presented by Dave Campbell's Texas Football
Midland, Texas is a warm and inviting West Texas city, conveniently located on Interstate 20, halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso. Easily accessible, it boasts Midland International Air & Space Port, serviced daily by American, Southwest, and United Airlines and is the closest airport to Big Bend National Park. This is the perfect destination to begin a West Texas road trip, a tour of the Big Bend region, host your meeting, sporting event, or family reunion.
It’s also home to some exciting Texas high school football! Throughout the season, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football will spotlight some can’t-miss Texas high school football matchups in the Midland area. Check back in this space for our preview of every matchup, and our thoughts on who will put on a show. And while you’re here, make sure you see our picks for the best places to eat, shop and play!
September 13: Shallowater (1-1) at Midland Greenwood (2-0)
After a surprising season opening loss to Idalou, Shallowater bounced back with a solid win over 4A Levelland 28-20 in Week 2. The Mustangs now head to the Tall City where they will tangle with the ninth ranked team in 4A-Division II, the Midland Greenwood Rangers. Greenwood, under first year head coach (and alum) Rusty Purser has been impressive to open the 2019 season as last week they rolled past Hereford 35-14. Shallowater rolls into King Memorial Stadium feeling pretty good after last week’s win, the youthful Mustangs aren’t as high powered as the past two seasons when they had Cutter Sparks leading the way, but they do have a potent ground game, one of the better defensive units on the South Plains and one of the best coaches in West Texas in Bryan Wood. They are always well prepared and make for a formidable opponent for Greenwood who broke into the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football top ten in 4A-Division II this week after an impressive win over Hereford. It was a complete effort from the Rangers offense as QB Weston Wilber threw four touchdown passes, two of which went to Brody Ray, while RB Trey Cross added plenty of balance with 163 yards on the ground. The big key was a twenty-point outburst in the third quarter that broke open a 15-7 game at halftime and the Greenwood defense which came up with a pair of key turnovers. The key in this game is going to be the Midland Greenwood offensive attack, the Rangers balance is going to give the Shallowater defense fits in this one, so look for the home team from beautiful Midland, Texas to get the win and improve their mark to 3-0 and remain in the state top ten.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Greenwood by 12
August 30: Smithson Valley at Midland Lee
It’s the season opener in lovely Midland and beautiful Grande Communications Stadium will be the site for a big time Class 6A clash. Powerful Smithson Valley from the Texas Hill Country visits the Tall City to take on a Midland Lee squad with high hopes in 2019. Smithson Valley returns eight starters on both sides of the ball with QB Luke Gomert leading the offense, while DL Trey Witcher is back after accounting for ten sacks in 2018. Midland Lee’s defense will be the strength early as nine starters are back led by SMU verbal commit S Karl Taylor who picked off six passes a year ago. The Rebels also return all three linebackers and Coach Clint Hartmann thinks that will be the heart beat of the defense. WR Loic Fouonji has double digit FBS offers and leads the offense after hauling in thirteen touchdown passes as a junior, QB Mikey Serrano threw for a school record 412 yards last year in the Rebels playoff win and will take over the reins of the offense full time. The big question mark for the Rebels offense will be settling on a feature back and replacing some key losses on the offensive line. Midland Lee went to Smithson Valley a year ago and stunned the Rangers, this time with the game being in Midland and the Rebels defense leading the way, expect the home team to start the season off on a high note.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Lee by 5
November 15: Lubbock Estacado (7-3) vs. Fort Stockton (8-2), 7 p.m. Thursday at Grande Communications Stadium
In what is one of the top first round matchups in all of Class 4A, the speedy Estacado Matadors of Lubbock and the surprise story of the Permian Basin, the Fort Stockton Panthers will converge on beautiful Grande Communications Stadium Thursday for a bi-district showdown. Lubbock Estacado will look to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Levelland last week in what amounted to a district title game. The Mats held a 20-6 lead in the second half, but 21 straight points from Levelland stunned the favored squad from East Lubbock 27-20. Fort Stockton was picked by most experts to finish fifth or sixth in district play showed they are a legit contender in West Texas finishing third in District 1-4A Division II and playing tough in their losses to Midland Greenwood and Snyder. Fort Stockton ended the season on a high note, rolling past Lamesa 46-14 as QB Nick Johnson led the charge for the Panthers accounting for 373 yards and five total touchdowns. What’s most encouraging for Fort Stockton fans is Johnson accounted for 209 yards and three touchdowns through the air, if ground oriented Fort Stockton is able to open the passing game up it should make them an extremely dangerous offense to contain. The key in this game is can Fort Stockton’s defense effectively deal with the big edge in speed that Lubbock Estacado brings to the table, if the Panthers can control the clock and keep their defense fresh they’ve got an excellent chance to pull the upset. But if the pace of this game gets ramped up, that’s a big edge to first year head coach Joe Cluley’s squad from Lubbock.
Stepp’s Pick: Lubbock Estacado by 10
November 9: Odessa Permian (7-2, 4-0) at Midland Lee (7-2, 3-1)
It’s a showdown for the District 2-6A title also known as the “Little Southwest Conference,” as first place Odessa Permian travels east to take on the Midland Lee Rebels at beautiful Grande Communications Stadium. Permian struggled for a little while against a Wolfforth Frenship squad that’s winless in district play, but the Panthers got things rolling down the stretch in a 38-10 victory. Texas commit QB Peyton Powell did not play in the game last week and after falling behind 10-7 midway through the second quarter, MOJO got the offense going scoring 31 straight points as RB Ed Williams carried the load rushing for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Expect Powell to be back this week for the Panthers who will need all the offensive punch they can muster against the explosive Lee Rebels attack. Midland Lee easily dispatched of crosstown rival Midland High last week 49-28 in the 2018 installment of the Tall City Classic. QB Felix Hinojosa returned from an injury and put together a flawless effort as he had 177 rushing yards and three touchdowns on only five carries. Hinojosa was perfect through the air also, completing all seven of his passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. This game will ultimately come down to which defense can step up and make plays and get the opposing explosive offense off the field consistently. On paper, Permian looks to be the favorite, but when healthy Midland Lee is an incredibly tough out and a sleeper contender in Region I Division II. Don’t be surprised if Midland Lee pulls the upset at home and earns a share of the district title.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Lee by 2
October 19: Argyle Liberty Christian (2-4, 0-1) at Midland Christian (7-0, 1-0)
After dropping their district opener to an outstanding Fort Worth Nolan Catholic squad, Argyle Liberty Christian takes the five hour road trip out west to take on unbeaten Midland Christian in a key early season district matchup. There’s a ton of depth in this private school district, so neither team can afford a loss in what could be described as a “swing game.” Liberty Christian will need a big effort from versatile Andre Washington who has accounted for eleven total touchdowns and QB Daniel Green who has tossed ten touchdown passes in the Warriors six games. Midland Christian is fresh off an impressive 35-10 win on the road at Trinity Christian-Addison, the Mustangs got out to a quick 14-0 lead behind a pair of rushing touchdowns from Matthew Madison, while QB Rhett Clark helped put the game away with a third quarter touchdown run and a fourth quarter touchdown pass as well. The Mustangs defense was dominant in the win holding TC-Addison to just 177 yards of offense and eight first downs, much of that coming late in the game with the result already decided. The long road trip will be a difficult one for Argyle Liberty Christian and with Midland Christian hitting on all cylinders on the defensive side of the ball, the Mustangs appear to have the edge.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Christian by 9
September 28: Sweetwater (0-4) at Midland Greenwood (2-2)
It’s been a tough start to the season for second-year head coach Ben McGehee’s young Sweetwater squad as they’ve dropped their first four games in lopsided fashion. The Mustangs will head west on I-20 to beautiful Midland where they’ll look to turn their season around opening 1-4A Division II play against the Greenwood Rangers. Sweetwater’s offense has seen its share of struggles early in the year and those struggles were evident last week in a 41-0 loss to Iowa Park. The Mustangs only managed five first downs and just 84 yards of total offense in the loss on the road. Meanwhile, hopes are high for Greenwood as Ranger fans feel that they can contend for a district title as head coach Jared Sanderson has a veteran squad returning to the fold. Early on, injuries have taken their toll on GHS as several players have missed time, but Sanderson feels like his squad is beginning to get back to full strength. Greenwood earned an impressive win last week, taking down former district rival Seminole 28-21 as WR Brody Ray hauled in three touchdown passes, including the game-winner from Jake Somers with 7:49 left. The Rangers defense was opportunistic as well forcing four Seminole turnovers in the victory as well. It’s definitely a rebuilding year for Sweetwater and Greenwood is looking to push for a district title, so look for the Rangers to open district play this week with a big statement.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland Greenwood by 19
August 31: Canyon Randall at Midland
Preview: Beautiful Grande Communications Stadium will be the site of an intriguing matchup of two teams hoping to take a big leap forward in 2018 after disappointing campaigns a year ago. In his first season in charge at Midland High, Tim Anuszkiewicz had an extremely young squad and it showed early in the year, but a late surge put the Bulldogs back in the playoffs and has given MHS fans reason for optimism in the always tough Little Southwest Conference. Midland will be led on offense by dual threat QB Suddin Sapien who is a UTSA commit, he’s got playmakers around him in RB Tim Gates and two starters along the offensive line. The Bulldogs defense, which brings back seven starters, should be much improved led by LB Smith Essman who racked up an impressive 134 tackles a year ago. Canyon Randall has one of the panhandle’s top running backs in 2020 prospect JaSean Barrow who as a sophomore threw up some big numbers, and he’s starting to attract college attention as well. Expect the Midland defense to key in on Barrow and force Canyon Randall to beat them through the air, which is not the Raiders' strength. Midland’s offense has above average speed at the skill spots and if their young group of receivers can live up to their potential, they could take advantage of some favorable matchups in the passing game.
Stepp’s Pick: Midland by 15
October 19: Argyle Liberty Christian at Midland Christian
November 2: Odessa Permian at Midland Lee
November 9: Playoff Game TBD
Here are our tips for making the most of your football weekend in Midland:
Midland offers a wide variety of restaurants from food trucks to fine dining. If you are in the mood for national chains or want to try the local cuisine, you can’t go wrong with any dining choice.
Volcano Asian Fusion Sushi & Bar– Serving lunch and dinner, good for groups and kids! With lots of combinations to choose from, you’re sure to have a delicious experience. Located in the Red Oak Plaza near the Scharbauer Sports Complex.
Food Truck Fridays– 6pm-10pm at Neme’s Mexican Street Food. 4401 N. Big Spring St. on the Southwest corner of Big Spring and Loop 250. Enjoy covered seating, music and an assortment of food trucks offering something for every taste bud!
Graham Pharmacy– Celebrating 62 years in Midland, Graham Pharmacy is the perfect place for gifts and fountain food, drinks and treats. With two locations, you’ll be able to experience the fun no matter where you stay in Midland.
Snowy Rolls– create your own flavor of rolled ice cream! Watch as the ice cream is frozen and rolled right in front of your eyes. A great place to cool off after a West Texas summer football game.
Clear Springs Cafe– Featuring some of the best fried catfish, onions rings, shrimp and ribs in Midland!
FountainVille Creamery and Soda Fountain– Made from scratch artisan, small batch ice cream that brings something truly unique to West Texas. View the production room and the machines that made their delicious ice creams. Steps away from Grande Communications Stadium, Fountainville Creamery and Soda Fountain is the perfect place to celebrate after a win!
Mr. Gatti’s Pizza– Hand-rolled dough made fresh each morning, signature sauce with sixteen secret herbs and spices and real smoked provolone cheese combined with only the best toppings make Mr. Gatti’s pizza delicious! Enjoy an All-You-Care-To-Eat-&-Drink Buffet that includes unlimited pizzas, pastas, salads, desserts and more! Great for groups and kids.
KD’s Bar-B-Q– Straight off the pit. KD’s Bar-B-Q serves top quality smoked meats including brisket, sausage, ham, turkey, pork chops, chicken and more! Load up your tray and enjoy a trip to the bean bar for beans, bread, pickles, onions, jalapenos and hot salsa. Your taste buds will thank you for making a stop at KD’s.
There is so much to do in Midland; you’ll need more than one day to experience it all. With world class museums, performing arts venues, interactive activities for the whole family, you’ll never have a dull moment in our city.
George W. Bush Childhood Home - The George W. Bush Childhood home, the home of two presidents, two governors, a first lady, ambassador, and a CIA director, resides in Midland. Experience the history of one of America’s great families through their story and the childhood of George W. Bush in Midland.
Cinergy Cinemas– Recently renovated, enjoy a ropes course, games, food, or a movie at Cinergy Cinemas. Perfect for large groups, this energetic entertainment mecca is great for an evening of fun, food, and family!
Old Miners Maze– The place where families come together for interactive adventures. Old Miners Maze specializes in group and family fun with a broad range of attractions including inflatable games, a walk-through maze, mechanical bull riding, snack saloon, rock wall, train ride, and more.
Susie’s South Forty Confections– Take a FREE tour of the factory and watch how Susie’s delectable treats are made. End the tour with a stop at the gift shop, and take home some KICKERS® pralines, Fudge Richey®, and WINNERS® caramels. Susie’s South Forty Confections has been featured on the Food Networks’ “Unwrapped” and is the Guinness™ World Record holder for the largest piece of toffee!
Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center– Enjoy an evening at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center and check out one of the many performances that take place that appeal to all ages. The center features everything from Broadway productions to local plays, famous comedians and musicians, mariachis, and jazz. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy™ Living Legend, Rod Stewart, kicked off the inaugural Grand Gala Celebration in 2011.
Unique boutiques to big box retailers, you can shop to your heart’s desire in Midland.
Midland Athletic Company – Promoting fitness and wellness in the Permian Basin, Midland Athletic Company supplies all your athletic footwear, apparel and workout accessory needs. With a staff of experts, Midland Athletic Company strives to provide a customer experience like none other.
Midland Park Mall– With over 90 stores, Midland Park Mall is the Permian Basin’s premier shopping destination. Located off Loop 250 and Midkiff.
The Commons at North Park– One of Midland’s newest lifestyle shopping destinations complete with large box tenants both retail and restaurant. Located off Loop 250 in-between Garfield & Midkiff.
Ski Skeller Sports – A local Midland favorite, Ski Skeller Sports has you covered for all your outdoor activity gear needs. From water sports to the snow, this one-of-a-kind, recreational shop will bring out your inner outdoor adventurer!
Quetzal Mexican Crafts and Arts Imports– With beautiful furniture, crafts, paintings, pottery, textiles and more, Quetzal Mexican Crafts and Arts Imports has unique items that are sure to add a touch of flair to your home.