won the game in regulation, but they were picked off in the end zone. In overtime running back Thomas Carruthers scored on an 11-yard run to lift the Texans to the thrilling win. Weeks finished with 323 yards through the air and three touchdowns. On paper, these appear to be the top two 4A teams in the San Antonio area and both should be contenders in Region IV in their respective divisions. They look to be evenly matched so this one’s a total toss up for me. I give the slight edge to Wimberley, I think Weeks at the quarterback spot is the real difference maker.
Stepp’s Pick: Wimberley by 2
Max’s Pick: Wimberley
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Wimberley
Brady’s
 Pick: Wimberley
Tepper’s
 Pick: Wimberley

Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (4-0) at Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (5-0)
It’s the zone opener in 30-5A for a pair of unbeaten teams who have sights set on not only a playoff spot, but a lengthy run in Region IV. Last week the Hornets rolled past Alice 49-21. running back Devin Burlingame ran for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Bluff raced out to a 35-3 halftime lead and cruised in the second half. In a battle of CCISD unbeaten teams last week, upstart Veterans Memorial had little trouble with Corpus Christi Miller in a 49-12 rout.  The Eagles got a big night from Frank Jones who ran for three touchdowns in the first half and, despite five turnovers and a failed onside kick, the Eagles still raced past the Bucs. VMHS can’t afford to put the ball on the ground this week against Flour Bluff as the Hornets are much more capable of making Vets pay than a still-emerging Miller squad. Flour Bluff’s depth, especially up front, could be key in this one. Head coach Chris Stenbruck’s squad combines good athleticism with a physical style that could give Vets some problems in this one.
Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Flour Bluff by 12
Max’s
 Pick: Flour Bluff
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Veterans Memorial
Brady’s
 Pick: Veterans Memorial
Tepper’s
 Pick: Flour Bluff

Amarillo Tascosa (5-0, 1-0) at Midland Lee (5-0, 1-0)
For the first time this year, Tascosa will leave the city of Amarillo to play a game and it’s a big one in the Little SWC as two upstart unbeatens hook up. If you like smash-mouth, old school football, this one might be the game for you. Tascosa’s triple option offense chews up yards and time and THS has emerged as a real force. Tascosa rolled past Odessa High 36-9 last week in the district-opener on the strength of 22 points scored in the final 8:15 of game time. Quarterback Connor McNaul led the attack rushing for 164 yards and two scores, while also throwing a touchdown pass as well. Midland Lee will present a tough test as head coach Clint Hartmann’s squad opened district play with an easy 49-14 win over cross town rival Midland High last week. Typically for Midland Lee, it’s been the running back duo of Josh Traylor and Avery Akbar that has gotten it done, but last week quarterback Colby Standard rose to the occasion rushing for 179 yards on 13 carries to lead Lee to its first 5-0 start since winning a state title in 1999. Both teams have the ability to move the ball. They both have multiple weapons, good speed and despite being run heavy, are teams that can hurt you through the air as well. This game’s going to come down to which defense can win first down consistently and get the other team off-schedule. Neither wants to be in 2nd and 9 or 3rd and 5-plus yards. I like Midland Lee. The Rebels played a tougher schedule and at home, I think it’s a big key as well. Both of these teams look to be playoff-caliber and the winner of this one vaults into the district title discussion along with Odessa Permian and San Angelo Central.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Lee by 4
Max’s Pick: Midland Lee
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Midland Lee
Brady’s
 Pick: Midland Lee
Tepper’s
 Pick: Midland Lee

Carthage (4-0, 0-0) at Henderson (5-0, 1-0)
One of the more underrated rivalries in East Texas has a lot on the line this week as unbeaten Henderson hosts the state’s top team and defending state champion, Carthage. Carthage had the week off last week after huge come-from-behind win over Gilmer. The Bulldogs trailed 28-13 late in the third quarter, but scored 35-straight points (including two defensive touchdowns) to run away with a 48-28 win. CHS has the state’s top running back in Keontay Ingram (Texas commit) but it has plenty of weapons out wide and features one of the more dominant front sevens in the state. Their task this week is to contain an explosive Henderson offense led by quarterback Trae Hall. Hall was a perfect 11-of-11 passing for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions 35-21 win over Tyler Chapel Hill last week. Hall also showed that he can catch the ball as well, hauling in a scoring pass on a trick play. Henderson has been solid all year, not spectacular, but the team has had a classic case of doing just enough to win. That won’t be enough this year as Carthage will be dead set on avenging a loss to Henderson at home last year to open district play.
Stepp’s Pick: Carthage by 13
Max’s Pick: Carthage
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Carthage
Brady’s
 Pick: Carthage
Tepper’s
 Pick: Carthage

Mansfield (3-1, 1-0) at Arlington (4-0, 1-0)
We’ve been getting the sense that Arlington High has been emerging as a real force and the Colts have a great chance to cement that this week against a very good Mansfield squad. Both teams are fresh off fairly convincing wins to open district play a week ago. Mansfield drilled Fort Worth Paschal 51-0 as the Tigers defense forced seven turnovers and quarterback Shawn Hartsfield tossed three touchdown passes. UCLA commit Cam’ron Jones returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with an injury and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He didn’t see time on offense last week but don’t be surprised if the Tigers utilize him this week in what should be a real battle. Arlington jumped out to a 34-8 lead on North Crowley after three quarters and cruised to a 41-30 win last week. Running back Kenland McCray led the Colts attack with 274 yards of offense and a pair of touchdown runs. Arlington’s defense has quietly emerged as one of the better groups in the DFW area. Most of the points they allowed came in the fourth quarter when several backups have played. These two have a common opponent in Flower Mound Marcus, a team Arlington beat and Mansfield lost to. I’m usually not into comparative score analysis, but I think with Marcus and Mansfield’s similar style of play the comparison is valid in this case. I expect Arlington to win a tight one, but the win itself will certainly cement the fact that Arlington is a real contender in 2017.
Stepp’s Pick: Arlington by 9
Max’s Pick: Arlington
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Arlington
Brady’s
 Pick: Arlington
Tepper’s
 Pick: Arlington

El Paso Parkland (4-1, 2-1) at El Paso Del Valle (4-1, 3-0)
If Del Valle wants to contend for the 2-5A title, it’ll need to take care of business at home against a very dangerous Parkland squad. The Matadors, after dropping their district opener to Eastlake, have bounced back with two straight wins, including a 63-23 rout of El Paso Hanks last week. Running back Deion Hankins had another monster night for PHS rushing for 301 yards and five touchdowns in the win. Stopping Hankins will be priority number one for the Conquistadores defense, which has allowed just 14 points in three district games. In last week’s 43-14 win over Canutillo, DVHS held the potent Canutillo ground game to just 96 rushing yards, while quarterback Raymond Montez accounted for four touchdowns (two rushing and passing) and 348 yards passing. That defense that head coach Jesse Perales’ squad brings to the table will be the big difference in this one as both offenses are explosive but Del Valle has a big edge
with their defense.
Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Del Valle by 11
Max’s Pick: Del Valle
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Del Valle
Brady’s
 Pick: Parkland
Tepper’s
 Pick: Del Valle

Southlake Carroll (3-1, 1-0) at Euless Trinity (2-2, 1-0)
My how times have changed. Five years ago, this matchup would have been stop-down, must-see TV for high school football fans. Now it’s a good game, but neither program is thought of as a contender regionally and for Trinity, there are questions if the Trojans can even get into the playoffs after a slow start. Carroll opened district play with a tough test against an improved Flower Mound squad. TJ McDaniel’s 193 rushing yards and two touchdowns led the way and his 45-yard scoring run with 5:01 left put the game out of reach after Flower Mound had whittled the Carroll to lead to 38-31. Trinity, which really struggled during non-district play, got just what the doctor ordered in its district-opener rolling past Lewisville 42-0. The much-maligned Trojan defense had their best game of the year holding Lewisville to just 89 yards of offense while Brandon Theus led the Trinity ground game with 180 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Theus, typically a linebacker, moved over to offense last week and really gave the Trojans a boost. If Trinity can get running back Courage Keihn back after an injury this week, the Trojans could be able to keep a fresh back in at all times and wear opposing defenses down to keep their own defense off the field. The key in this one is that the Trojans must be able to keep the Dragons honest with passing the ball down the field. If they can do that, they have a shot to win at home. However, it remains to be seen if Trinity can do that consistently, especially against the better teams in the area.
Stepp’s Pick: Southlake Carroll by 10
Max’s Pick: Carroll
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Carroll
Brady’s
 Pick: Carroll
Tepper’s
 Pick: Carroll

Sonora (5-0) at Iraan (3-2)
A year ago, Iraan travelled to Sonora and stunned the Broncos on homecoming. That win signaled to the entire state that the Braves were a legit contender for a state title. Things are slightly different this year as a much younger team is facing the real possibility of losing three games in a row. High powered Sonora comes to town led by quarterback Kaden Cordell rolled past Crane 64-22 last week. Cordell threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 pass attempts in the win. Running back Jarrett Jackson ran for 180 yards and four touchdowns and added an 83-yard touchdown reception as well. Iraan has been outscored the last two weeks 92-21 as the level of competition for the Braves has increased significantly. Running back Kyle O’Bannon is an excellent player, but Iraan is very young and could take a few more lumps before the start of district play in two weeks.
Stepp’s Pick: Sonora by 24
Max’s Pick: Sonora
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Sonora
Brady’s
 Pick: Sonora
Tepper’s
 Pick: Sonora

The Woodlands (1-1, 0-0) at Lufkin (4-1, 1-0)
It’s an odd scheduling quirk, but we are into October and The Woodlands has played just two games. The Highlanders had the first-round bye in a seven-team district so they were idle last week. This week, they travel up Highway 59 to Lufkin where they face a Panthers squad that’s won four-in-a-row. Two weeks ago, the Highlanders blasted Richmond George Ranch, 52-12, as wide receiver Kesean Carter had 127 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Carter also returned a blocked field goal for a score and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Lufkin opened district play last week with an impressive defensive effort in a 21-3 win over The Woodlands College Park. The Panther defense, after a slow start, has improved the last two weeks allowing a total of just 10 points. Lufkin will need its best effort of the year to slow down The Woodlands’ powerful offensive attack. Last year Lufkin allowed 63 points in a loss to the Highlanders. I don’t expect that kind of offensive output and the game will be much closer, but The Woodlands has a few too many playmakers and winning experience.
Stepp’s Pick: The Woodlands by 10
Max’s Pick: The Woodlands
Ishmael’s
 Pick: The Woodlands
Brady’s
 Pick: The Woodlands
Tepper’s
 Pick: The Woodlands

Tomball (4-0, 1-0) at Magnolia (2-1, 1-0)
We’ve got a key matchup in what looks to be a very deep District 20-5A as surprising unbeaten Tomball visits explosive Magnolia. THS, who upset powerful Richmond Foster two weeks ago, earned its first district win last week holding off Willis in a 21-14 slugfest. Receiver Tyrin Taylor was the key for the Cougars with six receptions for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Magnolia’s offense exploded last week in a 62-38 win over Waller last week and SMU commit Mike Woods stole the show with 161 receiving yards and four touchdowns. But the Magnolia offense also had three 100-yard rushers including quarterback Reese Mason who accounted for seven total touchdowns. Tomball’s defense has been outstanding early on, but hasn’t seen an offense that brings the kind of firepower to the table that Magnolia brings, I like Magnolia in a shootout.
Stepp’s Pick: Magnolia by 7
Max’s Pick: Magnolia
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Tomball
Brady’s
 Pick: Tomball
Tepper’s
 Pick: Magnolia

Groesbeck (3-1, 1-0) at Malakoff (4-0, 1-0)
Groesbeck is off to a strong 3-1 start on the strength of three close wins. The most impressive was its season-opening victory over a McGregor squad that beat Cameron Yoe this week. The Goats will face their toughest test as they meet up with a Malakoff squad that has won 18 of its last 19 games. The Tigers went on the road last week in their district opener and rolled past previously unbeaten Whitney 39-7. Quarterback Judd Miller ran for a score and threw two other touchdowns as the Tigers scored the final 39 points of the game. Groesbeck’s one loss was by 28 points to Class 4A Mexia. On paper, Malakoff is a better team so don’t be surprised if the Tigers have their way with the Goats.
Stepp’s Pick: Malakoff by 25
Max’s Pick: Malakoff
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Malakoff
Brady’s
 Pick: Malakoff
Tepper’s
 Pick: Malakoff

Brownsville Veterans Memorial (3-1, 1-0) at Mercedes (3-1, 1-0)
The District 32-5A title could be on the line this week as ground-and-pound Veterans Memorial visits the high-flying Tigers of Mercedes. Veterans Memorial opened district play at Sams Stadium Saturday with a 27-14 win over Brownsville Pace. Quarterback Gustavo Vasquez was the difference for the Chargers accounting for 255 yards of offense and a touchdown rushing and passing to lead Vets. Sammy Chapa’s interception in the end zone late in the game sealed the win and prevented a late Pace rally. Mercedes had no trouble with Donna in a 35-7 win. The Tiger defense was the story as they totally dominated the Donna offense. Mercedes has plenty of firepower on offense as well as quarterback Marc Ledesma and wide receiver Matthew Ledesma are one of the Valley’s most dangerous combos in the passing game. The Mercedes offense is the key in this matchup and I expect the Tigers at home to jump out quickly and force Brownsville Vets into a game they aren’t comfortable playing.
Stepp’s Pick: Mercedes by 13
Max’s Pick: Mercedes
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Mercedes
Brady’s
 Pick: Mercedes
Tepper’s
 Pick: Mercedes

Madisonville (5-0) at Rusk (4-1)
Unbeaten Madisonville under second-year head coach Rusty Nail will look to cap off a perfect non-district slate with in the Piney Woods against Rusk. The Mustangs slipped past Lorena 39-36 a week ago. MHS led 39-19 in the second half but needed to recover a late onside kick to hang on for the win. Rusk got plenty of big plays last week rolling past Class 2A Alto 43-21 as Thomas Hunter had a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score to lead the Eagles. Madisonville’s speed and experience at the skill spots combined with an edge in the trenches should be enough to carry the Mustangs to their sixth win.
Stepp’s Pick: Madisonville by 14
Max’s Pick: Madisonville
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Madisonville
Brady’s
 Pick: Madisonville
Tepper’s
 Pick: Madisonville

Ozona (2-3) at Rocksprings (3-2)
Head coach Kyle Freeman’s Ozona squad has played a tough non-district schedule but the Lions seem to be getting their wheels on with back-to-back wins, including a 26-19 win over Reagan County last week. Running back Kobe Rodriquez scored three second half touchdowns to pace the Lions to the win. Rocksprings is one of the smallest 2A programs in the state. The Angoras’ offense struggled in a big way last week in a 12-7 loss to Roby and Ozona is a much larger school with a deeper talent pool, expect the Lions to roll.
Stepp’s Pick: Ozona by 24
Max’s Pick: Ozona
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Ozona
Brady’s
 Pick: Ozona
Tepper’s
 Pick: Ozona

San Benito (4-0, 1-0) at Weslaco East (3-1, 1-0)
It doesn’t get any easier in the grind that is District 32-6A. After tough wins, two of the district favorites square off in a showdown that could determine the district title. It’ll be a clash of styles as wide-open San Benito takes on rugged Weslaco East who relies on physical play on both sides of the ball to get the job done. The Greyhounds of San Benito opened up district play last week with an impressive 43-33 win over a rapidly improving Los Fresnos squad. Running back Tyrone Harper led the ‘Hounds with 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. A concern for head coach Dan Gomez and his team will be special teams as SBHS allowed two Los Fresnos kickoff returns for touchdowns in the win. Weslaco East knocked off arch rival Weslaco in the Tinaco Bowl, 35-7. The Wildcats took to the air to beat Weslaco after losing star running back Roy Pedraza to a season ending injury and quarterbackl Richard LeFevre tossed three touchdown passes in the win. Look for East to still be run heavy but with LeFevre and versatile J.C. Vargas out wide, the Wildcats may be more wide open in the later stages of the season. East may need a game or two to adjust to not having its workhorse running back in the fold and playing district-favorite San Benito is probably not the best game to do that in. Look for SBHS to jump out early and cruise in this one.
Stepp’s Pick: San Benito by 13
Max’s Pick: San Benito
Ishmael’s
 Pick: San Benito
Brady’s
 Pick: San Benito
Tepper’s
 Pick: San Benito

Celeste (4-0, 0-0) at Collinsville (4-1, 1-0):
After an opening round bye in district play, the Blue Devils have a tough road test against a solid Collinsville squad. Both teams should be right in the middle of the playoff race so potential playoff seeding could be at play. Two weeks ago, Celeste closed out the non-district slate with an impressive 47-21 homecoming win over Prariland. The Blue Devils offense was led by quarterback Jalen Rector who stepped behind center and threw for 273 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another three scores in the win. Collinsville’s defense was outstanding in its 14-7 slugfest win over Blue Ridge a week ago. Celeste had a week to prepare so that’s an edge, but at home I like the Pirates and their physical style to contain Rector and that Celeste offensive attack.
Stepp’s Pick: Collinsville by 7
Max’s Pick: Collinsville
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Celeste
Brady’s
 Pick: Collinsville
Tepper’s
 Pick: Collinsville

Lubbock Estacado (4-1) at Shallowater (4-0)
A rare Thursday night game in Shallowater as the Mustangs decided to move this one to Thursday to give them a chance to gear up for district play. Estacado still has one more non-district game after this one as the Matadors play seven total non-district games. The Mats, after losing their season opener to 5A Hereford, have been on an absolute roll outscoring their last four opponents 213-27 including an absolute romp in an 84-0 win last week at San Angelo Lake View. They’ll get their biggest test maybe until the playoffs this week against unbeaten Shallowater who has yet to lose under first-year head coach Bryan Wood. The Mustangs were led in a 42-21 win over Lubbock High by Brody Hendrick and Zachary Aragon who combined for 325 yards rushing and five touchdowns. When SHS has needed to throw the ball, quarterback Cutter Sparks has been as efficient as it gets. The issue in this matchup is Shallowater’s defense has to find a way to keep up with Estacado’s multiple offense that features speed at every skill position and excellent size out wide. That’s a really tough matchup and I like the Matadors to win what should be a shootout.
Stepp’s Pick: Lubbock Estacado by 8
Max’s Pick: Estacado
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Shallowater
Brady’s
 Pick: Estacado
Tepper’s
 Pick: Shallowater

San Antonio Churchill (4-1, 1-0) vs. San Antonio Reagan (4-1, 1-0):
This matchup has playoff implications all over it in 26-6A. A possible shot at a district title could be on the line and if the division breaks right, playoff seeding (and avoiding Lake Travis in Round 1) could be at stake. Churchill was sluggish but escaped upset-minded San Antonio Lee 38-24. Junior quarterback Derek Perez led the way for the Chargers with two touchdown passes and a touchdown run. Reagan also held off an upstart district opponent as the Rattlers knocked off San Antonio MacArthur 38-34 in overtime. Reagan trailed 24-10 at the half but outscored the Brahamas 21-7 in the second half to send the game to overtime where John Carrington scored the game winning touchdown on a six-yard run. Neither team really impressed in their district opener so this game is tough to get a read on, but Reagan has had Churchill’s number of late so in that regard the edge is to the Rattlers.
Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Reagan by 11
Max’s Pick: Reagan
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Reagan
Brady’s
 Pick: Churchill
Tepper’s
 Pick: Reagan

Each week, six-man insider Leman Saunders provides his insight and analysis on the best games in Class 1A. Contact Leman on Twitter @LemanSaunders.

Richland Springs (4-1) at DI Sterling City (3-2)
It’s the prestigious DQ Big Game of the Week! Richland Springs dropped its season opener to Happy, a game in which all-state player Walker Tippie didn’t play. Since then, the Coyotes have won four straight, including topping Round Rock Concordia 72-13 last week. Tippie seems to be in tip-top shape now — in his last two games, he’s run for 213 yards and four touchdowns on just five carries. Sterling City has see-sawed its way to a 3-2 record, most recently winning a tight game over Hermleigh. Last year, this game was all Richland Springs — 46-0 — but RB Tavenn Raynor and the Eagles will be itching to even the score on their home turf.
Leman’s Pick: Richland Springs
Tepper’s Pick: Richland Springs

White Deer (5-0) at Follett (4-1)
This is the real test for White Deer, as the Bucks face a state-ranked Follett team. White Deer has yet to allow a point this season, outscoring opponents 288-0, a virtually unheard-of feat in six-man ball. Follett played a tougher schedule, including a hard-fought win over Paducah and a tough 24-point loss to state-ranked Valley. Defensively, White Deer leans on Kason Vigil, who has 44 tackles and 3 INTs on the year while also playing running back in their balanced attack. Follett will rely on QB Christian Barber, who is as dangerous with his legs as he is his arm.
Leman’s Pick: White Deer
Tepper’s Pick: Follett

Valley (3-1) at Crowell (4-1)
A rematch of last year’s barnburner that ended in an 84-80 Crowell win, expect to see a lot of Last year this game was a barn burner that ended with Crowell walking away the victors 84-80. But Valley has plenty of firepower, led by QB Parker Carson (649 yards and 10 TDs passing), RB Dax Allen and WR Jayton Smith. Crowell’s biggest offensive threat is QB Skyler Hayes, who’s thrown for 19 touchdowns and run for another eight scores. Both teams’ lone loss is at the hands of Happy, but the home field should help Crowell. That said, Valley’s many returning pieces from last year’s classic could be the difference.
Leman’s Pick: Valley
Tepper’s Pick: Valley

Rankin (3-2) at Robert Lee (3-2)
Two teams that have been battling this season week-in and week-out face off. Rankin has already improved on last year’s 2-8 record, but the Red Devils are looking to rebound after a 50-0 loss to Garden City last week — a game that was scoreless after the first quarter. Robert Lee survived a low-scoring slugfest with Highland last week, leaning on QB Lane Fowler’s 226 yards and two touchdowns passing to get by 36-34. Expect both teams to come out swinging, but Robert Lee being at home may be the edge.
Leman’s Pick: Robert Lee
Tepper’s Pick: Robert Lee

QUICK PICKS

Victoria East (2-1, 0-1) at Angleton (4-0, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: Angleton by 35
Max’s Pick: Angleton
Ishmael’s Pick: Angleton
Brady’s Pick: Angleton
Tepper’s Pick: Angleton

Vernon (3-2) at Canadian (4-0)
Stepp’s Pick: Canadian by 28
Max’s Pick: Canadian
Ishmael’s Pick: Canadian
Brady’s Pick: Canadian
Tepper’s Pick: Canadian

Montgomery (2-2, 0-1) at Conroe Oak Ridge (4-0, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: Conroe Oak Ridge by 7
Max’s Pick: Oak Ridge
Ishmael’s Pick: Oak Ridge
Brady’s Pick: Oak Ridge
Tepper’s Pick: Oak Ridge

Cotulla (2-2) at Crystal City (3-1)
Stepp’s Pick: Crystal City by 4
Max’s Pick: Crystal City
Ishmael’s Pick: Crystal City
Brady’s Pick: Crystal City
Tepper’s Pick: Crystal City

Hico (3-1, 0-0) at DeLeon (5-0, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: DeLeon by 24
Max’s Pick: DeLeon
Ishmael’s Pick: DeLeon
Brady’s Pick: DeLeon
Tepper’s Pick: DeLeon

Edinburg (2-2, 1-0) vs. Edinburg Vela (4-0, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: Edinburg Vela by 18
Max’s Pick: Vela
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Vela
Brady’s
 Pick: Vela
Tepper’s
 Pick: Vela

Needville (3-1, 0-1) at El Campo (3-1, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: El Campo by 17
Max’s Pick: El Campo
Ishmael’s Pick: El Campo
Brady’s
 Pick: El Campo
Tepper’s
 Pick: El Campo

Katy Cinco Ranch (2-1) vs Richmond Foster (2-1)
Stepp’s Pick: Katy Cinco Ranch by 19
Max’s Pick: Cinco Ranch
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Cinco Ranch
Brady’s
 Pick: Cinco Ranch
Tepper’s
 Pick: Cinco Ranch

Wall (4-0) vs Iowa Park (3-2)
Stepp’s Pick: Wall by 24
Max’s Pick: Wall
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Wall
Brady’s
 Pick: Wall
Tepper’s
 Pick: Wall

Wichita Falls (2-3, 0-1) vs Wichita Falls Rider (2-3, 1-0)
Stepp’s Pick: Wichita Falls Rider by 13
Max’s Pick: Rider
Ishmael’s
 Pick: Rider
Brady’s
 Pick: Rider
Tepper’s
 Pick: Rider

PICK ACCURACY
Max Thompson (DCTF Digital Director): 81%
Matt Stepp (DCTF High School Insider): 81%
Greg Tepper (DCTF Managing Editor): 78%
Ishmael Johnson (DCTF Editor): 74%
Brady Keane (DCTF Contributing Writer): 74%

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