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FOOTBALL: Week 5 previews (Friday’s games)

Participants in the JDLA Sports 7-on-7 league from five area schools.

# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking

FRIDAY

#7 Brackenridge (2-2, 2-0) vs. #15 Lanier (0-4, 0-2) at Alamo Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Brackenridge will not be going for a three-peat, in terms of winning its third-consecutive game in comeback fashion after falling behind 21-0.

You can be certain the Eagles will make it a priority to get off to a good start against Lanier, and that’s not just to break a bad pattern. The Voks’ best hope will be to control the ball on the ground with backs Joe Orta and Julian Castro.

Quarterback Antonio Lopez gives Brackenridge ample comeback ability, so there’s no guarantee, even if that goal is achieved. In fact, the Voks will need to supplement its ground game with air strikes from quarterback Jeremiah Esquivel.

Esquivel has been making good progress and receivers Elijah Cortez and Brandon Melchor are capable of making big plays downfield. If Lanier falls behind, it will be crucial for the Voks to get payoffs in that area.

Lanier has been solid defensively, but has suffered from that unit being on the field too long. With Brackenridge’s ability to score quickly and wear down opponents after halftime, that will be of particular concern.

The Eagles always has plenty of players who can make plays offensively, and this year is no different.

Lanier will need to keep pressure on Lopez to keep Lee Terrell (9 receiving touchdowns) from running free in its secondary. Macco Marble has been an underrated factor for the Eagles, both on the ground and as a reliable route runner.

Trey Mathis has rushed for 520 yards and four touchdowns. Lanier will need to try to contain him.

Brackenridge has a seven-game winning streak in the series. Lanier’s last win was in 2006.

Series leader (record): Brackenridge (22-6-1). 2013 score:  Brackenridge 23, Lanier 14. 2014 favorite: Brackenridge.

#3 Central Catholic (3-1) at Jourdanton (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

In its first four games, Central Catholic has made tremendous strides in its passing game. Senior quarterback Joseph Nava has thrown for 620 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception.

That passing game will need to continue its effectiveness against Jourdanton, which reached the area round of the Class 2A playoffs this year. It also gives the Buttons a big advantage over the Indians, who have run for 920 yards with a bevy of backs but thrown for just 294 this year.

Jourdanton’s Brandon Davis has run for 201 yards this season. Ray Ruiz (199 rushing yards) and Diego Huddleston (156) have given the Indians options. Through the air, the majority of passes have gone to Nathan Ramos (142 reception yards) and Edward Ruiz (75).

The Indians’ ball-control offense works well with a defense that has produced two shutouts this season and limited Hondo to 20 points. Central Catholic’s offensive balance can help in keeping the chains moving.

Nava has run for 280 yards and Jimin Suh adds 267 on the ground.

The Buttons will want to put forth a strong showing in Jourdanton to pave the way for their TAPPS 2-I district season, which begins next Friday against St. Anthony.

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

Cole (3-1) vs. Brooks Academy (1-3) at Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, 7:30 p.m.

The schedule is not getting any easier for Brooks Academy, and that’s just as well as the Bengals prepare for a tough district schedule.

Cole was a district opponent for the Bengals last year but realignment has separated them. The Cougars have lost only to Lytle 39-7 in their season opener. They extended their winning streak to three games with a 34-0 win over TMI last Friday.

Cole has only allowed 18 points in those three games, so the Bengals and quarterback Dennis Perales likely will need to do a good job of establishing things early. The Cougars held the Panthers to just 69 total yards, while producing 313.

Brooks Academy mustered 133 total yards in a 52-0 loss to St. Mary’s Hall last Friday. Michael Galata ran for 43 yards and Rafael Quezada gained 38. The Bengals will need to re-establish the pass against Cole.

The Bengals gave up 361 total yards to St. Mary’s Hall, which isn’t a bad number for the score. The undefeated Barons recorded three passing touchdowns and one on an interception.

Back Jerren Scott scored four of Cole’s five touchdowns last week, while amassing 152 rushing yards. Keeping him in check will be Brooks’ top assignment.

Series leader (record): unknown. 2013 score: Cole 51, Brooks Academy 16. 2014 favorite: Cole.

#5 East Central (1-3) at Del Rio (2-1), 7:30 p.m.

East Central has a chance to learn from rival Southwest’s experience last Friday in Del Rio.

The host Rams prevailed 28-16 with help from an 81-yard punt return from Albert Vasquez and a touchdown as time elapsed in the first half, followed by another score near the start of the fourth quarter. It was the only touchdown in the second half.

The Hornets should be more competitive with Del Rio and have a chance to get back on the winning track after taking a pounding the last two weeks against powerhouses Smithson Valley and Reagan. The Rattlers downed East Central 51-7 last Friday.

East Central displayed a balanced offense three weeks ago in a 21-6 win over New Braunfels Canyon. They’ll need to get back to that against a Rams team that wants to speed the tempo.

It seems the best route to keep the game from becoming a shootout.

Hornets quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza completed 11 of 21 passes but wasn’t able to get the ball to playmaker Wanya Ward.

Watch for Javion Polk to have a big game running the ball.

Southwest set a standard for East Central by limiting the Rams to eight rushing yards. If the Hornets can duplicate that and force a turnover or two, it could be a winning formula for them. Del Rio didn’t commit a turnover last week, but the field should be waterlogged tonight.

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

#11 Highlands (0-3, 0-1) vs. #9 Harlandale (2-2, 1-1) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

On paper, this shapes up as a defensive struggle, but that’s because neither offense has quite jelled.

Harlandale showed signs last week in a 24-21 loss to Brackenridge in its District 28-5A opener. The Indians raced to a 21-0 lead, but couldn’t score after halftime.

Coming off a bye week, Highlands outgained Edison 333-321 in total yards, but gave up the winning touchdown of a 23-20 loss to the Golden Bears with 50 seconds remaining.

A better sustained offensive showing will be essential for both teams. It’s probably more important for Highlands, as the Indians seem to have the advantage defensively – despite giving up 518 yards to potent Brackenridge (about the Eagles’ per-game average).

When Harlandale gets steady gains from back John Aguirre and gets the ball in receiver Ian Martinez’s hands, the Indians are at their best. After throwing for 150 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles, quarterback Jacob Delgado could be on the verge of a breakthrough game.

Highlands’ key is explosive back Quindon Boston, who ran for 168 yards against Edison and has 323 this season. The Owls need to give Boston more help.

Quarterback John Cervantes threw for 52 yards against the Golden Bears, but is capable of quite a bit more. If Highlands is to win, it will need a big game from Cervantes throwing the ball.

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

Kennedy (0-4, 0-2) at Kerrville Tivy (2-1, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.

The high school that gave us Johnny Manziel now has Cade Dyal in the quarterback position. Dyal is averaging 273 passing yards a game as the Antlers have passed for 820 yards and ran for 747.

That’s the challenge facing a Rockets’ defense that allowed 90 points in its first two District 27-5A games and is surrendering 42.5 per game this season.

The best defense for Kennedy may well be a good offense.

The Rockets have established a solid ground game. Dominic Franco ran for 96 yards on four carries in a 49-7 loss to Floresville last Friday and steady Nicholas Gonzalez added 77.

Quarterback Eric Lira can throw the ball, given time. The Rockets will need to manufacture big plays to keep the margin managable against the Antlers.

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

#12 McCollum (1-3, 1-1) vs. #14 Burbank (1-2, 0-1) at SAISD Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Neither team has started the season the way it hoped to, but this looms as a potential turnaround game for both.

A victory could be important for their playoff hopes in District 28-5A, as well as re-establishing a positive tone.

McCollum had a setback last Friday with a 34-0 loss to Sam Houston. The Cowboys have shown that they have a solid defense at times this year, but they need to move the chains more consistently.

If back Mike Ramirez returns to the fold, it could be an instant solution to the problem. If not, help may be on its way in the form of quarterback Ralph Vidal returning to health.

A big key will be finding ways of getting the ball to speedy Jeff Valdez and increased consistency in the running game.

Burbank quarterback Daniel Tello holds the key to the Bulldogs’ offense. While Tello is a reliable performer, though, his teammates must step up to keep teams from keying on the senior.

No other Bulldog has 100 rushing yards. The No. 2 rusher has been receiver Jordan Santos on reverses. That’s a problem Mark Perez and his staff have addressed during the bye week following Burbank’s 26-6 loss to Sam Houston Sept. 12.

Defensive standout Devin Gusme could play a larger offensive role as the season progresses.

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

San Marcos (1-2, 0-1) vs. Memorial (0-4, 0-2) at Edgewood Veterans Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Memorial showed signs of progress in a 42-12 loss to a strong Lockhart team last Friday. The Minutemen were within 14-6 midway through the second quarter

Quarterback Alfred Ramos threw a 13-yard pass to senior Jose Pargas for the key score. The Lions increased their lead to 21-6 at halftime and pulled away in the second half, despite an 82-yard punt return for touchdown from Greg Rosemond.

The biggest problem Memorial will seek to improve on against the Rattlers will be giving Ramos more time to throw. Increased development in the ground game will help. The Lions limited Memorial to minus-3 rushing yards.

San Marcos is a team that the Minutemen should be more able to compete with.

That’s not to imply that the Rattlers are weak. In fact, they showed toughness last Friday in losing a 27-24 battle to Seguin.

San Marcos’ offense revolves around quarterback David Hamilton, who engineered a 59-56 win over East Central in Week 1. Hamilton has run for 805 yards and passed for 367. Interestingly, he has only thrown for one touchdown and had four passes intercepted.

That means that the Minutemen will need to do a good job on the first and two downs to force the Rattlers to throw in obvious passing situations.

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

#2 Southside (3-0, 0-0) vs. Eagle Pass Winn (1-2, 0-0) at Cozel Foster Veterans Memorial Stadium, Eagle Pass, 7:30

p.m.

Southside embarks on its District 29-5A schedule with its longest district road trip. The Cardinals will face a Winn team that notched its only win Sept. 5 over Carrizo Springs.

The Cardinals have looked like a playoff contender so far. The Mavericks are not one of the district’s stronger teams.

In their win over Carrizo Springs, however, they scored three second-half touchdowns on plays of more than 18 yards and got a 42-yard field goal Dante Valdez. Although the Mavericks had fewer total yardage than their hosts, they didn’t allow a point after halftime.

Quarterback Juan Elizondo will be a player to watch. Elizondo threw for 119 yards and ran for 97 against Carrizo Springs.

Southside is coming off a bye week as is Winn.

The Cardinals remained undefeated with a 51-28 win over Austin Travis after another long road trip. Southside has been kind of a chameleon team, prevailing in a defensive struggle over Sam Houston in Week 2 before outscoring Travis.

Sophomore back Matt Collier has been a revelation for the Cardinals. He rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns against Travis.

Quarterback Johnny Trevino provided three touchdowns in the game. He can make plays with both his arm and his feet in his second season as a starter.

With a favorable early district schedule, expect the Cardinals to rise to the top of 29-5A if they play as they had against non-district opponents.

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

#6 South San (2-2) at Antonian (2-1), 7:30 p.m.

South San coach Marcus Booker upgraded the schedule in his third year to prepare his team, hopefully, for the postseason.

As the Bobcats enter the third game of the gauntlet, they’ve shown that they can compete with the opponents Booker has set in front of them. They haven’t quite found a way to get over the hump and control the flow of play yet, and this may be their biggest challenge in that regard.

One reason is that quarterback Isaiah Gutierrez is questionable after sustaining an injury in last Friday’s 32-13 loss to Lee. Another variable will be whether Antonian’s standout back Dan Rosenfeld returns from an ankle injury. If so, the Apaches will have an explosive offense to go with a strong defense.

If they’re without Rosenfeld, South San can play on relatively even terms if it can avoid offensive lulls. Willie Sanchez and Enrique Andrade took snaps at quarterback last week. Each had success, so the Bobcats may be able to cover Gutierrez’s absence if it has to.

Back Justin Acosta seems on the verge of a breakout game.

Antonian has been handling Rosenfeld’s duties by committee, and has the backs to pull it off. Senior quarterback Peyton Bryan is a strong leader.

Consistency also was an issue for the Apaches in a 34-0 loss to Boerne last Thursday. Antonian never recovered after falling behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter.

Although the Apaches’ defense is not to be underestimated, the Bobcats have a chance to put an exclamation mark on their non-district season, heading into a bye week. 

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

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About Mike Considine (1262 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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