2020 Texas High School Football Playoffs: 4A-2A Regional Semifinal Preview

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Argyle (12-0) vs Waco La Vega (9-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Joshua’s Owl Stadium: For the third straight year these two powers in 4A-Division I meet in the playoffs. Will we see a repeat of the last two years where Argyle takes the regular season meeting only to see La Vega reverse the whip in the playoffs? This year has a different vibe to it as Argyle has been every bit as dominant as they usually are, while La Vega even late in the year has had their share of struggles. Last week in their 42-7 win over Wilmer-Hutchins, La Vega was a bit sluggish leading just 21-7 at the half before pulling away in the third quarter. Jar’Que Walton, Ara Rauls and Jordan Rogers combined for 206 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns and the Pirates defense forced four turnovers. Argyle continued their demolition of the opposition in Region II scoring 42-first half points in a 56-27 win over Stephenville last week. QB CJ Rogers only needed 11 completions to throw for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while RB Tito Byce ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns. La Vega will absolutely keep this game closer than the regular season meeting, but the Pirates offense just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Eagles and Argyle avenges the two playoff losses to La Vega with a trip to the regional finals. Stepp’s Pick: Argyle by 12

Corpus Christi Calallen (10-2) vs Austin LBJ (7-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pleasanton’s Eagle Stadium: From a stylistic perspective, this is a fascinating matchup as Calallen and their “slow and steady wins the race” style going against the up-tempo and fast paced attack from Austin LBJ. Calallen got a major scare last week against Canyon Lake, scoring the game’s final 16 points to win 37-31. QB Ethan Salinas ran for a score and threw for a touchdown to key the Wildcats comeback, while RB Marvin Beasley ran for two touchdowns in the first half to lead Calallen. LBJ needed no comebacks and no rallies as they just obliterated Alice, 72-20, last week. The Jaguars returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and then recovered two straight pooch kicks to race out to a 20-0 lead and never looked back. LBJ QB Oscar Gordon threw for 197 yards and four touchdowns, while RB Sedrick Alexander had 105 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just six carries. LBJ’s speed shocked Alice, it won’t shock Calallen, who has played the likes of Fort Bend Marshall recently. The Wildcats know how to contain speed and their grind it out offense will frustrate LBJ and keep them off the field. Advantage in this situation to Calallen. Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Calallen by 9

Graham (9-1) vs Aubrey (11-1), 6 p.m. Saturday at Arlington’s Globe Life Park: Graham has yet to be challenged in their two playoff games as the Steers went out to the Lubbock area and had no issues routing Perryton last week, 49-7. RB Daniel Gilbertson ran for 132 yards and four touchdowns as the Steers raced out to a 35-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Aubrey needed a literal miracle to escape Midland Greenwood on Saturday, trailing 17-14 with less than a minute left the Chaps missed a field goal and it appeared Greenwood was going to take a knee and run out the clock. Greenwood would fumble, giving Aubrey life and on the next play Jacob Holder scored on a 12-yard run to give Aubrey an improbable 21-17 victory. The Chaps defense, which played well last week, will need another big effort to slow down a dynamic and balanced Graham offensive attack. The Steers are senior heavy and hungry for playoff success and that experience will pay off this week in another lopsided win. Stepp’s Pick: Graham by 20

Salado (11-1) vs Carthage (10-0), 5:30 p.m. Friday at Porter’s Randall Reed Stadium: Slot-T Salado is hoping to repeat the success of another Slot-T team a couple of years ago as they try and end Carthage’s 26-game winning streak. In fact, Carthage is on an incredible run winning 67 of their last 68 games, with the only loss coming to Slot-T Liberty Hill in the 2018 state semifinals. Carthage cruised into the regional semifinals with a dominant 49-0 win over Silsbee last week. CHS, who didn’t play the previous week as their opponent forfeited due to Covid-19, showed no signs of rust by racing out to a 35-0 halftime lead and never looked back. RB Mason Courtney ran for four touchdowns, while QB Kai Horton was as efficient as ever for the Bulldogs. The challenge is more unique this week as Carthage tries to contain the Salado Slot-T attack, which will grind out four yards at a time and simply keep your offense off the field. The Eagles won a slugfest with a strong Bellville squad last week, 28-23. RB Noah Mescher ran for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Louisiana-Monroe commit Wrook Brown ran for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Carthage’s defensive line is key in this one and the key to slowing the Slot-T is elite defensive line play. If the Bulldogs win early downs and can take advantage with their potent offense, they’ll put Salado in an early hole, and it’ll be tough for the Eagles. But if Salado hangs around it could be the recipe for a massive upset. That being said, Carthage has won 67 of 68 games for a reason; they are an elite program. Stepp’s Pick: Carthage by 24

Tuscola Jim Ned (10-1) vs Brock (12-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Stephenville’s Tarleton Memorial Stadium: Powerful Brock faces what may be their toughest test inside of Region I as they’ll battle Tuscola Jim Ned in a matchup of two teams who pride themselves on physical play and strong running games. After struggling in their bi-district game, Jim Ned got things rolling last week in a dominant 31-14 win over Dalhart. Xavier Wishert ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns as the Indians led 24-0 at halftime and had the game fully in control. Brock had their way with Denver City in a 69-34 win on Thursday night, but the game wasn’t that close. The Eagles rolled up 606 yards of offense in the win and led 49-0 before emptying the bench for most of the second half. Brock finally gets pushed some this week as Jim Ned is big and strong enough to hold up to the Brock onslaught, but the Eagles are too deep, and they’ve got too much playoff pedigree as they go against a Jim Ned bunch into the third round for the first time in sixteen years. Stepp’s Pick: Brock by 13

Grandview (11-1) vs Malakoff (9-2), 1 p.m. Friday at Waco’s Waco ISD Stadium: It’s the fifth meeting between these two powers the past two years, and each time they’ve played it’s been close. But Grandview, the two-time defending 3A-Division I state champions, has found a way to knock off Malakoff. Is the time that Malakoff gets it done? The Tigers dominance the past seven weeks has been nothing short of shocking as they’ve outscored their opponents 413-14, including last week’s 52-0 destruction of last year’s 3A-Division I runner-up Pottsboro. QB Darion Peace will get overlooked in this one because of the headlines his counterpart Dane Jentsch generates, but he’s an absolute winner and is fully capable of making all the big throws in key moments. RB Deuce Hart has emerged as the Tigers’ workhorse, tallying five rushing touchdowns in the win last week. Grandview got a bit of a push last week against a strong Tatum squad, but the Zebras showed just why they may win three straight as they took down the Eagles 49-23. It was the Zebra’s 37th win in their last 38 games as senior QB Dane Jentsch accounted for 413 yards and four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing) while sophomore WR Kason English picked off two passes, had a 70-yard touchdown reception and returned a kickoff 91-yards to the three-yard line setting up another Grandview score. This game on paper is evenly matched, but Grandview rarely makes mistakes in these big games and playing clean is critical in these late round playoff games and in this one you go with the proven commodity. Stepp’s Pick: Grandview by 4

Llano (11-0) vs Jourdanton (11-1), 6 p.m. Friday at Cedar Park’s Gupton Stadium: It’s a big time showdown in Region IV as the two regional favorites battle in the third round. If you like fast-paced spread offenses, this is the game for you as both of these squads like to turn the tempo up. Llano has rolled in 2020 after dropping down from Class 4A with an average margin of victory of 28 points; they blew past Lyford last week 49-16. Lyford kept it close for a half making it 21-16 early in the third quarter, but the ‘Jackets turned on the jets scoring four straight touchdowns in the second half to pull away. Jourdanton rolled past Edna 42-28 last week as QB Cole Andrus threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns. The Indians raced out to a 35-6 halftime lead as the Indians defense forced three first half three and out’s and put their offense in great position to run out to the big lead. These are two senior heavy teams who have experience in the postseason, so it’ll come down to who plays a clean game. I give the edge to Llano in this matchup as the ‘Jackets have a little more offensive balance, and their defense is a little better. This will be an absolute shootout! Stepp’s Pick: Llano by 7

Canadian (11-1) vs Idalou (10-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Canyon’s Kimbrough Stadium: Can anyone in Region I stop the machine that is Canadian? The Wildcats have obliterated all in their path the past few weeks and last week was no different as they decimated a once beaten Bangs squad to the tune of 56-13. QB Joshua Culwell was just scorching hot in the win completing 21 of 28 passes for 325 yards and seven touchdowns as Canadian raced out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter, as has been the case with the Wildcats, this one was never in doubt. Unbeaten Idalou hopes to find a way to make Canadian work for four quarters and if things break right they can possibly pull off the upset. The Wildcats cruised last week dominating Alpine, 49-0. A balanced Wildcats attack put this one out of reach by halftime as four different Wildcats found the end zone as Idalou led 28-0. Idalou’s going to need to find a way to get stops and withstand that early Canadian onslaught that has been their calling card. That’s easier said than done as Canadian once again races out to an early lead and cruises to the regional finals. Stepp’s Pick: Canadian by 17

Panhandle (10-2) vs Post (12-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Woodrow’s Pirate Stadium: Panhandle continues to impress, and the Panthers will have a chance to put the entire state on notice this week as they look to take down unbeaten and third-ranked Post. Last week, Panhandle rolled past a strong San Saba squad 49-35 as PHS exploded for five second half touchdowns to pull away from the Armadillos. QB Wes Jones was the conductor of an offense that rolled up nearly 600 yards, he accounted for 330 yards of offense and three touchdowns in the win. Post also exploded in the second half last week as after leading Anson just 20-6 at halftime, the Bold Gold hit the gas to roll to a 61-6 win. Eight different Antelopes found the end zone and three one-play scoring drives in the third quarter put the game out of reach. Post will want to slow the tempo down, be physical and turn this into a slugfest, while Panhandle is going to look to get the pace and tempo at a high rate and try to lure Post into a game they don’t want to play. This one will be a lot of fun; edge goes to Post who looks to be headed for a regional final with Cisco. Stepp’s Pick: Post by 10

Windthorst (11-1) vs Albany (10-1), 2 p.m. Friday at Breckenridge’s Buckaroo Stadium: This one is a fascinating showdown between two teams whose only loss is to fellow regional semifinalist Hamlin. Windthorst rolled past Archer City 42-7 a week ago as the Trojans held Archer City to just 34 yards rushing, forcing four turnovers. RB Ethan Belcher led the WHS offense with 173 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Albany after sitting out in the bi-district round due to a forfeit from their opponent, didn’t take long to get rolling last week as the Lions blitzed Ralls 56-22 as Coy Lefevre accounted for 149 yards of offense and two touchdowns and chipped in a pair of interceptions, while RB Jaheim Newton ran for two touchdowns in a complete performance for the Lions. This one will be a barn-burner, Windthorst’s elite defense is the difference in this big time matchup. Stepp’s Pick: Windthorst by 6


Quick Picks

Decatur (7-5) vs Canyon (10-1), 3 p.m. Friday at Abilene’s Anthony Field Stepp’s Pick: Canyon by 6

Dumas (11-1) vs Springtown (10-2), 4 p.m. Thursday at Big Spring’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Springtown by 17

Paris (8-4) vs Melissa (11-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Commerce’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Paris by 7

Lindale (10-2) vs Tyler Chapel Hill (8-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Tyler’s TMF Rose Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Lindale by 14

Huffman-Hargrave (10-1) vs Kilgore (9-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Jasper’s Bulldog Field Stepp’s Pick: Kilgore by 16

Corpus Christi Miller (8-4) vs Boerne (9-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Miller by 10

Celina (5-4) vs Iowa Park (9-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Denton’s Apogee Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Iowa Park by 7

Texarkana Pleasant Grove (9-3) vs Caddo Mills (11-0), 2 p.m. Friday at Royse City’s Royse City ISD Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Texarkana Pleasant Grove by 4

Sunnyvale (6-4) vs Gilmer (11-1), 2 p.m. Friday at Athens’ Bruce Field Stepp’s Pick: Gilmer by 13

China Spring (9-2) vs Sealy (9-2), 2 p.m. Friday at College Station’s Cougar Stadium Stepp’s Pick: China Spring by 17

Navasota (8-3) vs Geronimo Navarro (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Giddings’ Buffalo Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Geronimo Navarro by 6

Wimberley (9-3) vs Sinton (8-3), 2 p.m. Saturday at Converse’s Rutledge Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Sinton by 3

Pilot Point (9-3) vs Bushland (9-2), 5 p.m. Friday at Vernon’s Lion Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Bushland by 2

Mineola (11-1) vs Mount Vernon (10-2), 1 p.m. Friday at Sulphur Springs’ Prim Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Mineola by 3

Columbus (10-2) vs Yoakum (9-2), 6 p.m. Friday at Smithville’s Tiger Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Columbus by 7

Lorena (9-2) vs Hallettsville (10-2), 6:30 p.m. Friday at Wimberley’s Texan Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Hallettsville by 10

Vanderbilt Industrial (11-1) vs Lago Vista (8-3), 2 p.m. Friday at La Vernia’s Bear Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Vanderbilt Industrial by 14

Childress (9-2) vs Spearman (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Canyon’s Kimbrough Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Spearman by 6

Eastland (9-3) vs Holliday (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Graham’s Newton Field Stepp’s Pick: Eastland by 11

Wichita Falls City View (8-4) vs Gunter (11-1), 2 p.m. Friday at Boyd’s Yellow Jacket Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Gunter by 27

West Rusk (8-3) vs Waskom (10-1), 3 p.m. Friday at Hallsville’s Bobcat Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Waskom by 7

Elysian Fields (10-2) vs Omaha Pewitt (8-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gladewater’s Murphy Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Elysian Fields by 3

Franklin (9-2) vs Lexington (8-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Brenham’s Cub Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Franklin by 9

Rogers (7-5) vs Buffalo (11-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Waco’s Waco ISD Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Buffalo by 4

Hawley (10-2) vs Cisco (9-3), 3 p.m. Friday at Brownwood’s Gordon Wood Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Cisco by 15

Lindsay (11-0) vs Bosqueville (8-3), 6 p.m. Friday at Aledo’s Bearcat Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Lindsay by 14

Crawford (11-1) vs Alvord (6-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Alvarado’s Head Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Crawford by 20

Garrison (6-5) vs Timpson (12-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Nacogdoches’ Bryce Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Timpson by 18

Normangee (11-0) vs Beckville (9-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Normangee by 8

Shiner (10-0) vs Mason (8-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Pflugerville’s The Pfield Stepp’s Pick: Shiner by 22

Refugio (10-0) vs Ganado (6-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Victoria’s Memorial Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Refugio by 26

McCamey (10-1) vs Stratford (7-5), 6 p.m. Friday at Shallowater’s Todd Field Stepp’s Pick: McCamey by 2

Vega (10-2) vs Wellington (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Borger’s Bulldog Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Wellington by 10

Hamlin (11-0) vs Muenster (9-3), 1 p.m. Friday at Graham’s Newton Field Stepp’s Pick: Hamlin by 28

West Sabine (7-4) vs Mart (11-0), 6 p.m. Friday at Crockett’s Driskell Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Mart by 40

Tenaha (9-2) vs Chilton (7-4), 6 p.m. Saturday at Athens’ Bruce Field Stepp’s Pick: Tenaha by 13

Snook (7-4) vs Christoval (11-1), 4 p.m. Friday at Fredericksburg’s Battlin’ Billie Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Christoval by 12

D’Hanis (8-0) vs Falls City (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Jourdanton’s Indian Stadium Stepp’s Pick: Falls City by 18

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