Here are the previews for Friday’s Golden Circle football games involving Mildred, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Rice, Frost and Hubbard.
Mildred at Edgewood
7:30 pm Friday
At James Memorial Stadium
Records: Class 3A Div II Mildred 6-3, 3-3 in District 7-3A. Class 3A Div II Edgewood Bulldogs 6-3, 4-2 in District 7-3A
Players to Watch: Mildred: WR/DB Sammy Bustos, QB/DB Creed Baker, OL/DL River Watson; Edgewood: QB Trey McPherson, RB Kyle Keltner, WR Clayton Coble
Update: The Mildred Eagles go into this week, the last week of the regular season, still in the fight for the playoff. If they win Friday night in Edgewood, they will force a three-way tie between Edgewood, Rice, and Mildred.
Currently, Mildred and Rice are tied in district play at 3-3. Rice holds the tie-breaker over Mildred after beating Mildred.
Both teams lost to Palmer and Buffalo, although the Eagles lost to Rice, who Edgewood beat them 25-0.
Mildred faces the Edgewood Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are coming off a 33-20 loss to the Buffalo Bison. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Trey McPherson and running back Kyle Keltner.
The Eagles are coming off a 40-27 victory over the Blooming Grove Lions. The Eagles started fast, but then let the Lions come back within a touchdown from tying the game before the Eagles scored again, sealing the victory.
The Eagle defense played their best ball of the season in the first half. The Lions were able to take advantage of some miscues and players slipping to get back into the game in the 3rd quarter.
Bishop Harris turned in another outstanding game rushing for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns while throwing for a 62-yard touchdown to Cody Hayes. Harris has rushed for 1,802 yards this with nine touchdowns.
The Eagles are facing a daunting task against the Bulldogs. Although Edgewood is not as good as last year, the Bulldogs are still a very good team. The Eagles will need to start fast and play up the entire game. The Eagles have shown grit the last couple of weeks and had chances to give up, but instead, kept fighting and have played themselves into playoff contention.
This should be a tough game. The Eagles will need to play some of their best ball on both sides of the ball to have a chance.
They have talent. The Eagle offense can play with anyone while their defense has talent, especially in the secondary. This game will come down to who wants it more and who shows up. If the Bulldogs sleep on the Eagles, they could find themselves down big in a hurry.
This is part of what makes Friday night football great. The hopes and dreams of a season come down to one game. Who wants it more? We will see on Friday night.
Wortham at Dawson
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Ed Mitchell Field
Records: Wortham is 7-2, 3-1 in District 11-2A DII. Dawson is 7-2, 3-1.
Players to Watch: Wortham: RB/DB Riley Baker, OL/DL Hunter Holt, RB/LB Chance Lantham, WR/DB Cade McCoslin. Dawson: OL/DL Josh Encinia, OL/LB Levi Elkins, OL/DL Cameron Spain, OL/DL Justin Winchester
Update: With both teams already punching a ticket to the state playoffs, this game is pretty simple – whichever 3-1 pack of Bulldogs wins, they will claim the second seed in District 11-2A DII, while the loser takes the third seed.
As far as next week is concerned, District 12-2A DII is in the same position. Evadale travels Lovelady, both 3-1 in loop action, to meet to decide the second and third seeds. So basically, the winner of Dawson and Wortham will meet the loser between Evadale and Lovelady, and vice versa.
Dawson was expected to be in this position, making the playoffs in 2018 and returning a ton of starters, but Wortham is a surprise this year. Wortham finished 2-8 last season, and in last place in District 11-2A DII at 0-5, including a loss to Dawson.
But, like Dawson, Wortham returned a lot of experience from last season and it’s paying off for the blue-and-white Bulldogs. Last week, Dawson had the tough task of facing top-ranked Mart, the defending state champion.
Dawson lost 48-6 but scored one of the only two touchdowns the Panthers have allowed in district play. Despite last week’s loss, Dawson still averages an astounding 340 yards per game on the ground, and nothing proves Dawson’s team first attitude more than their rushing attack.
No Bulldog will eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing barrier during the regular season, but four players have more than 500 yards each. Leading the pack is Ja’Mariyea Hamilton with 610 yards, followed by Da’Mariyea Hamilton (589), Brendan Horner (551), and Jakoby Moore (538).
The quartet has also scored 29 touchdowns on the season. While Dawson dominates on the ground, when the Bulldogs do go to the air, quarterback Horner’s top target is tight end Bodey Martinez.
Defensively, Dawson looks to slow down Wortham quarterback Brandon Coker, who rushed for 156 yards last week in the overtime win over Hubbard, 26-20. That win propelled Wortham, along with Frost, into the playoffs, while eliminating Hubbard.
For the season, Coker has rushed for 1,216 yards and 17 touchdowns, while throwing for eight more scores.
Coker’s top choice through the air is Demarcus Bullard, a massive 6-5, 250 lbs tight end who has caught four touchdown passes. Dawson counters with linebacker Zane Guerra and defensive lineman Seth Springer.
Guerra has also added four sacks to lead the team, while Devin Abram has 12 tackles for losses on the season.
Both players are averaging more than six tackles a game and have combined for 14 tackles for losses. In the secondary, Isaiah Johnson is tied with Horner for the team lead in interceptions with two.
Mart at Frost
7:30 pm, Friday
At Joe Parum, Jr. Field
Records: Mart is 6-3; 4-0 in Dist. 11-2A Div. II. Frost is 4-5; 2-2 in Dist. 11-2A Div. II.
Players To Watch: Mart: RB/DE Roddrell Freeman, DE/LB Ayden Lane, QB/DB Kyler Martin, OL/LB Tony Sanchez. Frost: QB/DB Tony Alvarado, OL/DL Christian Bryant, OL/DL Michael McLean, WR/LB Preston Rasco.
Update: Last week Frost defeated Meridian 44-7. The victory earned the Polar Bears a playoff berth. In the game, Alvarado completed 11 of 15 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 52 yards on 11 carries for two touchdowns. WR Korben Bowling caught five passes for 150 yards, and Rasco caught three passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns – including a 70-yarder. Meanwhile, RB JD Hendricks ran for 116 yards on 21 carries for two touchdowns.
Defensively against Meridian, Rasco intercepted a pass, DT Franky Hernandez collected 10 tackles, DT Joseph Pierson wrapped up 7 tackles, and DE Leopoldo Perez had 10 tackles including three for loss, four quarterback pressures, and a fumble recovery.
This week’s game will be Senior Night and the last home game for Alvarado and two of his offensive linemen – McLean and Bryant. They solidified the left side of the line. Bryant also plays linebacker and has collected 45 total tackles including 8 for loss.
Last week, Mart remained undefeated in district with a 48-6 victory against Dawson. In the game, the Panthers rushed for 344 yards and passed for 232 yards.
Mart is the defending 2A Div. II state champions. They are currently ranked #3 in the Associated Press poll. Their losses are to ranked teams: Holland 20-3 (No. 7 2A Div. II), Refugio 48-40 (No.1 2A Div. I), and Franklin 20-16 (No.10 3A Div. I).
Only six starters return from last year’s team, but Martin is still leading the offense. He has passed for 1,052 yards for 12 touchdowns. Freeman has gained 1,144 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing.
With other running back contributions, the Panthers have gained 2,418 rushing yards for 41 touchdowns. Sanchez leads the Panther defense with 80 total tackles. Martin has 57 total tackles, and Lane has 53 total tackles – including 11 for loss.
While many opponents find a Mart game foreboding, Frost will look forward to playing a home game. No doubt, the Polar Bears will have to play a great game to knock off the defending state champs.
To do so, can the Polar Bears stretch the filed with Alvarado firing to Bowling (31.1 yards per catch) and Rasco (21.0 yards per catch)? Can they stop the Panther running game of Martin and Freeman? The answer will be determined after kickoff.
Palmer at Blooming Grove
7:30 p.m. Friday,
At Lions Stadium
Records: 3A DII Palmer 9-0, 6-0, 3A DII Blooming Grove 4-5, 2-4
Players to Watch: Palmer: QB/LB Adrian Cisneros, WR/CB Carson Cisneros, TE/CB Ben Waddle, RB/LB Dylan Tyree. Blooming Grove: QB/LB Carson Rucks, RB/DB Jalen Coleman, WR/DB Damon Lovett, OL/LB Jacob Esparza
Update: The Palmer Bulldogs will come into Lions Stadium Friday night with a perfect season mark of 9-0 and a perfect district mark of 6-0 that has them as district champs. Their latest win was last week over Gateway in a shutout victory.
The Lions come into the game after a heartbreaking loss to Mildred last Friday night. After falling behind 34-6 at the half, the Lions stormed back with 21 unanswered points to cut the margin to 7 at 34-27 late in the second half. However, that would be as close as it got as Mildred held on for the 40-27 win.
Palmer is led on offense by senior quarterback Adrian Cisneros and senior receivers Carson Cisneros and Ben Waddle. A. Cisneros has thrown for 1842 yards and 23 touchdowns on the season and C. Cisneros has 428 receiving yards on the year to go along with 6 touchdown catches. Tight end Waddle leads the team with 652 yards and 7 touchdowns. Running back Dylan Tyree has rushed for 932 yards.
Blooming Grove is led on offense by senior quarterback Carson Rucks. Last week Rucks threw for 288 yards and 2 scores. On the year he has thrown for 1462 yards and 14 touchdowns. Damon Lovett caught two touchdown passes last week against the Eagles in the losing effort and for the year has 560 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Running back Jalen Coleman scored twice last week and has 646 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns for the year.
Rice at Dallas Gateway
7:30 p.m. Friday
Records: 3A DII Rice 3-3, 5-4; 3A DII Gateway 0-6, 0-9.
Players to Watch: Rice: QB Tanner Carlisle, WR Elizhah Nezar, RB/LB Jerry Montgomery. OL/DL Angel Banda. Gateway: RB Courtney Montgomery, LB Nigel Carson, WR Colby Graham.
Update: Gateway hasn’t won a game in this district in two years and the Gators will be overmatched again against a Rice team that embarrassed the Gators last year at Rice. Gateway has been outscored 472-117 this year. Rice will put the game away by halftime, and then play backups to wrap up another winning season.
Meridian at Hubbard
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Jaguar Field
Records: Class 2A DII Hubbard 0-4, 4-5. 2A DII meridian 0-4, 0-9.
Players to Watch: Hubbard QB Logan Morris, RB Cooper Martin, OL/DL Chance Hasse, OL/LB RJ Cormier. Meridian: OL Zade Kendall, OL/DL Dylan Felan, OL Anthony Gonzalez.
Update: Meridian has one of the youngest teams in Texas and has scored just 14 points in nine games this year.
Hubbard is wrapping up a .500 season with a very strong team that ran into some tough luck in the district race and will miss the playoffs despite playing well.