Week 10 Preview: Central returns home, Small school district title and playoff scenarios

Inside the Game

Bangs vs Ballinger, 7 p.m. Friday at Bearcat Stadium
Ballinger head coach Chuck Lipsey is no stranger to this matchup. He coached at Bangs from 2008-2014, which happens to be the last time the Dragons beat the Bearcats. When he’s coached one of the teams in this matchup, Lipsey’s squad has won the past four games. Now with the District 2-3A Division II title likely on the line this time around, he probably hopes that trend continues.

Ballinger has lived up to the high expectations set entering this season and is off to its best start through eight games since 2001. The Bearcats (8-1, 3-0 in district) lone loss came against 3A Division I No. 7 Llano in Week 5 and since have outscored opponents 134-18. The defense has been their anchor, allowing under 12 points per game. On offense, Ballinger is averaging 354 yards per game with most of their damage coming on the ground. Senior running back Garrett Dixon leads the way with 618 yards and 11 touchdowns, while junior quarterback Carter Arrott has 350 yards and four touchdowns. The Bearcats dominated Ingram Moore 47-6 last week.

Bangs is coming off a 48-14 handling of Sonora last week and now is unbeaten through seven games for the first time since 2005. The Dragons (7-0, 3-0) most impressive win was in Week 5 against Hawley, taking down a quality program with only two losses, 35-19. Bangs takes a very similar approach to Ballinger on offense. 63% of their total offense comes from their rushing attack and their biggest contributor has been senior running back Ethan Sanchez. He’s gained 1196 yards on 102 carries and has scored 18 touchdowns. Defensively, the Dragons have also done a good job keeping their opponents off the scoreboard, allowing only nine points per game.

There are still multiple scenarios that can playout for the top spot in 2-3A Div. II. Ballinger clinches a share of the district title with a win this week and an outright if it wins its final two games. Bangs can also clinch a share of the district title and an outright title with back to back wins. Bangs and Ballinger could be Co-champions if the Bearcats lose this week, then beat Sonora, and the Dragons lose to Brady next week. A three-way tie could happen if Bangs loses this week. In this scenario Ballinger beats Bangs, the Dragons would need to beat Brady, and Sonora needs to beat Grape Creek and the Bearcats.

Since 2010 these two teams have played six times. Ballinger has won four times and won three straight. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has Bangs as one-point favorites, while the Harris Poll has this game as a pick’em.

Mason vs Ozona, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lion Stadium
In his first year as a head coach, Jarryd Taylor has led his alma mater right into the district title conversation. As many expected, Ozona and Mason have been the best two teams in 14-2A Division II this season and this week they’ll square off in a matchup that should determine the district title.

The Lions (6-2, 3-0) have won five straight since suffering back to back losses in Weeks 2 and 3, and have outscored their opponents 197-34 during the streak. Ozona continued its dominance in district, rattling off 42 unanswered points in its 55-20 win over Harper last week. Since the start of 14-2A Div. II competition, the Lions have gained 1,090 total yards of offense and are averaging just under 44 points per game. Senior Joe Perez has stepped in for the injured Jose Dominguez at running back and has averaged almost 12 yards per carry, while scoring three touchdowns in the last three games. Meanwhile, their defense has held opponents to an average of 89 total yards and under seven points per game during that span.

After starting its season 0-4 for the first time since 1997, Mason has been equally as impressive and won four straight games. The Punchers (4-4, 3-0) battled through tough competition in their non-district schedule, where all four losses came against teams with a combined record of 18-7. Since the start of 14-2A Div. II play, they’re outscoring opponents 170-13 and are back to the winning ways that has led to them to nine straight district titles. Senior quarterback Matthew Kerr is the player to watch out for on a run heavy offense that isn’t afraid to air it out every now and then.

Mason and Ozona can clinch shares of the district title this week and could an outright with wins in their final two games. The Punchers and Lions will be Co-Champs if the winning team of this week’s matchup loses next week and the losing team wins. A three-way tie scenario could happen if Ozona beats Mason, Johnson City wins its next two games, and Mason beats Brackettville.

This year’s matchup marks the first time these two teams have played since 2015. The Punchers have won the past four meetings. Dave Campbells has Mason favored by 14 points, while the Harris Poll has Ozona as 27 point underdogs.

Wall vs Clyde, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium
Its fair to say Wall has enjoyed plenty of success in the past decade. Before their loss to No. 5 Jim Ned in Week 8, the Hawks (5-3, 2-1) had won 52 straight district games dating back to 2010. Now with a week of rest due to forfeit by Breckenridge last week, they’ll look to start a new streak and move up in 3-3A Division I standings. Wall is averaging 264 yards per game on offense, while its defense is holding opponents to under 17 points per game.

Clyde is coming off a 33-20 victory over Early last week. Led by senior quarterback Dylan Neuman, the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-0) balanced offensive approach is averaging 296 yards per game. The dual-threat passer and sophomore running back Austin Hastings are two players to keep an eye on and have accounted for majority of the team’s offense. Both teams have played 2A Division I No. 9 Cisco this season. Wall came away with a 35-14 victory, while Clyde lost 39-14.

The Hawks still have a shot at claiming their 10th straight district title, but will need some help in multiple different scenarios. The first, Wall would need to win out and have Jim Ned lose at least one of its final two games to be Co-Champions. The Hawks can claim an outright district title if they win their next two games and the Indians twice. The most likely scenario is a three-way tie, where Wall wins its next two games, Jim Ned beats Breckenridge, and Clyde beats the Indians next week. Technically, all six teams in 3-3A Div. I have still have a shot at making the playoffs, but some need a lot to go their way.

Wall has won the past five times these two teams have played. Dave Campbells has the Hawks as 14 point favorites, while Wall is favored by 17 points in the Harris Poll.

Odessa vs Central, 7 p.m. Friday at San Angelo Stadium
Central had its best game defensively of the season, holding Frenship to 260 yards of total offense in a 35-7 win last week. As a result the Bobcats (2-3, 2-0) picked up their 18th straight district win as a member of the Little Southwest Conference and are now in sole possession of first place in 2-6A.

Senior receiver Jalen Leifeste had his most productive game of the season against the Tigers hauling in nine catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. Since starting district, Central’s offense has gained 930 total yards and is outscoring opponents 88-39. Junior running back Samuel Navarrette has been a spark plug since emerging from the junior varsity squad two week ago. He’s averaging 7.24 yards per carry and has found the endzone three times. On defense, junior safety Ty Casey has had a nose for the football and is leading the team with 19 total tackles in the past two games.

Odessa hasn’t played a large sample size so far this season. The Bronchos (0-2, 0-1) had to cancel their first game of the season against Lubbock Monterey due to COVID related issues. The following week they fell 49-0 to Lubbock Coronado and after a bye, lost 26-14 to Midland last week. OHS has used two quarterbacks in both contests, juniors Diego Cervantes and Kason Sims. Cervantes has made the bigger impact, accounting for 225 of the team’s 337 total yards of offense this season. The Bronchos have given up 694 yards on defense.

This matchup dates back to 1939. Central holds a 40-36-1 advantage and has won the last seven meetings. Dave Campbells has the Bobcats favored by 36 points, while the Harris Poll has Central as 44 point favorites.

Other games to watch:
Junction vs No. 8 Christoval, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jack Pardee Memorial Stadium
Coming off its big win over rival Eldorado, No. 8 Christoval has an opportunity to clinch a share of the District 14-2A Division II title. A win and the Cougars (7-1, 3-0) will finish at the very least Co-Champions. Christoval can win an outright district title it wins out or if it wins this week and Eldorado loses. If the Cougars lose one of its next two games and Eldorado wins out then the two would share the district title. As for Junction, despite falling to Rocksprings 26-14 last week, it still has a chance to claim an outright district title with wins in its next two games and back to back Christoval losses. Junction can also share the district title with if it wins out and Christoval loses to Miles next week. Dave Campbells has Christoval favored by 28 points, while the Harris Poll has the Cougars as 24 point favorites.

Miles vs Rocksprings, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Angora Field
Sticking with District 14-2A Division II, this matchup is pretty straight forward for Miles. Win and the Bulldogs (3-5, 1-2) keep their playoff hopes alive for another week. They’ll still need help from some other teams this week and next, but will have a chance. If they lose, then next week will be their final game of the season. Rocksprings can clinch a playoff spot with a win since it would hold the tie-breaker over Miles and Junction. However if the Angoras (5-2, 1-2) lose, then things could get very interesting next week. Dave Campbells has Rocksprings favored by 14 points, while the Harris Poll has Miles as 28 point underdogs.

Lake View vs Big Spring, 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium
This matchup is much more black and white. Both teams enter the game 0-2 in District 2-4A Division I and are playing for third place. Big Spring (3-3, 0-2) has won nine of the past 13 matchups dating back to 2000. Lake View (4-5, 0-2) is looking for its first five win season since 2014. Dave Campbells has Big Spring favored by nine points, while the Harris Poll has the Chiefs as two-point underdogs.

Highland vs No. 1 Sterling City, 1 p.m. Saturday at Eagle Stadium
After taking down former No. 1 and 8-1A foe Westbrook, No. 1 Sterling City (8-0, 2-0) can clinch the district title outright with a win over Highland (5-3, 1-1) and a Robert Lee loss. The Eagles can also clinch at least a share of first place with a win this week. Dave Campbells has the Eagles as 51 point favorites, while sixmanfootball.com has Sterling City favored by 45 points.

Remaining games:
Veribest vs Irion County, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at O.K. Wolfenbarger Stadium
Sonora vs Grape Creek, 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Stadium
Ingram Moore vs Brady, 7 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium
TLCA vs Early, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Longhorn Field
Eldorado vs Menard, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Findlay Field 
No. 3 Westbrook vs Robert Lee, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Griffith Stadium
Paint Rock vs Eden, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sanders Field
Trent vs Blackwell, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hornet Stadium

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