One week can provide some misnomers in high school football. Once two weeks are in the books, trends you can trust start occurring.
For example, is Team A really that good? Is Team B really going to pass the ball that much? You get the drift.
One thing I found interesting last week is the area produced only four 100-yard rushers and almost twice as many 100-yard receivers. That ratio is usually flipped.
Matchups impacted that stat somewhat. For example, if Electra had played its starters more than a half, I’m sure at least two guys would have broken the century mark. And five area guys finished with at least 95 yards but less than 100.
But it’s also possible we have less running teams and less impact rushers than a year ago. Unless I’m missing something, Vernon is the area’s only Wing-T team and no one runs the wishbone anymore. Just like in the NFL and college, with so many teams playing fast, there are fewer full-time running backs. Seymour, with Treston Shepherd, John Mitchelle and QB Zach Barton, have a lot of guys to spread around carries.
Making this week’s picks still can be tricky because you’re basically choosing sides based on last week only. I do believe we’ll see more games that are competitive this week. Week Zero featured some real blowouts.
Denton Ryan at Rider – Another exciting Rider game at Memorial? You can almost bet on it. Both teams looked sharp last week, with Ryan’s Tyrone Williams rushing for more than 200 yards against Corsicana. Rider’s defense should bounce back because it sounds like a couple starters could return and Ryan probably isn’t as dynamic offensively (it threw for 30 yards on 4-of-12 passing in Week Zero). In this battle of the Raiders, I could see either team winning. But I can’t pick against Rider twice in two weeks, not after that gutsy opening shootout win. Rider by a touchdown in a lower-scoring game.
WFHS at Burkburnett – This seems like a toss-up. The Coyotes made a few plays against Granbury, but also too many mistakes. And Gainesville jumped on Burkburnett quickly. WFHS should probably break its nine-game losing streak Friday on the road, but I think the Bulldogs will make it close. After all, Burkburnett does have an experienced QB in Bryan Lewis. Maybe it’s an upset pick, but I’ll choose the home team in a game decided on the last couple possessions.
Mineral Wells at Hirschi – I went back and re-read my game story of Hirschi’s 27-22 loss last year. It’s hard to believe Huskies didn’t win. If they convert a 1st-and-goal from the 1, they do. If they get a first down after a Mineral Wells punt, they do. If they don’t let the Rams go 63 yards in less than two minutes, they do.
So that’s why I pick the Huskies here. I can’t see them having a lackluster performance after last week’s solid showing and last year’s tough loss. It could be close, but the Huskies go to 2-0.
Holliday at Windthorst – I’m not going to overexaggerate last week’s results from both teams in making this pick. The Trojans had a comeback against Munday, but they still struggled to move the ball for much of the first three quarters. And Holliday didn’t fare well against Van Alstyne, but that’s a bigger 2A school they were facing on the road in Frank Johnson’s first game. The Eagles have more speed than Munday (that sounds weird saying), and I think their offense will make enough plays to get a narrow road win.
Brownwood at Graham – This game excited me more before Brownwood gave up 70 points to a very good FW All-Saints squad. But 70 points? Graham looked to be in midseason form in the opener at Mineral Wells, and while the Lions should prove to be a more formidable foe, I still like the Steers by at least 20.
Vernon at Breckenridge – The Buckaroos should present a tougher test than Altus. Vernon rushed for almost 400 yards in that 21-point win. There are tougher games down the road for Vernon, but I think Vernon wins this by about two scores.
Bowie at Lake Worth – The last time I saw Lake Worth play, I wasn’t impressed. Graham had a 37-0 lead over the Bullfrogs (great nickname!) at halftime of a 2012 bi-district playoff game. But Lake Worth had some QB injuries then and I hear they are looking pretty sharp. And Bowie isn’t at Graham’s level. I see another 10-point loss for the Jackrabbits, who should bounce back and win the rest of their non-district contests.
Paradise at Henrietta – This game usually is pretty close. But Paradise is coming off a 70-point loss (not a typo; 70-0 defeat to Grandview) so I think the Bearcats, which fell to Callisburg last week, have some things click offensively and get the job done.
Eastland at Jacksboro – I probably would have picked Eastland before the 2013 season. When you look at last week’s results – Eastland’s 46-30 takedown of Sweetwater and Jacksboro’s 14-6 loss at Jim Ned – there’s nothing that would change my mind. I still think Jacksboro can rebound and the Tigers winning wouldn’t surprise me, but they’ll have to be much improved from last week.
City View at Archer City – Both looked pretty good in winning their openers. But the Mustangs have too many playmakers (Dalton Jackson had three TD catches last week) for the Wildcats to get in a shootout. If Archer City slows the game down and moves the ball well, then this could be close. But I like the Mustangs to win.
Nocona at Muenster – It’s a game that intrigues me because Nocona looked so impressive against Whitewright (a bad team, but still). I don’t know how good the Indians are going to be, but I do know this is their toughest non-district game on the schedule. If Nocona wins it, I’ll really believe in their chances to be a leading contender in 5-2A. But I’ll go with my gut here and pick the Hornets.
Petrolia vs. Cross Plains – It’s a small-school Thursday game that’s happening because Jacksboro is a neutral site. The Pirates didn’t play last week, but it sounded like they did pretty well in scrimmages. So I’ll give Petrolia, which won this game in OT last year, the nod.
Haskell at Seymour – For the second straight week, Haskell will lose to a District 3-A Division I school. This time, it’ll be a lot more than 10 points. Last week, the Panthers rushed for 288 yards, second-most in the area. I’ll be anxious to see if that output is repeated.
Anson at Olney – The Cubs proved last week they are much improved. How about QB Taylor Thomas throwing for 310 yards, rushing for another 40 and leading the defense with Taylor Thomas. But Anson is one of the best Class A teams in the state and I can’t imagine this game being real close.
Munday at Stamford – I went out on a semi-limb last year and picked the Moguls to beat Stamford. Obviously, I can’t do the same thing this year (and it’s a much, much longer limb). Stamford should take this meeting of defending state champions by a decent margin.
Quanah vs. Miles – I think a lot of teams will have closer games than the week before, but not the Indians. They jumped out big on Wheeler last week and I expect the same thing against Miles.
Iowa Park vs. Gainesville – The Hawks are certainly better than last year, but I don’t think they are in the Leopards’ league yet. Gainesville gets the job done by a couple scores.