TEMPLE at ROUND ROCK CEDAR RIDGE
7:30 p.m., Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex
2018 records: Temple Wildcats 8-3; Cedar Ridge Raiders 9-3
Last year’s meeting: Temple 45, Cedar Ridge 25
Wildcats to watch: WR Quentin Johnston, RB/KR Anthony Jackson, QB Vance Willis, WR Montavian Carlysle, RB Samari Howard, C Markel Carter, LG Dakari White, CB Roman Jackson, S DaMarco Williams, DE Isaiah Fach, LB Quincy Marshall, FS Mikal Harrison-Pilot, LB Taurean York.
Raiders to watch: RB Chris Vaughn, QB Jalen Brown, WR MarkAnthony Walker, WR DJ Rountree, OT Marcus Bryant, LB Devin Taylor, LB Brett Hartgrove, DB Gavin Dunn, DB Ciondre Sterling, DB Nick Garner.
Note: Temple won its last seven season-opening games, but extending that streak will be a challenging task against Cedar Ridge. Last year’s Raiders returned only one starter on defense. This year’s Wildcats are in that situation, with Roman Jackson the lone defensive starter back, although Williams, a Tulsa commitment, played plenty in 2018. Temple’s defense, including freshman starters in Harrison-Pilot and York, seeks to shore up its tackling and coverage after several breakdowns in a scrimmage at College Station. The Wildcats must contain Vaughn (1,926 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns last season), a shifty Kansas State pledge, and Brown (2,054 yards, 20 TDs). Willis is Temple’s new starting QB and is surrounded by a bevy of talented weapons, led by the Johnston, a Texas commitment who had four TD receptions against Cedar Ridge last year and 16 for the season. Anthony Jackson (15 TDs) and Howard will run behind a senior-laden line keyed by Carter and White. Temple aims to create momentum entering next Friday’s home opener against. Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Mexico).
BELTON at AUSTIN WESTLAKE
7:30 p.m., Chaparral Stadium
2018 records: Belton Tigers 7-4; Westlake Chaparrals 13-2
Last year’s meeting: Westlake 38, Belton 17
Tigers to watch: QB Ruben Jimenez, S Jason Stephens, S Tanner Holman, RB D’emante Smith, OL Chris Brown, OL Thomas Bowman, DL JJ Bowers, DL Derrance Daniels, LB Coby Trovinger.
Chaparrals to watch: WR Mason Mangum, WR Jackson Coker, DB Sage Luther, DB Leo Lowin, DL Bobby Duncan, QB Kirkland Michaux, QB Drew Willoughby, QB Cade Klubnik.
Note: The Tigers will look for their first opening-night win since 2015 and will do so on the road against the seventh-ranked Chaparrals, who are coming off a second consecutive appearance in the Class 6A Division II state semifinals. Jimenez, 1-2 as a starter last season while completing 65 percent of his passes, has an experienced offensive line in front of him but his receivers are all first-year varsity starters. They’ll find out just what they’ll need to work on after going against a usually stingy defense tonight. Mangum caught a TD pass in last year’s game at Tiger Field. Michaux, Willoughby and Klubnik competed for the starting QB job.
GATESVILLE at MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE
7:30 p.m., MISD Stadium
2018 records: Gatesville Hornets 3-7; Heritage Jaguars 11-2
Last year’s meeting: Heritage 21, Gatesville 6
Hornets to watch: WR Tyler Godfrey, RB Tyler Godfrey, QB Wesley Brown, QB Logan Edwards, OL Waylon Jennings, OL/DL Stephen Fitzer, DL Luke Gregory.
Jaguars to watch: WR Jay Wilkerson, QB/S Cade Sumbler, QB Blake Wilhoite, RB Cullen Stone, LB Konnor Jones, DL Ben Eskins, DL Jack Gray.
Note: In their debut under new head coach Luke Howard, the Hornets will break in a new quarterback after Brown and Edwards battled for the starting job in fall camp. The offensive and defensive lines should be strengths for Gatesville, which was 1-4 in season openers over the last five years. Wilkerson had 1,287 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns last season for the Jaguars, who will have a new starting quarterback in either Sumbler or Wilhoite. Jones anchors the defense after registering 116 tackles a year ago.
SALADO vs. TROY
7:30 p.m., Crusader Stadium, Belton
2018 records: Salado Eagles 4-6; Troy Trojans 9-3
Last year’s meeting: Troy 15, Salado 6
Eagles to watch: LB Peyton Miller, LB Caleb Self, DB Ethan Scott, FB Hunter Turk, TB Wrook Brown, TB Reid Vincent, DL Ryan Poe.
Trojans to watch: RB Zach Hrbacek, QB/DB Tyler Jarolik, QB/DB Ben Presley, LB/TE Beau Workman, FB/LB Sam Jones, S Kody Kaminski.
Note: Troy has had the upper hand in this always-scintillating matchup over the last decade, but it was just two seasons ago when Salado romped to a 33-0 victory. While tonight’s outcome is to be determined, what’s for sure is that the handoff will be featured. Troy’s more conventional run-first attack is led by Hrbacek, the area’s second-leading rusher last season who’ll run behind an experienced offensive line. Salado’s quirky Slot-T offense is spearheaded by Turk (974 yards rushing, 11 TDs in 2018) and enhanced by Brown and Vincent.
MEXIA at CAMERON YOE
7:30 p.m., Yoe Field
2018 records: Mexia Blackcats 2-8; Yoe Yoemen 11-2
Last year’s meeting: Yoe 49, Mexia 34
Blackcats to watch: QB Jaden Proctor, RB/LB Dre’Vaun Cooper, RB Jarrell Wiley, DL Dawson Scott, OL Jacob Kyle.
Yoemen to watch: QB Braden Brashear, RB Nico Vargas, RB/LB James Debose, WR Kobe Young, LB Patrick England, DB Calvin Stewart.
Note: Yoe’s losses last season were each by a point — one in a non-district setback to Giddings and the other in overtime against Winnie East Chambers in a Class 3A Division I Region III semifinal. Yoe returns six starters on offense and five on defense, and carries a No. 4 ranking into the season. Vargas was a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago and had 29 TDs. Brashear threw for 2,325 yards and 24 scores in his first year as a starter. Young is the team’s top returning pass catcher after hauling in 42 receptions in 2018. The Blackcats return two starters on offense and seven on defense.
JARRELL at WHITNEY
7:30 p.m., Wildcat Stadium
2018 records: Jarrell Cougars 4-6; Whitney Wildcats 6-5
Last year’s meeting: Whitney 27, Jarrell 12
Cougars to watch: QB Heron Rodriguez, RB Jasper Compton, WR Joseph Crathers, WR Joseph Shamburger, OL/DL Jake Copeland, OL/DL Billy LaFrance.
Wildcats to watch: QB Devin Wilson, WR Kolby Tanner, OL Joshua Noble, LB Dawson Hightower, LB Julian Poston, DB Juan Saucedo.
Note: Rodriguez is back to trigger the Jarrell offense after throwing for 1,154 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, when Compton ran for a team-best 651 yards and seven TDs. After going from 0-10 two years ago to 4-6 last season, a win tonight would bolster the Cougars’ ongoing turnaround. The Wildcats have a dual-threat QB in Wilson, who threw for 1,822 yards and 16 touchdowns last season to go with 806 yards rushing and 20 TDs. Tanner, who had 1,257 yards receiving and 15 TDs, is his favorite target.
GIDDINGS at ROCKDALE
7:30 p.m., Tiger Stadium
2018 records: Giddings Buffaloes 11-2; Rockdale Tigers 7-4
Last year’s meeting: Giddings 17, Rockdale 16
Buffaloes to watch: QB Alex DeLaTorre, OL Chris Sifuentes, OL Josiah Abrego, OL Camron Rimes, LB Jaron Denman, DL Michael Fox.
Tigers to watch: RB Cam’Ron Valdez, QB Jace Robinson, WR/CB Kesean Raven, WR Ross Loth, OL Alex Ellison, DB Levi Baggerley, DL Ty Mayberry, LB Chase Mayfield.
Note: Rockdale returns a wealth of experience on offense, including Robinson (1,670 yards passing, 19 TDs last season, Valdez (1,129 yards rushing, 17 TDs) and Loth (556 yards receiving, seven TDs). In their first game since winning the 2017 Class 3A Division I state title, the Tigers were edged in last year’s season opener and will seek atonement tonight against the Buffaloes. DeLaTorre had 1,450 yards passing, 650 rushing and 26 total touchdowns last season, and he’ll operate behind an offensive line that features three 300-pounders in Sifuentes, Abrego and Rimes.
BRUCEVILLE-EDDY at RIO VISTA
7:30 p.m., Eagle Field
2018 records: Bruceville-Eddy Eagles 5-5; Rio Vista Eagles 1-8
Last year’s meeting: Bruceville-Eddy 28, Rio Vista 8
Bruceville-Eddy players to watch: OL Jed Davis, RB Nathan Quattlebaum, QB Trapper Ensor, WR John Lopez, WR/QB T.J. Jarmon, S Brandon Stratton
Rio Vista players to watch: OL/DL Ethan Cummings, WR/DB Billy Bob Bridges, QB Clayton Camp, RB/DB Hunter Carpenter, OL/DL Zak Moses, TE Noah Petty, RB/DB Wyatt Johnson, WR/DB Cresson Crowder
Note: The Kyle Shoppach era begins tonight for Bruceville-Eddy as the first-year Eagles head coach leads his squad into Rio Vista looking for its sixth straight season-opening win. Bruceville-Eddy missed the playoffs last year by virtue of a tiebreaker after finishing in a three-way tie for third place in District 8-2A-I. Quattlebaum (1,266 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns last season) will continue to lead the ground attack for Bruceville-Eddy. Shoppach has added elements to the passing scheme, which should bode well for Ensor (760 yards passing, eight touchdowns). Rio Vista returns nine starters on offense but lacks overall numbers on its roster.
MOODY at HOLLAND
7:30 p.m., Hornet Field
2018 records: Moody Bearcats 1-9; Holland Hornets 10-2
Last year’s meeting: Holland 49, Moody 7
Bearcats to watch: QB/S Da’Mon Allen, QB/S Ryder Hohhertz, RB/LB Trashawn Hill, OL/DL Jackson Orr, OL/DL Davis Orr, RB/CB Evan Norward, OL/LB Hunter Mauch, OL/LB Rene Contreras, RB/LB Gavin Green.
Hornets to watch: QB/CB Zane Spinn, RB/DE Clay Cooper, WR/LB Brady Shelton, WR/CB Caleb Cearley, WR Logan Mann, WR/S Josh Evans, OL/DL Jae’Vone Brown, S Ayden Tomasek.
Note: Holland outscored Moody 29-0 in the first quarter and led 35-0 at halftime in a game that was never close last year. The Hornets look for their third consecutive 10-win season behind a trio of seniors in Spinn (1,399 yards passing, 13 touchdowns last season), Cooper (1,219 yards rushing, 16 TDs) and Shelton (695 yards receiving, 526 rushing, 19 total TDs). Moody seeks improvement this year after head coach Jason Hill’s hiring just three months prior to the start of last season. The Bearcats had a battle between Allen and Hohhertz during fall camp for the starting QB job. On defense, Moody switched to a 4-3 scheme led by Green and Hill.
ROSEBUD-LOTT at ANDERSON-SHIRO
7:30 p.m., Owl Stadium
2018 records: Rosebud-Lott Cougars 2-8; Anderson-Shiro Owls 6-4
Last year’s meeting: Anderson-Shiro 13, Rosebud-Lott 6
Cougars to watch: RB Adrian Valdez, WR/S John Paul Reyna, OL/DL Sam Taggart, WR Damonte Hargrow, WR Zach Buhl.
Owls to watch: RB/CB Zacarrius Haynes, QB Cole Werner, WR/S Chalon Pratt, DL Chad Roebuck, LB Landon Stem.
Note: The Owls hadn’t won a game since 2015 when these teams met in last season’s opener. Anderson-Shiro snapped its losing streak and provided a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come for the Cougars, who struggled to a 2-8 record. But with first-year head coach Rafael Williams taking the reins, Rosebud-Lott feels it’s poised to get back on the right track. Reyna had a team-high 11 receptions last season in the Cougars’ run-first offense. Hargrow had the team’s lone TD reception. Rosebud-Lott’s defense will have to contend with Haynes, who rushed for 1,126 yards a year ago.
HUBBARD at BARTLETT
7:30 p.m., Bulldog Stadium
2018 records: Hubbard Jaguars 6-5; Bartlett Bulldogs 0-10
Last year’s meeting: Hubbard 40, Bartlett 6
Jaguars to watch: QB/DB Logan Morris, FB/LB Cooper Martin, OL/DL Chance Hasse, OL/LB R.J. Cormier, OL/DL Sebastian Olvera, WR/DB Justin Johnson, RB/CB Daylan Slade.
Bulldogs to watch: QB Daniel Juarez, OL/DL J.J. Shaw, OL/DL Myles Buchhorn, RB/DB Levonta Davis, DB Devonta Davis, DB Joshua Garcia, OL/DL Kenneth Smith, WR/DB Jared Cooper.
Note: The Bulldogs will try to snap a winless drought in their debut under new head coach Brian Kozma, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience and spent the last four seasons as offensive coordinator at Liberty Hill. Juarez is an experienced quarterback for the Bulldogs, who expect most starters to play on both sides of the ball. Hubbard was bounced in the first round of the playoffs last year thanks to a 54-0 defeat against Grapeland. The Jaguars return 19 starters and are led offensively by Morris (1,027 yards passing, 477 rushing last season).
SNOOK at GRANGER
7:30 p.m., Lion Stadium
2018 records: Snook Blue Jays 9-3; Granger Lions 11-2
Last year’s meeting: Snook 28, Granger 13
Blue Jays to watch: RB Qwanterrius Young, OL/DL David James, QB Justin Supak, WR/DB Jermaine Kearney.
Lions to watch: RB/S Carlos Reyna, LB Nathan Flores, QB/s Thomas Rhoades, WR/LB Wyatt Bolding, WR Johnny Ryder, LB Carlos Garza.
Note: After dropping last year’s season opener to the Blue Jays, the Lions proceeded to reel off 11 consecutive victories and didn’t lose again until the third round of the playoffs. While key players departed that Granger squad, vital pieces remain for head coach Walt Brock, including Rhoades (1,100 yards and 11 TDs passing) at quarterback and Reyna (700 yards rushing, 12 TDs a year ago) at running back.
PENELOPE at BUCKHOLTS
7:30 p.m., Jim Hauk Field
2018 records: Penelope Wolverines 4-6; Buckholts Badgers 4-6
Last year’s meeting: Penelope 94, Buckholts 48
Wolverines to watch: OL/DL Jesus Silva, RB/S Brenner Martin, OL/CB Jose Herrera, RB/DE Kennon Redden, FB/DL Jaimen Marquez, QB/S Isaiah Garcia.
Badgers to watch: TE/LB Kenneth Shelton, QB/DB Zachary Hafley, WR/DB Thomas Maldonado, WR/CB David Lansford, RB/DL Ivan Baez, RB/LB Issacc Alvarez.
Note: Coming off a season in which Buckholts was forced to start several underclassmen because of injuries, second-year Badgers head coach James Shelton hopes the experience gained from last year pays off this season. Hafley is a transfer from Cameron Yoe who should help the Badgers’ passing game, and Kenneth Shelton could be one of his top targets. Penelope returns just five starters from last year’s team but has plenty of senior experience to make up for the turnover.
SCHERTZ JOHN PAUL II at CENTRAL TEXAS CHRISTIAN
7:30 p.m., Frazee Field
2018 records: John Paul Guardians 3-8; CTCS Lions 8-3
Guardians to watch: WR/DB Adam Zorowski, FB Matt McCabe, QB Connor Asadourian, RB/LB Clayton Bradley, WR/DB Dezmon Dudley, TE/DL Jack Robinson.
Lions to watch: QB Braydon Davis, OL/DL Tim Marwitz, RB/LB Ryan Turley, WR/DB Matt Diguire, WR/LB Nathan Beck, OL/LB Christian Snyder, RB/LB Charlie Hudson, FB/DL Connor Ling.
Note: The Lions got off to a 7-0 start last season before losing three of their final four games, including a first-round exit in the playoffs. CTCS will need to find answers in the running game to make up for the loss of Rylan Turner (2,056 yards rushing, 29 touchdowns as a senior last season), but Davis’ improvement has given the Lions hopes of throwing the ball more. Marwitz is expected to lead CTCS on both lines. The Guardians return 12 starters from last year’s playoff team.