Rockwall (3-1) at Rockwall-Heath (3-1): It's the I-30 classic as crosstown rivals face off to start off district play. It's numbers twelve Rockwall vs. number eight in 6A Rockwall-Heath. After defeating a ranked Lake Travis team in Week 3, Rockwall fell to a now ranked third in 5A-Division 1 team in Highland Park 52-31. Rockwall played well in the first half, scoring first as well as forcing an interception in the second quarter. The second half was where things fell apart as Highland Park was able to score on every drive and forced Rockwall turnovers. Running back Zach Hernandez was a bright spot as he ran for 163 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Mississippi State commit quarterback Braedyn Locke threw 16 of 24 for 133 yards and a touchdown. Rockwall-Heath looked great in their game against McKinney North with a huge 70-35 win. Heath scored on every drive except their last drive in the fourth quarter. Racking up a total of 548 yards, powered by a highly talented offense. Indiana commit quarterback Josh Hoover threw 17 of 23 for 265 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Minnesota commit running back Zach Evans ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Baylor commit wide receiver Jordan Nabors wrangled in 7 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. There will not be a lack of explosiveness on the offensive side of the football. So it will be up to the defenses to try and put the brakes on this game. One thing that is interesting is the amount of penalties that both teams committed. Rockwall committed 7 penalties for 69 yards while Rockwall-Heath committed eleven penalties for 108 yards. That means this game will be heated. With all this in mind, this could be the best iteration of the I-30 classic. This game will come down to whichever quarterback gets the ball last. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Rockwall-Heath by 2
Katy Cinco Ranch (3-1) vs Katy Tompkins (4-0): Cinco Ranch has started out the season strong and now a big test awaits in the district opener as the Cougars will take on state ranked Tompkins. CRHS was unable to pass their first big test of the year last week falling to state ranked Clear Falls 37-21. In the loss QB Gavin Rutherford led the Cinco Ranch attack throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a touchdown on the ground. Tompkins blasted Clear Creek last week 57-7 as RB Julius Mourning returned a kickoff for a touchdown and added 92 yards rushing and a touchdown as well. Tompkins doesn’t have the big names they had a year ago, but top to bottom this may be a more well-rounded team and expect the Falcons to open up district play with a dominant win. Stepp’s Pick: Katy Tompkins by 18
Smithson Valley (4-0, 1-0) at New Braunfels (4-0, 1-0): All of a sudden Smithson Valley’s visit to New Braunfels becomes a massive game as the lead in District 27-6A is on the line. Smithson Valley rolled past San Antonio Wagner 42-14 as the Rangers used a balanced attack to blow past the Thunderbirds. Malachi Lane ran for 78 yards and a touchdown, Travis McCracken ran for 85 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Doug Lantz ran for 38 yards and a score as well. New Braunfels on Thursday night sent quite the message to the rest of the district as the Unicorns stunned Converse Judson 24-21 to improve to 4-0. After trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, New Braunfels rallied as Landon Marsh ran for two scores and chipped in 160 total yards rushing and receiving. The game was won with K Kade Wenzel drilling a 34-yard field goal on the game’s final play. New Braunfels is tough and underrated, they’ll hang around, but this Smithson Valley squad is deep, talented and they’ve got a bevy of strong runners who will wear New Braunfels down in the second half. Stepp’s Pick: Smithson Valley by 10
Amarillo Palo Duro (4-0) vs Amarillo Tascosa (3-1): District play in 2-5A Division I starts out with a showdown at Bivins Stadium as a rejuvenated Amarillo Palo Duro squad under first year head coach Eric Mims takes on powerful Amarillo Tascosa. Palo Duro has run up an impressive 4-0 start and the Dons have put themselves into the playoff discussion with the fast start, but they’ve gotten it down against a more than manageable schedule. This week’s game with Tascosa will be different as the Rebels are a battle tested bunch who posted a 3-1 record against four 6A programs. Palo Duro rolled past Borger 34-13 last week as QB Jayden Garza threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score, while RB Tre’sean Monroe ran for 156 yards and score as well. Tascosa behind over 500 yards rushing blasted past San Angelo Central last week 46-28. Tascosa rolled up a 32-7 halftime lead in the win and then put it on cruise control in the second half. RB Major Everhart tallied 155 yards of offense and two touchdowns, while L’Travion Brown ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns as well as Tascosa simply dominated from the start. The Rebels defense doesn’t get the headlines the offense gets, but that front seven is just as lethal and is capable of dominating a game. Palo Duro is a much-improved team and will be in the mix for a playoff spot, but Tascosa is a different animal right now and the Rebels roll. Stepp’s Pick: Amarillo Tascosa by 21
New Caney (3-0, 1-0) at College Station (4-0, 2-0): New Caney will look to pull off a big upset as they jump in the deep water this week against state ranked College Station. New Caney had last week off, but the Eagles have been solid early in the year under second year head coach Travis Reeve. In their last outing New Caney rolled past NCISD rival Porter 41-14 for their 12th straight win over Porter. Kedrick Reescano ran for three touchdowns and QB Cornelius Banks tossed two touchdown passes. College Station played Porter last week and the Cougars again had no issues in an easy 45-3 win. QB Jett Huff threw for a pair of scores and ran for a score, while Nate Palmer ran for two touchdowns. The Cougars according to head coach Steve Huff were a bit sloppy in the win, but that just shows the level that College Station is playing at the moment that they can play a sloppy game and still win by six touchdowns. Expect a much cleaner effort this week from College Station against a good New Caney squad as a win in this one puts College Station much closer to a district title with wins over a pair of contenders in their first three district games. Stepp’s Pick: College Station by 15
Fort Bend Hightower (2-1, 1-0) at Manvel (3-1, 2-0): The district race in 10-5A Division I will start to take shape this week as two of the powers in the district will lock horns when Hightower visits Freedom Field to take on Manvel. Hightower opened up district play two weeks ago with a big win over Rosenberg Terry, dominating the Rangers in a 41-0 win. WR/DB Kaleb Johnson had 119 receiving yards and a touchdown and he returned a fumble for a touchdown as well for the Hurricanes. Manvel took care of Rosenberg Terry last week as the Mavericks rolled to an easy 41-6 win. QB Kaiden Smith threw for 184 yards and two touchdowns, while RB’s De’Monte Seymour and Ty Harris combined for 168 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Manvel’s defense is very underrated and they are built to slow down dynamic spread attacks, like this Hightower squad brings to the table. Combine that defense with a lethal rushing attack and big offensive line and the formula is tough for most 5A teams to handle. Stepp’s Pick: Manvel by 10
Cedar Park (1-2) at Georgetown (1-2): Two of the 5A powers in the Austin area have gotten off to slow starts, but district play in 11-5A Division I will bring a new hope to both of these teams. Cedar Park played a challenging non-district slate that featured three 6A programs, but major improvement was made in all three games with a young team under first year head coach Michael Quintero. CPHS pushed a strong Class 6A squad in Round Rock to the limit in their last outing falling in a close 21-17 loss. Cedar Park’s defense has really played well the last two weeks and they’ll have a good test this week with a GHS offense that put up big numbers in their first two games, but struggled two weeks ago in their last outing, a 17-13 loss to Liberty Hill. Look for Cedar Park to keep the momentum going this week and jump on Georgetown early and seize control of the district race. Stepp’s Pick: Cedar Park by 13
El Campo (3-1) at Boerne Champion (4-0): Sixth ranked in 4A Division-I El Campo looks to extinguish the unbeaten sixth ranked in 5A Division-II Boerne Champion. El Campo rolled past Wharton last week 70-21 as they continue to rebound from their loss against Fulshear a couple of weeks ago. The running game was on display as running backs Johntre Davis and Rueben Owens, II put up a combined 413 yards and six touchdowns. Davis led with 226 while DCTF four-star Owens put up 187 yards, both had three touchdowns. Owens also returned a punt for a touchdown in the win. Boerne Champion continued on their undefeated run as they put down Laredo United last week 42-14. United put the pressure on early, scoring 14 points in the first half but Boerne would be able to come back and put up 42 unanswered points. Wide receiver Ryan Brandon had a big night catching three touchdowns. Sophomore Jordan Ballin also had to fill in at quarterback as he helped orchestrate a Boerne win. El Campo will need every bit of that ground and pound offense as they punch up to Boerne. Boerne needs to come out of the gate faster as they do not want to be suffocated by El Campo. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Boerne Champion by 10
El Paso Montwood (1-2) vs El Paso Franklin (1-2) Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Franklin by 7
Odessa (2-2) at Midland (1-3) Stepp’s Pick: Odessa High by 6
Denton Guyer (4-0) at McKinney (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Denton Guyer by 23
Garland (4-0, 1-0) vs Garland Naaman Forest (1-0, 1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Garland by 7
Killeen (2-1) vs Killeen Shoemaker (1-1) Stepp’s Pick: Killeen Shoemaker by 10
Cy-Fair (1-1) vs Houston Stratford (3-0) Stepp’s Pick: Cy-Fair by 11
Dickinson (2-2) at Clear Falls (4-0) Stepp’s Pick: Clear Falls by 3
San Antonio Harlan (2-2, 1-1) vs San Antonio Taft (4-0, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Taft by 6
Richland (2-1) at Colleyville Heritage (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Colleyville Heritage by 11
Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (4-0, 2-0) vs Gregory-Portland (2-2, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial by 19
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