# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
#6 Central Catholic (0-0) vs. #10 Lanier (0-0) at Alamo Stadium, 7 p.m.
There seem to be a lot of variables that could factor into this game, which is how you know it’s Week 1, I guess.
Central Catholic has a fairly veteran squad, with 10 returning starters (five on each side of the ball), but the Buttons have a coach (L.D. Green) who was an assistant at Trinity University last year.
Lanier coach Don Gatian heads into his 17th season as Voks coach with 12 returning lettermen, but are essentially a young team with two talented and experienced running backs.
Senior backs Joe Orta and junior Julian Castillo may have to carry the Voks’ offensive load, figuratively and literally, until first-year starting quarterback Carlos Gutierrez gets his bearings. Fortunately for Lanier, it returns three starting linemen to make the transition from graduated QB Nicholas Garcia a little easier.
Lanier also graduated its top four receivers, so the passing game may be a work in progress this week.
Defensively, the Voks have good experience in the secondary, but not up front or in the linebacking corps. A strong performance in those areas will be important because Central Catholic quarterback Joseph Nava is a adept both at scrambling and finding receivers on short routes.
The Buttons also have an experienced line. Although Green was waiting to see which backs and receivers would step forward a couple of weeks ago, Central Catholic has no shortage of talent at those positions. Look for either Jacob Rodriguez or Jimin Suh to step forward as a ballcarrier.
Central Catholic will count on its new defensive alignment to prevent
Orta and Castillo from enabling the Voks to control the ball.
Lanier won the series’ first meeting 48-21 in 2006. Central Catholic took the rematch, and most recent meeting, 21-20 in 2007.
Series leader (record): even (1-1). 2013 score: none. 2014 favorite: Central Catholic.
Devine (0-0) vs. #4 Harlandale (0-0) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
The first-ever meeting between two powerhouse programs promises to be exciting, and close.
This game officially begins life without quarterback Brandon Ramon for Harlandale, but signal calling should remain a strength In the Indians’ long-term prognosis. Left-handed junior QB Jacob Delgado is tall (6-foot-3) and talented.
The question left to be answered is how long Delgado’s indoctrination period will last. One key tonight could be how much pressure Devine’s defensive front can put on Delgado.
Senior Ian Martinez (788 receiving yards in 2013) will make Delgado’s task easier. Ramon, though, wasn’t the Indians only big offensive loss. Two-year starter Nick Martinez will leave a bit of a void, but John Aguirre should be capable of filling it as a workhorse back.
Senior free safety Ramzey Martinez, Harlandale coach Isaac Martinez’s son, along with returning defensive tackles Caleb Aguirre and Rene Huerta form the foundation of what should be a solid defense.
While Harlandale is considered a co-favorite with Brackenridge in District 28-5A, the Warhorses are the outright favorite to win District 14-4A Division II.
Quarterback Hunter DuBose will be a player to watch for Devine. He split time in the job last year and showed poise in a backup role. Under DuBose’s guidance, the Warhorses might throw a little more than they traditionally have.
Devine always is strong on the ground. Dillon Ricord and Joe Guerrero may be the primary ballcarriers. They’ll run behind a veteran line.
The Warhorses are perennial playoff qualifiers, so they can be expected to rise to the challenge with eight returning starters on both sides of the ball. Expect a close game with lots of scoring.
Series leader (record): none, first game. 2013 score: none. 2014 favorite: Harlandale.