Tanner Carlisle

Daily Sun photo/Ron Farmer

Rice quarterback Tanner Carlisle hands off to Jerry Montgomery during Rice's opening night 23-20 win over Groesbeck last week. 

Rio Vista at Rice

7:30 p.m., Friday

At Bulldog Stadium

Records: 3A DII Rice 1-0, 3A DII Rio Vista 0-1

Players to watch: Rice: QB Tanner Carlisle, K Elias Pena, RB Baylor Burkett, OL/LB Brian Ovalle. Rio Vista: RB Jake Perkins, QB Clayton Camp, WR/DB Billy Bob Bridges, OL/DL Etan Cummings.

Update: These two former district opponents didn't get to play last year when many games in Week 2 of the season were washed out by rain storms. The lost game hurt Rice, which was trying recover from a lopsided opening night loss to Groesbeck.

Things couldn't be more different this week. Not only are the Bulldogs at home, but they are coming off a big 23-20 victory over Groesbeck that coach Andy Mills called a "great program win."

Mills, who has led his kids to the playoffs ever since he showed up at Rice five years ago, would love to get off to a 2-0 start, and the Dawgs looked more than ready a week ago when new tailback Baylor Burkett (his dad, Steve is Rice's new OC) looked like a great fit, especially when he tossed a 55-yard halfback option TD pass to Elizhah Nezar, who also had an interception.

QB Tanner Carlisle got off to a great start, running a successful offense and running for a 22-yard TD while picking off two interceptions on defense. Jerry Montgomery had a 40-yard TD run in a game in which Rice never trailed.

The Eagles, who return 15 starters from a 1-8 team that struggled all year, have a new coach in Kasey Black and a new offense that was impressive in a 40-33 opening night loss to Bruceville-Eddy.

Jake Perkins ran for 201 yards on 17 carries and scored twice to lead the new Eagles offense and he will be the young man to stop Friday for a Rice defense that is led by two-way linemen Saul Diaz and Angel Banda. Rio Vista QB Clayton Camp completed 8-of-18 passes for 111 yards, including a 47-yard TD pass to Billy Bob Bridges, who makes the All-Texas name team.

Staff Reports

Italy at Mildred

7:30 p.m., Friday

 Records: 3A DII Mildred 1-0, 2A DI Italy 0-1

Players to watch: Mildred: WR/DB Cody Hayes, RB/LB Preston Kindle, OL/DL Austin Carrigan; Italy: WR/S Cahl Horn, WR/DB Michael Gonzales, OL/LB Bryce Deborde.

Update: The Mildred Eagles host the Italy Gladiators Friday night in Mildred. Both the Eagles and Gladiators opened the season last week, but with totally different results. 

The Gladiators are coming off a tough season-opening 22-0 loss to the Palmer Bulldogs, who the Eagles face in district play later this season. The Gladiators were unable to get anything going offensively and ended up with fewer than 100 yards of total offense, including 72 rushing yards.

The Gladiator defense was able to keep the Bulldogs mostly contained and Palmer was unable to move the ball consistently and was unable to score in the second half.

The Eagles, on the other hand, are coming off a 47-43 win in which they racked up almost 600 yards of total offense including 415 yards rushing.  Bishop Harris paced the Eagles with 314 yards rushing and six touchdowns. QB Creed Baker also had a big game with 101 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The Eagle offensive line dominated opening huge holes for Harris. The Eagles dominated the time of possession and allowed Mildred to keep pace with the high-flying Leon passing attack.

The Eagle defense played better than the score indicated, coming up with a huge stop in the fourth quarter that sealed the Eagle victory and the Mildred D also had an interception and a fumble recovery.

Overall this week's game appears to be between teams heading in opposite directions. The Gladiator defense will need to play outstanding to slow down the Eagle rushing attack. The Eagles will want to keep improving as they continue through non-district play to get ready to play a tough district slate that is looking more and more competitive.

The Eagles were scheduled to play Italy last year, but the game was canceled due to a thunderstorm and electrical outage at the field.    

Jon Rash


Hubbard at Itasca

7:30 p.m., Friday

At Patton Field  

 Records:  2A DII Hubbard is 1-0. 2A DI Itasca is 0-1.  

Players to watch: Hubbard: QB/DB Logan Morris, OL/LB RJ Cormier, OL/DL Cody Green, RB/LB Cooper Martin.  Itasca: FB/LB Chase Rutherford, RB/DB Javonn Reed, QB/DB Andrew Arellano, WR/DB Brendon Massey.  

Update: Last season, Hubbard edged Itasca, 12-7, in a rain-shortened game in Hubbard.  In last week’s season openers, Hubbard went on the road and defeated Bartlett, 36-6, while Itasca dropped a close one to Hubbard’s rival Wortham, 20-18.

Both teams return a lot of experience from last season with Hubbard returning 19 starters and Itasca returning 17. In the win over Bartlett, QB Logan Morris had a great game, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another.  Speedy WR Justin Johnson caught both touchdown passes from Morris, including a 56-yard score. Hubbard also got touchdowns on the ground from Cooper Martin, RJ Cormier, and Joseph Green.

Itasca enters the game coming off a tough loss but looks to 2018 all-district QB Andrew Arellano to spark the offense.  Arellano’s has potentially a lot of weapons with speed and size in WRs Brendon Massy (6-0, 4.6) and Christopher Neal (6-1, 4.6).

 Jim Pitts

Kerens Bobcats at Blooming Grove Lions

7:30 p.m., Friday

Lions Stadium

Records: 2A DI Kerens 0-1, 3A DII Blooming Grove 1-0

Players to watch: Kerens: LB Jason Burleson, LB Daniel Fernandez, QB R. J. Mornes, RB Corey Davis; Blooming Grove: QB Carson Rucks, RB/DB Jalen Coleman, RB/DB Joe Valasquez, WR/DB Damon Lovett.

Update: The Blooming Grove Lions have their home opener Friday night against the Kerens Bobcats at Lion Stadium. The Lions are coming off a big 39-0 win over Cross Roads while the Bobcats were on the losing end of a 52-34 game against Reicher Catholic.

Both the Lions and the Bobcats used all three phases of their game to either score or set up scores. Kerens had their special teams recover a fumble on a botched punt attempt to set up a touchdown, the defense, in the person of Adaybran Davis, had an interception return for a score, and the offense, led by Davis, managed four touchdowns on the ground, with 3 of them scored by Davis.

It was very similar for the Lions. The ground game, led by Coleman and Valasquez, ran for a total of 239 yards and three scores while quarterback Rucks threw for 180 yards and another score. For good measure, Lovett caught the touchdown pass and also added a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Lions defense came up with five turnovers with the biggest being a 42-yard interception by Coleman for a touchdown.

The Bobcats are led by coach Terrell Harris and the Lions are led by coach Ervin Chandler. These two teams are very familiar with each other and it looks as if the defensive coordinators of each team will have their hands full trying to stop these two high-powered offenses.

Terry Ryno


Frost at Granger

7:00 p.m., Friday

At Lion Stadium

 Records: 2A Div. II Frost is 0-1. 2A DII Granger is 1-0.

Players To Watch:Frost: RB/LB Dillon Prickett, WR/DB Korbin Bowling, WR/DB Chase Clayton, OL/DT Gustavo Ibbra;  Granger: OT Jake Kaminkow, RB/LB Carlos Reyna, QB/DB Thomas Rhodes, WR/LB Nathan Flores.

Update: Frost lost its season-opener at home last week to Cayuga 32-0. During the game, RB/DB/K Ramon Manrriquez was taken off the field on a stretcher before halftime. He has since been released from the hospital. QB Tony Alvarado will hope to find receivers like his little brother David, Bowling, Clayton, and JD Hendricks to stretch the field. Tony completed 50 percent of his passes last week including two completions to Clayton. Last year, Alvarado passed for 1,092 yards and 14 touchdowns.

On defense, DE Leopoldo Perez wrapped-up 13 tackles, and LB Preston Rasco collected 12 tackles against Cayuga. Their defense will help put pressure on Granger.

Last week Granger beat Snook 31-18. The Lions took advantage of Snook by collecting seven turnovers – four fumbles and three interceptions. After Snook completed a screen pass for a 76-yard gain to the Granger one-yard line, Lion LB Andrew Romero recovered a fumble. Reyna had two interceptions, forced a fumble, and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass. Last year he rushed for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns. Rhodes used quarterback-keepers from the spread formation to run for 85 yards on 13 carries last week. Meanwhile, Nathan Flores led the Lions in tackles last week with 11.5.

 Last year, Granger traveled to Frost and beat the Polar Bears 41-8. It was their first win of season, and their first of eleven consecutive wins before losing to Burton in a 2A DII Regional Semi-Finals game.

Dan Lunsford


Bartlett at Dawson

7:30 p.m., Friday

At Ed Mitchell Field

Records: 2A DII Dawson 1-0, 2A DII Bartlett 0-1

Players to watch: Dawson: QB/LB Brendan Horner, RB/DB Jakoby Moore, FS/RB Da’Mariyea Hamilton, RB/DB Ja’Mariyea Hamilton. Bartlett: QB/DB Daniel Juarez, WR/DB Marcus Belcher, OL/DL Myles Buchhom.

Update: Dawson comes in to this week’s matchup with Bartlett off of a huge win last week against Axtell. The offense has expanded its options to run or throw the ball, and the defense is showing plenty of talent.

  Bartlett is coming in to Dawson off of a loss last week and will be looking for revenge. If Dawson plays at the level they were at in Week 1, Bartlett will have its hands full. Dawson beat Bartlett 40-14 last year.

Dawson had some minor adjustments to make after the opening night win, but looked better than any point in 2018 when the Bulldogs reached the playoffs. This should be a great year for the Dawson Bulldogs, if Week 1 was any sign of what the 2019 season will look like.

Will Brumley