Big School Mega Preview: Longview vs. Highland Park, Brennan vs. Taft, Rudder vs. Montgomery and more!

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North Crowley (4-1, 2-0) at Euless Trinity (4-1, 2-0): District 3-6A is in full swing as both teams come into this one undefeated in district play in a matchup that most expect will decide the district title. North Crowley comes off a bye, but in their last game they defeated Saginaw Boswell 33-6. Quarterback Quinton Jackson threw 16 of 28 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Dejuan Lacy had 21 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown, but caught three receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Malik Moore caught four receptions for 108 yards. Euless Trinity also comes off a bye as they rumbled past rival L.D. Bell in their last game, winning 48-0. DCTF four-star running back Ollie Gordan was the star as he ran for 246 yards and five touchdowns on 18 carries. The Trinity defense did a lot of work as they held Bell to only 103 yards. The defense also forced two turnovers against the Raiders, both of them being interceptions. North Crowley will need to be able to use their passing attack to stretch the Trojan defense, but slowing down Trinity’s offense will need to be key if they want a chance in this game, so the Panthers defensive line will need to play out of their minds against that massive Trinity offensive line. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Euless Trinity by 14

Rockwall (4-2, 1-1) at Tyler Legacy (4-1, 1-0): It’s been an up and down month or so for Rockwall, after flying high in Week 3 and drilling Lake Travis at home, the ‘Jackets were blown out on the road against Highland Park, they lost an OT thriller to arch rival Rockwall-Heath and last week they barely escaped an upset bid in a 25-22 win over Mesquite. QB Braedyn Locke threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Brennan Ray with under a minute remaining to foil the Skeeters upset bid. Rockwall will need to be sharp this week as they face a tough road trip in East Texas against a Tyler Legacy squad that drilled Dallas Skyline 42-7. Texas commit RB Jamarion Miller ran for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns and he added 36 receiving yards and a touchdown as well. Texas Tech commit RB Bryson Donnell added in 99 yards rushing and two touchdowns as well for the Red Raiders. If Legacy can get the running game going and keep that explosive Rockwall attack off the field they have a chance to pull the upset, but if Rockwall’s defense can win first down and put Tyler Legacy into passing downs, they’ll be able to get them off the field and exploit a Tyler Legacy defense that is shaky at best. Stepp’s Pick: Rockwall by 10

Belton (3-2, 2-0) at Killeen Harker Heights (4-1, 1-1): Another week and another huge game in 12-6A as two teams coming off vastly different results last week hook up at Buckley Stadium in a game ripe with playoff implications. Belton’s defense rose the occasion in a huge way last week forcing six turnovers in a 21-14 overtime win over Bryan to put the Tigers right in the thick of the playoff race. Harker Heights came into their showdown with Temple unbeaten and for most of the game it looked like the Knights might emerge with a massive road win. After racing out to a 21-0 lead, the Knights defense gave up several big plays and Temple was able to roar back and get themselves a 44-34 win. HHHS got huge games from RB Re’Shaun Sanford and WR Terrance Carter in the losing effort and that dynamic duo will be a major handful this week for Belton. Look for Harker Heights to take charge of this one early and make a statement that they will still be a major player in 12-6A. Stepp’s Pick: Killeen Harker Heights by 14

Cypress Bridgeland (5-0, 2-0) vs Cypress Ranch (3-1, 2-0): It's the third week of action in district 16-6A. Both teams are undefeated in district play. The Cypress Ranch Mustangs face off against the 18th ranked Cypress Bridgeland Bears. Bridgeland comes off their bye undefeated. Last time out, they took care of business against Cypress Woods, winning 41-14. It was a solid game for the Bears as they put up 445 yards of offense. DCTF four-star quarterback Conner Weigman continued his stellar play this season with 195 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception through the air. On the ground, Weigman added 52 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Jonathan Nelson made the most of his three receptions with 110 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears defense was active with defensive back Graham Gillespie intercepting the ball twice. Defensive lineman Roroghene Imarah also forced a fumble. Cypress Ranch took home the win last week against Cypress Falls with a 31-14 score. Quarterback Blake Baker threw for 164 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. Wide receiver Jarred Sample only had two receptions but went for 103 yards and a touchdown. Running back Dillon Eugene was the workhorse as he had 26 carries for 152 yards. The Mustangs forced three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble. The Bridgeland Bears are rolling right now and it might be tough to stop them. Cypress Ranch will need to be able to force errors from Weigman to have a chance and the last time the Mustangs played a strong team they fell to Klein Cain, who was blown out by Bridgeland in the opener. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Bridgeland by 14

Austin Bowie (5-0, 2-0) at Austin Westlake (5-0, 2-0): It’s major showdown in Austin as we’ll learn if unbeaten Austin Bowie is for real or if they’ll just be fodder for top ranked Austin Westlake. Bowie rolled past Del Valle 35-7 last week as RB Noah Camacho ran for a pair of touchdowns and QB Conner Kenyon hooked up with WR Anthony Simmons for a pair of scoring passes as the Bulldogs were dominant from start to finish in the victory. Speaking of dominant, no one has been as dominant as the defending state champions in the early part of the season as the Chaps led by Clemson commit QB Cade Klubnik have been a buzz-saw outscoring their first five opponents 266-54. Last week was their most dominant performance of the year as Todd Dodge’s squad blitzed San Marcos in an easy 56-0 win. The vaunted Westlake defense seemed a bit vulnerable earlier in the season, but they are rounding into form early in district play allowing just six points through two games. They’ll get a test from the Bowie offense this week, especially if Bowie has UTSA commit QB Diego Tello back in the fold. Westlake has too much firepower and depth in the trenches for Bowie to have much hope for an upset, but if the Bulldogs can make Westlake work and keep it close, it could be a real confidence boost through the remainder of district play. Stepp’s Pick: Austin Westlake by 27

San Antonio Brennan (5-0, 3-0) vs San Antonio Taft (6-0, 4-0): It’s a major showdown down in 29-6A as the two top teams in Northside ISD hookup in a Thursday night showcase that likely will decide the district title. Brennan has spent the entire season ranked in the state top 25 and for good reason, the Bears are the defending district champions and brought back a ton of experience from that squad. The Bears continued their roll last week, blasting San Antonio Stevens 58-0. QB Ashton Dubose was sensational in the win throwing for six touchdowns and accounting for 368 yards of total offense. Brennan’s defense was equally dominant holding Stevens to just 98 yards of offense. Taft will provide a much tougher challenge for Brennan this week as the Raiders, who were a surprise regional semifinalist a year ago isn’t sneaking up on anyone in 2021. Taft took care of Warren 44-21 last week as QB Justice Hurt ran for 231 yards and two touchdowns, he added a pair of short touchdown passes and RB TJ Andrews added 144 yards and two touchdowns rushing as well. Taft’s offense is explosive enough to keep this one close, but Brennan top to bottom is a more complete team and the Bears will squeeze Taft in the second half. Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Brennan by 9

Amarillo (5-1, 2-0) vs Amarillo Tascosa (5-1, 2-0): It’s called “Hell Week” in Amarillo and it’s the showdown the folks in town have been waiting for as a packed house and then some is expected at Bivins Stadium as Amarillo High and Tascosa battle it out for the outright lead in 2-5A Division I. Both teams come into this one playing their best football of the season, Amarillo knocked off a solid Lubbock Monterey squad 24-7 last Thursday. In the last two games, the Sandies defense has allowed just ten total points. QB Brock Wade tossed two first half touchdown passes to Jameson Garcia, while RB Levi Slaydon gave AHS balance with 107 yards on the ground. Amarillo Tascosa threw up some eye popping stats last week as the Rebels annihilated Lubbock High 82-0. Major Everhart, one of the state’s top RB recruits showed his versatility in the first quarter as he returned an interception for a touchdown, hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass and scored on a 68-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the night. Tascosa averaged nearly nineteen yards per carry on the night and had seven different ball carriers who ran for at least 50 yards. The past few years Amarillo High has come into this game as an underdog, but the Sandies have managed to be a thorn in the side of Tascosa, because they know the Rebels so well. Amarillo High has actually won nine of the last eleven meetings with Tascosa, but the Rebels did manage a win over AHS by a single point a year ago. This one will be an absolute war, these two teams and communities know each other so well, but this Tascosa team is special and has the look of a contender to play at AT&T Stadium. Stepp’s Pick: Amarillo Tascosa by 8

Longview (5-1, 2-0) at Highland Park (4-1, 1-0): Both Longview and Highland Park seem to have bounced back nicely from lopsided season opening losses and now the two powers in 7-5A Division I will meet up in Highland Park with a district title likely on the line. Longview after a shaky three quarters in the district opener has found their footing as in the last five quarters of football, the Lobos have outscored opponents 84-7. Last week Longview blew past Wylie East 56-0 as the Lobos held Wylie East to just 156 yards of offense, while Longview got the running game rolling with 370 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns. Highland Park had a tough road trip last week and the game got moved up a day to avoid potential bad weather and the Scots managed to escape Texoma with a win taking down the tough Bearcats 35-17. RB’s Jay Cox and Christian Reeves combined for 160 yards rushing and three touchdowns to lead a balanced Scots attack. This may not be a vintage Highland Park team, but when the Scots are counted out they thrive (see their big win over Rockwall a couple of weeks ago) and you factor in this game being at Highlander Stadium where HPHS almost never loses and it’s a big hill for Longview to climb this week. Stepp’s Pick: Highland Park by 7

Wichita Falls Rider (5-0) at Abilene Wylie (2-3): After graduating a large and talented group of seniors, most expected Wichita Falls Rider to go through some early growing pains in 2021. But Marc Bindel’s squad has had other ideas, rolling to a 5-0 start. The Raiders were off last week, but closed out non-district play in style with a 33-13 win over Hobbs, NM. RB Anquan Willis has been the catalyst for the Rider offense all year and he got the job done once again putting up 116 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the win over Hobbs. Abilene Wylie has had a roller coaster of a ride on in non-district play with two lopsided losses, a close loss, a close win and then in their non-district contest Clay Martin’s squad finally put it all together in a 49-21 rout of Brownwood. Abilene Wylie is solid and should be right in contention for a playoff spot in an improved 3-5A Division II, but Wichita Falls Rider has the look of a regional title contender once again in 2021. Stepp’s Pick: Wichita Falls Rider by 13

Bryan Rudder (5-0, 2-0) at Montgomery (5-0, 1-0): District 10-5A Division II has thrown some surprises at us early on in district play and if you had Rudder playing Montgomery for a share of the district lead on your bingo card, well then you are one smart cookie! With a win this week, Rudder could take a massive step towards their first playoff appearance in school history. The Rangers had no let down last week as they took down Montgomery Lake Creek 27-13 behind a stellar defensive effort. The Rangers held LCHS to just 33 yards rushing and sophomore DB Tremell Hall picked off a pair of passes, returning one for a touchdown. RB Tre McClenton led the Rudder offense with 135 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns. Montgomery opened up the district portion of the schedule with a massive win over a good Fulshear squad as the Bears rolled to a 52-32 win. Senior RB Jalen Washington, a four-year starter, ran wild for the Bears rolling to 282 yards on the ground and five touchdowns in the win. Expect a lot of points in this one as both offenses are capable of throwing up 40 points without batting an eye. But Montgomery’s tough ground game and big offensive line may be the difference in this showdown. Stepp’s Pick: Montgomery by 7


Quick Picks

El Paso Eastlake (5-0, 2-0) at El Paso Franklin (3-2, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Franklin by 2

Waxahachie (4-1, 2-0) at Cedar Hill (3-2, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: Cedar Hill by 6

Humble Atascocita (5-1, 2-0) vs Humble Summer Creek (4-1, 0-1) Stepp’s Pick: Humble Atascocita by 24

Clear Falls (5-1, 1-1) vs Clear Springs (3-2, 1-0) Stepp’s Pick: Clear Falls by 1

New Braunfels (4-1, 1-1) at Cibolo Steele (5-0, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: Cibolo Steele by 6

Buda Johnson (5-0, 2-0) at San Antonio Veterans Memorial (3-2, 1-1) Stepp’s Pick: Buda Johnson by 10

Victoria West (3-2, 2-1) at Gregory-Portland (3-3, 3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Gregory-Portland by 4

Weslaco East (3-1, 3-1) at McAllen (4-1, 3-1) Stepp’s Pick: Weslaco East by 6

El Paso Austin (2-3, 0-1) vs El Paso Burges (4-2, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Burges by 5

Crandall (4-1, 2-0) at Forney (4-1, 2-0) Stepp’s Pick: Crandall by 2

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