Highlands (2-2, 0-0) vs. Burbank (1-3, 0-0) at SAISD Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
Burbank hasn’t won since 1978 in this sporadic series and the Bulldogs won’t be favored this time, but they may be able to keep the District 28-4A game close if they can keep the Owls’ ground game under wraps, as Central Catholic did last Friday in a 28-25 thriller.
The Bulldogs lost 20-7 to South San last Friday in their final non-district test. Burbank also had its struggles offensively, accumulating just 22 rushing yards and 48 total yards.
If rain stays away this week, some of those problems may solve themselves. Although the running game has been an ongoing issue for Highlands, the Owls have the best chance of moving the ball consistently thanks to quarterback Jordan DeLuna. However, Highlands will need to curb its turnovers (four against Central Catholic) to prevent Burbank from taking advantage of short fields.
Burbank hasn’t sustained drives often in the non-district season, but has shown the ability to make big plays behind quarterback Jeremy Sanchez. Receiver Marcos Luna scored the Bulldogs’ only touchdown against South San on a kickoff return. In fact, the Bulldogs haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in two weeks, so re-establishing some ball movement will be crucial.
Highlands has a 16-game winning streak in the series and has a 21-1 lead overall. 2012 score: Highlands 53, Burbank 9.
Brackenridge (2-2, 0-0) vs. Jefferson (0-4, 0-0) at SAISD Sports Complex, 7:30 p.m.
Will Brackenridge be able to get the equalizer in a series that dates back to 1932? That’s the question that hangs over this District 28-4A opening-week game.
Jefferson currently holds the edge 24-23-2 in the series and also has a sort of element of surprise on its side.
For the second-consecutive year, Jefferson has gone through the non-district portion of its schedule without a win, but with subtle signs of progress. Last year, the Mustangs used that factor as the springboard to a 10-point win over Brackenridge.
After Jefferson put up 420 total yards in a 42-16 loss to Lee last Thursday, the possibility has to be considered, in light of 2012.
However, the Eagles and quarterback Ramon Richards pose an obstacle for a Mustangs defense that has been challenged throughout a challenging schedule. Jefferson has allowed an average of more than 43 points a game.
Keep in mind, though, that the district season was a turning point for Jefferson last year. It won four 28-4A games in a row, starting with Brackenridge and ending with eventual champion Brennan.
While Brennan is universally acknowledged as the team to beat in the district, Brackenridge is still considered the second-best by most – despite stumbling against Floresville and Victoria East before edging Del Rio 20-14 in overtime last Friday.
The Eagles defense seems to be coming of age, after keeping Del Rio scoreless after the first quarter. Offensively, Trey Mathis is developing into a featured back to complement Richards and the passing threat he poses.
Jefferson quarterback Weston Redding also is showing signs of growing into the job, while Jesse Flores proved to be a more-than-viable weapon out of the backfield with 178 rushing yards against Lee.
Watch out for D’Andre Melton on the receiving end of Redding’s passes and Romonique Anthony (and others) on deep routes when Brack has the ball.
This promises to be an exciting game. A win here could be a huge asset in what appears to be a typically balanced 28-4A playoff race (for spots 2-4 behind Brennan). 2012 score: Jefferson 30, Brackenridge 20.
Central Catholic (2-2) at South San (1-3), 7:30 p.m.
Both teams have made a lot of improvement on defense since the beginning of the year. In fact, after Central Catholic has pitched shutouts in six of the last eight quarters and South San came close to shutting out Burbank, it’s pretty easy to identify defense as the strength of both the Buttons and Bobcats.
Central Catholic has held Southside and Highlands to an average of 217.5 total yards in its last two games. The Buttons’ offense also has been coming along, as shown in the 28-25 comeback win over Highlands last Friday. But the defense has been more of a surprise, since it was basically rebuilt from scratch at the start of the season.
A promising sign against Highlands was a 98-yard rushing performance from Jesse Rodriguez, which lent a little more offensive balance to Central Catholic. Will Barr has emerged as a go-to receiver for quarterback Joseph Nava.
Those weapons give the Buttons a theoretical edge over a South San offense, which needs another big game from back Christian Morales to utilize the ball-control approach the Bobcats will aim for. Morales ran for 100 yards against Burbank. Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Gutierrez is coming off a 129-yard passing outing in his first extended playing time.
South San was able to avoid the turnovers that had plagued it in previous games. The Buttons also will need to avoid miscues.
Central Catholic has won the last four games in the series and has a 14-8 advantage overall. 2012 score: Central Catholic 32, South San 0.
East Central (2-2) at New Braunfels (0-4), 7:30 p.m.
The Hornets have been through the crucible the last two weeks against Brennan and Judson, and have to welcome this trip to New Braunfels. It gives East Central a chance to regain the momentum it had after the first two weeks, in time for the District 28-5A season.
East Central needs to rediscover its identity offensively after being held in check by two overpowering defenses. The Hornets haven’t been quite as prolific as expected out of the spread offense, but some of that is due to an injury to Jonathan Jackson. With backs Jackson and Javion Polk healthy, quarterback Jeremy Jones should have more options to explore as well as a 1-2 punch.
Defensively, the Hornets have been dinged by big plays both on the ground and through the air the last two weeks. They limited Marshall to 161 total yards in Week 1 and have an experienced group that should rise to the challenge this week.
New Braunfels has had similar experiences the last two weeks, losing 49-16 to Johnson last Friday and 41-13 to Madison a week earlier. The Unicorns didn’t score until the fourth quarter against Johnson while Parker Bateman passed 31 times for 140 yards.
East Central won for the first time in this four-game series last year. This won’t be a walkover for the Hornets, but they should make it two wins in a row if they’re able to stretch the Unicorns’ defense and prevent big plays.
This could be exactly the type of matchup the Hornets need with a bye week ahead and District 28-5A play still two weeks away. 2012 score: East Central 24, New Braunfels 21.
Harlandale (3-0, 0-0) at Medina Valley (2-1, 0-0), 7 p.m.
The Harlandale-Medina Valley football game could end up being as significant in determining the district standings as the volleyball match that precedes it Friday in Castroville.
Although its the District 29-4A opener for both teams, it pits the two best teams in the district against each other and could well set the tone for the rest of the year.
Harlandale, No. 25 in the TexasHSFootball.com statewide Class 4A rankings, wasn’t challenged in its non-district games, so this should be the Indians’ first real test.
Indians senior quarterback Brandon Ramon has thrown for 989 yards and nine touchdowns without an interception. Ramon guides an offense that is averaging 35.7 points a game and his receivers are averaging 20.1 yards a catch, led by James Mendoza and Ian Martinez.
Running back Nick Martinez is averaging more than 109 rushing yards.
Harlandale’s defense is coming off its best game. Two weeks ago against Burbank, the Indians allowed just six points and 164 total yards.
After falling by 17 points to LaVernia in its opener, Medina Valley has prevailed in a pair of close games. The Panthers scored all of their points in the second quarter Sept. 13 in a 21-14 win against rival Hondo. They scored on a 12-yard run by featured back Nathan Stein (71.9 yards a game), a fumble return and a 76-yard pass from quarterback David Olvera (108 passing yards a game) to Joshua Sepulveda.
Medina Valley has a 5-2 lead in the series, but the last three games have been decided by 20 points and the Indians have won two of them. Both teams are coming off an extra week to prepare, so watch out for trick plays that could influence the outcome. 2012 score: Harlandale 51, Medina Valley 41.
Holy Cross (1-2, 0-0) at San Antonio Christian (1-2, 0-0), 7 p.m.
A year ago, Holy Cross won TAPPS District 3-II and San Antonio Christian finished second, so emotions will be high. And the score likely will be close, especially if their scores against a common opponent are indicative.
Both teams played Class 3A power Navarro, which is undefeated, a week apart before hitting their respective bye weeks.
Holy Cross was the most team to face the Panthers, playing them on the road Sept. 13. The Knights lost 40-20, but gained 340 total yards while Navarro compiled 416. San Antonio Christian lost 42-26 at home Sept. 6. The Lions finished with 303 total yards, while the Panthers rolled up 524.
The Knights will take a two-game losing streak into Friday’s game, having lost 42-19 to Antonian after beating Central Catholic 21-14 in the season-opening Holy Bowl.
A key for Holy Cross against San Antonio Christian could be junior quarterback Cisco Flores’ ability to supplement the rushing attack. Navarro’s defense was able to keep him mostly under containment.
On the plus side, there were and have been a lot of positive developments for Holy Cross. Flores completed about 70 percent of his passes for 192 yards. Back Greg Scott had a breakout game with 138 rushing yards on 21 carries. Senior Greg Kelly has averaged more than 100 receiving yards a game.
San Antonio Christian has a pass-oriented attack led by quarterback Andrew Hawkins, who has thrown for 568 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception. Two receivers are over 100 yards, Turner Goudge (11 catches) and Sam Lorillard (6 catches), while Chris Grubb has five receptions for 90 yards and three touchdowns. The receiving corps averages 18.3 yards a catch.
The Lions’ leading rusher Clayton Christian with just 76 yards.
So, Holy Cross will need to keep the pressure on Hawkins and prevent the deep strikes. It will be the first time the Knights have faced a team that relies heavily on the pass. Their diverse offense should be able to move the ball against the Lions. 2012 score: Holy Cross 25, San Antonio Christian 23.
Kennedy (3-0, 0-0) at Uvalde (1-2, 0-0), 7 p.m.
Defense and the running of senior back Matthew Avalos have Kennedy off to a surprising start. The Rockets are headed for their first big test, though, at the end of the long bus ride to Uvalde.
Kennedy has allowed just 27 points defensively and the unit has scored 20 of its own. Uvalde will be the most prolific offensive team they’ve faced.
Avalos ran for 239 yards last week in a 25-7 win over Pearsall and 552 this season. To keep Uvalde’s defense honest, the Rockets won’t need to pass often, but will need to be efficient when they do. So far, Kennedy has succeeded in doing that.
Uvalde seems to always be one of those teams that’s hard to figure, and coming off a bye week likely will make it even more unpredictable. The Coyotes ambushed Highlands 48-21 Sept. 7, but then lost unimpressively to Laredo Johnson 16-6 Sept. 13.
Against Highlands, Uvalde had both Marco Blanco (177) and Zach Sanchez (101) over 100 rushing yards while the team gained 401. Johnson held the Coyotes to 158 and 276 total yards.
Johnson’s workhorse back Augustin Gonzalez hit them for 199 yards, which should give the Rockets hope that Avalos can have a big game in Uvalde. The biggest factor will be for Kennedy to continue to play the run well and force turnovers. 2012 score: Uvalde 20, Kennedy 2.
McCollum (2-1, 0-0) at Floresville (2-1, 0-0), 7 p.m.
McCollum takes its first trip outside of San Antonio this year to face a Floresville team that has mostly fared well against District 28-4A opponents.
The 29-4A opener for both teams may give an indication as to whether it’s better to launch into district play off a bye week or a cushy victory. The host Tigers defeated Lanier 34-12 last Friday in Floresville.
The Cowboys have had two weeks to make adjustments after falling 21-7 to Highlands, their first loss of the year on Sept. 13. The Owls beat Floresville 17-14 in their season opener Aug. 31.
Prior to the Highlands game, McCollum’s defense had only allowed five points and 154 total yards in two games. The Owls only mustered 187 total yards but scored on three passes, two of more than 20 yards.
McCollum scored on a 79-yard pass play from Ralph Vidal to back Mike Ramirez, but hasn’t been a consistent running team so far. To win in Floresville, they’ll need to run the ball effectively to prevent the Tigers from controlling the clock with back Gilbert Ortiz (109.3 yards a game).
Tigers quarterback Koby Wilkerson is a passing threat, in that he’s able to keep defenses from keying too much on the run. Highlands gained 317 total yards against Floresville, but the Tigers held Brackenridge’s potent offense to 291. So, to earn a road win, McCollum likely will need to have its best offensive showing to date. 2012 score: Floresville 15, McCollum 12.
New Braunfels Canyon (3-1) at Southwest (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Southwest needed to do a little soul searching after being shut out by Brennan 48-0 last Friday. Now they have the honor of playing a team that also posted a shutout last week.
New Braunfels Canyon blanked Austin LBJ 20-0 as the Cougars defense allowed just 89 total yards and just 21 rushing yards. That has to concern a Dragons offense that’s based around its running game, yet mustered just 49 yards against state-ranked Brennan. However, it’s important to note that Canyon allowed an average of 20 points a game in its first three contests.
This won’t be a holiday for Southwest, but it won’t be a re-run of what if ran into last week, either.
Dragons quarterback Bowen Crisp has been improving his passing efficiency, and continued improvement will be welcome against the Cougars. Expect the ground game to be back on track behind Brian Donnell and Reilly Riggs.
Defensively, Southwest will need to concern itself with running back Gibreel Evans (121.8 yards a game) and quarterback Phillip Shelton (82 yards a game). Shelton also has run for 251 yards. Canyon scored 47 points Sept. 13 against Roosevelt.
An interesting side note: Canyon is coached by former Southwest coach Matt Elliott. Which, undoubtedly, is why the series resumed last year after an 11-year break. Southwest won the previous game in 1991 and has a 4-2 lead in the series. 2012 score: New Braunfels Canyon 35, Southwest 21.
Sam Houston (1-3) at Navarro (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for Sam Houston.
For a beleagured Hurricanes defense that’s given up more than 40 points a game, the last two non-district opponents (Navarro Friday and Gonzales Oct. 4) don’t promise any relief. Navarro is averaging 37.8 points a game offensively.
Edison defeated 40-12 last Friday at the SAISD Sports Complex, although the statistical totals were fairly even. The Voks scored on four plays of 20 or more yards.
Sam Houston gained 258 yards and completed 10 of 19 passes, but surrendered three turnovers while Edison committed none. Erin Mack turned in another solid performance with 111 rushing yards and Devin Harris added 47.
Class 3A Navarro is averaging nearly 350 rushing yards per game, led by senior Luke Jaroszewski (115 yards a game average). 2012 score: Navarro 30, Sam Houston 13.
Southside (0-3, 0-0) vs. Memorial (2-1, 0-0) at Frank Mata Stadium, 7 p.m.
Memorial is used to being the pursuer. In its District 29-4A opener against Southside, the Minutemen will be the pursued.
Translation: Memorial has earned the right to be favored in this game, based on its two non-district wins even though the Cardinals have played a tougher early schedule.
That said, this could very well be a coin flip of a game. Southside certainly has the ability to pull out a victory. The Cardinals have to curb their turnovers and limit the big plays the Minutemen are capable of breaking.
Memorial not only snapped a double-digit winning streak in defeating Pearsall, it also recovered from a 43-point loss to Fredericksburg to knock off Lytle in Lytle. The Minutemen did the trick with a 24 unanswered points after the Pirates had scored the first 14 Sept. 13.
Running back Raul Rangel had his best game of the season with 136 rushing yards. Quarterback Alfred Ramos contributed 242 yards of total offense. Speedy Manases Cano hauled in three passes for 97 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown pass.
Southside was shut out 28-0 by Central Catholic that night. The Cardinals will oppose a Memorial defense that limited Lytle to 225 total yards and was plus-two in the turnover battle.
The Cardinals had averaged 24.5 in their first two games. Against the Buttons, sophomore Timmy Rodriguez ran for 76 yards, but four interceptions short-circuited the offense. However, quarterback Johnny Trevino, another sophomore, can make big plays either running or passing.
All four Central Catholic touchdowns covered 20 yards or more. The Buttons accounted for 354 total yards. Devine and Sam Houston each gained more than 475 in the first two games. 2012 score: Southside 33, Memorial 8.
Brennan (4-0, 0-0) vs. Edison (2-2, 0-0) at SAISD Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
Brennan, No. 3 in the TexasHSFootball.com statewide Class 4A poll, outscored opponents 197-21 in its four non-district games and now turns its attention to its District 28-4A schedule.
Edison struggled out of the gate this year but made great improvement throughout its non-district schedule. The young Golden Bears now look like a potential playoff team after defeating Sam Houston 40-12 last Friday. They’ve won two games in a row after falling 40-7 to Pleasanton in their opener.
Senior back Andres Aguilar ran for 115 yards and caught two passes for 79 yards against Sam Houston. Edison quarterback Jonathan Hernandez ran for 49 yards.
Edison’s defense allowed an average of just 239 yards in the two wins. Now they’re up against a multi-faceted Brennan offense that hasn’t been slowed down by any of its four Class 5A opponents.
Bears quarterback Da’Shawn Key is equally adept at running (331 yards) and passing (441 yards). He leads Brennan in both categories. Makai Green is another reliable ground threat and leads the team in reception yards.
Defensively, Brennan’s Bears have posted shutouts in three of their four games. In a 48-0 win over Southwest last Friday, they gave up just 93 yards.
Last year, the Bears only played their starters in the first half of district games. We’ll see if that policy still holds, now that Brennan has a chance to make a deep run in the Class 4A playoffs.
Brennan won last year in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. 2012 score: Brennan 35, Edison 17.