Brownwood (3-1) at Waco Connally (3-1): Brownwood heads east into Central Texas where the red hot Lions will try to contain a dynamic Waco Connally bunch. Brownwood has won three straight and last week was their best performance yet as the Lions defense rose to the challenge to defeat previously unbeaten and state ranked Glen Rose 17-3. QB Ike Hall threw for 94 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Brownwood’s defense limited Glen Rose to just 274 yards of offense and a field goal. Waco Connally dropped their first game of the year last week in lopsided fashion as the Cadets fell to China Spring 51-21. Connally’s offense was limited without the services of Oklahoma State commit QB Jelani McDonald and the Cadets defense had no answers for a dynamic China Spring attack. Brownwood is more than capable of doing damage on offense themselves, but the Lions are still trying to find their groove, if McDonald plays the lean is to Connally, but without McDonald (which is more likely) Brownwood gets the edge. Stepp’s Pick: Brownwood by 9
El Campo (2-2) at Navasota (3-1): After an 0-2 start El Campo has gotten their wheels back on with back-to-back convincing wins to even their record up at 2-2. Last week in their annual rivalry game with Wharton, the Ricebirds rolled to an easy 50-14 win as Louisville commit RB Rueben Owens returned from injury and ran for four touchdowns in the win. District play opens this week and a long road trip up to Navasota looms. Navasota bounced back from their first loss of the season last week taking down Huffman-Hargrave 42-14 in their own convincing win. Zy’Merrick Taylor ran for 144 yards, while Deontray Scott chipped in 132 yards on the ground and a touchdown. QB Hudson Minor added three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown to pace a balanced Rattlers attack. El Campo’s deeper and has more talent and after their two mystifying early performances Chad Worrell’s squad seems to be rounding into form and they’ll open up district play with a big win. Stepp’s Pick: El Campo by 7
Aubrey (2-2) at Bridgeport (3-1): District play opens up this week in 5-4A Division II and pre-season favorite Aubrey comes into this one taking on a red hot Bridgeport squad that’s putting up points in bunches. Aubrey, after dropping two straight to Anna and 5A Arlington Seguin, bounced back in a big way last week as the Chaparrals demolished Frisco Panther Creek 68-0. Emerson Cagle ran for 100 yards and four touchdowns and Aubrey limited Panther Creek to just 69 yards of total offense for the night. Bridgeport has won three straight and scored at least 56 points in all three victories, the Bulls on Thursday night crushed Benbrook 56-21 as sophomore RB Cole Pritchard ran for 146 yards and four touchdowns and he also caught a six-yard touchdown reception in the win. QB Mason McComis again topped 300 yards passing. This is Bridgeport’s biggest test of the 2022 season by a decent amount, Aubrey is a force running the ball and their defense is very underrated, look for the Chaps to put the clamps on the Bridgeport attack and get a comfortable victory. Stepp’s Pick: Aubrey by 15
West Orange-Stark (2-2) at Silsbee (4-0): Is it time to hit the panic button at West Orange-Stark? The Mustangs have lost two in a row and with a new coaching staff and sky-high expectations, anytime WOS loses it’s a topic of conversation in the Golden Triangle. I would say it’s not time to panic yet, the Mustangs have lost to a pair of really good teams, but one point of concern is the Mustangs offense which has struggled the past two weeks. Silsbee on the other had not struggled on offense as the Tigers continue to put up big numbers. In last week’s 49-20 win over Brazosport, WR Drelon Miller who tallied well over 200 yards offense, he ran for a touchdown, he had two touchdown receptions and he returned a kickoff for a touchdown. West Orange-Stark has had Silsbee’s number in the regular season of late, playoffs have been a different story, but the Mustangs own the Tigers before the post-season and I think WOS gets back on track this week. Stepp’s Pick: West Orange-Stark by 3
Jefferson (3-1) vs Centerville (2-2) at Tomato Bowl, Jacksonville: It’s a Saturday afternoon neutral site affair as the beautiful Tomato Bowl is the setting for a 3A vs 2A matchup between Jefferson and Centerville. Jefferson’s lone loss of the year was to the top ranked team in 2A-Division I in Timpson. Jefferson rallied last week from an 18-0 halftime deficit to knock off Hughes Springs 35-24 as Kamran Williams carried 15 times for 120 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs. Centerville’s two losses are to a pair of the best 2A teams in the state in Crawford and Mart, last week the Tigers took Mart to the limit losing 21-20 as Paxton Hancock and Lavodrick Phillips led a strong CHS ground attack, the Tigers got within one point on a Phillips touchdown run late and they went for the win and Mart made a play on the try to preserve the win. Centerville’s ball control offense is tough to stop and the Tigers have plenty of veteran experience. They’ll contain the speed that Jefferson brings to the table just enough to escape with a win to close out non-district. Stepp’s Pick: Centerville by 5
Woodville (3-1) at Diboll (2-2): Woodville has quietly put together a strong start to 2022 as the Eagles have won three in a row after pushing number one ranked Franklin in the season opener. QB Ralon Williams led Woodville last week in a dominant 33-7 win over Orangefield as he threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score to pace the Eagles. Diboll rolled past Hardin-Jefferson 56-21 a week ago as the Lumberjacks after a slow start are starting to get things together and are playing like the regional contender most believe they can be. The key for Diboll this season is they appear to be a little more dynamic on the offensive side of the ball as they have the ability to push the ball down the field with the passing game. This is a bit of an upset pick here considering how good Woodville has been, but Diboll continues their strong play and gets a close win to open up district play. Stepp’s Pick: Diboll by 1
Cameron Yoe (2-2) at Lorena (3-1): After rolling in their first two games, Cameron Yoe has dropped two in a row as they’ve played elite competition at the 4A level, the competition is back to Class 3A this week, but it’s no less elite as the Yoemen visit defending state champion Lorena. Last week Yoe took on Bellville and took it on the chin in a 49-14 loss. The Yoemen had no answers on defense early falling behind 28-0 and never really getting into the game, they’ll need a much better effort this week against Lorena who has won three straight after dropping the season opener to China Spring. Last week Lorena won a 14-6 slugfest with Waco La Vega as despite the offense struggling the Leopards defense put together their best effort of the season holding the Pirates to just 212 yards of offense and forcing a pair of key turnovers. Lorena’s defense will be key in this one as the Leopards get district play started right with a convincing win to send a message to the rest of 11-3A Division I. Stepp’s Pick: Lorena by 17
Shiner (3-1) at Ganado (4-0): Unbeaten Ganado opens up 15-2A Division I play with a real test to see where they stand as they tangle with back-to-back state champion Shiner. Ganado last week had no trouble with Danbury as the Indians rolled to an easy 40-0 victory. QB Kyle Bures-Guerrero tossed five touchdown passes and Ganado held Danbury to just 76 yards of offense on the night. Shiner has responded nicely after their season opening loss to state ranked 3A Hallettsville, the Comanches last week rolled to an easy 49-7 win over East Bernard. Texas A&M commit RB Dalton Brooks ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns as SHS rolled up 402 yards on the ground in the victory. Ganado is much improved, but Shiner is still on a different level. Stepp’s Pick: Shiner by 25
Kilgore (2-2) at Palestine (2-1) Stepp’s Pick: Kilgore by 15
Tatum (2-2) vs Lumberton (3-1) at Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin Stepp’s Pick: Lumberton by 12
Salado (2-2) at Boerne (4-0) Stepp’s Pick: Boerne by 24
Beeville Jones (3-1) at Cuero (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Cuero by 13
Devine (4-0) at Uvalde (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Devine by 9
Mount Vernon (4-0) at Mineola (2-2) Stepp’s Pick: Mount Vernon by 10
Abernathy (3-1) at Muleshoe (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Abernathy by 14
Comanche (3-1) at Albany (3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Albany by 13
Rice Consolidated (2-2) at Tidehaven (2-2) Stepp’s Pick: Tidehaven by 11
Wink (4-0) at Water Valley (2-2) Stepp’s Pick: Wink by 34
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