Thursday Preview: Week 2
The 10 can't-miss high school football games across Texas tonight
It’s Thursday night, which means that the high school football weekend starts tonight! DCTF’s EJ Holland previews the 10 must-see games on Texas high school football’s second-biggest night of the week!
Ten Games Tonight You Can’t Miss
Smithson Valley at SA Brennan
The entire Alamo City is buzzing about this game. On one hand you have San Antonio Brennan, last year’s 4A Division I state finalist. The Bears had the best defense in the state a year ago. After losing stars like Derrick Roberson and Grant Watanabe, there were plenty of question marks. But the unit, led by linebacker DJ Allen, made a statement in Week 1 by shutting dow ndynamite athlete Billy Ray McCrary and Leander Rouse en route to a 30-7 victory. And the offense was explosive with dual-threat quarterback Da’Shawn Key running the show. On the other hand, you have Smithson Valley. The Rangers entered the year ranked No. 19 but suffered an extremely surprising opening loss to Midland. We’re giving Smithson Valley the benefit of the doubt, but guys like safety Brad Ingle and wide receiver Kyle Kershner need to step up in a big way.
EJ’s pick: SA Brennan 35, Smithson Valley 14
The Woodlands at Spring Dekaney
The Woodlands is another team we had high expectations for this season. But the Highlanders suffered a major setback in a 9-0 loss to Cy-Fair. Granted, Cy-Fair is a great team, but getting shutout has to be concerning for head coach Mark Scmid. It also didn’t help that stud running back Patrick Carr was bottled up, gaining just 69 yards on 18 carries. And Carr might have just as difficult of a time finding room against a Spring Dekaney defense that absolute shut down and shut out Alief Hastings. Spring Dekaney defensive tackle Roderick Young and defensive end Sarid Shadajah could pose problems for The Woodlands offensive line. With that said, we expect Carr and the Highlanders to get back on the right track.
EJ’s pick: The Woodlands 27, Spring Dekaney 17
Alief Elsik at Houston Stratford
This one doesn’t have the same pizazz as The Woodlands at Spring Dekaney, but we wouldn’t be surprised if its just as good of a game. Right now, Houston Stratford is somewhat of a mystery. We ranked the Spartans No. 16 after a deep run in the playoffs last year, but then they went out and fell to Houston Memorial in the opener. We’re going to go ahead and say it was Week 1 jitters because we love defensive Mikal Pruitt, and running back Rakeem Boyd is an animal. But Alief Elsik is a threat to pull the upset. The Rams destroyed South Houston, 41-10, last week and feature an intimidating defensive led by linebacker Dontavious Jackson and free safety Chris Brown.
EJ’s pick: Houston Stratford 31, Alief Elsik 19
Cochrane (Canada) at Groesbeck
So this is a good matchup, eh? Yes, it is! Or interesting to say the least. Last week, we made a big fuss about Anchorage South making their way down to Texas from Alaska. So it’s only fair that we do the same about Cochrane making a lengthy trip from Canada. In fact, Cochrane will travel around 1,800 miles to Groesbeck. But Cochrane isn’t coming just to enjoy the Texas scenery. They’re here to play. Cochrane has two straight playoff appearances under its belt and won a provisional championship a year ago. Groesbeck lost its opener to Bullard, but the Goats have a talented playmaker at quarterback in Jacob Fox. Groesbeck… it’s up to y’all to defend our Texas pride, and we hope you’re up to the task.
EJ’s pick: Groesbeck 31, Cochrane 28
Garland at Mesquite
This matchup might not have the allure of years past, but it will make for a very nice Thursday night appetizer. Garland and Mesquite are basically neighbors, so emotions are sure to be running sky high. But Garland showed in Week 1 that it’s calm, cool and collective. The Owls edged out Irving MacArthur, 24-22, in close one that saw Hunter Merriman kick the game-winning field goal with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Garland is stout defensively with Donovan Ransom in the middle, but the Owls need more consistency from offensive playmakers like quarterback Luther Kirk. A talented Plano West squad blew out Mesquite, but the result wasn’t necessarily indicative of what we can expect from the Skeeters in 2014. Mesquite always seems to have athletes all over the field.
EJ’s pick: Garland 27, Mesquite 17
Dallas Lincoln at Dallas Hillcrest
Staying in the Dallas-area, this clash of experienced DISD teams is sure to create some fireworks. Lincoln had some trouble on offense against FW Dunbar, totaling just 42 yards in a 28-6 loss. Still, the Tigers have no shortage of talent. Dual-threat quarterback Trevon Donnell is a dangerous threat to score when he takes off and defensive back Cristian Williams, an SMU commit, can bring the wood defensively. Unlike Lincoln, Hillcrest took care of business last week with a dominating 37-17 win over W.T. White. The Panthers have a veteran offense — nine starters returning from last year’s team — and a dangerous dual-threat quarterback of their own in Arico Evans, who is sure to give Lincoln fits.
EJ’s pick: Dallas Hillcrest 38, Dallas Lincoln 28
Little Elm at McKinney North
We don’t want to leave the DFW Metroplex just yet. Not when one of the most talented running backs in the area is set to hit the field. At 6-foot, 185-pounds, Ronald Jones, an Oklahoma State pledge, is an absolute beast with ball in his hands and a load to bring down. Jones didn’t have his best game Carrollton Newman Smith, but he did enough to help the Bulldogs win handily, 46-16. We fully expect Jones to go in full beast mode this week. So what does Little Elm need to do to keep that from happening? Make some key adjustments after last week’s 35-14 loss to Terrell. The Lobos gave up almost 300 yards on the ground as Terrell averaged 8.9 yards per carry.
EJ’s pick: McKinney North 50, Little Elm 17
Brownsville Rivera at Edinburg North
From Dallas, we go all the way down to my old neck of the woods — the Rio Grande Valley, where Brownsville Rivera meets Edinburg North in what is sure to be a dandy. Edinburg North was our Week 1 6A Team of the Week after the Cougars overcame a 19-point deficit to top Los Fresnos. The Cougars have a potent rushing attack led by Matthew Whitsides, who rushed for over 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2013. While Edinburg North made a comeback, Brownsville Rivera blew a lead. The Raiders were up 14-0 on Weslaco East before falling 28-17. Brownsville Rivera must move past that and keep playing tough defense. If they can limit Whitesides, the Raiders have a chance.
EJ’s pick: Edinburg North 28, Brownsville Rivera 16
Laredo Alexander at Laredo Martin
Just up the road, we have a very intriguing cross-classification matchup in Laredo between two teams we project to make the postseason. Both squads dropped their opening game, so the pressure of starting out 0-2 is very real. Alexander is the bigger school and will have an advantage when it comes to numbers. The Bulldogs love to let quarterback Aaaron Swain sling it around to the dangerous pass-catching duo of Danny Sanchez and Travis Allen. Putting points on the scoreboard shouldn’t be an issue. But can they stop Martin? Sure, the Tigers were shut out last week, but Martin is very experienced on the offensive side of the ball and running backs Juan Valdivia and Alexis Navarro are hard to tackle.
EJ’s pick: Laredo Alexander 41, Laredo Martin 24
Groom at McLean
If you’re always busy watching your favorite team on Friday night and haven’t had a chance to check out a six-man game, here is your chance! In the state’s only six-man game of the night, Groom, our No. 7 team in 1A DII, travels to McLean to face a team with a lot of momentum after a 50-46 win over White Deer. Groom, who trounced Miami by 50, looks extremely tough especially with fullback Nick Bohr and running back Trenton Fields leading the way. Although McLean is unranked, the Tigers have home field advantage and two game-changing ball carriers of their own in Cody Crockett and Jose Keever. This should be fun!
EJ’s pick: Groom 63, McLean 45
Complete Thursday night schedule is below.
El Paso Hanks at El Paso Socorro 7:30
North Mesquite at Arlington Sam Houston 8
Fort Worth Paschal at Fort Worth South Hills 7
Burleson at Keller Timber Creek 7
Lewisville at Fort Worth Richland 7
Fort Worth Polytechnic at Carrollton Turner 7
Garland at Mesquite 7
Richardson Berkner at Garland Naaman Forest 7
Richardson Lake Highlands at Garland Rowlett 7
Austin Anderson at Round Rock Westwood 7
Kyle Lehman at Austin McCallum 7:30
The Woodlands at Spring DeKaney 7
Spring Westfield at Clear Brook 7
Dickinson at Humble Summer Creek 7
Fort Bend Travis at Katy 7
Houston Sterling at Houston Westbury 7
Alief Elsik at Houston Stratford 7
Alief Hastings at Fort Bend Marshall 6
Clear Falls at Fort Bend Kempner 6
Smithson Valley at San Antonio Brennan 7
Boerne Champion at San Antonio Stevens 7
Laredo Alexander at Laredo Martin 7
Brownsville Rivera at Edinburg North 7
PSJA North at Brownsville Veterans Memorial 7
San Benito at Weslaco East 7
El Paso Eastlake at Onate, NM 8
Plainview at Amarillo Palo Duro 7:30
Fort Worth Brewer at Fort Worth Western Hills 7
Fort Worth Castleberry at Frisco Independence 7
Little Elm at McKinney North 7
Dallas Molina at Dallas Conrad 7
Dallas Lincoln at Dallas Hillcrest 7
FW Diamond Hill-Jarvis at Dallas Jefferson 7
Dallas Spruce at North Dallas 7
Houston Austin at Houston Washington 7
Lockhart at Austin Crockett 7:30
San Marcos at Victoria East 7
Cochrane Canada, CA at Groesbeck 7:30
Leakey vs. Yorktown (at La Vernia) 7
Groom at McLean 7:30
Waco Texas Wind at Austin Texas Sch for the Deaf 7
Schertz John Paul II at Austin Eastside Memorial 7
Houston Sanchez at Houston Texas Christian 4:30
Lakeland Christian at Dallas Inspired Vision 6:30
Cherokee vs. Waco Methodist Children’s Home (at Evant) 5:30
EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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