SMALL School MEGA Preview: Regional Semifinals

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Celina (11-1) vs. Anna (12-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium: It’s a rematch of a classic regular season matchup where Anna announced to the state they were a force to be reckoned with when they knocked off Celina. Celina would like nothing more than to return the favor in a massive game, easily the biggest in the history of Anna football as they are playing in the third round for the first time in school history. Celina last week got a push from Kennedale, but the Bobcats were able to escape with a 34-28 win, as Gabe Gayton ran for 124 yards and a touchdown in the win. Trailing 28-24 going into the fourth quarter, the Bobcats dominated the final frame and punched their third round ticket. Anna took down the defending state champions Stephenville in an absolute thriller Friday night, beating the Yellow Jackets 33-32. QB Evan Bullock and Jambres Dubar (but you can call him Breezy) led the way for the Coyotes as Bullock threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns, while Dubar added 191 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Anna dug themselves a hole in the first meeting and had to scrap back into it down the stretch to win, they can’t do that this week against Celina. They say it’s tough to beat a good team twice in one year, especially when the two teams are evenly matched. The edge goes to Celina in this one. Stepp’s Pick: Celina by 3

Tyler Chapel Hill (10-2) vs. Lumberton (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at New Caney’s Randall Reed Stadium: It’s a battle of two of the most explosive teams in the state, who ended the regular season ranked in the top ten of the state poll. Chapel Hill took down a tough Bay City squad 38-24 last week as RB Rickey Stewart ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns and he had 102 receiving yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs in the win. Lumberton’s defense came to play a week ago as the Raiders handled Stafford 23-8 and forced three turnovers, while QB Lucas Powell again led the way for the LHS offensive attack. Chapel Hill turned the ball over four times last week and also missed two field goals, they can’t expect to be that sloppy and win playoff games very often.  The question for Lumberton is can they deal with the speed and skill position talent Chapel Hill brings to the table? If they can limit Chapel Hill’s big plays and control the line of scrimmage, Lumberton should advance, but if they get into a track meet, the edge is with the Bulldogs. Stepp’s Pick: Tyler Chapel Hill by 6

Wichita Falls Hirschi (9-2) vs. Glen Rose (11-1), 3 p.m. Friday at Mineral Wells’ Ram Stadium: The showdown we’ve been waiting for in Region I is upon us as the two teams who most consider the best in the region matchup in what is expected to be an absolute shootout. Hirschi had no trouble with upstart Canyon West Plains last week, beating the Wolves 42-17. USC commit RB A’Maurion Peterson ran for 158 yards and a touchdown and he also hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass as well to lead the Huskies. Glen Rose absolutely annihilated Fort Stockton last week as they rolled to a 63-12 win, the Tigers raced out to a 56-0 lead at halftime lead as QB Hudson White had a big game throwing for six touchdowns and rushing for another two scores to lead Glen Rose. Both offenses are loaded with major firepower, this game will come down to execution and whichever defense can find a way to get a stop or two, most notably in key moments. Although Hirschi comes in as the favorite, something seems to be just a bit off with them this year, while Glen Rose has been firing on all cylinders pretty consistently. I’m gonna take Glen Rose to pull off what I would consider a slight upset in this one. Stepp’s Pick: Glen Rose by 5

Gilmer (11-0) vs. Carthage (12-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Longview’s Lobo Stadium: It’s the showdown in East Texas that everyone has been waiting all season for as it’s a rematch of the 2020 state title game between the state’s number one team in Carthage and the number two team in Gilmer. Of late, Carthage has absolutely had Gilmer’s number as the Bulldogs have won seven straight over the Buckeyes, dating back to 2015. Last week Gilmer playing without QB Caden Tennison rolled past Gainesville 60-20 as Ashton Haynes ran for four touchdowns to pace the Buckeyes. Carthage drilled Van Alstyne 61-30 a week ago in a game that wasn’t near as close as the score indicated. Carthage ran out to a 54-0 lead in the second half and then emptied the bench and Van Alstyne was able to do some window dressing late. Carthage hasn’t been pushed all season, I expect Gilmer to bring everything and the kitchen sink at the Bulldogs this week and push the favorites to win a state title. But this Carthage team is overwhelming and in the second half they flex their muscle. Stepp’s Pick: Carthage by 16

Bushland (11-1) vs. Brock (8-4), 2 p.m. Friday at Vernon’s Lion Stadium: Bushland is the lone team not from 4-3A Division I alive in Region I and the Falcons will look to keep it going against powerful Brock who has turned things on in the playoffs after a shaky regular season. Bushland last week handled Tuscola Jim Ned 28-10 as QB Dawson Jaco tossed four touchdown passes and the Falcons defense after a shaky start totally clamped down on Jim Ned in the final three quarters. Brock got the offense rolling last week as the Eagles soared past Muleshoe 57-20 as WR/DB Carson Finney hauled in two touchdown passes and picked off three passes on defense to blow Muleshoe away with 50 points scored in the first half. This could be a real shootout, both teams are plenty dynamic on offense, so whichever defense can make plays in key moments and win on first down will be the one that comes out on top. Brock has the playoff pedigree and I think the defense to get the job done in what should be a fantastic game. Stepp’s Pick: Brock by 8

West (11-1) vs. Malakoff (11-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium: It’s the classic size vs. speed matchup Friday night in Corsicana as can West’s size and dominance up front on both sides of the ball contain the dynamic skill position talent of Malakoff? West avenged losses the last two years in the playoffs to Mount Vernon with a hard-fought 27-14 win last week. The Trojans defense again had a big night, while the offense did just enough once again to advance. Easton Paxton picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown, while the offense was led by QB Zane Meinen who tallied 185 yards of total offense on the evening. Malakoff made quite the statement themselves last week as the Tigers rolled past a very good Winnsboro squad 55-10. Malakoff’s defense was the story forcing five Winnsboro turnovers, QB Mike Jones led a dynamic attack for the Tigers rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for another score as Malakoff dominated from start to finish. The key in this one will be Malakoff’s defense and if they can keep West from controlling the clock and give the offense more chances to touch the ball, the more that Malakoff will be able to do damage with their offense. Stepp’s Pick: Malakoff by 7

Bells (10-2) vs. Holliday (12-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Denton’s Collins Stadium: If you like old-school and physical football, then Denton is the place for you Friday afternoon as Slot-T Bells takes on unbeaten and ground-oriented Holliday. Bells was easily the more impressive of the two teams last week as the Panthers dominated a good Comanche squad 50-25. For the second straight week Bells saw three different ball carriers go over 100 yards as Brock Baker led the way with 164 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Grady Waldrip added 141 yards and three touchdowns rushing and for good measure Spencer Hinds ran for 102 yards. Holliday is unbeaten but in two of the last three the weeks the Eagles have shown vulnerability. Last week against heavy underdog Scurry-Rosser, Holliday trailed early 10-7 and going into the fourth quarter the game was tied at ten until the Eagles exploded for three fourth quarter touchdowns to pull away for a 31-10 win. Holliday’s defense was the story in the win as the Eagles forced seven turnovers, allowing their offense time to finally get untracked. Holliday can’t afford a slow start this week, but it appears they are trending in a negative direction at the wrong time of year, Bells pulls the slight upset in this battle of state ranked teams. Stepp’s Pick: Bells by 5

Timpson (12-0) vs. Centerville (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Jacksonville’s Tomato Bowl: It’s a rematch of a regional final showdown from 2021 as Timpson will look to take down Centerville for the second straight season. Timpson rolled past Frankston 49-7 a week ago as the Bears behind QB Terry Bussey and WR Voskey Howard were too much for Frankston, the duo combined for five touchdowns on the night. Centerville was dominant in their own right last week as the Tigers roared past Honey Grove 54-13 as Paxton Hancock and that Tigers ground game was simply overwhelming. Last year Centerville as a big underdog gave Timpson all they wanted for a half by using a ball control offense to limit Timpson’s touches, but Timpson adjusted in the second half. This year that edge in the trenches swings all the way to Centerville’s side, if they can replicate what they did for a half a year ago into a full four quarter game they are fully capable of pulling the upset, but they may have to be perfect if they want to take out the consensus number one team in the state. Stepp’s Pick: Timpson by 7

Wink (12-0) vs. Albany (10-2), 5 p.m. Friday at San Angelo’s San Angelo Stadium: Region II gets really interesting this week as unbeaten Wink takes on preseason regional favorite Albany in a big-time 2A showdown. Wink got a tough test last week in trying to slow down Santo’s wishbone attack, but the Wildcats were able to get a 35-19 win. QB Kanon Gibson accounted for 267 yards of offense and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats. Albany got off to a bit of a slow start last week, but the Lions erupted for 49-straight points to blast past Muenster 56-10. Cole Chapman and Coy Lefevre each ran for two touchdowns to lead the way for Albany in the win. Wink’s got the best player on the field in Gibson, but can they hold up in the trenches against a good Albany squad up front? This may be the year for Wink who has been knocking on the door for a few seasons now. Stepp’s Pick: Wink by 3

Chilton (12-0) vs. Burton (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Bryan’s Green Stadium: Things get heated up this week in Region IV in 2A-Division II as two of the three regional favorites and the only two unbeaten teams in the region hook up in what should be a classic. There will be a ton of speed on the field in this one and it should be a track meet with a lot of points. Chilton rolled past Brackettville 48-7 a week ago and their defense which has allowed 14 points or less in eight of their twelve games continues to play well. Burton drilled Rocksprings 55-0 as the Panthers for the second straight week pitched a shutout as well. On paper, these two teams are about as evenly matched, this one is total coin flip and I’ll lean to Burton in a thriller. Stepp’s Pick: Burton by 1

 

Quick Picks

Wichita Falls (8-4) vs. Brownwood (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Abilene’s Wildcat Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Brownwood by 16

Canyon Randall (9-3) vs. Decatur (9-3), 1 p.m. Friday at Abilene’s Wildcat Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Decatur by 12

China Spring (11-1) vs. Lake Worth (10-2), 5 p.m. Friday at Waxahachie’s Lumpkins Stadium Stepp’s Pick: China Spring by 22

Lindale (8-4) vs. Kilgore (9-3), 1 p.m. Friday at Tyler’s Rose Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Kilgore by 7

Port Lavaca Calhoun (5-7) vs. Boerne (12-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Jourdanton’s Indian Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Boerne by 13

Somerset (10-2) vs. Corpus Christi Calallen (12-0), 3 p.m. Friday at Beeville’s Veterans Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Calallen by 15

Monahans (9-3) vs. Godley (7-5), 7 p.m. Friday at Sweetwater’s Mustang Bowl Stepp’s Pick: Godley by 7

Silsbee (12-0) vs. Madisonville (8-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Spring’s Planet Ford Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Silsbee by 14

Hamshire-Fannett (9-3) vs. Cuero (11-1), 6 p.m. Friday at Katy’s Legacy Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Cuero by 12

Wimberley (12-0) vs. Jarrell (6-6), 6 p.m. Friday at Cedar Park’s Gupton Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Wimberley by 20

Lago Vista (9-3) vs. Geronimo Navarro (8-4), 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hutto’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Lago Vista by 8

Whitesboro (10-1) vs. Paradise (10-2), 2 p.m. Friday at Prosper’s Children’s Heath Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Whitesboro by 3

Pottsboro (11-1) vs. Grandview (10-2), 1 p.m. Friday at Mesquite’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Grandview by 9

Columbus (11-1) vs. Cameron Yoe (9-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Bastrop’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Columbus by 14

Franklin (12-1) vs. Hitchcock (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Shenandoah’s Woodforest Bank Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Franklin by 10

Llano (12-0) vs. Vanderbilt Industrial (10-2), 1 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Heroes Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Llano by 11

Edna (11-1) vs. Blanco (8-4), 6 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Farris Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Edna by 14

Idalou (9-3) vs. Wall (11-1), 1 p.m. Friday at Sweetwater’s Mustang Bowl Stepp’s Pick: Wall by 10

Canadian (10-2) vs. Spearman (5-7), 2 p.m. Friday at Borger’s Bulldog Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Canadian by 31

Palmer (11-0) vs. Gunter (11-0), 1 p.m. Friday at Royse City’s Royse City ISD Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Gunter by 23

West Rusk (10-2) vs. Gilmer Harmony (7-5), 1 p.m. Friday at Longview’s Pirate Stadium Stepp’s Pick: West Rusk by 11

Daingerfield (10-2) vs. Newton (11-1), 6 p.m. Friday at Nacogdoches’ Bryce Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Newton by 13

Wallis Brazos (9-3) vs. Tidehaven (10-2), 2 p.m. Friday at Iowa Colony’s Freedom Field Stepp’s Pick: Tidehaven by 10

Poth (11-1) vs. Taft (10-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Victoria’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Poth by 14

Cisco (10-2) vs. New Deal (9-3), 2 p.m. Friday at Colorado City’s Wolf Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Cisco by 17

Sonora (10-2) vs. Hawley (12-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Big Spring’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Hawley by 22

Tolar (12-0) vs. Hamilton (7-5), 2 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth’s Crowley ISD Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Tolar by 28

Riesel (7-5) vs. Crawford (12-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Hewitt’s Panther Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Crawford by 39

Cooper (12-0) vs. Joaquin (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Tyler’s Rose Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Joaquin by 12

Flatonia (11-1) vs. Shiner (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Hallettsville’s Brahmas Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Shiner by 17

Refugio (11-1) vs. Ganado (9-3), 7 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Heroes Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Refugio by 21

Vega (8-4) vs. Wellington (11-1), 3 p.m. Friday at Canyon’s Happy State Bank Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Wellington by 8

Clarendon (9-3) vs. New Home (11-1), 2 p.m. Friday at Floydada’s Tyer Stadium Stepp’s Pick: New Home by 3

Windthorst (8-4) vs. Collinsville (11-1), 1 p.m. Friday at Springtown’s Porcupine Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Collinsville by 14

Simms Bowie (9-2) vs. Mart (12-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Van’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Mart by 27

Price Carlisle (11-1) vs. Lovelady (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Palestine’s Wildcat Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Lovelady by 10

Falls City (8-4) vs. Granger (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Seguin’s Matador Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Granger by 4

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