— District 12-6A —
BELTON at HARKER HEIGHTS
Leo Buckley Stadium
Records: Belton Tigers 3-2, 2-0; Harker Heights Knights 4-1, 1-1
Last week: Belton 21, Bryan 14 (OT); Temple 44, Harker Heights 34
Last year’s meeting: Harker Heights 42, Belton 20
Tigers to watch: WR Seth Morgan, TE Bryan Henry, RB/QB Slade LeBlanc, LB Donovan Thompson, DL Tanner Conroy, DB Trent West, DB Kage Carmichael, LB Wriley Madden, RB Javier Luna.
Knights to watch: RB Re’Shaun Sanford, QB Dylan Plake, WR Marcus Maple, RB Aimeer Washington, WR Terrance Carter, RB Marcus Moultrie.
Note: This game will feature strength on strength, with Belton’s defense versus Harker Heights’ offense. The Tigers yielded only 14 points in each of their first two district wins and forced nine turnovers in that span, including six last week. Heights, meanwhile, is led by an offense that averages 50.4 points per game, anchored by Sanford (100 carries, 926 yards rushing, nine TDs), who leads the district in all rushing categories. With district-leading passer Plake (52-for-72, 919 yards, 15 TDs), the Knights can still be balanced, though. Maple (20 catches, 385 yards, six TDs) is Heights’ top target, while Morgan (28 catches, 337 yards, three TDs), who leads the league in receptions, is Belton’s.
— District 9-4A-II —
SALADO at GATESVILLE
Records: Salado Eagles 3-2, 0-0; Gatesville Hornets 2-3, 0-0
Last week: Salado, idle; Gatesville, idle
Last year’s meeting: Salado 63, Gatesville 3
Eagles to watch: QB Hutton Haire, RB Seth Reavis, RB Aidan Wilson, DB Josh Huckabee, DL Blake Volk, OL Gavyn Keyser, RB Caden Strickland.
Hornets to watch: QB Wesley Brown, WR Carson Brizendine, WR Banner Allman, TE Logan Edwards, OL/DL Evan Hanson, DB Lawson Mooney.
Note: There are plenty of Hornets who will be eager to avenge last year’s one-sided affair. To do so, Gatesville has to find a way to contain a Salado rushing attack that averages 373 yards per game. The Hornets allowed an average of 258 yards rushing per game in their last three contests. Brown is a dual threat quarterback for Gatesville, which averages 258 yard per game. Wilson (79 carries, 600 yards rushing) and Strickland (69 carries, 560 yards) are the two main weapons for the Eagles.
— District 11-3A-I —
CAMERON YOE at ACADEMY
John Glover Stadium
Records: Yoe Yoemen 2-4, 2-0; Academy Bumblebees 5-1, 1-1
Last week: Yoe 60, Rockdale 23; Academy 21, McGregor 13
Last year’s meeting: Yoe 37, Academy 19
Yoemen to watch: QB Ryan Muniz, RB Phaibian Bynaum, WR Pharrell Hemphill, WR Kason Goolsby, WR Jaidyn Sanchez, LB Fabian Salomon, LB Colton Barbo, WR Trayjen Wilcox.
Bumblebees to watch: WR/DB Scout Brazeal, DB/WR/K Blake Bundy, QB Kasey Mraz, LB/WR Darion Franklin, RB Brayden Bartlett, TE Luke Tomasek, RB Zane Clark, DL Daniel Munoz.
Note: After going winless in non-district, Yoe has exploded onto the league scene with 130 points through its first two district games. The Yoemen got a balanced offensive effort last week with 192 yards rushing and three scores from leading rusher Bynaum (96 carries, 608 yards, eight TDs) and three TD passes from Muniz (83-of-125, 1,224 yards, 15 TDs), who leads the area in touchdown throws, to reclaim the Milam County bell. Yoe also got a touchdown apiece from five other players. Academy regrouped from its first loss of the year to grab its first league win last week, scoring 14 points in the final quarter to squeak by McGregor. The Bees are led by Mraz (79-for-113, 1,263 yards, 13 TDs), whose top target is the area’s leading receiver in catches and yards in Brazeal (34 receptions, 726 yards, six TDs). Franklin (seven offensive TDs) also provides a weapon on both sides of the ball.
CALDWELL at ROCKDALE
Records: Caldwell Hornets 2-3, 0-1; Rockdale Tigers 3-3, 1-1
Last week: Caldwell, idle; Cameron Yoe 60, Rockdale 23
Last year’s meeting: Rockdale 55, Caldwell 26
Hornets to watch: QB Travis Balcar, RB Jamar Hewitt, RB/LB Laramie Pieper, WR Tre Burns, DL Marqualon Green, DL Delvin Morris.
Tigers to watch: QB Blaydn Barcak, WR Kobe Mitchell, LB Cade Pantaleon, WR/DB Robert Owens, WR/DB Wyatt Windham, OL/DL Gavin Aguilar.
Note: Rockdale looks to bounce back from last week’s loss to Yoe, which reclaimed the rivalry’s coveted bell. The Tigers are still dangerous on offense with Barcak (1,126 yards, 10 TDs passing; 380 yards, four TDs rushing), Mitchell (262 yards, two TDs receiving; 165 yards, three TDs rushing), Owens (524 yards, six TDs receiving) and Windham (196 yards, two TDs receiving). The Rockdale defense allows an average of 361.3 yards per contest but should have an easier time tonight against a Caldwell squad that’s on a three-game losing streak and hasn’t played since a 70-0 loss to Yoe two weeks ago.
MCGREGOR at TROY
Records: McGregor Bulldogs 2-4, 0-2; Troy Trojans 0-5, 0-1
Last week: Academy 21, McGregor 13; Lorena 55, Troy 14
Last year’s meeting: McGregor 58, Troy 57
Bulldogs to watch: QB Chad Lorenz, RB/LB Nicky Nieves, WR Jayden Benitez, OL/DL Oliver Jenkins, LB Daytron Owens.
Trojans to watch: QB Jace Carr, RB Steve Jackson, RB/LB Korey Gibson, RB/LB Kadin Workman, OL/DL Elijah Sunderman, OL Brady Mays, RB Cooper Valle.
Note: Last year’s outcome of this matchup was what the Trojans felt ultimately kept them from the playoffs. Former Troy running back Zach Hrbacek and Lorenz combined for 668 yards rushing that night. The Trojans don’t quite have the same offensive power, with Hrbacek now playing for Sam Houston State, but still have a reliable ground game that has produced 928 yards, led by Jackson’s 313 yards on 36 carries. Lorenz has moved to quarterback and is 25-of-68 passing for 409 yards and has 119 carries for 908 yards.
— District 13-3A-II —
FRANKLIN at ROGERS
Records: Franklin Lions 6-0, 2-0; Rogers Eagles 4-2, 2-0
Last week: Franklin 75, Riesel 13; Rogers 41, Clifton 28
Last year’s meeting: Franklin 52, Rogers 35
Lions to watch: RB Bryson Washington, RB/WR Malcom Murphy, RB Bobby Washington, LB Seth Shamblin, LB Haze Tomascik.
Eagles to watch: QB Riley Dolgener, SB/DB Christian Riley, OL/DL Mason Davis, WR/DB RJ Cook, OL/DL Tyler Shelton, WR/DB Alex Vargas, RB Ivan Lopez, WR Zach Davis.
Note: A pair of teams with 2-0 district records square off tonight in a contest that down the road could decide the league championship. What has made Franklin dangerous this season is the way in which its defense complements the offense’s proficiency. The Lions allow an average of just 15.1 points an outing while defeating opponents by an average margin of 37 points. Rogers’ defense will need to find a way to contain the Lions’ rushing attack. The Eagles yield 178.5 yards rushing per game. Dolgener continues to take care of the ball, throwing 70 passes without an interception. He’s completed 37 of those for 658 yards and nine TDs.
— District 12-2A-I —
HEARNE at BRUCEVILLE-EDDY
Records: Hearne Eagles 3-3, 1-1; Bruceville-Eddy Eagles 1-4, 0-1
Last week: Hearne 27, Rosebud-Lott 14; Thrall 55, Bruceville-Eddy 7
Last year’s meeting: Hearne 56, Bruceville-Eddy 7
Hearne players to watch: QB/DB KeyShawn Langham, RB/LB Jecory McGrew, WR Jabari Dunn, WR Jeremiah Gurode, TE/DL Dereion Mitchell.
Bruceville-Eddy players to watch: QB/LB Colby Tolbert, RB Hunter Diaz, RB Chad Pate, WR TJ Horne, LB EJ Jarmon.
Note: Bruceville-Eddy would appear to be an underdog against a Hearne team coming off a big win over Rosebud-Lott. But if Bruceville-Eddy can get some production through the air to complement its rushing attack, it could break into the district win column. Pate (101 carries, 466 yards) leads the aforementioned ground game. Langham has completed 31 of 55 passes for 461 yards for Hearne. Dunn is his top target with 13 catches for 240 yards. McGrew has 166 yards rushing on 43 carries.
MOODY at HOLLAND
Records: Moody Bearcats 2-3, 0-1; Holland Hornets 3-3, 1-1
Last week: Moody, idle; Thorndale 35, Holland 10
Last year’s meeting: Holland 56, Moody 8
Bearcats to watch: QB Ryder Hohhertz, WR/DB Cooper Staton, WR Tucker Staton, RB Jonah Bradshaw, OL/LB Hunter Mach, TE/DL Kaden Kollaja, OL/DL Davis Orr.
Hornets to watch: RB/LB JC Chaney, RB/DL Clayton Baggerly, OL/DL Albert Martinez, QB Desi Cantu, TE/DL Dawson Haney, RB/DL Cole Ralston, RB Joe Chaffin, RB/DL Klay Pursche.
Note: Holland ran into a tough Thorndale team last week that sent the Hornets to their second loss in the last three games. District-leading Thorndale piled up 300 yards against Holland, which managed only 10 points in each district game so far. Baggerly (101 carries, 572 yards, two TDs) is the primary offensive focal point for the Hornets, while Chaney helps anchor a defense that ranks second among area teams, yielding 236 yards per game. Moody was idle last week after losing to Thorndale, 55-0, the week prior. The Bearcats are paced by the dual-threat Hohhertz (53-of-96, 606 yards, five TDs), who leads the team with 433 yards rushing and seven scores. Cooper Staton (21 catches, 301 yards, three TDs) is the top target among Moody’s receivers.
THORNDALE at ROSEBUD-LOTT
Cougar Field, Travis
Records: Thorndale Bulldogs 5-1, 2-0; Rosebud-Lott Cougars 4-2, 1-1
Last week: Thorndale 35, Holland 10; Hearne 27, Rosebud-Lott 14
Last year’s meeting: Thorndale 12, Rosebud-Lott 7
Bulldogs to watch: QB Coy Stutts, WR Clason Beasley, TE/DL Stryker Leschber, LB Hayden Kylberg, DB Aiden McCrae.
Cougars to watch: QB Zane Zeinert, WR/RB Jamarquis Johnson, WR Breon Lewis, WR/DB Jordan Landrum, WR Clayton Doskocil, OL Easton Fulton, RB Moses Fox.
Note: Rosebud-Lott would like nothing more than to bounce back after a rough night last week, but the Cougars will have to try to do that against Thorndale, which has shown it might be the team to beat in district this season. Turnovers hampered Rosebud-Lott against Hearne, so ball security will be key tonight against a Bulldogs defense that has four shutouts and gives up just 8.6 points per game. Forty-two of the 52 points Thorndale conceded came in its lone loss. Rosebud-Lott’s offense still leads the area, producing 469.7 yards a night.
— District 13-2A-II —
BARTLETT at IOLA
Records: Bartlett Bulldogs 2-4, 0-2; Iola Bulldogs 1-4, 1-1
Last week: Milano 33, Bartlett 16; Somerville 14, Iola 13
Last year’s meeting: Iola 49, Bartlett 18
Bartlett players to watch: RB/LB Jay Polynice, QB/WR Tate Tipton, WR Shamar Wilson, QB/WR Dada Davis, OL Kenneth Smith, RB Rodolfo Rodriguez.
Iola players to watch: QB Brian Crosby, RB Coy Elliott, RB Kyler Dreher, RB Wes Alexander.
Note: Bartlett needs to avoid its third straight district loss if it wants to snap its playoff drought. Iola, which hasn’t scored more than 14 points in a game this season, lost last week’s contest in overtime when it went for a winning 2-point conversion and was stopped. Elliott had 120 yards on 13 carries in the defeat. Bartlett has tallied 107 points this season, just one shy of its total in nine games in 2020.
GRANGER at MILANO
Records: Granger Lions 4-0, 1-0; Milano Eagles 3-3, 1-1
Last week: Granger, idle; Milano 33, Bartlett 16
Last year’s meeting: Granger 43, Milano 13
Lions to watch: QB Johnny Ryder, RB/LB Donnie Cantwell, RB/LB DJ McClelland, RB/LB Truvante Fisher, OL/DL Javion Faulkner, LB Tripp Wilkie.
Eagles to watch: RB/DB Josh Millar, QB/DB Jayce Todd, WR/DB Weston Avrett, RB/LB Chris Vasquez, TE/LB Nick Grimes, OL/DL Greg Storey.
Note: After an open date following their district-opening win over Bartlett, the Lions are back in action tonight against an Eagles squad that should contend for a playoff berth. Granger averages 386.5 yards per game with an offense led by Ryder (520 yards, 10 TDs passing; 163 yards, four TDs rushing), Cantwell (363 yards, five TDs rushing; 115 yards, one TD receiving) and McClelland (289 yards, three TDs rushing; 155 yards, two TDs receiving). Milano gives up an average of 30.3 points an outing. If the Eagles surrender 30 again tonight, they’ll have tough time matching that number against a Lions defense that limits opponents to an area-low 214.5 yards a game.
— TAPPS District 3-III/IV —
CENTRAL TEXAS CHRISTIAN at HALLETTSVILLE SACRED HEART
Brahmas Memorial Stadium
Records: CTCS Lions 3-2, 0-0; Sacred Heart Indians 3-2, 0-0
Last week: CTCS 56, Austin St. Dominic Savio 20; Houston Lutheran South 30, Sacred Heart 20
Lions to watch: QB/DB Alec Gonzalez, WR/DB Andrew Lange, OL/LB Noah Wood, OL Evan Brown, WR/DB Tristan Eanes, RB/DB Ethan Allerkamp, WR/LB Regan Ragsdale, WR Evan Allerkamp.
Indians to watch: QB Austin Kutac, RB Korbin Koehne, Brady Haas, Jose Ramirez.
Note: Gonzalez (582 yards rushing, 12 TDs; 472 yards passing, five TDs) accounted for six touchdowns last week, three rushing, two passing and one on a 60-yard interception return, as the Lions built a 50-point halftime lead in the rout. CTCS also got 162 yards rushing from Ethan Allerkamp (105 carries, 613 yards, four TDs), who leads the team in that category. The Lions open district play tonight against the Indians, who have won three of their last four since a season-opening 35-24 loss to Bryan Brazos Christian, which also defeated CTCS, 55-21, in Week 4.
— TAPPS Six-man District 4 —
HOLY TRINITY CATHOLIC at AUSTIN VERITAS
Records: Holy Trinity Celtics 3-3, 1-1; Veritas Defenders 5-0, 1-0
Last week: Holy Trinity 80, Round Rock Christian 52; Veritas, idle
Celtics to watch: QB Jace Martin, WR/RB/DB Zaylin Blackwood, LB/WR Nicholas Estrada, OL Trent Lockhart, DL/FB David Thang, RB Christian Demapan, Neri Navarro.
Note: Holy Trinity is coming off its most robust offensive output of the season in last week’s win, which snapped a two-game skid and evened its district mark at 1-1. Blackwood continues to be an offensive standout for the Celtics, who will have their work cut out for them tonight against a rested and undefeated Veritas team that was last year’s state runner-up. The Defenders put up 80-plus points in each of their last two games and average 65.2 points per game while giving up just 29.8.
RICHMOND LAMAR RANDLE at LAKE BELTON
Records: Randle Lions 4-1; Lake Belton Broncos 5-0
Last week: Randle, idle; Lake Belton, idle
Broncos to watch: WR Micah Hudson, QB Connor Crews, DB Javeon Wilcox, LB Connor Brennan, WR Daud Kahn, RB D’Arius Wilkerson, RB Daniel Hardin.
Note: Randle is in its first season of competition and has had some success in its infancy. However, the Broncos, who were unexpectedly idle last week when Llano canceled, might by the Lions' toughest test to date. With an unbeaten record, Lake Belton’s offense has been potent behind Crews (67-of-102, 1,028 yards, eight TDs), Hudson (31 catches, 496 yards, four TDs; 153 yards rushing, three TDs) and Wilkerson (53 carries, 278 yards, six TDs), and its defense is allowing just 19 points per game.
CENTEX HOMESCHOOL at BUCKHOLTS
4 p.m. Saturday
Jim Hauk Field
Records: Homeschool Chargers 2-2; Buckholts Badgers 1-5
Last week: Homeschool, idle; Bryan Christian Homeschool 49, Buckholts 0
Last year’s meeting: Buckholts 49, Homeschool 32
Badgers to watch: RB/DB Chevo Luciano, OL/DL Fabian Baez, DL R.L. Vega, QB/DB Decaun Thibedaux, RB Michael Thompson, RB Luke Lorenz.
Note: The Badgers, who have lost five straight, hope to turn things around in their homecoming game that stands as their final tuneup before the district schedule begins. Depth has been an issue for Buckholts, which has had just two reserves for most of the season.