7:30 p.m. Friday
At Ron Heflin Field
RECORDS: Class 2A DII Mildred was 13-2 state runner-up in 2012. Class 2A DII Como-Pickton was 1-9.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mildred: RB/S Draylon Sterling, WR/LB Mikey Muncy, L Nic Stone, K/WR/LB Devin O’Sullivan. Como-Pickton: TE/DE Emilio Ramirez, WR/DB Fernando Alonso, L Deion McGill, DB Blake Neal.
UPDATE: Mildred won last year’s meeting, the first ever between the two schools, 51-7 … despite winning by 44, Mildred lost the turnover battle in the game and allowed 332 yards rushing … Sterling ran for 1,948 yards, had a combined 41 TDs and recorded 128 tackles in an all-state season last year … 6-3 sophomore Will Burnham makes his debut as varsity QB after playing in all 15 games as a CB and WR last year … C Jasper Marshall is a three-year starter on the OL … O’Sullivan needs 43 extra points to own the state’s all-time record, regardless of classification … Como-Pickton plays in a district with Cooper and Clarksville, two schools Mildred beat on the way to Cowboys Stadium last year … Ramirez had 95 tackles a year ago … Alonso led C-P with 3 INTs, returning one for a TD.
— Raymond Linex II
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Rock Tower Stadium
RECORDS: Class 1A Dawson was 0-10 in 2012. Class 1A Cross Roads was 2-8.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dawson: RB/SS Dalton Long, QB/FS Lane Dotson, RB/CB Ian Norwood, WR/CB Jared Gray. Cross Roads: OL/DL Seth McGlaun, LB Justin Vaughan, QB Aaron Arden, LB Chase Lopez.
UPDATE: The Bulldogs will be in a spread system this year under new head coach, Larry Prince ... Dawson has not won more than one game since 2010 ... the Bulldogs have depth at the RB and QB positions with two quality players at both positions ... the Bulldogs also added a new set of hands at the WR position in Jared Gray ... Dawson took a blow to its offensive line after losing four key starters and now has a line made up mostly of freshmen ... the Bulldogs lost to the Bobcats, 36-34 in 2012 ... Cross Roads also has a new coach in Jim Bradford, who came over from Shelbyville ... Bradford is trying to help the Bobcats reboot a program that has not won more than three games in a season since the 2003, when it went 6–5 ... Lopez was a force last year with 79 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two sacks and a forced fumble.
— Luke Dotson
Blooming Grove at
Red Oak Life
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Billy Goodloe Stadium
RECORDS: Class 2A DII Blooming Grove was 7-4 in 2012. Class 2A D II Red Oak Life was 2-8.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Blooming Grove: RB/LB Travis Whiteside, RB Tyler Morris, QB Tyler Ellis, WR Brandon Hays. Red Oak Life: DB Nick Forde, LB Adrian Cooper, DT Tracy Hightower, RB Kaine Blake.
UPDATE: Blooming Grove started its playoff-bound season with an opening night 33-8 romp over Red Oak Life at home last year ... Hays had three touchdowns in that game, running for two and catching a TD pass from All-Golden Circle QB Jayd Kirby … Kirby is gone... but Ellis, who did a little of everything for the Lions last year, takes over at QB ... Ellis, one of the top kickers in this part of the state, had a 42-yard field goal against Red Oak Life …Whiteside (358 yards rushing, 571 yards receiving and 124 tackles, including 23 for losses) leads the Lions …Morris (564 yards rushing, 183 receiving) gives them versatility … Red Oak Life is led by two all-state players …Forde (70 tackles, 5 interceptions) was picked by Texas Football as the preseason Defensive MVP of District 12-2A DI …Cooper (175 tackles, 18 for losses) is a force on both sides of the line.
— Mike Phillips
Frost vs. Chico
7:30 p.m. Saturday
At Pennington Field in Bedford
RECORDS: Class 1A Frost was 12-2 in 2013. Class 1A Chico was 6-4 in 2013.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Frost: OL Chris Belcher, OL Raymundo Hernandez, RB/LB Woody Woods, RB/DB Robert Worley. Chico: WR/DB Matt Carter, RB Justin McBee, OL Tyler Melton, LB Darrion Riggs.
UPDATE: Last year, Frost opened its school record-tying 12 wins state quarter-finalist season with a 42-19 victory over Chico at Pennington Field …Frost is 4-1 playing season-openers at Pennington Field since 1999 …Coach Eric Blenden must replace seven award-laden seniors from last year’s squad …Worley (1,345 total yards) and Woods (820 total yards) will lead the offense with Zach Terry at QB …Seniors Hernandez and Colton McGill will anchor the O-line …Senior LB Colton Clayton (66 tackles, 5 tfl, 6 sacks, 6 qb pressures, fumble recovery) will spearhead the defense …Chico: Carter led the Dragons receiving corps (52-796-8) and had 6 picks as a DB …Riggs (95 tackles, 7 sacks) and LB Marshall Anderle (100 tackles, 2 INTs) lead five returning starters on defense.
— Dan Lunsford
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Bulldog Stadium
RECORDS: Class 1A Kerens was 5-6 in 2012. Class 2A Edgewood was 10-2 in 2012.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kerens: QB Nate Betts, WR Brett Anderson, WR Shelton Sayles, DL Hunter Green. Edgewood: RB Carlos Bolton, QB Jackson Tyner, DL Kevin McClelland, WR Tyler Germany.
UPDATE: Kerens again this year will start a brutal five game non-district schedule against Edgewood ...Edgewood was an area finalist last year ...Kerens will look toward the leadership of QB Betts, who was an All-Golden Circle first-team player, to run the potent Bobcat offense that has been tweaked this season ...Kerens will be incorporating some of the Oregon offense ... .RB Rayvon Faulk should lead the Kerens ground game after bolstering 719 yards and 7 TDs last season ...The Bobcats are switching to a 4-2-5 defensive scheme that should bold well for covering the pass...LB Aaron Foxworth a 6-1, 220-pound transfer from Cayuga, should anchor the linebacking core and help stop the run ...Edgewood is led by Bolton, who rushed for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in just eight games ...McClelland, and Christian Davison were both all-district defensive linemen.
7 p.m. Friday
At Bulldog Field
RECORDS: Class 1A Wortham was 4-7 in 2012. Class 3A Hillsboro was 1-9.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dawson: QB Michael “Witty” Busby, OL/DL Steven Hutson, OL Skylar Jordan, LB Blake Hutson.
UPDATE: The Bulldogs will be running out of the spread offense, but they had to run an option play just before the season started when Texas Wind, the team they had scheduled to open the season against at home, had to cancel the game because of a lack of players ... Wortham scrambled and lined up a game against 3A Hillsboro’s junior varsity team on Thursday night ...The Bulldogs are coming off a playoff season and want to get off to a good start and that’s why they did what they could to get a game in Week Zero ...Busby, a receiver in 2012, is at quarterback to run what Wortham coach Shane Doege hopes is a wide open offense ...James McLelland moved in from Fairfield and is one of Worthams’ running backs ...The OL is solid, led by Skylar Jordan, an All-Golden Circle first-team player who had 12 pancakes as a junior ...The team’s biggest strength may be on the defensive side of the ball ...Steven Hutson made 72 tackles, including 11 for losses and a sack and leads the way ...Linebacker Blake Hutson had 61 tackles.
— Mike Phillips