It wasn’t too long ago that this week was a pretty uneventful one. Anytime there are six-team districts, this week usually is full of byes.
And there are a few teams on byes this week – Holliday, Henrietta, Nocona, Munday (thankfully – can’t imagine them trying to play after the recent tragedy).
But with five-team districts in 3A and A, byes are spread pretty sporadically throughout the 11-week regular season.
Two of the three city games are district contests (and Hirschi’s is also important– read below) and there are two area teams who are putting their undefeated records on the line against really good opponents.
So it should be another pretty interesting weekend of football. Here’s how I’m picking them:
Brewer at Rider – I think Brewer is a likely candidate for last place in 5-4A. I think Rider is a regional title contender. So I think you know who I’m picking in this one. Get there in the first half if you want to watch the starters as this is finally an easy game for the Raiders.
Hirschi at Carrollton Ranchview – This isn’t a must-win for Hirschi. Even with 80 percent of teams in 5-3A making the playoffs, I don’t think next week’s road game against Burkburnett is, either.
But I think the Huskies can make a statement with a win tonight because it hasn’t beaten a good 3A team yet, nor has it beat a team with a winning record.
It seems like both teams have some big-play guys and can score points in a hurry. Ranchview has a Division I commit in DT Brandon Glenn. I think Hirschi DE D’Shan Harley has D-I type talent as well.
It’s a toss-up. I’ll pick the Huskies, who could really go into district on a roll with this win.
Azle at WFHS – This is one of those early must-win games for the Coyotes if they want to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. A 3-0 start (they’d have to beat Denton next week too) would put them in pretty good shape.
And I expect this to be a pretty good game. I’m giving the nod to Azle just because it has a little more experience from last year winning close district games. But if the Coyotes win, then look out 5-4A.
Gainesville at Vernon – Gainesville is going to run the ball with good backs. Vernon is going to run the ball with good backs. Gainesville plays really hard-nosed defense, allowing 53 points all season. Vernon plays really hard-nosed defense, allowing 53 points all season. Vernon’s mascot is a cat (Lion). So is Gainesville’s (Leopards).
The coaches – Mark Bateman and Keith Hall – are good friends. Hall used to coach at Vernon. These teams are pretty identical and this is a pure toss-up. You can flip a coin – I’ll side with the Leopards just because wherever I go, the home team has lost this season.
Burkburnett at Krum – Going into district with a three-game win streak would be a nice little accomplishment for the Bulldogs. It’s a matchup of two run-heavy 2-3 teams and I believe the Bulldogs have more ammunition in the backfield. I’d pick them by about 20.
Bridgeport at Graham – Bridgeport is 0-5 and has had a tough year. In fact, the Bulls are coming off a 68-0 loss to Princeton. So the Steers’ starters should be getting a good rest in the second half.
Seymour at Stamford – Stamford comes into this one a little vulnerable, having gotten beat up by a really good Cisco team. And the Panthers have been playing some good ball. This game is usually entertaining and I have no doubt the Panthers can keep the scoring pace. But it seems like the Bulldogs usually get the last laugh in these close ones – even when Seymour beat them in 2011, Stamford knocked them out of the playoffs in the state quarters. I see a lot of points and a narrow victory for the home side.
Amarillo River Road vs. Iowa Park – Last year, the Hawks lost on a last-second field goal. Don’t think there will be any need for late-game heroics in this one. Iowa Park should bounce back against a team whose two wins are by a total of four points against 2A schools.
Ponder at Bowie – I’m not sure who will finish last in 5-2A Div. II – Ponder or Paradise. I’d lean Paradise right now, but who knows. Anyway, I do know that there’s a pretty big drop off after the first five teams in district. Bowie takes this one easily.
Haskell at City View – I’m looking forward to the Mustangs’ district opener against Jacksboro next week. This one I can’t see being real close. City View has too much talent.
Jacksboro at Archer City – Talking to Tigers coach Brian Hodnett this week, I got the impression Jacksboro isn’t looking past Archer City. And it shouldn’t. But the Tigers have more offensive weapons (D.J. Thomas has come on at RB the past two games) and I think they’ll win by a couple scores.
Electra at Olney – The Cubs have one more chance to enter district with a win. And they’ve been in a couple close games this year. But I just can’t see it happening against an explosive Electra bunch.
Wellington at Quanah – I’m not writing the Indians off by any means. I’d be shocked if they didn’t make the playoffs in 3-A. However, I’d also be shocked if they beat the No. 1 team in Class A this weekend. The Skyrockets should be able to score some points just like the past three 2A teams did against Quanah.
Brock at Windthorst – This replaces the Throckmorton 11-man/six-man game on the Trojans’ schedule. It’s worth noting that Brock is a 2A school but right now is playing an outlaw schedule because it won’t be in UIL till next year. But I like the Eagles in what should be a close game.
Petrolia at Santo – I still think Petrolia will battle Munday and Perrin-Whitt for third place in 8-A Division II. But Santo whipped Perrin-Whitt 41-0 and its only loss was to a pretty good 2A Dublin side. I’m siding with the Wildcats in this one.