There are 176 UIL Texas high school football games in the second round of the playoffs this weekend, and according to the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football computer, there are 176 favorites — see all of the computer’s projections right here!
But upsets can and do happen in the unpredictable Texas high school football playoffs. Here are some games that have us sounding the Upset Alert in the area round!
Poth vs. Tidehaven
7 p.m. Friday at Corpus Christi’s Wildcat Stadium
Poth is a 7-point favorite
The cliché goes that once the playoffs begin, you throw the records out — everyone starts with a clean slate. But it’s hard not to look at a team with a so-so win-loss mark with a cocked eyebrow.
Such is the case with this 3A Division II matchup, where Poth enters with a sparkling 10-1 mark — its lone loss coming in the season opener against Universal City Randolph — while Tidehaven is lurching along at 6-5.
But records can be deceiving, and Tidehaven isn’t your typical 6-5 squad. The Tigers’ losses all came to playoff teams, and they have a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Blake Garcia that should give Poth’s usually solid defense some trouble. Not to mention receiver Mason Perales, Garcia’s favorite target.
But the biggest reason to put this one on upset alert: the Tigers are used to this. Don’t forget that last year, coach David Lucio’s squad entered the postseason with a 4-6 mark, only to run to the regional semifinals and finish with the odd 7-7 record. Coach Lucio will have his boys ready to roll in this one, and it may end up shaking up Region IV. — Greg Tepper
Cedar Park vs. Friendswood
6 p.m. Saturday at Houston’s NRG Stadium
Cedar Park is a 12-point favorite
Being battle-tested is everything in the playoffs.
Obviously, no one needs to be reminded of the pedigree Cedar Park has when it comes to postseason success as one of the premier teams in Central Texas. But what happens when they match up with a team that has a similar style as the Black Rain defense and comes from a much tougher district?
Friendswood has only allowed over 30 points three times this season and have shut out or held opponents to single digits four times. Cedar Park has run into potent defenses twice this season in Austin Vandegrift (lost, 17-0) and Hutto (won, 20-16) and didn’t looked particularly pretty during either encounter. A defensive battle is more of a toss-up than one would perhaps expect with Cedar Park.
Friendswood also comes from arguably the toughest district in the state regardless of classification in District 10-5A. Angleton, a name-brand program, missed the playoffs and Richmond Foster, a team we pegged as a state finalist in the 2019 fall magazine, barely snuck in via the fourth-place spot. That’s not even to mention the fact that the front-runner to come out of Region III, Shadow Creek, lurks at the top of the standings at 11-0. The Mustangs are tested and ready to battle it out with anyone. — Ishmael Johnson
A&M Consolidated vs. Fort Bend Marshall
7 p.m. Friday at Cypress’ Pridgeon Stadium
Fort Bend Marshall is an 8-point favorite
I know what you’re thinking: the unbeaten No. 3 team in the state is an underdog against the one-loss No. 4 team? According to our numbers, yes. And looking between the lines, it’s not hard to see why. FB Marshall has the marquee stars, the best player on the field in Devon Achane and had a tougher schedule, only falling to No. 2 Manvel this year by four points.
So why consider Consolidated as an upset pick? Well, because they can pack a counterpunch.
No one’s shutting down Achane and Malik Hornsby, that’s out of the question. The best course of action, and it’s been this way for two seasons now, is to match them point-for-point. The Buffalos haven’t been susceptible to high-powered offenses much, when they have been, it’s gotten interesting. Take last season’s 47-43 win over Huntsville that took some heroics from Achane, or last year’s matchup with A&M Consolidated in the area round…or this year’s loss to Manvel.
Are receivers Brian Darby and Devin Price enough to give the Tigers a chance to match FB Marshall’s firepower? If quarterback Gage Pahl can stay protected, I’d say they’re at least worth betting on. — Ishmael Johnson
Tomball Memorial vs. Spring Westfield
7 p.m. Friday at Houston’s Crenshaw Memorial Stadium
Spring Westfield is a 12-point favorite
Tempo, tempo, tempo. That’s the name of the game for Tomball Memorial, and it’s why they could give Spring Westfield a lot of trouble.
The relative newcomer Wildcats — playing in just their eighth varsity season — are not short on firepower, and versatile firepower at that. They can beat you through the air with quarterback Colton Marwill and receivers Logan Kyle and Joseph Manjack; they can run at you with Richard Rodriguez and Carbrey Barnes; heck, they can beat you when they don’t have the ball, as evidenced by their three non-offensive touchdowns this year.
And while the Westfield defense has been sensational this year — third in 6A in scoring defense, allowing right around seven points per game — have they faced an offense like this? Yes, they played Galena Park North Shore back in Week 3, but that was a North Shore team playing without both Shadrach Banks and Zachary Evans.
Westfield is an understandable favorite, but if the Mustangs have trouble containing the multiple-threat Wildcats? Sound the alarm. — Greg Tepper
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