Week 6 Mega Preview: Breaking down & predicting the biggest Texas high school football games

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Midland Lee (1-0) at Amarillo Tascosa (1-0): It’s an old Little SWC rivalry game that’s moved to a non-district game with the move of Amarillo Tascosa to Class 5A. Midland Lee’s offense looks as dynamic as ever as the Rebels beat Amarillo 54-40 last week. The big question going into this one is the status of QB Mikey Serrano, who threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters before leaving the game with an injury. Versatile Shemar Davis came in and finished the game at QB; he had 105 yards rushing and 61 receiving yards. RB Makhilyn Young added 165 yards on the ground and two touchdowns as well. Tascosa went on the road last week and, despite a tough challenge, knocked off Abilene High 26-20. Tascosa’s option-based offense was hitting on all cylinders, topping 450 yards on the ground with three backs rushing for at least 63 yards. Major Everhart led the way for THS with 119 yards and a touchdown, while QB BT Daniel had 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground in his first start. Tempo will dictate this game. If Midland Lee pushed the envelope and gets this pace at a rapid rate, it’ll favor Clint Hartman’s squad. Tascosa wants to control the clock and keep the ball away from that dynamic Midland Lee attack and wear the Rebels down. The problem for Tascosa is Midland Lee knows their offensive attack pretty well as they see a similar scheme with Permian every year; add in the strength of the Midland Lee defense is stopping the run and you have a recipe for Midland Lee to get win on the road. Stepp’s Pick: Midland Lee by 11

Humble Atascocita (0-0) at Allen (1-0): Atascocita, one of the Houston area’s up and coming powers, makes their season debut with a very tough road trip as they head north to the DFW area to take on Allen. Allen did play last week, and the Eagles opened up with a solid 49-26 win over Plano East. WR’s Blaine and Bryson Green, both Oklahoma State commits, led the way for Allen with 193 receiving yards combined and three touchdowns. Jake Wolff and General Booty, two transfer QB’s from outside of the state, split time last week and that rotating may continue throughout the year unless one player separates himself. Atascocita has elite skill talent with WR’s Landen King (Auburn commit) and Keith Wheeler, while RB’s Quincy Thompson and Tyras Winfield combined for 25 touchdowns rushing a year ago. Atascocita has big questions on defense, and with inexperience at QB on the road in Allen playing at a stadium where the home team has never lost a game, is a tall order for Coach Stump’s squad. Stepp’s Pick: Allen by 10

Cedar Hill (0-0) at Arlington (1-0): Cedar Hill visits Globe Life Park in a sneaky good state ranked matchup as they take on an Arlington squad that had no troubles with Mansfield in a 37-7 victory to open the season. Arlington was led by a stout defense that held Mansfield to just 270 yards of offense, while RB BJ Rogers ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns and a 29-yard touchdown catch. Cedar Hill, led by QB Kaidon Salter, a Tennessee commit, will again feature one of the state’s most dynamic offensive attacks. RB Kelvin Young will operate behind a veteran offensive line, while the Longhorns feature a young, but dynamic group of receivers. The key for improvement for the Longhorns in 2020 will be their defense, which returns seven starters. If that group makes strides, Cedar Hill feels like they can contend for a state title. This is a fascinating early season measuring stick for both teams, take Cedar Hill in what should be a close one. Stepp’s Pick: Cedar Hill by 4

Converse Judson (0-0) at DeSoto (0-0): One of the premier programs in San Antonio makes the trip north to take on one of the top programs in the metroplex in DeSoto. Judson has a lot of questions after Brandeis transfer Jordan Battles had his eligibility hearing denied. That likely leaves Michael Burroughs as the guy to lead the offense. Judson has one of the top backs in South Texas in DeAnthony Lewis, who will run behind UTSA commit OL Kamron Scott. Judson’s defense has good experience back and will bring good speed to the table, but they may be overmatched in the speed department against a DeSoto squad that has the look of some of the real scary good DeSoto teams of past years. QB Samari Collier has a bevy of weapons at his disposal with WR Jaedon Wilson and junior RB Chris Henley among others. But what makes the Eagles really dynamic is their defense led by DE Shemar Turner and DT Byron Murphy (Baylor commit); the secondary is led by CB Lathan Adams (Colorado State commit) and S Devyn Bobby. DeSoto’s fast pace and depth will overwhelm Judson in this one. Stepp’s Pick: DeSoto by 14

San Antonio Brandeis (0-0) vs San Antonio Harlan (0-0): It’s a Northside ISD showdown to open the season as Brandeis, a team that’s made the regional finals the last two seasons, taking on upstart Harlan, who, in just their second season in 2019, posted a 12-1 record, but now they make the move up to Class 6A.  Brandeis brings back a wealth of experience and could be a real force in the Alamo City despite most of the headlines going to other programs. QB Nico Garcia is slated to take over the offense and his ability to make plays in the passing game more consistently could give the Broncos attack a different look.  Harlan should be quite explosive on offense this year with the return of QB Kanon Williams and RB A.J. McDade, but the Hawks are young on the defensive side of the ball with just two returning starters and going against what is a veteran Brandeis attack that could be a real problem. Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Brandeis by 10

Wichita Falls Rider (1-0) at Frisco Independence (0-1): State-ranked Wichita Falls Rider takes the trip east into the DFW area as they’ll visit a Frisco Independence squad that has high expectations, but is looking to erase the bad taste of a season opening defeat. Rider opened the season in impressive fashion last week rolling past 6A Midland High, 42-13. Virginia commit QB Jacob Rodriguez lit up the Midland secondary throwing for 281 yards and four touchdowns and added a touchdown on the ground. Frisco Independence just couldn’t get the offense going last week in a 17-14 loss to Frisco High. QB Braylon Braxton, who had put up big-time numbers a year ago, struggled throwing for just 130 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Frisco’s solid defense combined with their ball control offense frustrated Independence all night long. Rider’s strength is their veteran and dynamic offense, so expect a high scoring affair in this battle. This is a coin flip game and I’ve been riding with Frisco Independence, so take the over in this one and take Independence in a close one. Stepp’s Pick: Frisco Independence by 3

Temple (1-0) at Magnolia West (1-0): Temple made quite the statement late Friday night going to AT&T Stadium and rolling past Longview, 40-13. After trailing 13-10 at the half, the young Wildcats outscored the Lobos 30-0 to cruise to the win. In his first varsity start, QB Humberto Arizmendi tossed four touchdown passes, including three in the decisive third quarter, to pace the Wildcats. The key for Temple’s defense was containing the Longview running game and forcing four turnovers. Magnolia West raced out to three first quarter touchdowns and never looked back as the Mustangs rolled past Brenham, 48-28. Hunter Bilbo led the attack for Magnolia West with 149 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Temple was sky high for the game last week as the Wildcats had that one circled. This has the makings of a classic trap game. If Temple is locked in on the road, their talent will overwhelm Magnolia West. But if they get off the bus asleep, Magnolia West is good enough to pull the upset. Stepp’s Pick: Temple by 13

Victoria West (0-0) at Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (1-0): Victoria West opens up 15-5A Division I play under odd circumstances as they had to cancel their season opener against Boerne Champion last week, so they will open the season with a district game against co-district favorite Flour Bluff. VWHS has a veteran offensive line returning, so expect the Warriors to lean on that group as they bring along their young skill players. Flour Bluff’s defense had the unique challenge of slowing down Rockport-Fulton’s potent offense and the Hornets were up to the task in a 24-0 win. FBHS held Rockport-Fulton to just 114 yards of offense, while RB Isaac Miles ran for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Hornets offense was solid. Expect Victoria West to have typically Week 1 sloppiness, while Flour Bluff should be much sharper this week with a game under their belts. Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Flour Bluff by 17

Denison (1-0) at Texarkana Texas (1-0): Both teams in this matchup opened the season up on Thursday night so each has had an extra day to prep for this one. Denison won their annual grudge match with Sherman, 41-23, but it didn’t start pretty as Sherman raced out to a 14-0 lead,before Denison woke up and got things going. The ‘Jackets were led by their RB duo of Jadarian Price (188 yards and two touchdowns) and Asa Osbourne (98 yards and two touchdowns), while DE Jakalen Fields notched five sacks. Texas High rolled past Tyler 41-21 as RB Braylon Stewart ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Tigers, while the T High defense, led by Oklahoma commit LB Clayton Smith, made life miserable for the Tyler attack all night. The Tigers will need to cut out the mistakes this week as Denison can hurt Texas High with their experience and potent running game, but playing the run is the strength of the Texarkana defense. Tigers defend the home turf at Grim Park. Stepp’s Pick: Texarkana Texas by 7

Melissa (5-0, 1-0) at Argyle (4-0, 0-0): In essence, this is the District 7-4A Division I opener for both teams despite Melissa having a 1-0 record in district play. Melissa was supposed to take on Paris last week in a matchup of state-ranked teams, but Paris was forced to forfeit the game due to Covid-19 protocols, so Melissa picked up the win off the field. The Cardinals have been an offensive juggernaut early on averaging over 50 points per game, but the test this week is massive with No. 1 Argyle on the docket. The Eagles rolled past second-ranked Waco La Vega, 35-7, two weeks ago; combine that with their win on the road at Texarkana Pleasant Grove and there is no team in 4A with the Eagles resume. QB CJ Rogers and WR Cole Kirkpatrick are as lethal a duo in the state and Melissa’s defense has really struggled defending the pass. Melissa will put points up, but Argyle’s just got too well rounded of a team. Stepp’s Pick: Argyle by 17

Carthage (2-0) at Texarkana Pleasant Grove (3-1): After sitting out from playing for nearly a month, Carthage is certainly not wasting time getting back in the groove with back to back road games in Gilmer and Texarkana. Last week the Bulldogs showed no rust as they rolled past Gilmer 42-14. Carthage ran out to a 28-0 lead at halftime as QB Kai Horton tossed three touchdown passes, and RB Mason Courtney added a touchdown run in each half as the Bulldogs made a major statement in the win. Pleasant Grove took last week off after they went to Carthage for a neutral site win over Silsbee two weeks ago. The Hawks offense has been dynamic running the ball early on with multiple backs seeing touches, but the defense which got a lot of hype in the pre-season has been hit or miss at times, especially against the pass. Carthage has the ability to hold up in the trenches and exploit the weakness in the Pleasant Grove secondary. Stepp’s Pick: Carthage by 9

Hondo (4-0) at Comfort (5-0): A super underrated matchup of teams in the San Antonio area that are off to red hot starts gets going on Friday night as unbeaten Hondo visits 5-0 Comfort. Hondo, under first year head coach Joe Dale Cary, has been a revelation early on. The Owls had last week off after drilling Marion, 49-17, two weeks ago. Hondo was led by Trey Dickens, who ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns, while Carson Winchester chipped in 62 yards on the ground and two scores as well. Comfort had no trouble with Bandera last week in a 63-6 win; QB Oscar Falcon continues to put up big time numbers as he tossed six touchdown passes to lead the Bobcats in the easy victory. Both offenses are operating at a high level midway through the year, but give the edge to the bigger school in Hondo, who has had a week off to scheme up a plan to slow down this Comfort attack. Stepp’s Pick: Hondo by 6

Hallettsville (3-1) vs Tuscola Jim Ned (2-1) at Llano: In a game that was set up just last week, South Texas’ Hallettsville takes on Big Country foe Tuscola Jim Ned in a cross-regional matchup in a neutral site at Llano. Led by Texas commit RB Jonathon Brooks, Hallettsville has been on an absolute roll after their season opening loss to Shiner. In fact, the Brahmas have outscored their last three opponents 162-14. Jim Ned, who had to cancel a game due to Covid-19 protocols earlier in the year, had their game with 4A Snyder canceled last week as Snyder was dealing with their own issues. The Indians last played two weeks ago in an impressive 39-20 win over 2A Cisco. The problem for Jim Ned in this one is they are going to get a heavy dose of Brooks toting the mail and I’m not sure they’ll be able to slow the Texas commit down. Stepp’s Pick: Hallettsville by 12

Lorena (3-1, 1-0) at Troy (2-2, 0-0): Lorena will look to make it two in a row in 11-3A Division I play as they visit Troy, who had the week off last week. The Leopards got a push from Little River-Academy, but pulled away in the second half for a 41-27 victory. RB Reed Michna led a balanced attack from the Leopards with 201 yards on the ground on just 19 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Troy, led by RB Zach Hrbacek, had the week off last week and there’s been no doubt the senior has established himself among the top running backs in the state. The difference between this Troy squad and last year is that at times Troy has struggled to get stops on defense and they’ve had to win a few high scoring games. Lorena is well equipped to deal with those type of games and the Leopards have a good enough defense to get stops at key moments. Stepp’s Pick: Lorena by 8

Crane (3-0) at Wink (5-0): It’ll be a rocking house in Wink on Friday as the state-ranked Wildcats look to defend their home turf against unbeaten 3A Crane, who comes to town looking to close the non-district slate in style. Crane was very impressive in a 31-21 win over 3A-Division I Denver City last week. Junior QB Jaxon Willis was outstanding throwing for 355 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 100 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Wink rolled past Smyer 52-22 last week as a big 23-point second quarter spurred the Wildcats.cWink’s made a living knocking off bigger schools this non-district season but a sixth straight win over a bigger school, especially one in 3A that looks to be a district title contender may be a big ask. Stepp’s Pick: Crane by 3

Spearman (5-0, 1-0) at Canadian (2-1, 0-0): Unbeaten Spearman passed their first tough test in district play with a thrilling 43-36 overtime win over previously unbeaten Childress. QB Jack Wilkerson led the way for the Lynx throwing for 189 yards with three touchdowns and rushing for two scores on 107 yards, while star ATH Brennen Thompson caught a touchdown pass. Canadian hasn’t played a game in two weeks as the Wildcats had a scheduled bye last week, but the week before they had their game against Perryton canceled due to Covid-19 protocols. The Wildcats last outing was impressive as they blew past Bushland 46-19. Don’t be surprised if Canadian comes out a bit flat with the long layoff, but look for them to focus on getting the ground attack established with RB Hayze Hufstedler. That could open things up in the second half for QB Josh Culwell who has been outstanding in his first three starts. Stepp’s Pick: Canadian by 11

Bells (4-1, 1-0) at Gunter (4-1, 1-0): High flying Bells will have a chance to see where they measure up with the best in Class 3A-Division II this week as they visit defending state champion Gunter in a game that may decide the District 8-3A Division II title. Bells opened up district play last week with an emphatic 42-14 win over Leonard as RB Bo Baker led the Panthers attack with 244 yards and three touchdowns rushing on just eight carries. Gunter wasn’t flashy, but the Tigers were brutally efficient in a 31-14 win over Whitewright last week. The Tigers got a big game from DB Cole Lemmons, who picked off two passes and ran for a touchdown, while QB Hudson Graham piloted a balanced offense. Bells has run the ball incredibly well this season, but unless they can put the ball in the air and force Gunter to play them honest, the Tigers are just much too powerful. Stepp’s Pick: Gunter by 17

Honey Grove (3-2, 1-0) at Wolfe City (3-2, 1-1): The crazy race in District 6-2A Division I likely won’t be decided until the final day of the small school regular season, with a couple of games already being postponed. Honey Grove’s offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders last week, but the Warriors defense was plenty good enough in a 12-0 win over Como-Pickton. Anthanie Whitman’s two touchdowns proved to be all the offense Honey Grove would need in the victory. Wolfe City will look to rebound after a disappointing 42-14 loss at the hands of Bogota Rivercrest. The Wolves were plagued by turnovers all night and dug themselves a big early hole that they couldn’t climb out of on the road. Wolfe City can put points up if they can hang on to the ball and that offense is the difference in this one, which looks to be close on paper. Stepp’s Pick: Wolfe City by 7

Hamlin (4-0) at Windthorst (5-0): In what could be a preview of the 2A-Division II Region II final, unbeaten Hamlin heads north to take on 5-0 Windthorst. Apparently, the only thing that’s slowed the Pied Pipers this year has been off the field issues as Covid-19 protocols forced the cancellation of last week’s matchup with Haskell. In four games played, Hamlin has been a buzzsaw outscoring the opposition 159-18. We knew the offense with the return of QB Braydin Warner would be very good, but the Pipers defensive improvement is what makes this team a favorite to make it back to AT&T Stadium. Windthorst for the second time in three weeks got pushed, but the Trojans were able to hold off a tough Wichita Falls City View squad, 39-34. RB/LB Ethan Belcher was monster rushing for 240 yards and three touchdowns, chipped in seven receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown, along with eleven tackles on defense.  Windthorst is really good, no doubt about it, but this Hamlin team is just a machine and the Pipers keep it rolling into district play with a big win. Stepp’s Pick: Hamlin by 18

McCamey (3-1) vs Petrolia (4-0) at Roscoe: For the second straight week, McCamey had to scramble to find an opponent and this week the Badgers find themselves in Roscoe where they will take on unbeaten Petrolia. McCamey took on Class 3A San Antonio Cole last week and had no issues with the larger school in a 41-13 win. Zachary Rosas rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way. This week they’ll tangle with a vastly improved Petrolia squad under second year head coach Mitch McLemore who has the Pirates playing their best football in years. The Pirates had last week off after slipping past Alvord 41-38, but they have yet to face a team with the playmakers that McCamey has. Look for the Badgers offense to be just a bit too much for upstart Petrolia in this one. Stepp’s Pick: McCamey by 12


Quick Picks

El Paso Del Valle (0-0) vs El Paso Americas (0-0) Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Americas by 10

Euless Trinity (1-0) at Prosper (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Prosper by 3

Denton Ryan (1-0) vs Denton Guyer (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Denton Ryan by 7

Flower Mound Marcus (1-0) at McKinney (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: McKinney by 2

Cypress Bridgeland (1-0) at Alvin Shadow Creek (0-1) Stepp’s Pick: Alvin Shadow Creek by 8

Cy-Fair (1-0) vs Cypress Park (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Cy-Fair by 6

Klein Collins (0-0) at Galena Park North Shore (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Galena Park North Shore by 11

Austin Westlake (1-0) at Waco Midway (0-0) Stepp’s Pick: Austin Westlake by 20

Fort Bend Marshall (0-0) vs Fort Bend Elkins (0-0) Stepp’s Pick: Fort Bend Marshall by 9

Longview (0-1) at Marshall (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Longview by 23

Manvel (0-0) at Crosby (0-1) Stepp’s Pick: Manvel by 10

Montgomery Lake Creek (1-0) at New Caney Porter (1-0) Stepp’s Pick: New Caney Porter by 4

Kerrville Tivy (0-1) at Corpus Christi Calallen (2-2) Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Calallen by 12

Lindale (3-2, 1-0) at Tyler Chapel Hill (4-1, 1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Lindale by 13

Austin LBJ (0-1) at Manor (0-0) Stepp’s Pick: Austin LBJ by 4

Eastland (1-3) vs Panhandle (3-1) at Post Stepp’s Pick: Eastland by 3

Natalia (3-2) at Odem (3-2) Stepp’s Pick: Natalia by 13

Garrison (2-2) at Joaquin (4-0) Stepp’s Pick: Joaquin by 10

Centerville (4-1) at Jewett Leon (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Centerville by 17

New Home (4-1) at Ralls (3-2) Stepp’s Pick: Ralls by 18

Sunray (3-1) at Shamrock (3-2) Stepp’s Pick: Sunray by 7

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