It's the fourth week of the 2023 Texas high school football season, with 650+ games scattered across the state. There are favorites...but who could spring the upset?
It’s important to remember that the DCTF computer is an unfeeling, unflinching robot, which can be both a blessing (it views every game subjectively) and a curse (there’s a lot more about football that can’t be measured). That’s why this projection is a bit of a surprise, considering it feels like the computer knows how disappointing Prosper was last week. Leading by two with 4:13 left, Rockwall went on a 13-play, 80-yard game-winning touchdown drive, scoring with 25 seconds left to steal the win from the Eagles. Prosper must now shake off that loss for its district opener against Guyer, a team with its own questions. The defense was on point last week against Lancaster after a disappointing loss to Aledo, but the offense only mustered 271 yards of offense, toggling between quarterbacks Isaac Harney and Logan McLaughlin. Prosper’s offense is plenty explosive with quarterback Nathan TenBarge and running back Bryce Robinson — something Guyer’s been susceptible to at times — but its defense needs to prove that it’s a slow start and not a lingering problem as the games that count kick off. These are two teams that have their warts, but while Prosper has never beaten Guyer (0-5 all-time), being in the friendly confines of Children’s Health Stadium should help the Eagles. This is a toss-up.
Talk about two teams headed in different directions. Buena Vista started the season ranked 10th in Texas Football’s 1A Division I rankings, but stumbled to a 1-2 record — a win over Irion County to start the year was solid, a loss against state-ranked Rankin was understandable, but last week’s loss to Hermleigh is a red flag for a team thought to be a sleeper contender. Sierra Blanca, on the other hand, is living in dreamland — the Vaqueros, which have struggled with numbers on-and-off for years, are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008. Coach Ismael Ramirez has a strong QB in Stayve Sanchez and linebacker in Sammy Sanchez, but the schedule leaves something to be desired: a narrow win over Garden City’s JV team and a win over an El Paso charter school in its infancy. The best (and, really, only) result for the Vaqueros is a legitimately impressive 50-point win at Fort Davis. This feels like the computer overly punishing Buena Vista for its tough schedule, and I think the battle-tested nature of the Longhorns wins out here.
A fabulous Golden Triangle tussle should give us a good feel for where both of these teams are headed into district play, because quite frankly, we don’t know anything about Newton. The No. 6 team in Texas Football’s 3A Division II rankings have just one game under their belt — a 44-39 win over a fiesta Woodville team — after their Week 1 game with Anahuac was canceled due to wildfires and they couldn’t find a Week 3 opponent. We’ve seen plenty of West Orange-Stark, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag: a solid if unspectacular win over winless Nederland; an impressive performance in a victory over Little Cypress-Mauriceville; and an overtime loss at Port Neches-Groves as big underdogs. To me, this upset pick is all about Newton, and the mystery box they are. We know they’ve got playmakers like WR/DB Railyn Adams and LB Aaron Foster, and we know they won’t be afraid of the atmosphere at Hooks Stadium; can they spring the minor upset, and prove that absence of results isn’t absence of quality?
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