# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
#8 Burbank (4-4, 3-3) vs. #9 Harlandale (4-4, 3-3) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
This isn’t a must-win game for either team and no playoffs are at stake – yet – but whoever wins is going to have a much better scenario in the final week of the District 28-5A season.
Currently, Burbank and Harlandale are tied for third place with Edison. However, the Golden Bears hold the tie-breaker advantage over both, so they’re playing for control over the fourth playoff spot.
It will be a battle of contrasting styles, with Burbank trying to slow the game down and control the ball. Harlandale will want to establish the run early, so it can open up the passing lanes for junior quarterback Jacob Delgado.
The equalizer, though, may be that both Burbank quarterback Daniel Tello and running back Rubyn Salazar are capable of breaking big gains.
Both teams need to show more consistent effort for four quarters than they did last week. Burbank lost a shootout 37-35 to Edison. District leader Sam Houston defeated Harlandale 37-14.
The Indians have won the last 10 games in the series. Burbank last won in 1975.
Series leader (record): Harlandale (17-5-1). 2013 score: Harlandale 48, Burbank 6. 2014 favorite: Burbank.
Corpus Christi King (6-2, 2-1) at #5 East Central (4-4, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.
So far, the only thing District 28-6A observers have been able to count on is their uncertainty. Southwest’s blowout win against Corpus Christi Ray Thursday muddied the waters even further – although the Dragons increasingly are looking like the team to beat.
Befort that game, East Central and Southwest were deadlocked with Corpus Christi’s King and Carroll in a four-way tie for first place.
Earlier this season, King and Carroll, respectively, had looked like the 28-6A favorites. East Central dinged Carroll’s hopes with a 50-49 win, then stumbled against Southwest.
The Hornets bounced back impressively, smashing Ray 40-18 last Friday.
In this battle of big-play offenses, the key might be which team ends up with more. East Central did so against Ray, getting the ball to playmaker Wanya Ward for three touchdowns – two of which covered more than 60 yards.
Hornets junior quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He’s gaining consistency as the season goes along and East Central’s offense should follow.
The ground game may have gained a back to complement Jauwan Hall (with Javion Polk focusing on defense) last week. Cody Nuckols ran for 77 yards on nine attempts.
Corpus Christi King is the only team to defeat Southwest in district play, winning 33-21 Oct. 10, but the Mustangs are coming off a 26-21 loss to Carroll last Friday.
King has a breakaway back in Tristian Price (1,202 rushing yards) and a solid quarterback in Spencer Manual. The Mustangs have averaged more than 36 points a game, while allowing 15. (East Central has scored 35 and given up 31.3 over the last four games).
Carroll outscored King 12-7 in the second half and limited the Mustangs to 53 passing yards. Their average is 96 yards per game. Price ran for 146.
The Mustangs never have defeated East Central in the series, but this is their best team in several seasons and the chance exists. Based on their scores against Southwest, King would be the favorite. Based on their scores against Carroll, it’s East Central. It could go either way.
The winner clinches a playoff spot. For East Central to be in that position, it likely will have to win the fourth quarter, as it did against Carroll.
Series leader (record): East Central (8-0). 2013 score: East Central 27, Corpus Christi King 20. 2014 favorite: Corpus Christi King.
#1 Holy Cross (6-1, 4-0) at Austin Regents (7-1, 4-0), 7 p.m.
Holy Cross dropped this game last year, but got a second chance and ended up tying Regents for the TAPPS 3-II title.
This game is likely to decide the title again and the Knights will be aiming for revenge.
Holy Cross has won its last five games and outscored its four district opponents by a 120-21 margin.
As senior back Greg Scott goes, so goes the Knights’ offense. Scott has rushed for 1,071 yards and 12 touchdowns in his secon
Nazario Coleman was back in action at quarterback last Saturday as Holy Cross crushed Corpus Christi John Paul II 56-0. Sophomore Steven Gutierrez performed well in his absence, so the Knights are solid at the position despite losing senior Cisco Flores to injury in Week 2.
Steven Villela and T.J. Dennie both are capable receivers.
Regents is led by senior back Will Zudock, who has scored 15 touchdowns and rushed for 1,025 yards. Zudock has 11 rushing touchdowns to his credit.
The Regents Knights have a balanced attack, however. Quarterback Jace Franklin has passed for 1,405 yards. Their leading receivers are Zach Bolke (613 yards), Ben Bowers (324) and Zudock (255).
Regents has outscored its opponents 180-30, having been challenged by Austin Hyde Park Baptist in a 35-23 win. Holy Cross will wrap up its district season next Saturday against Hyde Park at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.
Avoiding turnovers and three-and-outs will be keys for Holy Cross. Those were the problem areas in its lone loss to Antonian. If the Knights defense doesn’t have to cope with short fields and Scott can keep the chains moving, Holy Cross has to like its chances – even against a tough opponent.
Series leader (record): unknown. 2013 score: Austin Regents 35, Holy Cross 28. 2014 favorite: Holy Cross.
#2 Southside (7-1, 4-1) at Uvalde (7-1, 4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Not only did Southside get a second chance at first place last week, it learned that Uvalde was vulnerable. The Coyotes were handed their first loss (44-39) by co-29-6A leader Somerset, whom the Cardinals previously had beaten.
On the down side, Uvalde is likely to do all it can to avoid a second loss and it has homefield advantage.
The Coyotes had a narrow escape in their last home game, a 21-15 win over Laredo Nixon Oct. 17, and they appear to have slipped a bit from the early season.
Southside may have as well, after losing quarterback Jonny Trevino to injury. Last Friday’s 35-14 win over Medina Valley, however, seemed to be a statement that the Cardinals had plenty left in the tank to finish their quest for the district title.
Senior quarterback Brandon Herrera appears to be growing into the job that he hadn’t performed since last season. Herrera ran for 170 yards against the Panthers, including an 88-yard scoring run.
He complimented Matt Collier’s best performance (302 yards) in an outstanding sophomore season. Collier now has 1,311 rushing yards and no longer can be considered Southside’s outside running threat.
Herrera threw the ball relatively effectively. If the Coyotes’ defense can keep him and Collier from getting outside the tackles, he might be asked to throw a little more often on first and third downs.
Uvalde also is more reliant on the run than pass, passing mostly in play-action situations. Southside’s defense won’t have the luxury of beefing up its pass rush and selling out to stop throws as it did in the second half against Medina Valley.
The Coyotes mustered 243 rushing yards against Somerset, 138 from back McRae Rutledge and 89 from quarterback Elias Garza. Garza threw for 157 yards and has capable receivers in Hondo Sanchez and Trae Garcia.
Garza began the season as the backup to second-year starter Jerry Almaraz (899 rushing yards), so as long as the Cardinals keep their coverages tight, they may want to pick their spots to pressure the junior. They also have freshman interception machine Johnny Herrera to fall back on.
If the poised Almaraz plays, Uvalde’s chances are considerably better. The Cardinals will need to avoid turnovers, which helped Laredo Martin defeat them two weeks ago.
Southside will finish its district season next Friday at home against fourth-place Laredo Cigarroa. The Cardinals haven’t won in this series since 2007.
Series leader (record): Uvalde (12-2). 2013 score: Uvalde 45, Southside 14. 2014 favorite: Southside.