— District 12-6A —
COPPERAS COVE at TEMPLE
Records: Copperas Cove Bulldawgs 1-8, 1-5; Temple Wildcats 7-2, 6-0
Last week: Harker Heights 64, Copperas Cove 14; Temple 44, Killeen 6
Last year’s meeting: Temple 55, Copperas Cove 21
Bulldawgs to watch: QB Shane Richey, RB Malcolm Brooks, RB Craig Brown, WR Wyatt Nelson, WR Demetrius Pearce, LB DB Jaylen Donnell, LB Kevin Pontius.
Wildcats to watch: RB Samari Howard, WR Devan Williams, WR Mikal Harrison-Pilot, QB Reese Rumfield, LB Taurean York, LB Faylin Lee, DT Eric Shorter, DT Tomas Torres, DB Zion Williams, DB Naeten Mitchell, DB LeMichael Thompson.
Note: A win in tonight’s regular-season finale gives Temple a second straight unbeaten league campaign and outright district title. The Wildcats shored up at least a share of the crown with last week’s win. Regardless of the outcome, Temple will host a playoff game for the third consecutive year next week, and the opponent likely will be Waxahachie. Cove enters on a three-game slide, during which it yielded 164 points and scored 34. Meanwhile, Temple posted 50.4 points and allowed 17.3 through its six district games. The Wildcats have averaged 3.1 takeaways in 12-6A play. Howard is one point shy of setting the program’s record for career points, and he needs four touchdowns for the career mark in that category as well. Temple’s 55-17 win over Cove on Nov. 8, 2019 was the first of what is now 14 district wins in a row.
KILLEEN at BELTON
Records: Killeen Kangaroos 2-7, 0-6; Belton Tigers 5-4, 4-2
Last week: Temple 44, Killeen 6; Belton 24, Killeen Shoemaker 15
Last year’s meeting: Belton 33, Killeen 26
Kangaroos to watch: RB Emory Arthur, WR Jacobia Thomas, QB Roderick Norman, LB Cameron Gee, LB Marshall Grays, DE Aaron Barnwell.
Tigers to watch: LB Donovan Thompson, DL Braxton Haynes, QB Ty Brown, RB Elijah Warner, DB Kage Carmichael, LB Wriley Madden, WR Seth Morgan, RB/QB Slade LeBlanc, TE Bryan Henry, DL Gabe Kalama, DB Aaron Bain, DB Trent West.
Note: After wrapping up its first playoff berth since 2018 and capturing the program’s 600th win with last week’s decision over Killeen Shoemaker, Belton looks to carry that momentum into tonight. A win would guarantee the Tigers a winning record and give them a season-best three-game winning streak. Belton aims to continue its swarming defensive effort from the past two weeks, during which it racked up 25 tackles for losses, including a season-high 14 last week. The Tigers also got a balanced offensive attack last week, another trend they hope continues. Warner (590 yards rushing) and Brown (101-of-178, 1,356 yards, 15 TDs) led the way against Shoemaker, and Morgan (45 catches, 578 yards, six TDs) and Henry (30 catches, 402 yards, three TDs) also have produced. Killeen, meanwhile, comes in on a six-game losing stretch, having been outscored by 22 points per game in district play.
— District 9-4A-II —
GATESVILLE at JARRELL
Records: Gatesville Hornets 3-6, 1-3; Jarrell Cougars 2-7, 0-4
Last week: Waco Connally 47, Gatesville 45; Salado 77, Jarrell 14
Last year’s meeting: Gatesville 35, Jarrell 28
Hornets to watch: QB Wesley Brown, WR Carson Brizendine, WR Trevor Smith, WR Logan Edwards, DB Hayden Mooney, LB Theile Alvarado.
Cougars to watch: QB Andrew Knebel, RB Derrick Warren, WR Jamarri Price, OL/DL Emerson Kirby, TE/DB Candon Bruner, LB Jamarion Nibblett.
Note: Gatesville’s route to the postseason is a simple one. With a win tonight, the Hornets will advance to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Brown does it all for Gatesville, with a team-high 856 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing to go with 837 yards and five TDs through the air. Brizendine (29 catches) and Smith (27 receptions) are his top targets. The speedy Warren (964 yards, 13 TDs rushing; 450 yards, seven TDs receiving) is the big-play threat for the Cougars, who have moved the ball well at times but have been hampered by a defense that gives up an average of 69 points per game in district play.
SALADO at ROBINSON
Records: Salado Eagles 6-3, 3-1; Robinson Rockets 2-7, 1-3
Last week: Salado 77, Jarrell 14; China Spring 52, Robinson 21
Last year’s meeting: Salado 66, Robinson 0
Eagles to watch: RB Seth Reavis, QB Hutton Haire, RB Aidan Wilson, RB Adam Benavides, DB Josh Huckabee, RB Kase Maedgen, TE Gavyn Keyser.
Rockets to watch: RB Christian Lujan, RB Grayson Martin, RB Casan Mahan, QB Aiden Stanford, OL/DL Daniel Walker, OL/DL Eduardo Chavez.
Note: Having already clinched a playoff berth, Salado is coming off its biggest offensive output of the year last week, during which it built a 42-0 halftime lead to coast past Jarrell. The Eagles, who lead the area in yards rushing, had 100-yard games from both Wilson (968 yards rushing, 18 TDs) and Reavis (636 yards rushing, six TDs) in the win, their fifth in the last six games. Wilson’s 18 scores on the ground are tops in the area. Salado has qualified for the playoffs in six of the last seven years. Although unlikely, Robinson still can earn a postseason spot with a win and a Gatesville loss against Jarrell. The Rockets dropped five of their last six games.
— District 11-3A-I —
ACADEMY at TROY
Records: Academy Bumblebees 8-1, 4-1; Troy Trojans 2-7, 2-3
Last week: Academy, idle; Rockdale 33, Troy 31
Last year’s meeting: Academy 42, Troy 21
Bumblebees to watch: QB Kasey Mraz, LB/WR Darion Franklin, DB/WR/K Blake Bundy, WR/DB Scout Brazeal, RB Brayden Bartlett, TE Luke Tomasek, RB Zane Clark, LB Clayton Lawson.
Trojans to watch: RB Steve Jackson, RB/LB Korey Gibson, QB Jace Carr, RB/LB Kadin Workman, OL/DL Elijah Sunderman, OL Brady Mays.
Note: Academy has had a week to rest since its 21-14 win over Rockdale on Oct. 22, which sealed the program’s second straight playoff berth and marked its fourth consecutive win. The Bees rank third in the area in yards passing with Mraz (126-for-176, 1,884 yards, 21 TDs) and Brazeal (45 catches, 932 yards, 11 TDs), who leads the area in yards receiving and touchdown catches. Academy will try to keep its momentum with a win over a Troy team coming off a heartbreaking, last-second loss to Rockdale last week that ended the Trojans’ playoff aspirations. Troy now looks to play spoiler and end its year with a home win behind its run-first attack, led by Jackson (822 yards rushing, 11 TDs) and Gibson (521 yards rushing, five TDs).
ROCKDALE at LORENA
Records: Rockdale Tigers 5-4, 3-2; Lorena Leopards 7-2, 5-0
Last week: Rockdale 33, Troy 31; Lorena 56, Caldwell 0
Last year’s meeting: Lorena 49, Rockdale 42
Tigers to watch: QB Blaydn Barcak, WR Kobe Mitchell, LB Cade Pantaleon, WR/DB Robert Owens, WR/DB Wyatt Windham, OL/DL Gavin Aguilar.
Leopards to watch: QB Ryne Abel, RB Reed Michna, RB Rhett Hanson, WR Jadon Porter, WR Camdon Brock, DL Joe Gusthall, DB Cade Walker.
Note: All of the postseason berths and playoff seeds from 11-3A-I are already set. Rockdale will be the fourth seed, and Lorena will be district’s top seed for the second straight season. Barcak has thrown for 1,429 yards and rushed for 417 but was at the quarterback spot for only one play last week, when Mitchell took the rest of the snaps for the Tigers. Michna (872 yards rushing, 13 TDs), Abel (1,501 yards passing, 13 TDs) and Porter (524 yards receiving, four TDs) are the playmakers for the Leopards.
— District 13-3A-II —
ROGERS at FLORENCE
Records: Rogers Eagles 6-3, 4-1; Florence Buffaloes 4-5, 1-4
Last week: Rogers, idle; Riesel 49, Florence 10
Last year’s meeting: Rogers 54, Florence 14
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.
Buffaloes to watch: QB Victor Bonilla, RB Levi Martin, RB John Galvan, RB Abraham Hernandez, WR Zak Webb.
Note: Playoff-bound Rogers can lock up the district’s No. 2 seed with a win. The Eagles, who average 38.9 points per game, have won two straight and four of their previous five. Riley needs 141 yards rushing for 1,000 on the season, and Dolgener needs 230 for 1,000 passing. Florence, which had a three-game winning streak earlier this season, enters this one having lost its last three. The Buffaloes scored just 26 points during that slide against the district’s other top four teams going into the final week of the regular season. Bonilla (708 yards passing, 752 rushing, 12 total TDs) is the key to the Buffaloes offense, which averaged 35.5 points in four wins.
— District 12-2A-I —
ROSEBUD-LOTT at BRUCEVILLE-EDDY
Records: Rosebud-Lott Cougars 5-4, 2-3; Bruceville-Eddy Eagles 2-7, 1-4
Last week: Rosebud-Lott, idle; Holland 33, Bruceville-Eddy 7
Last year’s meeting: Bruceville-Eddy 26, Rosebud-Lott 25
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.
Eagles to watch: QB/LB Colby Tolbert, RB Chad Pate, RB Nick Boaz, WR TJ Horne, LB EJ Jarmon, OL/DL Hunter Carter.
Note: It’s a big district finale for the Cougars, who can advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 with a win over the Eagles and a loss by Thrall to Holland. Thrall and Rosebud-Lott enter fourth and fifth in district, respectively. The Cougars own the head-to-head by virtue of their 54-45 victory over the Tigers on Sept. 24. A victory by Rosebud-Lott, which has lost three of four, also would lift the program to just its second above-.500 regular-season record in the last eight years. Johnson and Lewis each have more than 700 yards receiving. The run-first Eagles struggle to score, averaging 12.2 points per game.
HOLLAND at THRALL
Records: Holland Hornets 6-3, 4-1; Thrall Tigers 6-3, 3-2
Last week: Holland 33, Bruceville-Eddy 7; Thrall 52, Moody 20
Last year’s meeting: Holland 23, Thrall 7
Hornets to watch: RB/LB JC Chaney, RB/DL Clayton Baggerly, OL/DL Albert Martinez, TE/DL Dawson Haney, RB Christian Michalek, RB/DL Klay Pursche, QB Desi Cantu.
Tigers to watch: QB Colter Hill, RB/LB Tyreke Irvin, WR Brady Peterson, WR Hayden Stefek, FB/LB Blair Neighbors.
Note: Holland enters tonight having won three in a row and in a tie with Hearne for first place in District 12-2A-I. A win would clinch at least a share of the league title and the district’s No. 1 playoff seed for the Hornets, who have already wrapped up their fifth straight playoff berth and seventh in the last eight years. Holland relies on a stingy defense that ranks second among area teams in yards per game, and a balanced rushing attack featuring Baggerly (701 yards, four TDs), Chaney (396 yards, three TDs) and Haney (384 yards, three TDs), among others. Thrall also has much to play for as a win would give it the league’s final postseason spot. The Tigers, who have won two straight, are paced by the dual-threat Hill (1,565 yards passing, 18 TDs; 838 yards rushing, 10 TDs) and Irvin (915 yards rushing, 19 TDs).
MOODY at HEARNE
Records: Moody Bearcats 2-7, 0-5; Hearne Eagles 6-3, 4-1
Last week: Thrall 52, Moody 20; Hearne 21, Thorndale 14
Last year’s meeting: Hearne 45, Moody 6
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.
Eagles to watch: QB Keyshawn Langham, RB JB Dunn, DL Anthony Jackson, LB Ayden Hover, DL J’Kyrin Flentroy, OL Jimmie Jones.
Note: Hearne is assured of a postseason berth, and Moody is eliminated from playoff contention. So at stake tonight is the Bearcats’ quest to avoid a winless district slate, and the Eagles’ bid to clinch at least a share of the 12-2A-I title. Hohhertz has 1,414 yards passing and 573 rushing for Moody, and Cooper Staton has an area-best 69 receptions. Langham is the leading passer and rusher for Hearne, which has surrendered just 45 points in district play. If the Eagles win tonight and Holland beats Thrall, Hearne would be the district’s No. 2 playoff seed and share the league crown with Holland.
— District 13-2A-II —
GRANGER at SOMERVILLE
Records: Granger Lions 8-0, 5-0; Somerville Yeguas 5-4, 4-1
Last week: Granger 21, Snook 14; Somerville 50, Bartlett 6
Last year’s meeting: Granger 20, Somerville 17
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.
Yeguas to watch: QB Johnny Legg, RB Deven Green, RB Arvis Burns, WR Verkobe Woodberry, OL/DL Cedric Hudgen, TE/LB Peyton Spouse.
Note: After league-leading Burton was forced to forfeit its first four district victories, Granger can secure the outright 13-2A-II title and No. 1 playoff seed with a win tonight. A Somerville victory would mean the teams share the league crown and would make the Yeguas the No. 1 seed. Ryder, McClelland and Cantwell give the Lions three capable playmakers on offense to go with their defense that yields an area-low 192.8 yards per game. Legg (1,618 yards, 16 TDs passing; 525 yards, six TDs rushing) and Woodberry (822 yards, 10 TDs receiving) fuel the Somerville offense.
— District 14-1A-II —
BUCKHOLTS at MOUNT CALM
Records: Buckholts Badgers 2-6, 0-1; Mount Calm Panthers 4-3, 0-1
Last week: Oglesby 68, Buckholts 0; Mount Calm, idle
Last year’s meeting: Buckholts def. Mount Calm (forfeit)
Badgers to watch: QB/WR RJ Vega, RB/DB Chevo Luciano, OL/DL Fabian Baez, RB Ivan Baez, RB Luke Lorenz.
Panthers to watch: QB/DB Ty Rittenbaugh, RB Christian Aguirre, OL Martin Rojas, OL Kennedy Brown.
Note: This matchup has a postseason spot on the line, with the winner earning the second and final playoff berth out of 14-1A-II. Both teams lost to district champion Oglesby, with Buckholts falling 68-0 and Mount Calm losing 60-0.
— TAPPS Six-man District 4 —
HOLY TRINITY CATHOLIC at AUSTIN HILL COUTRY
Hill Country Field
Records: Holy Trinity Celtics 4-5, 2-3; Hill Country Knights 4-4, 2-3
Last week: San Marcos Baptist 68, Holy Trinity 22; Marble Falls Faith 64, Hill Country 6
Celtics to watch: RB/WR Zaylin Blackwood, QB Jace Martin, OL Trent Lockhart, DL/FB David Thang, RB Christian Demapan, Austin Morgan, Austin Belbeck.
Knights to watch: QB Ethan Howard, RB Riverson Shaw, WR Andrew Penrod, WR Ty Curry.
Note: After missing a few games, Blackwood returned from an injury last week for Holy Trinity, but San Marcos Baptist’s offensive attack proved too much for the Celtics to overcome. Holy Trinity looks to finish the regular season on a better note tonight, with Blackwood (531 yards rushing, eight TDs) and Thang (634 yards rushing, four TDs) producing out of the backfield and Martin (106-of-176, 1,340 yards, 19 TDs) lending balance to the offense with his passing skills. Blackwood (21 catches, 323 yards, five TDs) also is the Celtics’ top receiver while Belbeck leads them with six TD receptions. Hill Country has alternated wins and losses all season. Howard (999 yards passing; 658 rushing) leads the Knights on offense.