No. 5 Midway (12-0) vs. Mansfield (11-1)
Round: Class 6A Div. II regional semifinal
Time/site: 7 p.m., McLane Stadium
Players to watch: Midway: Tanner Mordecai, James Fullbright, C.J. Williams; Mansfield (Cam’Ron Jones, Jaqulis Coleman, Jackson Gleeson)
Breakdown: It was one of the most balanced performances of the season for Midway a week ago in its rout of Byron Nelson. Tanner Mordecai threw for “only” four touchdowns, James Fullbright ran over Byron Nelson’s defenders and the Midway defense continued its shut-down play.
And each of those things have to happen on Friday night for Midway to keep its season alive as the Panthers take on Mansfield.
Mansfield is led by quarterback Shawn Hartsfield who has completed 79 of 152 passes for 1,427 yards and nine touchdowns. Baylor commit Jackson Gleeson is his top target with 30 catches for 742 yards and seven scores.
But the bread and butter for this Mansfield offense is its running game.
And it’s not solely reliant upon one back’s production. It’s a balanced effort by four different players.
Avery Chatman is the main threat on the ground for Mansfield with 157 carries for 1,129 yards and 13 touchdowns. Then it’s Jaqulis Coleman and K.J. Hawkins with nearly 500 yards each.
Temple (9-3) vs. Port Arthur Memorial (9-1)
Round: Class 5A Div. II regional semifinal
Time/site: 7:30 p.m. at Prairie View A&M
Players to watch: Temple: T.J. Rumfield, De’Jon Overton, D’Yonte Heckstall; Port Arthur Memorial: Keitha Jones, Elijah Hines
Breakdown: It’s a rematch from last year’s region semifinal. In 2016, Temple ran over Port Arthur Memorial, 39-7, en route to finishing as state runner-up.
The Wildcats have advanced past the third round of the playoffs the past three years. Once again, Temple has to beat Memorial in order to make it four years.
Memorial’s lone loss of the season came in mid-October at Port Neches Grove by a score of 44-36. The two teams wen ton to share the 22-5A district title.
Keitha Jones has led the way for Memorial with 1,379 yards passing and 17 touchdowns. But the quarterback is also a physical runner. He’s got 878 rush yards for 12 scores.
When it’s not Jones breaking through the stout offensive line, it’s Elijah Hanes. The Louisiana Tech commit has rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s coming off a 142 yard, four touchdown performance against Ball a week ago.
T.J. Rumfield has passed for almost 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns so far this season. His top targets have been Xavier Johnson and D’Yonte Heckstall who have 892 and 773 yards respectively. The two combined has 22 scores.
Neither team has had much resistance thus far in the playoffs. Temple has beaten Corsicana and Magnolia West by a combined score of 76-30, while Memorial defeated Kingwood Park and Galveston Ball by a total of 86-21.
No. 4 La Vega (12-0) vs. Comal Canyon Lake (10-2)
Round: Class 4A Div. I regional semifinals
Time/site: 7:30 p.m. at Reeves Complex in Round Rock
Players to watch: La Vega: Jamal Williams, Kemoche Hobbs, Jared Rogers; Comal Canyon Lake: Tristan Chacon, Benjamin Fulton
Breakdown: Canyon Lake is in the third round of the playoffs for the first time in program history. La Vega, meanwhile, is in the third round for the third time in as many years. Overall the Pirates are 41-1 the past three seasons. These two teams have met once before in 2014 when Canyon Lake topped La Vega, 49-26, in the first round of the playoffs.
Before this year, Canyon Lake hadn’t won more than seven games and had only three winning seasons since its first year in 2008. This is Canyon Lake’s fifth-straight playoff berth and seventh overall.
Canyon Lake is a run-heavy team with 3,928 rush yards in comparison to 990 pass yards. Tristan Chacon leads the way with 1,052 yards off 133 carries for 16 scores.
Canyon Lake held off Gatesville in the opening round of the playoffs for a 10-point win before an 18-point victory over Pleasanton set up Friday night’s matchup.
La Vega, meanwhile, continues to power over its opponents. The Pirates have beaten everyone by an average score of 45-8.
China Spring (9-3) vs. Liberty Hill (9-2)
Round: Class 4A Div. I Region III semifinals
Time/site: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium, Killeen
Players to watch: China Spring QB Cayden Johnson; China Spring TE Tyrik James; Liberty Hill RB Kyle Harrison
Breakdown: Every coach craves consistency, and China Spring’s Mark Bell has been able to satisfy that craving in recent weeks, as the Cougars have been able to routinely move the ball and put up points no matter the opponent.
“We’ve played pretty good lately,” Bell admitted. “I think we’ve scored over 40 points for six straight weeks.”
The Cougars certainly illuminated the scoreboard in their previous meeting with district foe Liberty Hill, as they dropped a back-and-forth 59-58 decision when they couldn’t convert a field goal attempt in the waning moments.
More than anything else, Bell wants his team to be disciplined this week. Disciplined enough to avoid costly, self-inflicted errors, and disciplined defensively to stay at home and not be fooled by all of Liberty Hill’s misdirection in its Wing-T offense.
“We want to keep our mistakes to a minimum, play a clean game,” Bell said. “We can’t go for all their eye candy. Last time we had some kids who got their eyes carried away and ran off, so hopefully we’ll do better this time.”
China Spring’s multidimensional senior Tyrick James, who may line up at running back one play, receiver the next and tight end the play after that, scored four touchdowns in the previous meeting with Liberty Hill, while the Panthers’ top running back Kyle Harrison scored five times.
“We certainly want to get (James) as many touches as we can,” Bell said.
West (10-2) vs. Rockdale (9-3)
Round: Class 3A Div. I Region III semifinals
Time/site: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Belton
Players to watch: West QB Nathan Gerik; West WR/DB Romeo Hernandez; Rockdale WR Jaquayln Crawford; Rockdale WR Tyler Lehmkuhl
Breakdown: West and Rockdale met way back in Week 1, when the Trojans closed the game with three unanswered touchdowns to grab a 42-24 win.
Does that one have any bearing on the rematch? Yes and no, West coach David Woodard said.
“It gives you confidence, because our guys know they’ve had some success against this team,” Woodard said. “But you’re also two totally different teams. When you play in Week 1 and then again in Week 14 or whatever we’re in now, you know that everybody has changed a lot.”
Rockdale was without several starters in that first duel, including dynamic receiver Jaquayln Crawford, an Oklahoma commit. But West has improved in its own right since August, and its defense produced one of its most complete efforts of the season in a 42-0 area-round win over Hitchcock last week.
West was also able to carve up the field on several long plays against Hitchcock, taking advantage of some defensive lapses by its opponent. But Woodard said he’d be just fine putting together more slow, time-consuming drives against Rockdale.
“As long as you can score, sometimes you’ve got to be content to eat up the clock, because it keeps their offense off the field,” Woodard said.
Teague (10-2) vs. Franklin (10-2)
Round: Class 3A Division I regionals
Time/Site: 7:30 p.m., WISD Stadium
Players to watch: Teague: QB Zack Satterwhite, RB Tayvis Coleman, RB Gelico Green; Franklin: Clayton Rosprim, QB Datron Dixon, RB Nick Lopez
Key matchup: Teague RB Tayvis Coleman vs. Franklin defensive line
Breakdown: Both Teague and Franklin have shown how explosive their offenses are in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Teague romped to a 40-14 win over Cameron Yoe in the opening round before rolling to a 44-28 win over East Chambers. Franklin’s offense has been even more productive in a 63-49 win in a shootout against Groesbeck and a 45-7 blowout of La Marque.
Tayvis Coleman has enjoyed a tremendous year for Teague with 1,781 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns while quarterback Zack Satterwhite has passed for 1,478 yards and 18 scores.
Franklin will counter with an outstanding running game led by Clayton Rosprim and the passing skills of Datron Dixon. The Lions will try to avenge a bi-district loss to Teague last season.
“I think this is going to be a classic,” said Teague coach Donnie Osborn. “I think we’re in the same boat in that we’re going to have to play our tails off and do everything right. When we play good teams that’s when we play our best.”
De Leon (12-0) vs. No. 4 Mart (11-1)
Round: Class 2A Division I regionals
Time/site: 7:30 p.m., Whitney
Players to watch: Mart: QB Jace Terry, RB Tyrek Horne, WR Zamar Kirven; De Leon: RB Anthony Rangel, QB Kevin Yeager, WR Calvin Martin
Key matchup: De Leon QB Kevin Yeager vs. Mart secondary
Breakdown: With a pair of powerhouses squaring off, this should be one of the best Class 2A regional matchups.
Mart has been unstoppable in the playoffs with a 62-3 win over Goldthwaite followed by a 58-6 thrashing of Windthorst. De Leon continued its unbeaten season with a 56-14 playoff opening win over Italy followed by a 46-15 pounding of Celeste.
The Panthers are preparing for dynamic quarterback Kevin Yeager who threw for five touchdowns against Celeste and running back Anthony Rangel who balanced the offense with 146 yards rushing and two scores.
“The Yeager kid is a Division I quarterback and Rangel is one of the best backs we’ll have faced this year,” said Mart coach Kevin Hoffman. “Defensively, their front seven is really active and goes after the quarterback.
Mart is equally explosive as Jace Terry has passed for 1,814 yards and 29 touchdowns while adding 611 yards rushing and 11 scores. Tyrek Horne leads the Panthers running game with 1,712 yards and 22 scores.
Bosqueville (7-5) vs. Crawford (10-2)
Round: Class 2A Division I regional semifinals
Time/site: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Robinson
Players to watch: Crawford RB Garrett Dutschmann; Crawford QB Gage Pearson; Bosqueville RB Marcell Estell; Bosqueville WR Jacob Bravo
Breakdown: You do what you do, and we’ll do what we do, and we’ll see who’s better on this particular night.
That’s the general idea when Crawford meets Bosqueville for the second time this year. That’s not to say that both teams may not throw in a different wrinkle here or there, but they’re also not going to reinvent the wheel.
“A team like Crawford, they’re going to do what they do,” Bosqueville coach Clint Zander said “They’re not going to change for anybody, and there’s no reason to change, because they’ve won a lot of ball games.”
Offensively, the Pirates’ preference for more than two decades has been to line up tight and move the ball on the ground behind a feisty offensive line. Garrett Dutschmann has helped in that regard, as the shifty senior running back has returned from injury to pile up 384 rushing yards in Crawford’s two playoff wins.
But Bosqueville’s defense will also have to be cognizant of the play-action pass. Crawford quarterback Gage Pearson has been efficient when given the opportunity, throwing for more than 1,300 yards with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
On the flip side, Bosqueville’s big-play ability will have the Pirates’ attention. The Bulldogs’ Marcell Estell is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball, and his gamebreaking ability opens up the field for receivers like Jacob Bravo and Jase Ayala to find space.
“We’ve got to take care of business,” Crawford coach Delbert Kelm said. “If you do what you’re supposed to and rally to the football, hopefully you minimize those big plays. In this day and time, that’s hard to do for a full game the way teams spread the field, but we want to minimize and control that as much as possible.”
Jonesboro (11-1) vs. May (12-0)
Round: Class 1A Div. I 6-man regional finals
Time/site: 7 p.m. Friday at Dublin
Players to watch: Jonesboro RB Wyatt Young
Breakdown: Wyatt Young can do it all for Jonesboro, and the senior is looking to go out on a high note this season for the Eagles.
Young rushed for 1,693 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season, leading powerhouse Jonesboro to another phenomenal season. The Eagles have lost just one game that past four years, so nothing short of a state championship would keep the Eagles’ streak alive.
Iredell (11-2) vs. Milford (13-0)
Round: Class 1A Div. II 6-man regional finals
Time/Site: 7:30 p.m. Friday at McGregor
Players to watch: Milford QB Taron Smith; Iredell RB Morgan Whitfield and QB Adrian Benitez
Breakdown: 54-8 winners over Oakwood last week, the Dragons aim to keep the offensive onslaught rolling against undefeated Milford.
Morgan Whitfield ran for three touchdowns and Adrian Benitez fired three TD passes in their area-round, mercy-rule victory, but Iredell will undoubtedly face more of challenge in Milford.
Smith is a dual-threat quarterback that how amassed over 3,000 yards and 60 touchdowns for a Bulldog offense that rolled so far in the postseason.
Live Oak (6-6) vs. Plainview Christian (8-4)
Round: TAPPS Div. II 6-man semifinals
Time/site: 6 p.m. Friday at Bryson
Players to watch: Live Oak’s Matt Bailey and Chase Hill
Breakdown: Winners of two TCAL titles and one TAPPS state championship over the last eight years, the Falcons are well on their way to a shot a another after racking up 162 points in their first two postseason games.
Chase Hill has been a strong presence in the backfield for Live Oak yet again this year and nothing has changed in the playoffs. Head coach Jordan Barker knows how to win, so expect a high-flying affair against Parkview — a team that has scored 172 points thus far in the playoffs.