Imagine not having any affiliation with an area football team. You’re not obligated to follow one school and can hand-pick where you drive to every Friday night.
Ideally, you’d want to choose which game is the best each week. Well, I’ve made a travel list out for you in this blog to help you with that task.
It’s worth noting that a lot can change between now and the latter weeks of the season. A game could look enticing on paper in August and not be very exciting come October. Or vice versa.
A good reminder of that was the Vernon-Gainesville matchup last season. As this time in 2012, those teams were both coming off 2-8 seasons.
Little did we know, new coaches would orchestrate impressive turnarounds and that when they met Oct. 5, both were undefeated. That has the Gainesville-Vernon contest this year making the list, no doubt.
Here’s what I think is each week’s best game right now and some others that deserve honorable mentions:
Week 0: Abilene Cooper at Rider – These teams have played highly entertaining games the past two years. In 2011, Rider rallied from a 28-point deficit for the victory. Cooper won 43-36 in a wild shootout a year ago.
Honorable mentions: Hirschi at Bowie (This is where I’ll be and I find it an interesting matchup); Munday at Windthorst; Callisburg at Henrietta.
Week 1: Eastland at Jacksboro – The Tigers won every home game last year, but Eastland comes to town as a 2A Division I powerhouse that took last year’s meeting by 36 points. This will be a superb test for a Jacksboro team which could be very good this year.
Honorable mentions: Denton Ryan-Rider is a Thursday so I recommend seeing two games this week. WFHS at Burkburnett (a good gauge to see where each team is at); Brownwood at Graham; Holliday at Windthorst; Munday at Stamford.
Week 2: Abilene Wylie at Graham – Man, this game really excites me right now. These ranked teams combined for three losses last year and it’s almost always a pretty good matchup. When in doubt, go with the home team.
Honorable mentions: This is a very good week. Hirschi-Holliday, Henrietta-Bowie and Windthorst-City View are good area matchups. And if you want to drive more than three hours, Rider at Amarillo shouldn’t disappoint.
Week 3: Henrietta at Quanah – Maybe I’m choosing this one because last year’s 37-35 Quanah win was so exciting. It should be a competitive game again and I can bet the Bearcats don’t spot the Indians 28 points this time around.
Honorable mentions: Holliday at Vernon (A really good game last year and not a bad alternative), Seymour at City View.
Week 4: Holliday at Munday – I’m not sure what to think about this game, although I can see the Eagles really wanting to make a statement after last year’s 42-point loss. But they still have to block and tackle L.J. Collier.
Honorable mentions: Both 5-4A openers have intrigue (Rider-Nelson and WFHS-Brewer). A couple games a decent drive away should also be good (Bowie at Boyd; Jacksboro at Lindsay).
Week 5: Gainesville at Vernon – Not only should this be a battle of two really good teams (they were both undefeated when they met last year), but Gainesville’s Keith Hall gets to return to the Vernon sidelines where he won lots and lots of times.
Honorable mentions: River Road at Iowa Park (the debut of the Hawks’ renovated stadium) isn’t a bad alternative. Wellington-Quanah and Seymour-Stamford are alluring in Class A, too.
Week 6: Graham at Vernon – A second straight Friday trip to Wilbarger County? Most definitely, especially after 2012’s exciting 34-24 Graham win. It’s likely to decide the 5-3A title again.
Honorable mentions: Hirschi at Burkburnett is another big 5-3A tilt. Lake Dallas at Rider could mean a lot in 5-4A and Holliday-Henrietta is one of the area’s best rivalries. Notre Dame-N. Central Texas Academy is the best matchup in our area’s TAPPS district.
Week 7: Whitesboro at Bowie – It could be a really big game in 5-2A Division I for the Jackrabbits. And you’ll be able to check out one of 2A’s best tailbacks in Collin Kilcrease.
Honorable mentions: Thought about going with Throckmorton-Crowell in the top spot. It’ll feature the area’s best two 6-man teams. Windthorst at Seymour is a big 3-A matchup. A couple 2A games (Nocona-City View and Henrietta-Jacksboro) will also impact races.
Week 8: Denton Guyer at Rider – What’s not to like? The two best teams in 5-4A? Check. Both ranked in the top 10? Check. Probably Class 4A’s best player in the state in QB Jerrod Heard? Double check.
Honorable mentions: I’ll most likely be at Seymour-Quanah and this would be the top game for a couple of these weeks. It was an overtime thriller in 2012 and shouldn’t disappoint with QBs Zach Barton and Clay Robertson airing it out. Hirschi-Iowa Park is a big one and Muenster-Munday, too.
Week 9: Iowa Park at Burkburnett – It’s usually a close game. It could decide a playoff spot, although every team should be alive heading into the final week (unless Hirschi, which has the Week 10 bye, goes 0-4 – which I don’t think is happening). I’m expecting both to be improved this season.
Honorable mentions: Not that great of a week. Nocona-Jacksboro was for the district title in 2012, but I’d be really surprised if that’s the case again. Bowie at Pilot Point could be important.
Week 10: Jacksboro at Holliday – When we get this far into the season, the game I want to be at has to mean something. Either a district title or a playoff spot. Maybe this won’t be for the 5-2A Division II crown, but there’s at least a decent chance it is.
Honorable mentions: WFHS-Rider will draw the biggest crowd of any game in this area. But I’m not sure it will have anything on the line. Windthorst-Quanah and Henrietta-Nocona could have seeding implications. Electra-Munday deserves mention as well.