Texas football games to watch: Regional semifinal weekend

Randy Jennings | MaxPreps.com Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Unbeaten teams square off in three regional semifinal playoffs this weekend.

Video: Top 10 Games of the Week
Katy and Atascoctia are one of the nation's key games.

The calendar turns to December for the regional semifinal round of the UIL state football playoffs.
In general, travel for this week's 80 combined games in Classes 6A-2A becomes a little longer.
Winning teams this week reach the halfway point to a state crown.

Unbeaten teams will square off in three games. Two of those are on our list of top games. The other sees 12-0 Westlake (Austin) facing 12-0 Vela Edinburg at noon Saturday at Portland's Ray Akins Wildcat Stadium.

Two of last season's UIL 11-man state champions, Class 6A-DII DeSoto and Class 2A-DII Bremond, were ousted in the area round. Seven other defending state champions are still alive.

For TAPPS teams fighting for a title, the playoffs have reached the state semifinal round.

Here's a look at top match-ups this weekend

O'Connor (Helotes) 12-0 vs. San Benito 12-0, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Corpus Christi's Buccaneer Stadium; Class 6A-DI Region IV

O'Connor senior quarterback Roel Sanchez has had a hand in 41 touchdowns, 23 of them in the air, and has produced 2,797 combined yards. Jalen Hughes is his top target with 846 receiving yards. San Benito has a nice balance between quarterback Erick Retta (2,065 passing yards, 24 touchdowns) and running back Tyrone Harper (1,508 yards, 23 scores).

O'Connor draws San Benito in its 6A-DI matchup this week.
Photo by Kenneth Toso
O'Connor draws San Benito in its 6A-DI matchup this week.
Lexington 12-0 vs. Tidehaven (El Maton) 11-0, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hallettsville's Brahmas Stadium; Class 3A-DII Region IV

Little wonder Lexington, a regional finalist a year ago, is undefeated. It has the running of Ja'Kobe Cooper (2,796 yards, 33 touchdowns) to go with the passing of Walker Hess (2,524 yards, 28 touchdowns). The Tidehaven offense is built around Jeffery Williams, who rushed for 24 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards in a playoff season a year ago.

Katy 10-0 vs. Atascocita (Humble) 10-1, 7 p.m. Friday, Houston's NRG Stadium; Class 6A-DI Region III

As usual, Katy is strong on defense, allowing 6.9 points per game with three shutouts. The Tigers are on track to increase their UIL state-record 14 state championship game appearances. Junior running back Deondrick Glass has already topped 1,000 rushing yards. Atascocita, a state semifinalist in 2016, has won nine straight and is scoring at a 46.9 clip. Senior dual-threat quarterback Jack Roe is the top offensive threat.

Longview 11-1 vs. Klein Collins (Spring) 11-0, 2 p.m. Saturday, Waco's McLane Stadium; Class 6A-DII Region II

Sophomore quarterback Haynes King has thrown for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns for Longview, while junior Keilyn Williams leads rushers with 992 yards and 16 scores. Junior Isaiah Spiller tops Klein Collins with 1,153 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Carter Rhyne has thrown for 1,602 yards and 20 scores.

Coronado (Lubbock) 12-0 vs. Colleyville Heritage (Colleyville) 11-1, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Abilene's Wildcat Stadium; Class 5A-DI Region I

Senior quarterback Qua Gray has thrown for 3,764 yards and 50 touchdowns to lead Coronado, a regional semifinalist in 2016. His top targets are Blair Conwright (72 catches, 1,301 yards) and Devin Morrison (62-1,137). The winning formula for Heritage, a regional finalist last year, is similar with senior quarterback Jagger LaRoe (2,484 passing yards, 28 touchdowns) going to Ke'von Ahmad (90 catches, 1,440 yards) and Kameron Brown (74 catches, 1,080 yards).

Cedar Park 11-1 vs. Manvel 11-0, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Waller ISD Stadium; Class 5A-DI Region III

Manvel defeated Cedar Park 47-35 in a regional semifinal last season. Junior Ryan Fiala has done a nice job filling in for injured Cedar Park quarterback Mak Sexton. Defensively, sack leader Keegan Nichols has a narrow 109-106 lead in tackles on fellow linebacker Jackson Buckingham. For Manvel, quarterback Kason Martin has thrown for 2,345 yards and 33 touchdowns. Leading Mavericks' tacklers are Charles Reed and DePriest Taylor.

Angleton 11-0 vs. Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi) 10-1, 7:30 p.m. Friday, San Marcos' Bobcat Stadium; Class 5A-DI Region IV

Angleton, out in the second playoff round last year, hangs its hat on outstanding defense with four shutouts and in six other games has allowed no more than seven points. The defense has forced 34 turnovers. Running back Tamerik Williams, an SMU pledge, has rushed for 1,424 yards and 17 touchdowns. Flour Bluff, in the playoffs for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, can count on sure-handed receivers in Taggert Peel and Jacob Soliz for quarterback Braden Sherron.

Madisonville 11-1 vs. West Orange-Stark (Orange) 10-0, 7 p.m. Friday, Porter's Texan Drive Stadium; Class 4A-DII Region III

Cornelius Merchant leads run-oriented Madisonville with 1,473 yards and 27 touchdowns. Marcus Dorman paces the defense in tackles with 100. West Orange-Stark, going for a third consecutive state title, owns a 37-game winning streak that dates to October 2015. Just as in its title run last year, the Mustangs are playing superb defense. They have not allowed a touchdown in the last four games and only 72 points all season. Last year's defense allowed 69 points in 16 games with eight shutouts.

Canadian 12-0 vs. Colorado (Colorado City) 11-1, 7 p.m. Friday, Vernon's Lion Stadium; Class 3A-DII Region I

Canadian, state champion in 2014 and 2015, relies on the passing combination of Casen Cavalier (1,964 yards) to Matthew Lynch (75 catches, 1,139 yards). Linebacker Wyatt Bishop leads the defense averaging 14.5 tackles. The passing and running of junior Markis Monroe keeps Colorado City on the move, as does a mixture of running plays for Leonard Williams. The Wolves have made a big turnaround from a 4-7 campaign in 2016.

De Leon 12-0 vs. Mart 11-1. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Whitney's Wildcat Stadium; Class 2A-DI Region II

It has been a comfortable ride for De Leon so far with no winning margin closer than 13 points thanks to a defense that has allowed only 108 points with four shutouts. Quarterback Kevin Yeager is back after leading last year's team to the regional finals. Mart, coming off a regional semifinal appearance last season, has the 1-2 punch of junior runner Tyrek Horne (1,712 yards, 22 touchdowns) and passing of senior quarterback Jace Terry (1,814 yards, 29 touchdowns).

Other intriguing matchups:
Bishop Lynch (Dallas) 12-0 vs. St. Pius X (Houston) 9-1, 6 p.m. Saturday, Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex; TAPPS Division I state semifinal.
Martin (Arlington) 11-1 vs. Allen 12-0, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Southlake's Dragon Stadium; Class 6A-DI Region I.
Coppell 11-1 vs. Cedar Ridge (Round Rock) 11-1, 7 p.m. Saturday, Waco's McLane Stadium; Class 6A-DI Region II.
Mansfield 11-1 vs. Midway (Waco) 12-0, 7 p.m. Friday, Waco's McLane Stadium; Class 6A-DII Region I.
Kennedale 11-1 vs. Midlothian Heritage (Midlothian) 12-0, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Frisco's Ford Center; Class 4A-DI Region II.
Cuero 11-0 vs. Navarro (Geronimo) 11-1, 7:30 p.m. Friday, San Antonio's Heroes Stadium; Class 4A-DII Region IV.
Sonora 12-0 vs. Childress 11-1, 7 p.m. Friday, Abilene's Bulldog Stadium; Class 3A-DII Region I.
Holliday 11-1 vs. Gunter 12-0, 7 p.m. Friday, Springtown's Porcupine Stadium; Class 3A-DII Region II.
West Rusk (New London) 10-1 vs. Newton 11-0, 7:30 Friday, Tatum's Eagle Stadium; Class 3A-DII Region III.
Geneva (Boerne) 11-1 vs. Cypress Christian (Houston) 11-1, 7 p.m. Friday, Elgin's Wildcat Stadium; TAPPS Division III state semifinal.