SMALL School Mega Preview: Andrews at Canyon, Brownwood at Stephenville, Brownfield at Muleshoe and More!

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Andrews (4-1) at Canyon (5-0): Andrews will take the road trip up to the Panhandle as they’ll look to knock off unbeaten Canyon in a game featuring two teams who are close to breaking into the 4A-Division I state rankings. Andrews bounced back nicely from their loss to Seminole two weeks ago with a dominant 64-14 win over Lubbock High. Known for throwing the ball all over the yard, Andrews got the running game going in a big way with nearly 300 yards on the ground and the Mustangs stopped the run holding Lubbock High to just 32 yards rushing. Canyon went out on the road last week to Midland Greenwood and the Eagles slipped past the Rangers 21-14. Sam Johnson had a touchdown run and a touchdown reception for the Eagles, the big concern is the status of QB Derek Clements who left the game with an injury and if he’s unable to go this week that gives Andrews a shot at going on the road and pulling the upset, but with a week to prep a backup QB I think Canyon finds their way to get a tough win to close out non-district play. Stepp’s Pick: Canyon by 9

Brownwood (4-1) at Stephenville (5-0): It’s the Battle of 377 as old rivals Brownwood and Stephenville clash once again and for the first time in a few years, both teams come into this one state ranked and with high hopes. For Brownwood, the rise has been rapid as a young Lions squad took some lumps a year ago, but a strong senior class has grown up and an influx of young talent has made the Lions plenty dangerous early in the year. Last week the Lions ripped past Waco Connally 51-21 as QB Ike Hall threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns and the Lions defense for the most part contained an explosive Connally attack. Stephenville for the second time this season rallied back from a 21-0 hole to escape with a one-point win over a 5A opponent, this time at home against Wichita Falls Rider 43-42. Sophomore QB Ryan Gafford had a big night throwing for 318 yards and five touchdowns, while Tate Maruska ran for 124 yards and the game winning touchdown with 3:28 remaining. This will be an absolute battle, Stephenville’s defense continues to be a concern, but in key moments the ‘Jackets have gotten stops, I think at home once again they find a way to get it done against a really good Brownwood squad. Stepp’s Pick: Stephenville by 5

Brownfield (5-0) at Muleshoe (4-1): Its another week and another big game for Brownfield who looks to close out non-district with a perfect 6-0 mark, but a tough Muleshoe squad stands in the way. The Cubs defense stood tall last week in their win over previously undefeated Littlefield 28-14, the Cubs defense notched five interceptions in the win and WR Kadyn Moore hauled in four touchdown passes as BHS scored two touchdowns in the final 3:11 of the game to get the win. Muleshoe after a slow start is starting to play great football and they got what is easily their best win of the season last week knocking off Abernathy 27-20. WR Eliasar Cisneros hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions and RB Daniel Sianez ran for two scores to lead the Mules offense, while Mulehsoe’s defense limited the explosive Abernathy attack. If Muleshoe can avoid Littlefield’s fate and not turn the football over the Mules have enough firepower at home to end Brownfield’s unbeaten run. Stepp’s Pick: Muleshoe by 4

Lorena (3-2, 0-1) at Little River-Academy (3-2, 1-0): The depth and talent in 11-3A Division I is unmatched in Class 3A overall and the district claimed their first victim last Friday as defending state champion Lorena was upset by Cameron Yoe 48-44 at home. The Leopards had no answers for Yoe’s speed in the first half as LHS trailed 34-14 at the break and despite controlling the second half, they dug themselves too large of a hole to rally from. After a slow start to the season it appears Little River-Academy is rounding into form nicely with three straight wins, the Bumblebees knocked off Troy to open district play 45-29 a week ago. QB Kasey Mraz and WR Scout Brazeal connected three times for touchdowns to lead the ‘Bees attack. Mraz ended the night with four touchdown passes and Brazeal added an interception on the defensive side of things for LRA as well. Expect Lorena to come out of the gates quick in this one after the slow start, the Leopards will be intent on not starting 0-2 in district and will come out with force, if Academy can withstand the early barrage at home they have a chance, but I think the hole will be too deep. Stepp’s Pick: Lorena by 9

Columbus (5-0) at Madisonville (3-2): Unbeaten Columbus has been a wrecking machine early in the year with their five wins coming by an average of over 45 points per game, even more impressive is four of the five wins are over Class 4A opponents. Madisonville’s offense after averaging 60 points in their previous two games was stuck in neutral last week in a 21-9 loss to Livingston, a Class 4A-Division I squad. Columbus is one of the real threats to win a state title in 3A-Division I and they’ve had their way with bigger schools all year, expect more of the same this week from the Cardinals. Stepp’s Pick: Columbus by 15

Mason (4-1) at Wall (3-1): Mason and Wall renew their annual series this year and it appears after both programs have gone through a couple of down years, things are definitely looking up. Mason after losing their season opener to powerful Coleman by a single point has an average margin of victory of 37 points on their last four games, including a 55-0 drubbing of Ballinger a week ago. Wall hasn’t quite found their footing on the offensive side of the ball, but the Hawks defense has been among the best in the state early in the year. The last three games Wall has allowed just 27 points, including pitching a 3-0 shutout against Jim Ned on September 9. The Wall defense is the difference in this one as the Hawks are tough to move the ball against. Stepp’s Pick: Wall by 8

Canyon Randall (4-1) at Canadian (2-2): Canadian is taking a big step up in competition this week as the Wildcats coming off a bye week take on a Canyon Randall squad that was a 5A program just a year ago. Randall last week won a close one against Amarillo Palo Duro 24-17, as WR Nathan Baker had 169 receiving yards and two second half touchdown receptions to pace Canyon Randall. Canadian after dropping two in a row to Bushland and Elk City, OK bounced back two weeks ago with a dominant 56-14 victory over Perryton as the Wildcats played their most complete game of the season. Canadian appears to be rounding into form and with the extra week to gear up for this one, I’ll take the smaller school to pull the mild upset in this one. Stepp’s Pick: Canadian by 4

Stamford (5-0, 1-0) at Olney (4-0, 0-0): Stamford is one of the youngest teams in the Big Country, but Britt Hart’s squad is playing some outstanding football and the opened up district plat with an impressive 48-12 win over Winters. Christian Duran led the way for the Bulldogs with 183 yards through the air and two touchdowns and 112 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Stamford’s offense put up over 500 yards in the win. Olney had last week off and it’s a tough back-to-back stretch for the Cubs who have Cisco next week. Olney is ball control team that likes to keep their defense fresh and that’s worked for Jody Guy’s squad as the Cubs allow under five points per game. Stamford is plenty explosive and this Bulldogs squad is only going to improve with experience. Stepp’s Pick: Stamford by 11


Quick Picks:

Palestine (2-2, 0-1) at Tyler Chapel Hill (2-2, 0-0) Stepp’s Pick: Tyler Chapel Hill by 17

Graham (3-2) at Wichita Falls (3-2) Stepp’s Pick: Wichita Falls by 3

Winnsboro (5-0, 1-0) at Commerce (3-2, 1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Winnsboro by 14

London (2-2, 1-0) at Edna (3-1, 0-0) Stepp’s Pick: Edna by 12

Flatonia (4-1, 1-0) at Thorndale (4-1, 1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Flatonia by 10

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