Brackenridge (6-3, 4-1) vs. Highlands (4-5, 2-3) at SAISD Sports Complex, 7:30 p.m.
Brackenridge, undoubtedly, would like to win to take some momentum into the playoffs. Highlands needs to win.
The Owls are tied for fourth in District 29-4A with Burbank. The Bulldogs defeated Highlands in their head-to-head meeting, however. So for Highlands to make its second-consecutive playoff appearance, a win alone won’t do the trick. Burbank also has to lose to Lanier on Saturday for Highlands to claim the fourth playoff spot.
As if that weren’t complicated enough, Brackenridge will pose a formidable challenge for the Owls, even though standout quarterback Ramon Richards is expected to miss the game because of a concussion.
Richards was hurt last Friday in Brack’s 23-14 win over Lanier. Sophomore Antonio Lopez stepped in and did an admirable job, throwing for 171 yards. The Eagles may not be quite as explosive without Richards, but back Trey Mathis and receivers like Romonique Anthony and Marco Marble will keep them dangerous.
Brackenridge will look for more production from Mathis, who was limited to 52 rushing yards by Lanier.
Highlands has adapted to life without standout quarterback Jordan DeLuna. The Owls took to the air regularly for the first time since DeLuna was injured. Junior John Cervantes threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Edison last Saturday.
That victory indicated that Highlands can make this a tight game against Brackenridge and has the capability of winning.
The Owls will need to establish its ground game with Quindon Boston and De-Morriay Richardson to take pressure off Cervantes and allow him to find Xavier Long and his other receivers.
It has been a very competitive series. Highlands has a 13-11 lead in the series, which began with a playoff game in 1962. The Owls’ most-recent win was in 2003, but it’s worth noting that the teams have only played twice since. 2012 score: Brackenridge 42, Highlands 17.
Central Catholic (4-5, 2-2) at Brownsville St. Joseph (5-4, 2-2), 6 p.m.
No one would have expected these teams to be tied at this stage of the season.
The long trip to Brownsville may make this seem like a playoff atmosphere Central Catholic, which may be exactly what the Buttons need. They will make the playoffs regardless of the outcome, but there’s something to be said for going in with a head of steam.
The Buttons had a two-game winning streak before running into TAPPS District 2-I leader Antonian last Friday. The Apaches won 40-14.
Joseph Nava and Jacob Rodriguez ran the ball well for the Buttons, although it wasn’t reflected in the team’s 171-yard rushing total largely because of a 32-yard loss on one play. Antonian outgained Central Catholic 362-141 on the ground, with Apaches back Daniel Rosenfeld accounting for 309 rushing yards.
Bigger numbers in the passing game will be appreciated after throwing for just 129 yards against Antonian. A key factor against St. Joseph will be coming out on top in the number of big gains (20 yards or more).
The Bloodhounds tend to prefer a shootout, while Central Catholic’s style favors a defensive-oriented contest. St. Joseph defeated Corpus Christi John Paul II 73-14 last Saturday, giving up the Corpus school’s first touchdown of the season.
St. Joseph has scored 170 points (42.5 average) in four district games. The Bloodhounds have allowed 165 defensively (41.3 average). They lost 48-21 to Austin St. Michael’s and 55-14 to Antonian, which indicates they could be compeititive with the Buttons. 2012 score: Central Catholic 61, Brownsville St. Joseph 30.
Corpus Christi King (3-6, 1-3) at East Central (4-5, 2-2), 7:30 p.m.
East Central has won all seven games in the series and can assure itself of a spot in the playoffs by extending that streak.
A loss could generate the same result, but only if Corpus Christi Carroll also loses. That’s where the Hornets’ 31-28 win over Carroll, which is tied for third in District 28-5A with East Central, could be a lifesaver.
King has been a bit up-and-down during the district season, but will be competitive with the Hornets. The Mustangs are coming off a 14-9 loss to second-place Southwest last Friday.
Quarterback Bronze Jackson can hit the deep pass for King and running back Daveion Boyer is solid.
East Central is coming off its best game, and first shutout, of the season and should have reinforcements available. Running back Javion Polk and receiver Wanya Ward are key offensive weapons who were injured for the Hornets’ 50-0 win last Friday at South San.
In their absence, Quarterback Jeremy Jones had his best offensive day, throwing for an efficient 116 yards and matching that total in rushing yards. Back Johnathan Jackson emerged as a receiver out of the backfield while rushing for 145 yards.
Defensively, the Hornets were spectacular, limiting the Bobcats to 59 total yards. 2012 score: East Central 40, Corpus Christi King 10.
Floresville (7-2, 5-1) at Southside (1-8, 1-5), 7 p.m.
Southside has the momentum from its first win behind it, but finishing the season with a winning streak will be a lot to ask of the resurgent Cardinals.
They have reinvented themselves as a defensive-oriented team, allowing 28 combined points to Harlandale and McCollum the last two weeks. Southside beat McCollum 10-7 last Friday.
Keeping District 28-5A co-leader Floresville, which shares first with Uvalde, in check will be a tougher assignment. The Tigers lost their top rusher, Gilbert Ortiz, to an injury a few weeks ago but have been able to get enough offense to feed a winning streak that stands at four games.
Quarterback Kobe Wilkerson has provided leadership and ran 69 yards for the only touchdown in a 7-0 win over Kennedy last week. Kyle Bippert and Alex Mermea split the remaining ballcarrying responsibilities as the Tigers ran for 169 yards and kept the Rockets to 196.
Southside had a solid ground game against McCollum with Omar Guadarrama and Timmy Rodriguez sharing the load. To beat Floresville, Cardinals quarterback Johnny Trevino needs to have a good game through the air.
Turnovers have plagued the Cardinals all year. They survived two against the Cowboys. Southside will need to be turnover-free to have a chamce against Floresville.
Floresville leads the series 18-5. The Cardinals’ last win was in 2009, 18-15. 2012 score:Floresville 28, Southside 7.
Holy Cross (6-3, 5-1) at Austin Hyde Park Baptist (9-0, 6-0), 7:30 p.m.
When Holy Cross lost to Austin Regents Oct. 11, the Knights couldn’t be sure they’d have a chance to defend their TAPPS District 3-II title, but that’s exactly what they’ll get tonight against district-leading Austin Hyde Park Baptist.
If the Knights are able to upend the Panthers on their home field, the teams will share first place. Holy Cross won the championship outright in 2012.
Since then, Holy Cross has won two shutouts by a combined 96 points. Hyde Park beat Regents 27-24 two weeks ago after the Knights lost 35-28 the previous week. So, expect a close game with both teams probably scoring in the 20s.
Holy Cross will need to establish its 1-2 punch on the ground with Greg Scott (1,265 rushing yards) and quarterback Cisco Flores (826 yards). Flores will need to get the ball to senior Greg Kelly and avoid interceptions.
The Knights’ defense has something to prove, coming off back-to-back shutouts. It has dominated weaker teams all year, but has seemed to surrender a few more points than would be comfortable against the more potent offenses, like Hyde Park’s.
The strength of the Panthers’ attack is a bevy of ballcarriers, including Jackson Effiom, Garrett Gibbons, Dustin Quigley and Deshawn Phelps. Undefeated Hyde Park Baptist has scored 50 or more points in four games. 2012 score: Holy Cross 14, Austin Hyde Park Baptist 7.
McCollum (3-6, 1-5) vs. Harlandale (7-2, 4-2) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
The intrigue surrounding the 50th annual Frontier Bowl has kept local TV stations buzzing all week – and there’s plenty to go around.
Will Brandon Ramon lead Harlandale back to the playoffs in potentially his final game at Harlandale Memorial Stadium? Can McCollum spring the upset and even the all-time series? Will the Indians play like it did in the non-district season? Will Cowboys quarterback Ralph Leal be able to play at all?
Let’s be honest. A case can be made that both of these teams peaked a few weeks ago, but don’t worry too much about that. It won’t matter at all once the ball is kicked off Friday night.
It has been a crazy year in District 29-4A, so don’t be surprised if the ending turns out to be chaotic, too.
Harlandale, which was ranked in one statewide poll’s top 30 earlier in the year, has lost two of its last four games and been outscored 48-42 in the last two. Now they must win to make the playoffs.
Still, the Indians have two proven playmakers on their side: Ramon, who will almost certainly exceed 2,00 passing yards in the game, and Ruben Zavala, who has six interceptions.
Ramon completed 23 of 46 passes for 252 yards last Friday in a 34-21 loss to Uvalde, but he also threw an uncharacteristic three interceptions. On the plus side, Ian Martinez and Eddie Pedroza combined for 18 catches. Steady second-year starter Nick Martinez ran for 113 yards and can catch the ball out of the backfield.
Playing without Leal, McCollum fell victim to Southside’s first win (10-7) and tumbled out of playoff contention. But this game can make the Cowboys’ season if first-year coach Juan Hinojosa finishes it with a win.
For that to happen, most likely McCollum will have to make some trick plays work – with or without Leal.
If Leal is back under center, though, McCollum’s chances increase expotentially. In his second year as a starting quarterback,
Leal has proven himself as both a runner and a passer. The Cowboys will need a big night from sophomore back Mike Ramirez, who has big-play capability, whether carrying or catching the ball. He ran for 113 and had 44 receiving yards against the Cardinals.
Harlandale leads the series 24-23-2, a fact seemingly everyone is aware of. McCollum had won five of the previous six before the Indians captured last year’s thriller. 2012 score: Harlandale 43, McCollum 36.
Memorial (3-6, 1-5) vs. Kennedy (6-3, 3-3) at Frank Mata Stadium, 7 p.m.
Much like the Frontier Bowl, there’s a lot riding on this year’s Salsa Bowl.
For Kennedy, District 29-4A’s second-most surprising team (next to Uvalde), this is a must-win. But the Rockets also will be rooting for McCollum, because unless the Cowboys upset Harlandale, Kennedy will miss the playoffs for the fourth-consecutive year.
For Memorial, it is an opportunity to pull off a surprising win, as it did against Pearsall and Lytle in the non-district season. More importantly, it can be a springboard for the Minutemen to a very promising 2014 season.
That’s enough to make this the most intriguing Salsa Bowl in several years.
Kennedy, and particularly it’s opportunistic defense, showed it’s equal to the challenge last Friday in a 7-0 loss at playoff-bound Floresville. Senior leader Matthew Avalos had his best performance in a big game this year, rushing for 113 yards to put him at 1,314 for the season.
The Rockets will also want to get the ball to playmaker Matthew Guzman.
Memorial was close to opening the 29-4A season with a 2-0 record, before McCollum nipped it by one with a late rally Oct. 3. With apologies to Barry Manilow, the Minutemen have looked high and low trying to get that feeling again in the games since.
A lot will rest on the shoulders of Memorial’s big three offensive weapons (quarterback Alfred Ramos, back Raul Rangel and receiver Manases Cano). Even more will depend on the Minutemen’s defense, which has had its moments this year.
Memorial cannot afford to let Avalos and Kennedy dominate the time of possession – even though it may have more big-play capability. The more the Rockets pass, the better the Minutemen’s chances become.
Kennedy leads the series 33-12. Memorial’s last win was in 1999. 2012 score: Kennedy 34, Memorial 27.
Sam Houston (1-8, 0-3) at Poteet (1-8, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Neither of these teams has won a District 28-3A game yet, but tonight’s winner will clinch a playoff berth. The winner will finish fourth in the district.
Sam Houston seems to be a bit stronger, based on score comparisons with their common district opponents. The Hurricanes also have the revenge factor on their side, after Poteet won by four last year in San Antonio.
The Hurricanes had been very competitive against Pleasanton and Somerset, but lost 39-0 to district-leading La Vernia last Saturday. Of course, the Bears defeated Poteet 70-0 a week earlier.
An injury to quarterback Raymonte Prime limited Sam Houston’s ability to exploit its speed with the deep passing game. The Hurricanes also will need to re-establish running back Erin Mack, who is capable of breakaway runs.
Speed gives Sam Houston a big advantage over Poteet, but the Hurricanes also need to win the battle on the lines.
The Aggies are led by senior running back Derrick Santos.2012 score: Poteet 23, Sam Houston 19.
South San (2-7, 0-4) vs. Corpus Christi Carroll (3-6, 2-2) at Cabaniss Stadium, Corpus Christi, 7:30 p.m.
South San resembled a different team offensively last Friday in a 50-0 loss to East Central. The Bobcats were without starting quarterback Darren Tinajero and back Christian Morales, who is out for the season.
With the experience backs Justin Acosta and Jonathan Gonzalez gained, they should be more productive against Carroll Friday in a District 28-5A game.
Tinajero is expected to return as an understudy to quarterback Isiah Gutierrez, who made his first start. As a tandem, they’ll need to find a way to get the ball to Bobcats standout receiver Juan Zamarripa.
The main objective for South San coach Marcus Booker against the Tigers is to cut the turnovers down, or out
Carroll is led by quarterback Jesse Jones, a run-pass threat. Neil Campbell has stepped forward as a featured back.
The Tigers have been somewhat inconsistent this season, but will have plenty of motivation Friday. If the Tigers win, they’ll qualify for theplayoffs. South San will be looking for its first district win since Oct. 29, 2010. 2012 score: Corpus Christi Carroll 20, South San 15.
Steele (8-1, 4-0) at Southwest (5-4, 3-1), 7:30 p.m.
For Southwest, this meeting against District 28-5A leader Steele is for fun and experience heading into the playoffs. The Dragons qualified last week, taking the pressure off them as they pursue a share of first place.
The first requirement for the Dragons to make things interesting will be a big game from senior back Nathaniel Scott. Secondly, quarterback Bowen Crisp will need to be efficient with his passes, as he was last week versus Corpus Christi King, to keep the Knights from stacking the box. The third priority is to avoid turnovers.
The Dragons had scored 112 points in their first three district games. King was able to slow them down in a 14-9 defensive battle. Scott ran for 181 yards, which has been a more or less typical outing for him. Jon Cruz added a career-high 152 rushing yards.
Steele keeps rolling as its looking for a second-consecutive 28-5A championship.
The Knights are led by all-state candidate Justin Stockton, who is committed to Texas Tech. Stockton has run for 1,268 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns. Quarterback L.G. Williams is Steele’s No. 2 rusher and has passed for 1,062 yards.
The Knights have won four games in the last five years in the series. The Dragons’ lone victory came in 2009. 2012 score: Steele 42, Southwest 14.