# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
#5 East Central (3-4, 1-1) vs. Corpus Christi Ray (6-1, 1-1) at Buccaneer Stadium, Corpus Christi, 7 p.m.
East Central needs to get off the roller coaster it has been on.
The Hornets took down preseason District 28-6A favorite Corpus Christi Carroll in a shootout two weeks ago, but their offense was grounded last Friday by Southwest until late in the game. The Dragons won 34-16, holding East Central to just 100 rushing yards.
Re-establishing the ground game behind Jauwan Hall will be vital, so that quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza can utilize more play action. A key for the Dragons was limiting East Central’s big plays, in part by keeping the ball out of Wanya Ward’s hands.
In the 50-49 win over Carroll, East Central had its best offensive game of the season, so expect a full recovery. How the defense will fare after surrendering 426 rushing yards to Southwest is less certain.
Ray has adapted well to the upgrade from Class 4A to 6A. Like its fellow Corpus Christi schools, it is capable of putting a lot of points on the board. Defense had seemed to be the Texans’ strength, though.
The Texans allowed 7.2 points a game in its non-district schedule.
However, Carroll blitzed then-undefeated Ray 62-42 last Friday. The Tigers outscored the Texans 20-7 in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game.
Ray actually outgained its rival 570-547.
Back Tristan Barrera carried the ball 37 times for 247 yards, so he will be a target for the Hornets. Armando Garza passed for 196 yards, 113 of which went to Carlos Montano on six receptions.
Carroll forced five Ray fumbles and recovered four, so East Central will need to be opportunistic.
Series leader (record): unknown. 2013 score: did not play. 2014 favorite: East Central.