BIG School MEGA Preview: Regional Semifinals

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Duncanville (11-0) vs. The Woodlands (10-2), 3 p.m. Saturday at Pflugerville’s The Pfield: Does Duncanville get their first test of the playoffs this week against a surging squad from The Woodlands? Last week Duncanville made quick work of upstart Wylie in an easy 41-0 win. Duncanville’s defense was suffocating from the jump allowing just three Wylie first downs and only 22 yards of total offense, while RB Caden Durham ran for 125 yards and four touchdowns, while QB Keelon Russell added balance with two touchdown passes and 153 yards through the air. The Woodlands made quite the statement of their own last week as the Highlanders blasted Klein Cain 62-21 behind a balanced offense that rolled up nearly 600 yards on the night, the Highlanders defense was stout as well helping TWHS build a 45-7 lead essentially rendering the second half as garbage time. The key in this game will be can The Woodlands offensive line, which has been great late in the season hold up against a ferocious Duncanville defensive front? If The Woodlands can hold up in the trenches, this could be a good game, but no one has held up yet to Duncanville and the Panthers offense is continuing to show balance and efficiency. Stepp’s Pick: Duncanville by 14

Fort Bend Ridge Point (10-2) vs. Humble Atascocita (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Cypress’ Cy-Fair FCU Stadium: This is a budding playoff rivalry in Houston as for the third year in a row Ridge Point and Atascocita hook up with a trip to the regional finals on the line. Ridge Point won in 2020, while Atascocita took the 2021 meeting. Ridge Point’s defense rose to the occasion last week in a 14-10 slugfest win over Houston Lamar, that was just a week after winning a double overtime thriller over Katy Tompkins in the bi-district round. Humble Atascocita’s defense was also the story last week as the Eagles did a number on Clear Springs in a 35-7 rout. QB Zion Brown had 287 yards passing and two touchdowns and had 112 yards rushing and a touchdown on just five carries. If there’s one concern from the win it’s that Atascocita turned the ball over four times. If the Eagles clean that up they should win this game, but if they put the ball on the ground, that could open the door for a Ridge Point upset. Stepp’s Pick: Humble Atascocita by 12

Lake Travis (7-4) vs. San Antonio Brennan (11-1), 6 p.m. Friday at New Braunfels’ Cougar Stadium: Lake Travis is looking to finish off the San Antonio double this week as with a win over San Antonio Brennan, the Cavaliers can knock off the two best teams from the 210. Last week Lake Travis held a 21-7 fourth quarter lead over Cibolo Steele, but need a field goal on the game’s final play to escape the Knights 24-21. San Antonio Brennan went down to the RGV last week and didn’t play their best game, but the Bears superior talent was more than enough in an easy 42-7 win over Los Fresnos. QB Ashton Dubose had another big game for the Bears throwing for 374 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Can Brennan break the hex that the Austin area has on San Antonio? The Bears defense will be key in this one as Lake Travis has morphed into a physical, ground and pound offense led by RB Nico Hamilton and speedy QB Kaedyn Leon. In the end, I can’t pick a San Antonio team to beat an Austin team, Brennan will keep this close and have a chance to win late, but we could have an all-Austin regional final in Region IV. Stepp’s Pick: Lake Travis by 6

Trophy Club Nelson (11-1) vs. Denton Guyer (12-0), 2 p.m. Saturday at Frisco’s Ford Center: It’s a rematch of a classic regional semifinal showdown a year ago as Byron Nelson looks to avenge their overtime loss to Guyer. That game even in a loss, was really the Bobcats introduction to the state as a contender in Region I. Byron Nelson went on the road last week to Midland and took down a game El Paso Eastwood squad 35-28. QB Jake Wilson threw four touchdown passes but it was the Bobcats offensive line and running game that carried the day as RB Aaron Darden had a monster night rushing for 212 yards. Denton Guyer fresh off a win over previously unbeaten Highland Park has to get up again for an elite opponent, can the Wildcats do it again? In last week’s 63-42 win over Highland Park, it was Oklahoma commit QB Jackson Arnold that put the Wildcats on his back in a major way tallying 335 yards of offense and six total touchdowns. Guyer’s defense, particularly the secondary did show some vulnerability in the loss as they allowed over 500 yards of offense to the Scots, including 394 through the air. However, the Guyer secondary made the biggest play of the night as Notre Dame commit Peyton Bowen’s 99-yard INT return for a touchdown in the third quarter proved to be the dagger in the win. Guyer’s defense will need to be better this week and the test will be similar to last week and I think they’ll bounce back with a strong effort, there’s no question after last year’s barn burner, Byron Nelson has Guyer’s attention. Stepp’s Pick: Denton Guyer by 10

Dripping Springs (11-1) vs. Harlingen (12-0), 11 a.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome: Dripping Springs has more than proven they have what it takes to win a regional title at the 6A level, something that eluded them in their days as a 5A school. The next step in that chase for the Tigers will be taking down the best 6A team from the Valley, unbeaten Harlingen. Dripping Springs last week absolutely blasted a good San Antonio Brandeis squad 56-28 as QB and Baylor commit Auston Novosad threw for four touchdowns and 306 yards, he added a touchdown on the ground as well. Most of the 28 points allowed by the Tigers came against their backups as DSHS led 42-0 at halftime. Harlingen for the second week in a row makes the trip to San Antonio to play, last week in a true road game the Cardinals took down pesky San Antonio Warren 39-21. The Cardinals had three different backs run for at least 81 yards and a touchdown, led by Izaiah Bell’s 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Harlingen’s going to need Dripping Springs to make some mistakes and they’ll need to control the tempo of the game with the ground game and limit the Tigers touches, easier said than done as Dripping Springs is peaking at the right time. Stepp’s Pick: Dripping Springs by 25

Aledo (10-2) vs. Midlothian (12-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Midlothian's Midlothian ISD Stadium: Aledo will go on the road to try and take down an unbeaten team in Midlothian in what looks to be an intriguing regionals semifinal matchup. The Bearcats last week went out to West Texas and dominated a good Lubbock Cooper squad from start to finish in a 45-21 win. QB Hauss Heijny ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in the first half, while RB/LB Dahvon Keys ran for a pair of touchdowns to prevent any kind of second half rally from Lubbock Cooper. Midlothian may be one of the most quiet 12-0 teams in the state, but the Panthers are making noise in the playoffs after a 56-28 rout of Amarillo High last week. Midlothian’s trio of QB Chad Ragle, RB Deago Benson and WR Bryant Wesco all had monster games for MHS a week ago, Ragle accounted for over 400 yards of total offense, Benson ran for 156 yards and a touchdown, while Wesco had 168 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The last time these two teams played back in 2019, Midlothian nearly ended Aledo’s long district winning streak taking the Bearcats to overtime. Midlothian won’t be in awe of Aledo or the Bearcats pedigree, this is a fantastic team that’s capable of pulling the upset, but there’s no way I’m picking against Aledo in this one, the Bearcats just find ways to win these types of showdowns more often than not. Stepp’s Pick: Aledo by 7

Mansfield Timberview (12-0) vs. Frisco Reedy (12-0), 3 p.m. Friday at Bedford's Pennington Field: It’s a showdown of unbeaten teams in 5A-Division I Region II as Mansfield Timberview fresh off a win on the road in Central Texas takes on upstart Frisco Reedy, fresh off an epic comeback win over Lancaster. Timberview rolled past Barbers Hill 35-17 last week down in Cedar Park, the Wolves got 295 yards rushing and four touchdowns from the RB duo of Jarvis Reed and Javeon Madison. Frisco Reedy dug themselves a 21-0 hole against powerful Lancaster, but the Lions rallied back for a 30-27 win in overtime. Frisco Reedy had just 190 yards of offense on the night, but they got a kickoff return for a touchdown and returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the win. Reedy can’t expect Mansfield Timberview to give them the same gifts that Lancaster gave them last week. Expect Mansfield Timberview to get the ground game going and control the line of scrimmage, but if Reedy is hanging around late, the Lions have found ways to win time and time again this year. Stepp’s Pick: Mansfield Timberview by 9

Fulshear (11-1) vs. Smithson Valley (11-1), 1 p.m. Friday at Seguin’s Matador Stadium: Fulshear is making a magical run this season as the Chargers have earned their first two playoff wins in school history, this week they’ll hit the road and take on tradition-rich Smithson Valley. Last week Fulshear went on the road and took out College Station A&M Consolidated at Tiger Stadium 50-38. Fulshear led by 19 at the half but late in the third quarter saw that lead totally evaporate before the Chargers found a gear in the fourth quarter to pull away. Smithson Valley doesn’t have the high-powered flame thrower offense Fulshear has, in fact some might even call the Rangers “boring.” I call them brutally efficient and effective, they do everything well in all facets of the game, this is a team that has no glaring holes and the best trait Smithson Valley has in my opinion is they simply don’t beat themselves. The Rangers were outgained 455-285 last week in a 38-28 win over Manvel, but they got a kickoff return for a touchdown and were plus three in the turnover battle, winning in all three phases. That ability to win in every phase has been vital for Smithson Valley in this run and it propels the Rangers to a regional final this week. Stepp’s Pick: Smithson Valley by 6

Argyle (12-0) vs. Grapevine (11-1), 6 p.m. Friday at Southlake’s Dragon Stadium: Argyle and Grapevine meet up for the second time this season and much like the first meeting, expect a close and competitive matchup. Argyle took the first meeting 31-15 in early September, but that was a close competitive game most of the way through. The Argyle defense was the story last week as the Eagles escaped Wichita Falls Rider in a 7-0 slugfest, AHS held Rider to 283 yards of offense and forced three huge turnovers in the win. Grapevine seems to be playing their best football of the season at the right time, the Mustangs last week handled Abilene Cooper 38-21. GHS raced out to a quick 17-0 lead and held the Cougars at arm’s length as RB Parker Polk ran for 228 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Grapevine attack. Argyle was my pick before the playoffs to win the region, but there’s something about this Grapevine squad that I like and Argyle’s offensive struggles last week give me cause for concern. Stepp’s Pick: Grapevine by 2

Fort Bend Marshall (11-1) vs. Montgomery Lake Creek (12-0), 1 p.m. Friday at Houston’s Delmar Stadium: The rubber meets the road this week at Delmar Stadium as two 5A titans in the Houston area hookup for a spot in the regional finals. Fort Bend Marshall has been the established power in Houston the past few years, while 12-0 Montgomery Lake Creek is the new kid on the block. Last week Fort Bend Marshall rolled past upstart Waco University 49-7, QB Jordon Davis accounted for three touchdowns and the Buffs ran for 415 yards in the win, a 28-point third quarter outburst put the game out of reach after University kept it close for a half. Lake Creek’s explosive offense continues to put up monster numbers as last week the Lions demolished Leander Rouse 78-19. Cason Pustka and Tyvon Byars combined for five touchdowns as the Lions attack was just relentless. Lake Creek’s been a great story without question, but Fort Bend Marshall unlike in past seasons is battle tested and they look primed to challenge for a state title. Stepp’s Pick: Fort Bend Marshall by 10


Quick Picks

North Crowley (12-0) vs. Prosper (11-1), 2 p.m. Saturday at 3 p.m. at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Prosper by 8

Keller (10-2) vs. Lewisville (11-1), 11 a.m. Saturday at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Lewisville by 11

Waxahachie (10-2) vs. Spring Westfield (11-1), 2 p.m. Saturday at Hutto’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Spring Westfield by 3

Katy Cinco Ranch (9-3) vs. Galena Park North Shore (12-0), 2:30 p.m. Friday at Katy’s Rhodes Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Galena Park North Shore by 11

Austin Westlake (12-0) vs. San Benito (11-1), 2 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamo Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Austin Westlake by 38

Southlake Carroll (12-0) vs. McKinney (8-4), 3:15 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Southlake Carroll by 19

DeSoto (10-2) vs. Tomball (8-4), 4 p.m. Friday at Pflugerville’s The Pfield Stepp’s Pick: DeSoto by 22

Killeen Harker Heights (11-1) vs. Spring Dekaney (9-3), 6 p.m. Friday at Waco’s McLane Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Killeen Harker Heights by 4

Katy (12-0) vs. Humble Summer Creek (8-4), 2 p.m. Friday at Humble’s Turner Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Katy by 10

Fort Bend Hightower (10-2) vs. Houston C.E. King (8-4), 1 p.m. Friday at Cypress’ Pridgeon Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Fort Bend Hightower by 7

Austin Vandegrift (11-1) vs. San Antonio Harlan (10-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome Stepp’s Pick: Austin Vandegrift by 18

Abilene (6-6) vs. Burleson Centennial (11-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Burleson Centennial by 14

Longview (12-0) vs. Port Arthur Memorial (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Lufkin’s Martin Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Longview by 17

Georgetown (10-2) vs. College Station (10-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Waco’s Waco ISD Stadium Stepp’s Pick: College Station by 6

McAllen (7-5) vs. Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (10-2), 2 p.m. Friday at McAllen’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial by 21

PSJA North (12-0) vs. Brownsville Veterans Memorial (10-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Brownsville’s Sams Stadium Stepp’s Pick: PSJA North by 10

Canutillo (10-2) vs. Abilene Wylie (9-3), 3 p.m. Friday at Fort Stockton’s Panther Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Abilene Wylie by 13

Midlothian Heritage (11-1) vs. South Oak Cliff (9-3), 3 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium Stepp’s Pick: South Oak Cliff by 16

Melissa (10-2) vs. Terrell (7-5), 7 p.m. Friday at Frisco’s Ford Center Stepp’s Pick: Melissa by 9

Brenham (8-4) vs. Port Neches-Groves (10-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Houston's NRG Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Port Neches-Groves by 7

Liberty Hill (11-1) vs. Alamo Heights (11-1), 1:30 p.m. Friday at Bastrop’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Alamo Heights by 4

Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (9-3) vs. San Antonio Veterans Memorial (9-3), TBD Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Veterans Memorial  by 7

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