Playoff predictions for Thanksgiving weekend

It’s a light Friday night in regards to the area’s high school football scene.

Only Newcastle is in action, with everyone else playing on Saturday (and no one closer than two hours). There’s not even a game at Memorial Stadium.

As I write this Friday afternoon, there are some regional games going on people might be interested in. Stamford is drilling Sundown (35-7 last I saw) while Big Spring scored the first 10 points against Stephenville and leads 16-14 at the half.

But Saturday should be an exciting day because WFHS has a chance to keep its playoff run alive and we’ll have an opportunity for a Graham-Vernon rematch in the state quarterfinals if both win. I’d be down for that, especially with the easy drive to Memorial Stadium that I’d have.

Here’s how I see every area game turning out:

WFHS vs. Canutillo – Maybe because I’ve covered the Coyotes over the past two weeks, I’m not totally surprised they have made it this far. Of course, it did take some fortunate bounces and a lot of great effort. But it’s been pretty fun watching this team.

So I’m going to pick the Coyotes in another one of those toss-up type games. I just think WFHS has played in enough of these games this year that they know how to win. Let’s not forget the Coyotes have not lost away from Memorial Stadium this year, which is ridiculous.

I’ll tell you right now I’ll stop picking WFHS next week if the Coyotes win and face Aledo. That game won’t go well. But I like how RB Robert Williams is running the ball and how the defense – led by Jacob Blackwell’s 14 tackles last week – keeps on making plays. And special teams has been quality, too.

So give me WFHS, and I’ll even guess a score — 24-20.

Graham vs. Lubbock Estacado – I think it’s finally going to happen. The Steers have finally met their match. I know it’s unthinkable and you may be shocked with this prediction, but Graham is finally going to … give up a point.

Yes, I think the Matadors will break Graham’s three-game shutout streak, but I still can’t see Estacado giving the Steers a close game. The Matadors play lots of man coverage, so I expect Ben Davis and his receivers to produce some big plays. Give me Graham by about 20.

Vernon vs. Shallowater – I really like how Vernon is playing right now. As I write in Saturday’s paper, the Lions are healthy and playing their best football. And Shallowater has given up some points in big games, like 35 to Monahans last week.

But then I saw Shallowater RB Jarek Black on video. He’s got about 2,600 yards and 31 touchdowns. And do you know who he reminded me? Vernon’s Aston Whiteside. At 5-10, 205 pounds Black can power through you, but when he gets in the open field, he’s pretty fast.

So I think this comes down to Vernon holding the best running back it has seen (Coach Bateman’s words, not mine) in check. I think Black has a tougher day than some, but ultimately he makes some big runs that prove to be the difference. Whether Vernon wins or not, it’s a heck of a season in Bateman’s second year.

Crowell vs. Ira Neither coach or town can really come out and say it, but your Six-Man Division I champion will probably come from this game.

What I didn’t like Crowell – it was sloppy with four turnovers and fell behind Water Valley by 20. What I did like about Crowell – the Wildcats battled back to win and are very versatile.

Ira has the luxury of more time to prepare since Water Valley-Crowell was pushed back to Monday. I think Crowell is a slight underdog who can win, especially if the Wildcats are more careful with the ball. So Crowell’s my pick.

Newcastle vs. Strawn – I’m covering the Bobcats for the first time tonight (so weird we don’t have more Friday games; or a 2A/A team playing for that matter). And I think Newcastle can hang with Strawn, which has won the last three meeting between the schools. But I’ll pick the Greyhounds to edge out a win.