Waco High (1-1) at Ellison (0-2)
Players to watch: Waco High DL Corey Ebron; Waco High RB Randy Carpenter; Ellison RB Tye Hill; Ellison CB Rian McKinley
Key matchup: Waco High linebackers vs. Ellison RB Tye Hill
Breakdown: It’s district time already? Indeed it is for the teams of District 12-6A. The start of district play always signals a chance to wipe the dry erase board clean, but Waco High coach Kwame Cavil would be telling his guys that anyway. He doesn’t want them thinking that Ellison’s 0-2 record is a sign that the Eagles are ripe for the picking.
“I know who Ellison is. They’ve got a good team, an explosive team,” Cavil said. “Being part of the Central Texas area for as long as I have, you know Ellison has a good nucleus. They lost to two really good, well-coached teams in Vandergrift and A&M Consolidated, so we can’t be fooled by them being 0-2.”
Against Ellison, execution will be paramount, Cavil said.
“We can’t always control the opponent, but what we can control is us,” he said.
Cavil praised his team’s defensive effort in the loss to Georgetown, and said that he likes the leadership shown by developing players like Naquavian Mathis, Cameron Clarke, Dai’shawn Fisher and Demarion Lyons.
Burleson (2-0) at University (1-1)
Players to watch: Burleson QB Jacob Amador; Burleson RB Caleb Lewis; Burleson DB Sam Martin; University RB Jeremiah Stroupe; University WR Michael Lambert; University DL Felipe Gonzales
Key matchup: University running game vs. Burleson defensive front
Breakdown: Sure, University’s heads were still in the clouds when they gathered for practice on Monday, following an epic breakthrough that ended the program’s 47-game losing streak. But head coach Rodney Smith said that the Trojans wasted no time shaking out of that euphoria and turning their attention to this week’s District 5-5A opener against Burleson.
“Our kids are tuned in and focused on Burleson, who’s a very good football team,” Smith said. “They’re not going to make many mistakes. And we still have a lot to work on.”
Still, last week’s 37-0 win over Austin Travis should help University in a variety of ways. Smith thought his defense had the potential to be much-improved this year, and he likes what he saw against the Rebels.
“It was big for our defense to get a shutout, against anybody,” Smith said. “Our guys are excited, we did some good things, and to get our first victory with a shutout was really big. But we’ve got to move on, because Burleson has a much better football team than those guys.”
True that — the Elks opened with a 52-0 win over a visiting team from Kansas before burning Fort Worth Braswell, 44-22, last week. They have prolific scoring power, and Smith said that it’ll be essential for University to limit their big plays.
No. 4 La Vega (1-1) at Austin LBJ (1-1)
Players to watch: La Vega LB Jared Rogers; La Vega DB Donta Stuart; La Vega RB Elisha Cummings; LBJ WR/DB Aundoy Johnson; LBJ RB Brian Batts
Key matchup: La Vega secondary vs. LBJ receiver Aundoy Johnson
Breakdown: Last week, La Vega and Argyle delivered a doozy of an early-season battle in a top-five clash. Though the Pirates lost, 31-29, head coach Don Hyde thought his bunch “played their socks off” and likes the growth and development he’s seeing from his younger players.
“They’re growing game by game,” Hyde said. “Part of playing on Friday is learning how to do certain things. We’ll get another opportunity this Friday to be better this week.”
LBJ reached the Class 5A bi-district playoffs last year, and isn’t short on weapons. The Jaguars opened with a 34-21 win over Elgin before getting tripped up by a rallying Los Fresnos team last week, 36-35.
“They’re very, very talented. They’ve got some good receivers, and the quarterback can really run it,” Hyde said. “It’s going to be another big test defensively for our guys.”
This game marks La Vega’s second straight on the road before the Pirates return home to tackle Pflugerville next week.
Cameron Yoe (1-0) at Gatesville (1-1)
Players to watch: Cameron: QB Braden Brashear, RB Davion Bynaum, LB-RB Nico Vargas; Gatesville: RB-QB Zack Mueller, QB Seth Trotter, LB Tyler Lewis
Key matchup: Cameron QB Braden Brashear vs. Gatesville secondary
Breakdown: Gatesville is giving opponents a lot to think about, with six players taking snaps from center. The main passers are Seth Trotter and Preston Preciado, who have combined for 254 yards in the first two games, while Zach Mueller is the workhorse runner.
“We’ve always rotated players,” said Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper. “Different sets make the defense think about a lot of things.”
Coming off last week’s 42-28 win over Robinson, Gatesville hopes it has enough weapons to match the explosive Cameron Yoe. The Yoemen opened the season with a 49-34 win over Mexia as Braden Brashear hit 13 of 19 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
Davion Bynaum led the running game with 101 yards while Kadrian Hammond amassed 124 yards receiving on just four catches.
“We’ve got to limit their big plays and force them to drive the football,” Cooper said. “Offensively, we have to take care of the football and establish drives and have some explosive plays.”
Gatesville is calling this the “Big Sting” game with money raised going toward battling cancer.
Reicher (1-1) at Bosqueville (0-2)
Players to watch: Reicher: QB Jake Boozer, DT-OT Miller Plesek, DB-WR Matt Torres; Bosqueville: QB Tyler Webb, WR Jase Ayala, RB Jackson Zander
Key matchup: Bosqueville WR Jase Ayala vs. Reicher secondary
Breakdown: After opening the season with a 34-33 win over Kerens, Reicher was rocked 34-0 by McKinney Christian Academy last weekend.
“In our first game we executed our scheme real well and protected the football,” said Reicher coach John Ryan. “But it was a strange night (in the second game) with the rain and lightning, and we had some careless turnovers.”
The Cougars are playing without versatile quarterback Ben Brittain, who is expected to return at some point in the season after suffering a preseason muscle injury. Wide receiver Jake Boozer has stepped in at quarterback.
Defense has been the biggest issue for Bosqueville which opened the season with a 67-12 loss to Mart followed by last week’s 48-30 loss to McGregor. Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Webb threw three touchdown passes to Jase Ayala against McGregor.
“They’re definitely an explosive team,” Ryan said. “They’ve got a lot of team speed and they move the ball around to their playmakers.”
Troy (1-1) at Robinson (1-1)
Players to watch: Troy: Zach Hrbacek, Ricky Guardiolla, Sam Jones; Robinson: Jordan Rogers, Brady Kay; Isaiah Montgomery
Key matchup: Troy linebackers vs. Robinson backfield
Breakdown: Troy was in a tie ball game a week ago until Lexington scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to run away with the win. Trying to bounce back into the win column, the Trojans will have their hands full with a confident Robinson team.
While the Rockets dropped their game against Gatesville a week ago, they found their groove offensively in the second half. Jordan Rogers continues to impress as the starting quarterback for Robinson. But he’s not alone offensively, as Brady Kay continues to put together bi- time performances at running back.
Last season, Robinson finished with only one win. By Saturday, this Rocket team may have doubled its victories from a year ago.
China Spring (1-1) at Connally (1-1)
Players to watch: China Spring: Erik Hart; Connally: Jay’Veon Sunday, Gaylon Glynn, Kavian Gaither
Key matchup: Connally offense vs. China Spring defensive line
Breakdown: China Spring got its first win of the season a week ago against Addison Trinity Christian. The Cougars played outstanding defense, holding the Trojans to only 10 points. This week, however, China Spring faces a different offensive power as they make the short trip to Lacy Lakeview, where a dynamic Cadet team awaits.
Connally is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season, 42-36, at Glen Rose a week ago. There are plenty of pieces on this Cadet team, especially offensively, to make it a tough team to pin down. Gaylon Glynn continues to run the show under center, while running back Jay’Veon Sunday reminds everyone week after week that he’s the real deal with the production he finishes with each week.
Lampasas (2-0) at Lorena (2-0)
Players to watch: Lampasas: Ace Whitehead, Daunte Cuffie, Cameron Everts; Lorena: Bradley Lina, Ben Craig, Craig Martinez
Key matchup: Ace Whitehead vs. Lorena defense
Breakdown: Ace Whitehead returns under center for Lampasas after he averaged 224 passing yards per game as a freshman last season. There are plenty of options around him on this Badger offense to give any opposing defense headaches.
However, Lorena has some of the best defenders in its own district. Against China Spring, linebacker Greg Martinez controlled the show. Last week, it was Zane Grimm’s turn to shine as he finished with 21 tackles in the Leopards’ win over Franklin.
While Lorena’s defense is already shining, the offense has been stellar as well. Bradley Lina continues to lead the offensive charge well, as Ben Craig is one of his top targets each game.
Rogers (2-0) at McGregor (2-0)
Players to watch: Rogers QB Heath Schiller; Rogers WR/DB Joshua Minor; McGregor QB VeAndre McDaniel; McGregor WR Tanner Ledesma
Key to game: McGregor gap assignment vs. Rogers running attack
Breakdown: Of all of the litany of impressive numbers one could attach to McGregor’s eye-popping 2-0 start to the season, this one might stand out the most: Zero.
That’s the number of interceptions that sophomore QB VeAndre McDaniel has thrown in 85 pass attempts this season.
“We try to make his read easy and help him as much as we can,” McGregor coach Judd Thrash said. “But he’s got great accuracy, and he’s making smart decisions. It’s also his second year in the program, and he really worked hard over the summer.”
McGregor has averaged 550 yards in its hot start, which ranks sixth in the state among all classifications. But Rogers is no slouch. The Eagles are a run-heavy unit offensively, and McGregor’s defense will have to be sound.
“We’re trying to get them off-schedule,” Thrash said. “Their main downs are first and second down, they want to keep those chains moving, but we’re trying to throw them off-schedule.”
It’ll also be homecoming for McGregor, and Thrash said that the message this week has been to not let Rogers “take our three” — meaning a third win.
Franklin (1-1) at No. 1 Mart (2-0)
Players to watch: F: DB/TB Jared Pedraza, FB Clayton Rosprim, LB Will Fannin; M: RB Tyrek Horne, RB Shatydrick Bailey; DB Kyler Martin
Key to game: Franklin’s physicality vs. Mart’s speed
“Franklin’s a big, physical, smash-mouth type of team,” said Mart head coach Kevin Hoffman. “Both offensively and defensively. It’s going to be a real test for us.”
Hoffman wants to see his defense continue to play well and stop the run, while the offense needs to cut down on mistakes and take better advantage of scoring opportunities.
Godley (2-0) at West (0-2)
Players to watch: G: QB Jason Faulkenberry, WR/DB Easton James, DL Javin Hebert; W: QB/OLB Nathan Gerik, RB Kain Klish, DL Zach Schneider
Key to game: West passing game against Godley defensive backs
Breakdown: West goes up against an undefeated Godley team, an area finalist from 2017. Godley beat Tremble Tech, 24-0, last week.
West came up short against Eastland, 28-27, last week, a 3A divisional finalist last year. The Trojans only played the first half due to the weather conditions.
West head coach David Woodard was pleased with what he saw last week. “I thought our kids bounced back well and made a huge step forward,” he said.
As for Godley, he says they’re a really good football team. “They do a lot of things offensively, showing a lot of things with different formations,” Woodard said.
As for his team, Woodard wants them to continue to eliminate mistakes and execute at a higher level for the full 48 minutes.
Marlin (0-2) at Groesbeck (2-0)
Players to watch: Groesbeck UT Ameer Lee; Groesbeck WR Brandyn Canady; Groesbeck QB Ty Hale; Marlin QB Donovan Blakes; Marlin RB Charleston Lee
Key matchup: Marlin gang-tackling vs. Groesbeck star Ameer Lee
Breakdown: The Goats, in year three under Steve Hale, are playing the brand of football the coach wants, starting on defense. In fact, Groesbeck’s defense has yet to yield a touchdown on the season. “And one of the field goals hit the crossbar and went in,” Hale said, “so we’re a couple of inches away from two shutouts. We’re playing well, and I’m excited.”
Nobody has been able to slow down Ameer Lee through two weeks. The do-it-all Groesbeck star has scored on punt returns, runs and receptions, and he doesn’t hit the turf easily.
“Like a lot of our kids, he’s made a huge commitment in the weight room. He’s squatting 500 pounds, and he only weighs about 165,” said Hale. “He’s become very hard to tackle.”
Marlin’s numbers are down, and the Bulldogs have been outscored, 95-0, in two weeks. So, Groesbeck’s big-play offense — the Goats have six touchdowns of more than 50 yards — could have a productive night.
Week 3: Trib staff high school football picks
|Waco High at Ellison||Waco||Waco||Waco|
|Copperas Cove at Belton||Belton||Copperas||Belton|
|Harker Heights at Temple||Temple||Temple||Temple|
|Midway at Killeen (7 p.m. Thu.)||Midway||Midway||Midway|
|DISTRICT 5-5A DIV. II|
|Burleson at University||University||Burleson||University|
|China Spring at Connally||Connally||China Spring||Connally|
|Cameron Yoe at Gatesville||Cameron Yoe||Gatesville||Cameron Yoe|
|La Vega at Austin LBJ (8 p.m.)||La Vega||La Vega||La Vega|
|Whitney at Hillsboro||Whitney||Whitney||Whitney|
|Fairfield at Athens||Fairfield||Fairfield||Fairfield|
|Lampasas at Lorena||Lorena||Lorena||Lorena|
|Mexia at Malakoff||Mexia||Mexia||Mexia|
|Troy at Robinson||Robinson||Robinson||Robinson|
|Marlin at Groesbeck||Groesbeck||Groesbeck||Groesbeck|
|Rogers at McGregor||McGregor||McGregor||Rogers|
|Godley at West||West||Godley||West|
|Clifton at Maypearl||Clifton||Clifton||Clifton|
|Moody at Hamilton||Hamilton||Moody||Hamilton|
|Crawford at Rice||Crawford||Crawford||Crawford|
|Valley Mills at Dawson||Dawson||Dawson||Dawson|
|Thorndale at Axtell||Axtell||Axtell||Thorndale|
|Reicher at Bosqueville||Bosqueville||Bosqueville||Bosqueville|
|Chilton at Bruceville-Eddy||B-Eddy||B-Eddy||B-Eddy|
|Itasca at Frost||Frost||Itasca||Itasca|
|Riesel at Jarrell||Riesel||Riesel||Riesel|
|Rosebud-Lott at Rio Vista||Rosebud-Lott||Rio Vista||Rosebud-Lott|
|Hubbard at Malakoff Cross Roads||Hubbard||Hubbard||Hubbard|
|Franklin at Mart||Mart||Mart||Mart|
|Granger at Meridian (7 p.m.)||Granger||Granger||Granger|
|Wortham at Bartlett||Bartlett||Bartlett||Bartlett|
|Milano at Bremond||Bremond||Bremond||Bremond|
|Snook at Texas Wind (7 p.m.)||Texas Wind||Snook||Texas Wind|
|Aquilla at Richland Springs||Aquilla||Richland Spr.||Richland Spr.|
|Penelope at Abbott||Abbott||Penelope||Abbott|
|Blum at Iredell||Iredell||Blum||Blum|
|Oglesby at Covington||Covington||Covington||Covington|
|Gholson at Mount Calm||Gholson||Mt. Calm||Gholson|
|Coolidge at Dallas Lutheran||Coolidge||Coolidge||Coolidge|
|Brookesmith at Evant||Evant||Evant||Evant|
|Live Oak at Jonesboro||Jonesboro||Jonesboro||Jonesboro|
|Cranfills Gap at Mullin||Cranfills Gap||Cranfills Gap||Cranfills Gap|
|Gordon at Walnut Springs||Gordon||W. Springs||Gordon|
|Perrin-Whitt at Bynum||Bynum||Bynum||Bynum|
|Kopperl at Rochelle (6:30 p.m.)||Kopperl||Rochelle||Kopperl|
|Three Way at Morgan||Morgan||Morgan||Morgan|
|Methodist Home at Trinidad||MCH||MCH||Trinidad|
|Vanguard at Parkview||Parkview||Parkview||Parkview|
|Season to date||50-27||44-33||54-23|