# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
#7 Harlandale (2-1, 1-0) vs. #8 Brackenridge (1-2, 1-0) at Alamo Stadium, 7 p.m.
Before the season, by consensus, this was projected to be a battle of the co-favorites for the District 28-5A title. After the first week of the district season, it looms as large, even though both teams struggled a bit out of the gate. The chase pack might be a little closer than expected, though.
There is one common opponent to base this year’s comparisons on.
Harlandale defeated Devine 17-7 in Week 1. The Warhorses edged Brackenridge 34-28 a week later.
Harlandale took its lumps in Week 2 also, falling 40-15 to Somerset. The Indians bounced back to defeat Jefferson 34-25 last week.
The Eagles gave up 21 unanswered points to Edison from kickoff last week, but recovered to defeat the Golden Bears 48-31 on the strength of its passing game.
Tonight’s contest may hinge on ability of each to move the ball on the ground, as well as turnovers and other residual factors.
Harlandale’s offense absolutely relies on back John Aguirre. The senior bounced back from a rough ouiting against Somerset to run for 131 yards against Jefferson. The Indians need to be able to control the ball behind Aguirre and get surgical strikes from first-year quarterback Jacob Delgado (153 passing yards vs. Jefferson).
Defensively, the Indians can’t allow Brack’s Antonio Lopez and Lee Terrell to carve them up as they did against Edison. Lopez threw for 382 yards a week ago and Terrell caught 230 yards worth of passes, including two long touchdowns.
That’s a concern for Harlandale because Somerset quarterback Koy Detmer Jr. threw for 228 yards (not an outrageous figure for Detmer, by the way) and Jefferson’s Weston Redding had his season high against the Indians.
While Aguirre is more of a straight-ahead runner, Brack back Trey Mathis also can bounce outside and go to the house. The Eagles also have solid runner Macco Marble in the backfield, who’s an outstanding possession receiver.
The Eagles defense was dinged for 504 yards by Edison, including 264 on the ground. Although the Golden Bears only mustered three points after halftime, Brack can’t afford early defensive lapses.
In short, Harlandale must control the ball (which includes short passes to Ian Martinez) and keep the score low to win. They can’t afford to let the Eagles hang around because of their quick-strike capability.
The series has a rich history that dates back to 1928 (thank you warpath1.com). Brackenridge has a 32-17 edge, having incredibly won the first 20 games through 1952. Harlandale didn’t score a point against the Eagles until the eighth meeting.
The pendulum swung toward Harlandale, thereafter. The Indians notably defeated Brack’s 1962 state championship team. Their last game was in 2004, when they met for the bi-district championship. Harlandale won 28-0, giving the Indians a three-game winning streak.
Series leader (record): Brackenridge (32-17). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Harlandale.