China Spring (8-2) vs. No. 2 West Orange-Stark (8-0)
Time, site: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Magnolia's Bulldog Stadium
Round: Class 4A Div. II area playoffs
Streaming: looklivestreams.com/cougars (audio)
Breakdown: China Spring has begun the playoffs with a gauntlet. The Cougars faced fourth-ranked Jasper in bi-district, but they showed they were more than up to the task as they demolished the Bulldogs, 45-19.
As a reward, China Spring now faces the second-ranked team in Class 4A Division II, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. And the winner of the Cougars-Mustangs game will play the Center vs. No. 9 Sealy winner.
China Spring rolled over Jasper with its signature one-two punch of RB Emmanuel Abdallah and QB Major Bowden running the ball. They combined for 400 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the bi-district victory.
“We just try to be consistent, try not to trick ourselves.” China Spring coach Brian Bell said.
West Orange-Stark is attempting to return to its glory days of a few years ago when the Mustangs played in state title games every year from 2014-2017 and won 4A D-II championships in 2015 and 2016.
The Mustangs have a well-stocked backfield led by QB Jerren Terrell and RB Elijah Gales, but the thing that makes WOS scary is it has all-district type players at every spot.
“They’re a really well-oiled machine as a program,” Bell said. “Across the board, they’re all really good football players in all three phases of the game, so nobody really stands out.”
La Vega (8-2) vs. Wilmer-Hutchins (5-1)
Time, site: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Corsicana's Tiger Stadium
Round: Class 4A Div. I area playoffs
Radio: 94.5 FM HD2
Streaming: ModocMedia on YouTube
Breakdown: La Vega has punished its bi-district opponents in recent seasons, and last week was no different. The Pirates opened the playoffs by throttling Fort Worth Western Hills, 51-0.
La Vega’s defense gave the Cougars no quarter, swarming to the ball and stuffing Western Hills to the tune of 65 yards from scrimmage. Anthony Burns had a pick-six for the Pirates, who are prolific at forcing turnovers.
They’ll look to do so again against a Wilmer-Hutchins team that slipped past Kaufman, 31-28, in the bi-district round. Eagles quarterback Andre Henderson has playmaking prowess as both a runner and passer, and fittingly the offense strikes a nice ground-air balance.
The Pirates might want to send multiple blockers in the direction of Wilmer-Hutchins LB Demondre Williams, who has 138 tackles and nine sacks on the season. But La Vega’s line certainly boasts some behemoths who should give Williams problems, led by veterans like Robert Allen, Andrew Brown and Damion Brown.
Midway (1-5, 1-3) at Waxahachie (3-4, 2-2)
Radio: ESPN Central Texas, 1660 AM/92.3 FM/100.9 FM
Streaming: Midway Panthers on YouTube
Breakdown: Midway is struggling to gain a footing in the very difficult 11-6A. Duncanville and DeSoto have combined to beat the Panthers by 102 points the last two weeks.
Midway quarterback Garrett Childers has hung in there and put up some numbers in the losses. Last week he passed for 214 yards and a touchdown in a 63-14 setback against DeSoto.
Waxahachie has found the good side of the scoreboard the last two weeks after losing four straight. The Indians defeated Mansfield Lake Ridge, 31-21, and Mansfield, 21-7.
Waxahachie has rotated through several quarterbacks this season, but Shawn Cherry appears to be the go-to running back. Cherry has rushed for 652 yards and five touchdowns this season.
West (9-2) vs. Mount Vernon (9-2)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, Rockwall's Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium
Round: Class 3A Div. I area playoffs
Breakdown: The flashy bullet-point for this game is the identity of Mt. Vernon’s coach, former Baylor coach Art Briles.
But Briles’ fame in a way helps West prepare for this area-round contest. The Trojans know they’ll see Briles’ brand of Air-Raid offense.
“They do it really well and really fast,” West coach David Woodard said. “And they’ve got guys that can make plays all over the field.”
West has some experience with high-profile, high-octane offenses as it has been in a district with Grandview for a while now. Woodard said Mt. Vernon might get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped even faster than Grandview. The key for the Trojans will be to make sure they’re lined up and know their assignments at the faster pace.
West will try to keep the ball away from Mt. Vernon with a running game that has been efficient all season. Trojans running back Trey Janek enters with 1,225 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. But look for West to utilize the passing game if Mt. Vernon sells out to the run. QB Landon Edwards has completed almost 60 percent of his passes this season for 798 yards and seven touchdowns.
Crawford (10-1) vs. Bogota Rivercrest (7-3)
Time, site: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grand Prairie's Gopher-Warrior Bowl
Round: Class 2A Div. I area playoffs
Breakdown: It’s not necessarily the sexiest strategy — run the ball, play sound defense. But, hey, it works, right?
It’s been working for Crawford, which followed that blueprint in a 49-14 bi-district win over Kerens. Crawford’s running back tandem of Breck Chambers and Garrett Pearson both surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in that game. Their productive chain-moving progress has benefited QB Tanner Merenda when the Pirates do want to take to the air.
And as advertised, Crawford’s defense has been getting the job done, too. Only one of Kerens’ two touchdowns last week came against Crawford’s defenders, as the Bobcats scored on a 90-yard fumble return. Their other score was actually aided by a long kickoff return.
Crawford coach Greg Jacobs will need his tacklers to be sound again versus a Rivercrest squad that is coming off a clutch 20-14 bi-district win over Collinsville. The Rebels’ charge will be led by QB Will Grider, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third against Collinsville, including the go-ahead score with 10 minutes to play.
Bosqueville (7-3) vs. Cooper (8-1)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, Rusk's Eagle Stadium
Round: Class 2A Div. I area playoffs
Breakdown: Bosqueville opened the playoffs with a bang last week as the Bulldogs pummeled Marlin, 72-8, at Waco ISD Stadium.
In doing so, the Bulldogs corralled Marlin’s multi-dimensional running game and that will be the task again this week against Cooper, which has four players with 400 or more rushing yards.
Cooper runs out of a shotgun Slot-T, similar to what Bosqueville saw earlier this season against Holland.
The big key in this contest might be how well Cooper can defend Bosqueville’s spread passing game. Bosqueville coach Clint Zander said he hasn’t seen on film that Cooper has played many passing teams, so that will be kind of a wildcard.
The good thing is that Bosqueville QB Luke Bradshaw has gotten comfortable distributing the ball to a plethora of receivers. Ryder Roark, Jayce Powers, Larson Hoffmeyer, Jay King and Hunter Henexson are all good targets.
One added bonus for Bosqueville is that RB Dauvo McDonald returned to the field against Marlin after missing most of the season with a leg injury.
Mart (10-0) vs. Lovelady (7-4)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, Caldwell's Hornet Field
Round: Class 2A Div. II area playoffs
Breakdown: Mart will be brimming to play after winning bi-district by forfeit when Cumby couldn’t play due to COVID-19. The Panthers haven’t played since a 78-6 blowout of Bremond on Oct. 31.
“The kids are kind of tired or practicing and want to play,” said Mart coach Kevin Hoffman. “It’s been a little difficult just knowing everybody’s playing games and we’re sitting around waiting. Dealing with teenage kids is kind of difficult when you don’t see the prize at the end every week.”
Lovelady opened the playoffs with a 50-12 pounding of Evadale behind the passing of Slade Murray and the running of Shaun Easterling and Conner Martinez.
After going 1-4 to start the season, the Lions have won their last six games behind an offense that has averaged 48 points per game.
“They’ve got a big running back (Easterling) that they rely on heavily and their quarterback (Murray) throws a lot of play-action passes,” Hoffman said. “Defensively they get in your face and get after it. They’ve got some kids who can run to the football.”
Bremond (8-3) vs. Tenaha (8-2)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, Mabank's Panther Stadium
Round: Class 2A Div. II area playoffs
Breakdown: Bremond is rolling downhill again. Since a 78-6 loss to No. 1-ranked Mart late in district play, the Tigers have beaten Hubbard and Maud by a combined 73 points.
When QB Seth Kasowski, the son of Bremond’s successful head coach Jeff Kasowski, gets loose in the open field, he’s tough to catch. Seth has 1,790 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on the season. But his backup band brings the harmony, too. Jaray Bledsoe and T.J. Grimes each penetrated the end zone twice in the bi-district rout over Maud, and Bledsoe, Hunter Wilganowski and Logan Burnett spearhead a defense that has improved as the season has progressed.
Tenaha’s Tigers won’t be easily tamed, though. They haven’t lost since falling to Class 3A Clifton, 43-26, on Sept. 18. QB Trindon Claiborne boasts a powerful arm, but he doesn’t always need to throw it far for Tenaha to move the ball. In Tenaha’s blowout win over Burkeville last week, it scored its first touchdown of the game on a screen pass to Ja’Tyrian Moore that the swift receiver turned into a long gainer.
Abbott (10-0) vs. Union Hill (10-0)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, Scurry-Rosser's Wildcat Stadium
Round: Class 1A Div. I regional playoffs
Breakdown: With Kadyn Johnson exploding for 205 yards rushing and four touchdowns and Karsyn Johnson throwing for a pair of scores, Abbott romped to a 51-6 bi-district win over Avalon.
Kadyn Johnson also starred defensively with 10 tackles while Kane Klaus had 8.5 tackles and an interception for the Panthers.
“We’re playing well,” said Abbott coach Terry Crawford. “What separates us this year is that our mental preparation ranks up there with any team we’ve had here.’
The Panthers will face a much stiffer test against unbeaten Union Hill which opened the playoffs with a 68-22 win over Bryson. The Bulldogs are led by 1,000-yard rusher Zak Hatcher while the defense is sparked by linebacker Cristian Aguillon.
“They’re very talented, so we’ll have our hands full,” Crawford said. “They’re physical up front and their backs run really hard. The common trend between us is that neither team throws the ball every much.”
Fort Worth Calvary (0-7) at Bishop Reicher (2-4)
Time, site: 7 p.m. Friday, J.J. Kearns Stadium
Round: TAPPS Div. IV bi-district playoffs
Radio: 106.7 FM, SicEm365.com
Breakdown: After all the hiccups and setbacks, Reicher is plenty happy to have a home playoff game.
The Cougars have faced more than their share of cancellations and schedule snafus in 2020. But they get to hit the reset button now and turn their attention to a potential playoff run, starting with Fort Worth Calvary at J.J. Kearns Stadium. Reicher is doing it up right, too, as the school is even hosting a tailgate party before the game complete with beverages and tacos.
The Cougars feasted nicely in last week’s 45-11 win over Dallas Shelton. Eli Cummings busted an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to go along with 10 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns, while QB Jake Boozer rushed for two TDs and passed for another to WR Corey Long.
It’s not often that you face off against a winless team in the opening playoff round, but Calvary qualified as the fourth seed from its TAPPS district. The winner of Friday’s game will advance to meet either Weatherford Christian or Central Texas Christian in the TAPPS regional round.
Chilton (6-4) vs. Deweyville (8-2)
Time, site: 6 p.m. Saturday, Tomball ISD Stadium
Round: Class 2A Div. II area playoffs
Breakdown: The Pirates looked good in their bi-district opener by crushing Detroit, 52-14.
Chilton’s offense is led by running back Olgario Vasquez while the defense is keyed by defensive back Ja’Brian Davis.
Deweyville has reeled off five straight wins, including a 44-8 blowout of Cushing in last weekend’s bi-district playoffs.
Deweyville’s offense is led by 1,000-yard rusher Cade Watson and running back James Menard while the defense is anchored by linebacker Shawn Dreyer and defensive end Ryan Bland.
Playoffs Week 2: Trib staff high school football picks
|CHAD CONINE||BRICE CHERRY||JOHN WERNER|
|La Vega (8-2) vs. Wilmer-Hutchins (5-1) , 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana||La Vega||La Vega||La Vega|
|China Spring (8-2) vs. West Orange-Stark (8-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Magnolia||WO-Stark||WO-Stark||WO-Stark|
|West (9-2) vs. Mount Vernon (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Rockwall||West||West||Mt. Vernon|
|Crawford (10-1) vs. Bogota Rivercrest (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie||Crawford||Crawford||Crawford|
|Bosqueville (7-3) vs. Cooper (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Rusk||Bosqueville||Cooper||Cooper|
|Mart (10-0) vs. Lovelady (7-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Caldwell||Mart||Mart||Mart|
|Bremond (8-3) vs. Tenaha (8-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Mabank||Bremond||Bremond||Bremond|
|Chilton (6-4) vs. Deweyville (8-2), 6 p.m. Saturday at Tomball||Deweyville||Deweyville||Deweyville|
|Blum (7-3) vs. Saint Jo (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bridgeport||Saint Jo||Saint Jo||Saint Jo|
|Abbott (10-0) vs. Union Hill (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Scurry-Rosser||Abbott||Union Hill||Union Hill|
|Jonesboro (10-1) vs. May (10-1), 6:30 p.m. Friday at Dublin||May||May||May|
|Oglesby (9-1) vs. Richland Springs (9-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Hico||RS||RS||RS|
|Fort Worth Calvary (0-7) at Bishop Reicher (2-4), 7 p.m. Friday||Reicher||Reicher||Reicher|
|Vanguard (3-4) at Irving The Highlands (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday||Vanguard||Highlands||Highlands|
|Eagle Christian (2-5) vs. Sherman Texoma Christian (1-5), 7 p.m. Friday at Watauga Harvest||ECA||ECA||ECA|
|Midway at Waxahachie||Waxahachie||Midway||Waxahachie|
|Ellison at Belton||Belton||Belton||Belton|
|Season to date||296-98 (.751)||286-108 (.726)||175-44 (.799)|
|Due to COVID-19, Lorena advances over Crockett and Sunnyvale advances over Mexia to regionals.|
Here are all 19 teams who advanced to the second round of the high school football playoffs (and where they're playing)
La Vega (8-2) vs. Wilmer-Hutchins (5-1) , 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana
China Spring (8-2) vs. West Orange-Stark (8-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Magnolia
Sunnyvale (5-4) def. Mexia (6-4), forfeit
West (9-2) vs. Mount Vernon (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Rockwall
Lorena (8-2) def. Crockett (7-4), forfeit
Crawford (10-1) vs. Bogota Rivercrest (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie
Bosqueville (7-3) vs. Cooper (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Rusk
Mart (10-0) vs. Lovelady (7-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Caldwell
Bremond (8-3) vs. Tenaha (8-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Mabank
Chilton (6-4) vs. Deweyville (8-2), 6 p.m. Saturday at Tomball
Bishop Reicher (2-4) vs. Fort Worth Calvary (0-7), 7 p.m. Friday at Reicher
Class 1A: Blum, Abbott, Jonesboro, Oglesby
TAPPS Div. II: Live Oak (7-0), bye
TAPPS Div. II: Vanguard (3-4) at Irving The Highlands (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday
TAPPS Div. III: Eagle Christian (2-5) vs. Sherman Texoma Christian (1-5), 7 p.m. Friday at Watauga Harvest
TCAF Div. II state semifinals: Bartonville Lantana Harvest 95, Parkview Christian 50
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