# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
#14 Highlands (0-5, 0-3) vs. #5 Sam Houston (4-2, 4-0) at Alamo Stadium, 7 p.m.
Both teams have improved throughout the season, but that improvement is much more visible with Sam Houston, for obvious reasons.
For a Highlands team making strides toward its first 2014 victory, this is hardly an ideal matchup.
The Hurricanes handled the pressure of their first-place showdown with Brackenridge last Friday spectacularly. They scored the first 20 points on the way to a 40-25 win.
It’s probably too much for Highlands to hope for a Sam Houston letdown. If the Owls are going to win, they’ll likely have to earn it.
In order for that to happen, De-Morriay Richardson-Jackson will have to produce and Quindon Boston needs to go over 100 rushing yards, as he regularly has this season.
Highlands unveiled a speedy sophomore receiver Darius Prescott last Thursday in a 28-24 loss to Lanier. Prescott will need to be targeted by John Cervantes, who had one of his best passing nights against the Voks, throwing for 130 yards.
The Owls hasn’t had turnover problems, but they’ll have to avoid the penalties and mental mistakes that helped them come up short against Lanier.
As if Sam Houston wasn’t dangerous enough before, the Hurricanes scored two special-teams touchdowns against Brackenridge. One came from a blocked punt and the other, late in the game, when an onside kick took a friendly bounce.
The main challenge the Hurricanes will throw at is a steady defense, which shut out McCollum Sept. 19.
Receivers Jawon Anderson and DeWayne Brown, who also has taken pressure off Devin Harris as a ballcarrier, have helped Sam Houston develop a deep threat. Quarterback Raymonte Prime continues to perform at a high level.
Highlands won the last game in this series, which hasn’t been contested since 1999. Sam Houston holds the upper hand, having won nine in a row between 1984 and 1992.
Series leader (record): Sam Houston (24-16-2). 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: Sam Houston.