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FOOTBALL: Week 1 previews (Friday’s games)

Jefferson's defense puts a pass rush on against Laredo United.

# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking

FRIDAY

Brooks Academy (0-0) vs. Leakey (0-0) at Butch Wools Stadium, D’Hanis, 7:30 p.m.

This season is something of a fresh start for Brooks Academy, with a new quarterback and several young players. The Bengals will want to make it a good one.

Leakey returns each starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s 2-7 team. The Eagles have in advantage in that starting quarterback Lorenzo Rodriguez is returning. He’ll be a player to watch on offense, along with Dimitri Perez. Linebacker Dee Bort is a defensive standout for the District 15-2A Division II squad.

Brooks Academy is looking for its first win since 2009.

The Bengals will look to quarterback Dennis Perales and lineman Christien Pedraza for leadership. Alejandro Gonzalez could be a player to watch.

Series leader (record): unknown. 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Leakey.

#15 Burbank (0-0) at Southside (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

It’s the first game for Southside coach Ricky Lock, who has fashioned an impressive resume and likes the challenge of rebuilding. After guiding Gonzales to its second Class 3A quarterfinal appearance in his five years at the school, Lock is trying to make his mark with the Cardinals.

The rebuilding project at Burbank is in its third year under Mark Perez and has come along quite nicely. The Bulldogs qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1978 last year.

Burbank senior quarterback Daniel Tello has had flashes of brilliance during his first two seasons. He also lost most of last year to injury. If healthy, Tello could be a difference maker in this non-district battle.

Southside junior Johnny Trevino returns with a year of experience and a chance to be an impact player.

Offensively, it may come down to which team can move the chains most consistently.

The Cardinals have won the last eight games in the series, which has been o hold since 2010.

Series leader (record): Southside (13-3). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Burbank.

Carrizo Springs (0-0) vs. #12 Memorial (0-0) at Edgewood Veterans Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Both teams were hit hard by graduation, but Memorial has an ace in the hole. Quarterback Alfred Ramos is back for his third year as a starter.

The Minutemen will need to develop a couple of new playmakers as the season goes on. Junior receiver Adam Villanueva is one candidate.

Defensively, Memorial should be solid with Jose Pargas and Greg Bolden returning.

Carrizo Springs will have a new coach this year. Backup quarterback Jesse Rodriguez and No. 3 rusher Angel Gonzales will step into larger roles.

The Wildcats defeated Edison in Week 1 last year and should be capable of keeping the game close.

The teams have not played since 1991. 

Series leader (record): Carrizo Springs (4-0). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Memorial.

Holmes (0-0) at #11 South San (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

South San coach Marcus Booker is in his third year with the program and has made tangible progress. Coming off a winless season, Holmes offers a chance for the Bobcats to get off to a 1-0 start and use it to build toward greater signs of success.

With linemen Adrian Diaz and Robert Sifuentes back, South San should have the makings of a consistent ground game. Justin Acosta and Willie Sanchez will be counted upon to carry the ball.

Moving the ball through the air has been a challenge for South San in recent seasons. The task will fall to senior Isaiah Gutierrez this season.

Holmes defensive end Josh Gilmore is a threat to keep pressure on Gutierrez. The Huskies will try to achieve consistency themselves with six returning starters. Chris Rios could be a player to watch.

The teams haven’t played since 2009, but South San has a two-game winning streak in the series. 

Series leader (record): Holmes (6-4). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: South San.

Jay (0-0) vs. #5 Brackenridge (0-0) at Alamo Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Oklahoma State recruit Ramon Richards would seem to be an irreplaceable loss for Brackenridge. But quarterback Antonio Lopez doesn’t have to replicate Richards. He just needs to build on his successes in spot duty last year.

The Eagles may be a little stronger on defense than offense this year, led by Robert Allen, Eric Moya and Frank Soto. Make mistake, though, Brack has athletes on offense.

In his third varsity season, Trey Mathis is an explosive back. Lopez will have a good cadre of targets to throw to.

Jay will try to control the ball on the ground and look for deep strikes from junior quarterback Moses Reynolds. The Mustangs could have a dangerous offense.

They also feature a solid cover cornerback in Tre Fontenot.

Jay and Brack have met once, and only once, in 1992. Wheatley is not Brackenridge.

The Mustangs won that game 27-24. This one could be as close.

Series leader (record): Jay (1-0). 2013 score:  did not play. 2014 favorite: Brackenridge.

Jefferson (0-0) at Antonian (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Jefferson has been slow out of the gate in the past couple of football seasons. This year’s Mustangs have a little more experience and should have better results.

That may not start in Week 1, however, as Antonian will be a formidable opening opponent.

The Apaches, under former MacArthur coach Van Fuschak, are favored to win TAPPS District 2-I after taking second in 2013. Antonian returns just three offensive starters but has a good contingent back on defense, including defensive tackle Brandon Latham and linebackers Sam Bishop and Noah Burns.

The Apaches have an outstanding back in speedy junior Daniel Rosenfield, who ran for 1,919 last year.

Jefferson quarterback Weston Redding, son of coach Doyle Redding, is back for his third varsity season. The Mustangs also have a returning 1,000-yard-plus back in Jesse Flores.

Offensive execution will be key for Jefferson. The Mustangs also will need to put pressure on Apaches quarterback Peyton Bryan.

Series leader (record): none, first meeting. 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Antonian.

#14 Kennedy (0-0) vs. Victoria East (0-0) at Victoria Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

The Rockets have chosen a tough opener for first-year coach Michael Inco.

Victoria East has been a playoff contender the last two years in District 30-4A. Although that will be a tougher task to accomplish in the revamped 30-5A, but they’ll pose a formidable challenge for Kennedy.

That could be a benefit for the Rockets, as they prepare for rugged 27-5A.

The Titans return 5-foot-7 quarterback Jonathan Ortega, who ran for more than 1,000 yards and passed for nearly 1,500 last year. He’s a Texas State baseball commit.

Running back Laken Williams is another Titan to watch.

If last year is the guide, the Titans will look to win shootouts this year.

Kennedy may not be up to that at this point, but returning quarterback Eric Lira is promising.

Series leader (record): none, first meeting. 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Victoria East.

Pleasanton (0-0) vs. #9 Edison (0-0) at SAISD Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Edison looked good in 7-on-7 competition with returning quarterback Jonathan Hernandez and is aiming for a better season in 2014.

Pleasanton, under coach Tab Dumont, always is solid – as are the Golden Bears under Albert Torres – so this should be a good opener for Edison.

The Eagles will be strong on the offensive line with all-stater Crockett Mokry and three-year starter Emanuel Leija. Sophomore John Lopez may start at quarterback.

Pleasanton also has size on the defensive side with 290-pounder Colton Knapp.

Edison’s small, quick line will need to rise to the challenge.

Defensive improvement will be crucial to Edison’s playoff hopes, and the Bears have the personnel to be much stronger in that area with seven returning starters. Defensive lineman Steven Sanchez is a force up front.

Edison’s last win in what has become a traditional season opener was 26-23 in 2010. Pleasanton has won the last three meetings.

Series leader (record): Pleasanton (3-1). 2013 score: Pleasanton 40, Edison 7. 2014 favorite: Edison.

#13 Sam Houston (0-0) at Bandera (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

When the Hurricanes were in Class 3A, they didn’t back down from the challenge of playing the best in the class. That trend continues, although what was 3A is now 4A and Sam Houston has moved up to 5A … if you follow me.

Bandera traditionally has had one of the area’s strongest 4A programs.

The Bulldogs are led by backs Landon Ventura and Alex Willoughby Gonzalez. Linebacker Averie Mansfield leads Bandera’s defense.

Sam Houston will have more stability offensively, with talented junior Raymonte Prime back for his second year at quarterback. Back Devin Harris and receiver Travon Vaughns should be improved.

The Hurricanes defense, which returns just two starters, should face a stern test from the Bulldogs.

Bandera and Sam Houston, remarkably, haven’t played since 1951.

Series leader (record): Bandera (3-1). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Bandera.

San Marcos (0-0) at #3 East Central (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

The Hornets begin their second season under East Central alum Clint Hartman with a young team but one that should fit well into the spread offense he favors.

Quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza was impressive in limited duty last year, as was back Javion Polk. Wideout Wanya Ward is one of the area’s most exciting players.

The defense will be built around lineman Blake Nichols. Cornerback Colin Padalecki should be a player to watch.

San Marcos also was hit hard by graduation, but the Rattlers return quarterback David Hamilton, who started two years ago.

While the UIL changed its classifications this year, San Marcos remained in Class 5A. Under coach Mark Soto, the Rattlers made strides in their district. They should be competitive in murderous District 28-5A.

This stacks up as a game worth watching. win Saturday.

Series leader (record): East Central (7-3). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: East Central.

Uvalde (0-0) vs. #8 McCollum (0-0) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

They are no longer district rivals, but the action on the field should be just as intense.

McCollum-Uvalde games aren’t always close – the Cowboys’ 56-14 win in 2012 is an example – but they’re always intriguing.

The Cowboys have senior three-year starter Ralph Leal healthy again at quarterback. Coupled with junior back Mike Ramirez and speedy Jeff Valdez, who’ll see an increased role, and the Cowboys should hold their own and then some offensively.

With Jacob Valdez and Jeffrey Trevino, should be able to keep pressure on run-pass threat Jerry Almaraz, the Coyotes’ quarterback. Almaraz is one of 15 returning starters from Uvalde’s 29-4A playoff team.

Nine are on the offensive side of the ball, including leading rusher Zach Sanchez.

Watch out for fourth-quarter fireworks. The Cowboys topped 50 points against Uvalde in 2011 and 2012, winning both games. The winning team has scored more than 40 points each of the last five years.

Series leader (record): Uvalde (6-4). 2013 score: Uvalde 41, McCollum 24. 2014 favorite: Uvalde.

Victoria West (0-0) at #2 Southwest (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

The Dragons launch into the season with an intriguing matchup against athletic Victoria West.

Southwest needs to make no apologies in that regard, but it’s skill-position players are somewhat young, whereas the Warriors will be counting on veterans.

Senior quarterback Bowen Crisp returns for his second season at the controls and should be a valued leader for the Dragons.

Exciting sophomore Tyrone Middleton will join experienced Reilly Riggs in the backfield. Under Southwest coach Peter Wagner, the Dragons have always been deep at that position.

Crisp must become more of a threat through the air for Southwest to keep defenses honest. With four returning linemen, expect that to materialize.

With only two defensive starters back, West will challenge the Dragons. Back Zevaughn Shelton racked up more than 1,300 rushing yards and receiver Gamarquis Girdy is a sprint champion.

The more consistent defense is likely to win this game.

Series leader (record): none, first meeting. 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Victoria West.

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About Mike Considine (1287 Articles)
I started this blog as an extension of the sports stories I've been doing as an independent contractor for the Southside Reporter the past five years. I've been a sportswriter for more than 35 years, including two stints with the late, lamented San Antonio Light. I cover high school football for the San Antonio Express-News in the fall. My purpose, in creating this blog, is to shine a light on the athletic achievements of teams and athletes on the south side of San Antonio.

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