# – denotes current San Antonio South Side Sports area ranking
Austin St. Michael’s (4-5, 3-1) at #7 Central Catholic (6-3, 3-1), 7:30 p.m.
It may not make sense geographically that this is a rivalry, but it is one and the fact that they’re tied for second in TAPPS 2-I only adds fuel to the fire. So does San Antonio Christian’s 17-14 loss to Antonian, because that means first place might not be out of reach if the Apaches don’t travel well to Brownsville St. Joseph.
That’s a bit of a reach, though. However, the winner can put some subtle pressure on Antonian.
Central Catholic and St. Michael’s both seem to have found some stability in district play after riding the roller coaster previously. They’ve also both qualified for the playoffs.
The Buttons seem to be playing their best football of the season after beating San Antonio Christian by 13 and stomping St. Joseph 44-8 in the last two weeks. Central Catholic compiled 532 total yards in that win last Friday.
Central Catholic quarterback Joseph Nava threw for 159 yards on 24 attempts and ran for a team-high 88 yards.
In addition to Nava, Jimin Suh, Thomas Palomera and Caleb Salinas all ran for at least 72 yards.
Troy Lozano was the top receiver with 78 yards on four catches, but Nava has no shortage of receivers to throw to.
Defensively, the Buttons limited St. Joseph’s spread offense to 132 yards.
Austin St. Michael’s blitzed St. Anthony’s 46-8 last Friday.
De’Sean Johnson ran for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 16 attempts against the Yellowjackets. Those touchdowns included scoring runs of 57 and 84 yards.
John Albert Mansour has emerged as the Crusaders quarterback. Mansour threw for 151 yards and ran for 61 last week. He threw to seven receivers. Marcus Whipper led with three catches for 52 yards.
Like the Buttons, St. Michael’s has a solid field-goal kicker. It may come down to three points late in the game.
Series leader (record): unknown. 2013 score: Austin St. Michael’s 28, Central Catholic 17. 2014 favorite: Central Catholic.
Corpus Christi Carroll (8-1, 3-1) at #3 Southwest (5-4, 3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Each team takes a three-game winning streak into the game and has a chance to leave it with a share of first place.
No District 28-6A team is likely to win an outright title, not after four teams shared the lead last week. We’re down to three now, so we’re looking at a co-championship on the line at Southwest.
The key for the Dragons in district season has been the emergence of its defense. Southwest limited an explosive Corpus Christi Ray team to 177 total yards last week.
The unit will need to be at its best against a Carroll team that has scored 40 or more points in seven games. The Tigers did it again last Friday, defeating South San 58-20.
The Bobcats actually gained 292 total yards, so that bodes well for the Dragons’ increasingly high-powered offense. Southwest roared to an eye-opening 61-7 win over Corpus Christi Ray last Thursday in Corpus Christi.
It was the second time Southwest had topped the 40-point mark.
The Texans seemed to key on sophomore back Tyrone Middleton, but Jon Cruz (183 yards, 3 touchdowns) and classmate John Blaz (115 yards, 4 carries) both went over the 100-yard mark. It was a first for Blaz.
The three-headed monster should cause problems for a Carroll team that prefers to outscore opponents.
Southwest likely will try to slow down the Tigers as much as possible behind its strong offensive line and pick its spots for senior quarterback Bowen Crisp to exploit their secondary. It’s an encouraging sign, though, that East Central was able to beat Carroll in the scoring war in the first week of the season.
How fully Carroll has recovered from that loss might be worth debating.
Nonetheless, quarterback Jesse Jones (159 passing yards vs. South San) and back Noah Lisk (133 yards, 12 carries) are formidable weapons. Receiver David Segura had 93 yards and two touchdowns against the Bobcats.
Carroll won in 2013, but the Dragons had won the previous two games in the series.
Series leader (record): Southwest (6-3). 2013 score: Corpus Christi Carroll 42, Southwest 35. 2014 favorite: Southwest.
#8 Harlandale (5-4, 4-3) vs. #14 McCollum (2-7, 2-5) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
When all the math was done, it turned out that Harlandale’s 28-27 win over Burbank last Friday accomplished all the Indians needed to for its third playoff appearance in five years – even though they remain tied with Edison for third place.
So, Harlandale now can relax and focus on the game in a rivalry known for crazy things happening and favorites occasionally stumbling.
McCollum seems to have righted its ship after nearly landing on the rocks in midseason. This is the Cowboys’ de facto playoff game.
The triumvirate of Ralph Vidal, Mike Ramirez and Jeff Valdez makes the Cowboys dangerous. They also are capable of causing problems on defense and special teams.
The key for Harlandale offensively is for junior quarterback Jacob Delgado to stay under control and make good decisions on longer routes.
The Indians’ offensive line is capable of dominating the game and senior back John Aguirre can move the chains consistently. That may be enough, as long as the defense isn’t having to defend Vidal and Ramirez on short fields.
The Indians have won the last two games in the series. McCollum had won five of the previous six.
Series leader (record): Harlandale (25-23-2). 2013 score: Harlandale 27, McCollum 17. 2014 favorite: Harlandale.
#12 Jefferson (3-6, 3-4) vs. #9 Edison (4-5, 4-3) at Alamo Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Edison needs to win this rivalry game to make its playoff plans. Jefferson, looking to bounce back after missing the postseason in 2013, needs to win as big as possible and cross its fingers.
That’s it in a nutshell, but nothing about the District 28-5A playoff possibilities is cut and dried – except that which involves Harlandale (and I’m still not sure quite how the Indians clinched, really, even though the math tells me they did).
More specifically, the Mustangs need to win by at least six points as long as Harlandale and Burbank both win tonight.
If both of those teams loses, it actually gets harder for Jefferson to make the cut. They’d have to win by 10 or more under that scenario.
Edison also can advance with a loss, as long as Harlandale also loses and Burbank wins. If Harlandale and Burbank also loses, the Golden Bears’ golden parachute is to lose by less than nine to Jefferson.
It may be as simple for Edison as winning the second half, because that’s when the Mustangs have been at their best.
Behind senior quarterback Weston Redding and with its Flores power (back Jesse and receiver/back/kicker Eric), Jefferson has had an uncanny knack for coming back.
Edison needs to establish the run early and avoid turnovers. Those have been the Golden Bears’ chief vulnerabilities this season. A lot is going to rest on the shoulders of second-year starting quaterback Jonathan Hernandez, but he’s proven himself more than capable of handling the load.
Expect a high-scoring game in which both coaching staffs pull out all the stops.
Jefferson upset Edison for its first victory of the season in last year’s Tommy Bowl. The Mustangs have won four of the last five games in the rivalry.
Don’t overlook the revenge factor for the Golden Bears, whose last win was in 2010.
Series leader (record): Jefferson (24-22-1). 2013 score: Jefferson 28. Edison 22. 2014 favorite: Edison.
Kennedy (0-9, 0-7) vs. Memorial (0-9, 0-7) at Edgewood Veterans Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Basically, this is the season for both combatants.
It’ll be hard for either Kennedy or Memorial to look it any other way after each has taken its lumps in District 27-5A.
Kennedy, which has controlled the series for several seasons, has been led by back Nicholas Gonzalez (633 rushing yards) and junior quarterback Eric Lira (529 passing yards).
In a 56-13 loss to Seguin last Friday, Lira completed 17 of 30 passes for a respectable 156 yards. Gonzalez ran for 103 on 27 carries.
The Rockets’ top receivers were Zachary Flores (54 yards, 5 catches) – who caught a 24-yard touchdown pass – Alfredo Jimenez (47 yards, 6 receptions) and Jose Flores (48 yards, 5 receptions).
If Memorial is to win, senior quarterback Alfred Ramos likely will lead the way. The third-year starter has thrown for 1,216 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
Ramos’ primary targets have been Greg Rosmond (471 receiving yards) and defensive standout Jose Pargas (400 yards). Jacob Martinez leads the Minutemen with 255 rushing yards.
Memorial is coming off a 54-14 loss to Kerrville Tivy. The Minutemen also put up a solid offensive showing with 299 total yards, with Ramos completing 14 of 26 for 186 yards without an interception.
Basketball standout Bryan Obregon emerged as a weapon with 100 yards on two catches, both for touchdowns. Carlos Conde ran for 63 yards on just seven carries.
Kennedy put up 300 total yards against the Matadors and only coughed up one turnover. The Rockets’ key will be its ability to control the ball, in order for Lira to work in play-action situations and avoid third-and-longs.
The Minutemen also will need to establish a ground game, but Ramos is capable of producing big plays with his arm – as long as he has the protection.
Memorial has not won in the series since 1999.
Series leader (record): Kennedy (34-12). 2013 score: Kennedy 54, Memorial 33. 2014 favorite: Memorial.
#5 East Central (5-4, 3-1) at #11 South San (2-7, 0-4), 7 p.m.
East Central has a chance to win its first district title since 2011, sharing it with the winner of the Southwest-Corpus Christi Carroll game.
The Bobcats have lost their last seven games, after winning the first two, so they would like to play spoilers and finish the season on a high note.
The Hornets have won two in a row, including an important 24-15 victory over Corpus Christi King last Friday. East Central outgained the potent Mustangs offense 418-349 in total offense.
Although the game was somewhat close, the Hornets scored the first 17 points and were in control throughout. They will want a repeat performance against a South San defense that can produce big plays. The Bobcats are at their best when they can control the ball and keep the score low.
The Hornets unveiled a new offensive wrinkle against King, with receiver Wanya Ward carrying the ball eight times for 84 yards. Ward complemented a 102-yard rushing game from Jauwan Hall, while catching a pair of passes for 69 yards.
East Central’s offense has developed as quarterback Justin Upshaw-Mendoza has grown into the position. A run-pass threat, Upshaw-Mendoza threw for 205 yards last week.
The Bobcats unveiled a new quarterback last week, senior Johnnie Alvarado. Alvarado had a solid debutcompleting 12 of 18 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
Back Justin Acosta caught four passes for 114 yardes and two touchdowns. Tight end Jacob Villapadierna also caught four passes.
Willie Sanchez and Gilbert Carillo will need to build on their rushing performances, and Acosta will need to pick up a few more carries to give South San a chance against East Central’s increasingly stingy defense.
East Central has won the last seven games in the series. South San’s last win was in 1998.
Series leader (record): East Central (18-8). 2013 score: East Central 50, South San 0. 2014 favorite: East Central.