Waco La Vega (3-0) at Argyle (3-0): The headliner in the state this week features the top two teams in the DCTF 4A-Division I rankings who have met four times in the past two seasons. In the regular season, Argyle has gotten the best of La Vega, but the Pirates have won the two playoff games and hold bragging rights. Both teams have impressive resumes and get things done in very different ways. La Vega has three wins over teams who at the time they played were ranked in the state top ten, including a hard-fought neutral site victory last week over Corpus Christi Calallen, 21-13. With senior QB Ara Rauls out after surgery for an arm injury, La Vega found a way with Jordan Rogers, one of the stars on defense moving to QB and directing the offense. Jar’Que Walton, who finished with 192 yards rushing on the night, got a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth-quarter to give the Pirates the final margin. But it was La Vega’s defense against a prodding Calallen offense that made the difference. In three games they have allowed just 10 points per game. Argyle got pushed a bit last week against rival Celina, but the Eagles early lead proved to be enough in a 35-21 win. QB CJ Rogers continued his stellar play for Argyle, throwing for 213 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Argyle attack. AHS raced out to a 21-0 lead, but Celina fought back cutting the lead to seven at 21-14 before Argyle managed to pull away late. Argyle has been laser sharp early in the year and with the Eagles in top form early on, they should again get the better of a La Vega squad that doesn’t really peak until November and a La Vega team that right now is offensively challenged. The Pirates defense keeps them in it, but Argyle pulls away in the second half. Stepp’s Pick: Argyle by 13
Texarkana Pleasant Grove (2-1) vs Silsbee (1-0) at Carthage: After the disappointing loss to Argyle at home two weeks ago, the Hawks took out their frustration last week on a good Paris team and dominated on the road in a 35-7 win. The Hawks dominated up front on both sides of the ball with Logan Johnson and Nick Martin combining for 220 yards rushing and each had a touchdown, while QB Jalen Woodside ran for a score and threw a touchdown pass to LSU commit Landon Jackson. Silsbee, who saw their season opener cut short before halftime two weeks ago, was able to complete their game last week as the Tigers blasted Lumberton, 56-14. RB Malik Jones did plenty of damage for the Tigers running for 170 yards and four touchdowns on just eight carries in only one half of action. Silsbee’s skill players will be their edge along with overall team speed, but Pleasant Grove’s dominance up front again will be too much as they’ll wear down the smaller Tigers in the second half. Stepp’s Pick: Texarkana Pleasant Grove by 14
Brock (2-0) at Iowa Park (3-0): After a week off, Brock is back in action and the Eagles aren’t scheduling lightly as they visit a strong Iowa Park team that’s off to a flying 3-0 start. The Eagles dismantled 4A Nevada Community, 66-7, two weeks ago as Cash Jones ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Chris Palfreeman had three touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving and one on special teams as the Eagles cruised. Iowa Park didn’t have any let downs last week after their come-from-behind win over Canadian two weeks ago as the Hawks rolled past Burkburnett, 49-12, in a game played at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. IPHS struggled early on and only led 14-12 early in the third quarter, but the Hawks went on a 35-0 run late to turn it into a blowout. The Hawks were balanced as RB Jaydon Southard rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns, while QB Cirby Coheley rushed for 89 yards and passed for 136 and two TDs. Cameron Parker added 77 rushing yards and two scores. In this game, Iowa Park can’t afford the slow starts they’ve gotten off to in these last two weeks; if that happens, Brock puts this one out of reach quickly. Iowa Park has shown a great ability to close games out and if this one is close; the Hawks could pull the upset at home. But I expect Brock to come out sharp with the week off and earn a comfortable win. Stepp’s Pick: Brock by 14
Shiner (3-0) at East Bernard (3-0): Unbeaten Shiner faces another big test this week as they go on the road to tangle with unbeaten and state ranked East Bernard (3A-Division II). Shiner hasn’t had any issues playing larger schools and that trend continued last week as they rolled past Smithville, 41-12. Trevor Haynes ran for a touchdown and returned an interception for a score. While Doug Brooks and Dalton Brooks combined for four touchdown runs and 161 yards on the ground. East Bernard had no issues last week in a 42-9 win over Boling. RB Devin Chapman ran for 130 yards and two scores and also hauled in a touchdown reception, while Andrew Dirba added 110 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead the ground-and-pound Brahmas. Shiner loves to run the ball as well, but the Comanches balance and explosiveness is unique for a 2A program and that’s a big reason why they are our No. 1 team in the state at the moment. Shiner again proves they are worthy of the accolades this week with a big road win. Stepp’s Pick: Shiner by 8
San Saba (3-0) at Llano (3-0): Surprising Llano will have its hands full on homecoming as it welcomes in state-ranked San Saba for any early season showdown. San Saba went to Mason last week and had no trouble with the Punchers in a 32-0 victory. The Armadillos turned two Mason fumbles into touchdowns and their powerful ground game churned out yards in a solid top to bottom effort across the board. Llano’s offense has been on fire through three weeks averaging 46 points per game after their 52-0 blowout of Bandera last week. The Llano up-tempo spread offense is going to be a real challenge for San Saba. Add in Llano’s superior depth (they were a 4A school last year) and size, and that means this is a real tough matchup for state ranked San Saba. Stepp’s Pick: Llano by 15
Pilot Point (2-0) vs Gunter (2-1) at Children’s Health Stadium: Unbeaten Pilot Point has had an extra week to prepare for Gunter’s unique pistol option attack, and they’ll need all the extra time they can get in this matchup, which has been moved to Prosper’s Children’s Health Stadium. Pilot Point rolled past River Oaks Castleberry in their last outing, 49-35. RB Ish Harris ran for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while QB Max Hollar tossed three touchdowns for the Bearcats in the win. Gunter bounced back nicely from the loss to Pottsboro with an easy 42-10 win over Whitesboro last week. The Tigers got 131 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Ashton Bennett and QB Hudson Graham threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. We really don’t know what Pilot Point has at the moment. They’ve beaten a team from Oklahoma and an average 4A opponent. This will easily be their toughest test of the young season. Give the edge to Gunter in what should be a good crowd Friday night. Stepp’s Pick: Gunter by 8
Abernathy (2-1) at Post (3-0): After dropping their Week 1 game, Abernathy, a young team with a new head coach, has righted the ship with two straight wins, including last week’s 21-12 win over Sundown. The AHS defense held a stout Sundown attack in check, while QB Jess Hoel led the offense with a pair of touchdown runs. Abernathy will look to take down maybe the team with the best shot to bring a state title to the South Plains in 11-man football in Post, who, through three weeks, looks as lethal as anyone in 2A. Post annihilated Littlefield, 58-6, last week as the Antelopes offense were hitting on all cylinders led by QB Slayden Pittman and RB’s Nathan McDaniel and Ashton Jefferson. Sophomore LB Isaiah Crawford, who is generating FBS looks, was excellent with 14 tackles. Post’s experience and offensive explosiveness will be too much for a solid Abernathy squad still trying to find their way early on. Stepp’s Pick: Post by 17
Schulenburg (3-0) at Flatonia (3-0): It’s a district opener featuring two unbeaten teams, and this one is ripe with playoff implications in a district headlined by the No. 1 team in the state. Schulenburg knocked off Yorktown, 28-7, last week as the Shorthorns defense held Yorktown to -5 yards rushing. Kenney King had a touchdown run and a touchdown catch for SHS in the victory. Flatonia took care of a tough Falls City squad, 34-7, as sophomore QB Keyshaun Green threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score to pace the Bulldogs. The defense shut down the potent Falls City rushing attack and even got into the act with a touchdown of their own in the fourth quarter. Schulenburg is much improved this year and looks to be a playoff threat, but the edge goes to Flatonia at home. Stepp’s Pick: Flatonia by 1
Tyler Chapel Hill (3-0) at Center (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Tyler Chapel Hill by 4
Lindale (2-1) at Gilmer (3-0) Stepp’s Pick: Gilmer by 8
Fredericksburg (3-0) at Wimberley (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Wimberley by 3
Bellville (3-0) at Rockdale (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Bellville by 10
Glen Rose (3-0) at Grandview (3-0) Stepp’s Pick: Grandview by 7
Lexington (3-0) at Cameron Yoe (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Lexington by 5
Bushland (2-1) at Stratford (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Bushland by 11
San Augustine (1-0) vs Winnsboro (1-0) at Longview Stepp’s Pick: Winnsboro by 6
Vega (2-1) at Spearman (3-0) Stepp’s Pick: Spearman by 20
Holland (3-0) at Crawford (3-0) Stepp’s Pick: Holland by 1
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