Harker Heights (4-1, 1-0) at Temple (2-2, 1-0)
Radio: 93.9 FM, 1330 AM, listen.streamon.fm/ktonam
Breakdown: Could the District 12-6A championship game be staged just two weeks into the district season? Probably so.
The Knights have the capability of ascending to the royal throne of the district, given the way they’re playing. Harker Heights gouged Ellison, 49-8, in the 12-6A opener last week. Junior RB Re’Shaun Sanford heads up an impressive Knight ground game, and enters with plenty of momentum, as he rushed for 196 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Eagles.
To win a district title, Harker Heights will have to travel through a rugged Temple squad that won last year’s 12-6A title. The Wildcats suffered nondistrict losses to No. 1 Austin Westlake and Magnolia West, two teams that feature a combined 9-0 record. But Temple seems to have found its footing the past two weeks, including a 49-7 humbling of Bryan a week ago.
Running back Samari Howard has churned out 540 rushing yards on the season, and the Air Force commit should be a major focus of Harker Heights’ defensive attention. But the Wildcats are far from one-dimensional, as Reese Rumfield (819 passing yards, 9 TDs) seems to be coming into his own at quarterback. LB Taurean York (46 tackles) leads the defensive charge as the reigning 12-6A defensive MVP.
Dallas Madison (2-3) at No. 7 West (5-0)
Breakdown: West coach David Woodard said his team is working hard on fixing mistakes, still looking for a cleaner game. But from the outside looking in, the Trojans seem to be gaining momentum as the season moves along.
Last week, West upped its winning streak to five games by demolishing Oak Cliff Life, 56-15, in the district opener. RB TJ McCutcheon led the way in that game with 144 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Meanwhile, Dallas Madison has been far less consistent. Whitney stomped Madison, 45-18, last week in both teams’ district opener. Madison has given up at least 36 points in each of its three losses in the campaign to this point.
West went on the road to rough up Madison, 31-7, in 2020. Madison might have to play its best game of the season for it to be closer this time around.
Mexia (1-4) at Fairfield (1-3)
Radio: 99.1 FM, texas99.com
Breakdown: The Mexia Blackcats and Fairfield Eagles will renew a rivalry that has seen better days.
Mexia was looking at a rebuilding year this season with a new coach before it had to change regimes in mid-August. Since then, the Blackcats had highs and lows through the first couple of weeks, getting off to a 1-1 start. However, Mexia comes into this one one a three-game losing streak during which the Blackcats have struggled mightily, albeit against top-level competition.
Fairfield was hit hard by COVID-19 pauses and cancellations in 2020. The Eagles played only seven games and lost six of them. But John Bachtel’s team broke a six-game losing streak as Fairfield defeated Robinson, 30-16, two weeks ago.
This rivalry game also represents the last nondistrict tune up for both as the Blackcats open district against Brownsboro while the Eagles do the same against Groesbeck on Oct. 8.
Academy (4-1, 0-1) at McGregor (2-3, 0-1)
Radio: 94.5 FM HD2, CentexSports1 app
Breakdown: Expect a tussle in this one, as neither team will want to fall to 0-2 in the seven-team District 11-3A Div. I race.
The Bees average twice as many passing yards as they do rushing, behind a sharp quarterback in Kasey Mraz, who has completed 66 of 102 passes for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. They’ve been the only team to take down Groesbeck this season, being the Goats, 41-20, in Week 3, and the Bees’ only loss came at the hands of state-ranked Lorena in last week’s district opener, 34-17.
Chad Lorenz has made a seamless transition to quarterback for McGregor from his old tailback spot. Lorenz still ranks as the area’s second-leading rusher with 731 yards on the season, to go with 409 yards and five TDs through the air.
Defensively, Mike Shields’ McGregor team will need a well-rounded effort to slow down Academy. The Bulldogs have allowed just over 18 points per game in their two wins and an average of 41 in their three losses. Freshman safety Sebastian Torres has been a bright spot for the McGregor D, and leads the team with 32 tackles.
Last year this game amounted to a Wild West shootout, as Academy took a 45-42 win, though both teams went on to the playoffs.
Rockdale (3-2) at Cameron Yoe (1-4)
Radio: 105.1 FM The Ranch, kmil.com
Breakdown: Cameron Yoe changed the direction of its season in a big way last week. After four losses to begin the year, the Yoemen obliterated Caldwell, 70-0.
In that effort, Cameron Yoe quarterback Ryan Muniz earned Built Ford Tough 3A Player of the Week Award. Muniz passed for 411 yards and six touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive, and rare at any level of football, was that four Yoemen receivers went over 100 yards — Jaidyn Sanchez, Kason Goolsby, Pharrell Hemphill and Trayjen Wilcox.
Will that be the catalyst the Cameron Yoe offense needs to catch fire now that coach Rick Rhoades is back in town?
Well, there’s no better way to test that theory than in the Battle of the Bell, the name of the annual Cameron Yoe-Rockdale rivalry game.
Rockdale also opened 11-3A DI play with a win last week. The Tigers took down McGregor, 48-14. QB Blaydn Barcak led the way with 173 passing yards and TDs to Robert Owens and Wyatt Windham.
This rivalry has been very good over the years and each school has the arsenal to make the 2021 installment a classic.
No. 4 Crawford (4-0) at Tolar (4-1)
Breakdown: Crawford coach Greg Jacobs didn’t have to convince his team that the Tolar Rattlers have quick strike ability this week. The Pirates saw it firsthand when they held off Tolar, 49-17, a year ago.
“They were just young last year,” Jacobs said. “They’re very strong this year with a physical offensive line, a really good running game and a talented quarterback.”
While Crawford had its open date last week, Tolar opened district with a 55-21 drubbing of Valley Mills. Running back Peyton Brown rushed for 243 yards to lead the Rattlers in that win.
But Crawford is still the district favorite for a reason. The Pirates are experienced at the skill positions and they’re getting closer to having consistency on the offensive line. Tolar will be trying to be the first team to get within three touchdowns of Crawford this season.
Bishop Reicher (0-4, 0-1) at Dallas Covenant (1-3, 1-1)
Breakdown: Heading into their fifth game, the Cougars are still looking for the first win of the Billy Overshown era at Reicher. But they’re definitely making improvements. After scoring a combined 10 points in their first two games, the Cougars have put up 23 and 21 in hard-fought losses to Holland and Dallas First Baptist in the past two.
Reicher graduated a slew of seniors from its TAPPS state finalist team of a year ago. So, new playmakers have had to emerge. WR Eric Ochoa has game-breaking ability, and one of Reicher’s traditional strengths is its offensive line, which is headed up by OL/DL Maverick Plsek. Defensively, keep an eye on DT Royce Bayles, the team’s reigning Defensive Player of the Week.
Covenant opened the season with three straight losses before elevating to the win column in a big way last week, topping Tyler All Saints, 41-2. The Knights have been breaking in a new quarterback in Mark Spangler, and he flashed a strong arm and some sweet scrambles in the win over All Saints. Also, watch out for RB/LB James Predtechenskis, a mouthful to say and a handful to bring to the turf.
Reicher will be looking to excise a 34-24 loss to Covenant last season.
Troy (0-4) at Lorena (3-2, 1-0)
Breakdown: Lorena opened District 11-3A Division I with a 34-17 win over Academy last week, and is hoping to stay unbeaten in district play against a winless Troy squad that’s allowing 47.2 points per game.
“Our kids executed very well on both sides of the ball,” said Lorena coach Ray Biles. “Up front our offensive line did a tremendous job of opening running lanes. The defensive line did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage, and we held them to negative rushing yardage and we had four takeaways.”
The Leopards feature a balanced attack with Reed Michna rushing for 556 yards and six scores while Ryne Abel has passed for 873 yards and six touchdowns. Jadon Porter is the Leopards’ top receiver with 20 catches for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
Troy has had two weeks to prepare after Franklin romped to a 65-10 win over the Trojans on Sept. 17. Trojans quarterback Jase Carr has hit 52.3 percent of his passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns, and Steve Jackson leads the ground game with 206 yards and two scores.
“Their kids play extremely hard and are well coached,” Biles said. “They’re probably 75 percent run and they play more of a pro-style offense and play very aggressive defensively.”
Dallas A-Plus (1-3, 0-0) at Whitney (2-3, 1-0)
Radio: Whitney Wildcat Sports Network on Facebook
Breakdown: Whitney opened District 7-3A Division I in high style with a 45-18 win over Dallas Madison. It was the kind of all-around performance Whitney coach Mark Byrd has been seeking all season.
“The one thing we’ve been talking about is having a statement game,” Byrd said. “Leading up to the game, we weren’t consistent, but we put together a complete game against Madison. Our offense gained 530 yards, our defense caused two turnovers and our freshman kicker, Carson Griffin, hit two 40-yard field goals."
Dual-threat quarterback Garrett Peacock has been a big weapon for the Wildcats all season as he’s thrown for 1,178 yards and 16 touchdowns, and has rushed for 390 yards and a score. His top receivers have been Orrin Green with 10 catches for 375 yards and four touchdowns and Kyler Cryns with 23 catches for 333 yards and five scores.
After three losses, Dallas A-Plus won its first game of the season with a 26-20 overtime decision over Dallas Inspired Vision on Sept. 17.
“They’re getting better each week and starting to score some points,” Byrd said.
Hillsboro (3-2) at Canton (3-2)
Radio: 1560 AM, khbr.streamon.fm
Breakdown: Hillsboro bounced back from a 40-6 loss to Gatesville with a 29-7 win over Teague that featured a strong defensive performance.
“Our mission last week was to play a complete four quarters, and we kind of did that,” said Hillsboro coach Steve Almuete. “Our defense is coming around and we’re starting to jell at the right time.”
The Eagles defense has seen strong performances throughout the season by safety Jacob Figueroa with 65 tackles and linebacker Ricardo Martinez with 57 tackles. Hillsboro’s running game is headed by Francisco Montoya with 621 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging more than 10 yards per carry.
Canton is coming off an impressive performance in a 42-28 win over Ferris. Jason Brisbois has thrown for 754 yards and 10 touchdowns while Jabraylon Pickens has been a big-play receiver with 13 catches for 332 yards and two scores.
“Their skill kids are really good,” Almuete said. “Pickens is a good receiver and they’re huge up front. They’re going to be a challenge.”
Best of the Rest
Riesel (3-1, 1-0) at No. 1 Franklin (5-0, 1-0): The Indians have been resilient and feisty this season, but now comes their stiffest test, with a trip to the top-ranked Lions’ den. … Rosebud-Lott (4-1, 1-0) at Hearne (2-3, 0-1): Led by gunslinging QB Zane Zeinert, the Cougars have their scope set on a 2-0 start to District 12-2A play. … Abbott (5-0) at Blum (1-4): Terry Crawford’s coaching tree stretches far and wide, and he’ll reunite with one of his old assistants when the Cougars take on Cooper Thornhill and the 2019 state champions.
Trib staff’s Week 6 high school football predictions
|CHAD CONINE||BRICE CHERRY||JOHN WERNER|
|Harker Heights at Temple||Temple||Temple||Temple|
|Bryan at Belton||Belton||Belton||Belton|
|DISTRICT 7-3A DIV. I|
|Dallas Madison at West||West||West||West|
|Dallas A+ Academy at Whitney||Whitney||Whitney||Whitney|
|DISTRICT 11-3A DIV. I|
|Rockdale at Cameron Yoe||Yoe||Rockdale||Rockdale|
|Troy at Lorena||Lorena||Lorena||Lorena|
|Academy at McGregor||Academy||Academy||Academy|
|DISTRICT 13-3A DIV. II|
|Riesel at Franklin||Franklin||Franklin||Franklin|
|Rogers at Clifton||Rogers||Rogers||Rogers|
|DISTRICT 7-2A DIV. I|
|Crawford at Tolar||Crawford||Crawford||Crawford|
|Valley Mills at Hamilton||Hamilton||Hamilton||Hamilton|
|Itasca at Rio Vista||Rio Vista||Rio Vista||Rio Vista|
|DISTRICT 12-2A DIV. I|
|Rosebud-Lott at Hearne||R-Lott||R-Lott||R-Lott|
|Bruceville-Eddy at Thrall||Thrall||Thrall||Thrall|
|TAPPS DISTRICT 2-III|
|Bishop Reicher at Dallas Covenant (7 p.m.)||Reicher||Covenant||Reicher|
|TAPPS 6-MAN 3-II|
|Rockwall Heritage at Vanguard||Vanguard||Vanguard||Vanguard|
|TCAF 6-MAN DIST. 1|
|Haslet Heritage at Parkview Chr. (7 p.m.)||Heritage||Heritage||Heritage|
|Haslet Legacy at Methodist Home (7 p.m.)||MCH||MCH||MCH|
|Hillsboro at Canton||Canton||Canton||Canton|
|Mexia at Fairfield||Fairfield||Mexia||Mexia|
|Frost at Hico (7 p.m.)||Hico||Hico||Hico|
|Texas Wind at Meridian||Wind||Wind||Wind|
|Lake Belton at Llano (7 p.m.)||L. Belton||L. Belton||L. Belton|
|Abbott at Blum||Abbott||Abbott||Abbott|
|Three Way at Aquilla||Three Way||Aquilla||Aquilla|
|Cranfills Gap at Bynum||Gap||Bynum||Bynum|
|Penelope at Covington||Covington||Covington||Covington|
|Jonesboro vs. Turkey Valley (5 p.m. Thu. at Trent)||Jonesboro||Jonesboro||Jonesboro|
|Evant at Blanket||Evant||Evant||Evant|
|Iredell at Lometa||Lometa||Lometa||Lometa|
|Morgan vs. Borden County (5 p.m. Thu. at Strawn)||B. County||B. County||B. County|
|Kopperl at Mullin||Mullin||Mullin||Mullin|
|Walnut Springs at Lingleville (7 p.m.)||Lingleville||Lingleville||Lingleville|
|Live Oak at Oglesby (Thu.)||Live Oak||Oglesby||Oglesby|
|Mount Calm vs. Lohn (at Priddy)||Mt. Calm||Mt. Calm||Mt. Calm|
|Gholson at Avalon||Avalon||Avalon||Avalon|
|Rising Star at Eagle Christian||R. Star||R. Star||R. Star|
|Season to date||170-67||174-63||167-70|