And then there were four…

There was a pretty impressive crowd on the home side Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. And Rider definitely gave the fans something to cheer about.

Since my main responsibility is covering the area teams, I don’t get to see the Raiders play very often. But I came away impressed.

And I came away wondering how the Raiders could actually give up 520 yards rushing the week before to EP Burges. That boggles my mind even more after watching their dominance a couple days ago.

Because the Rider defense against Frenship was superb. Real strong pass rush, too.

This may not be the most talented Rider team in the past few years (maybe so if J.T. Barrett was healthy), but I really feel like it’s the best. The Raiders have a lot of ways to beat you and can cause a lot of problems.

* I think Carlos Fleeks’ hurdling of a Frenship defender was pretty smooth. But I’d argue his 54-yard run late in the game in which he pulled off a spin move while someone tried dragging him to the ground and broke loose from a couple more tackles was the better run.

* Fleeks is in line for a huge senior year in 2013. Mark my words.

* Love House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Have no problems with more teams taking a chapter from the University of Wisconsin and blaring it out loud during a football game.

But I sure hope the Rider players give Garfield a hard time about his vertical jump. Because I have phonebooks that wouldn’t have been able to fit under his shoes.

* Love growing out facial hair. Have no problems growing out a beard; In fact, I haven’t been clean shaven in years. And I know for a fact Munday players have been giving coach Patrick Corcoran a hard time about his beard.

* I’m sure there isn’t much Dee Paul could do that would cause his teammates to be amazed. They’ve seen just about everything.

But Corcoran told me he wowed the team Saturday morning when they were watching the film of Paul’s 96-yard touchdown run against Albany. The video shows Paul is pretty smooth, but it doesn’t encapsulate just how many Lion defenders were swarming him.

* Am I surprised Graham won Region I-3A Division II? Not really. Once the Steers got past Glen Rose, I kinda thought they’d be the favorite.

They’re riding a hot quarterback right now in Ben Davis and they’re forcing enough turnovers to make the difference in tight games.

* The 2009 Graham state finalist team was really senior-heavy. Only one sophomore (Brian Sides) started.

One of the neat things about this year’s bunch is that it’s pretty evenly spread. The Steers have lots of strong seniors, but the leading rusher, passer, receiver and tackler will all be back next year. How many teams still playing can say that?

* I know it doesn’t change the fact that Nocona lost, but I know there were a lot of people in the Aledo pressbox (and presumably in the visitors stands) who came away from Mildred’s 45-35 win very impressed with the Indians and their moxie.

* I got the impression after talking to Tate Fenoglio Friday night that he wants to play college football. And while his size won’t catch the eyes of most colleges, a guy like Fenoglio deserves to have a shot.

* Too many big offensive plays by Mildred, which I believe will take down Sonora this week. But I think the Indians gave teams a blueprint on how to beat them – run the ball down their throats over and over again.

* I really think Throckmorton coach Mike Reed is a great coach (his record speaks for itself). But one of the area’s I think he is best at is mid-game adjustments.

It seems like often the Greyhounds will be tied after one quarter and then reel off 30 straight points in every big game. Down 24-14 versus Valley on Saturday, they scored 40 in a row. That’s hard to do against a good football team.

* Speaking of Throckmorton, it really has only two main seniors playing this season. Yes, the Hounds will miss Gary Farquhar and Levi Taylor a lot next year, but remember last year’s team lost key guys C.J. Hantz and Tucker Brown.

So basically if Throckmorton wins Saturday night, don’t write off the three-peat in 2013.

* It happens so rarely, so please excuse me while I brag a little about my picks last week, which all had the correct team winning. I had Rider coming out on top by 8 (they won by 26); Graham winning by 10 (it was 5); Nocona losing by 10 (unfortunately that was dead on); Munday by at least 28 (it was 43) and Throckmorton beating Valley by 16 (it was 12).

So what does this mean? That I’m a genius? Nope, not really. That I’m due to be off on every game this week? Yep, that’s right.