Week 9 Preview: No. 2 Sterling City, No. 1 Westbrook battle in six-man; Rivals No. 8 Christoval, Eldorado clash in district showdown

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No. 2 Sterling City vs No. 1 Westbrook, 7:30 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium
For weeks six-man high school football fans have been waiting for this matchup. Both teams have been ranked inside the Top 10 for seven weeks, have been the top two teams in 1A Division I for five straight weeks, and are two of the six undefeated teams remaining in the classification. To add to the billing, this game could ultimately determine who wins the District 8-1A title.

No. 2 Sterling City (7-0, 1-0 in district) fought through a non-district schedule featuring three opponents currently ranked inside the Top 10 in 1A Div. I. The Eagles pride themselves on their overall team depth and speed. On an offense featuring multiple capable runners, none have been quite as impressive as Cross Knittel. The senior running back is averaging just under 15 yards per carry and leads the team in touchdowns with 14. The Eagles unexpectedly had their bye last week, after Highland had to postpone due to COVID related issues.

No. 1 Westbrook (7-0, 1-0) stormed onto the six-man spotlight with wins over 1A Division II No. 3 Motley County and No. 3 Borden County in the first two weeks of the season. The Wildcats continued their momentum into their next five games, picking up four mercy-rule victories, all over quality programs. Sterling City head coach Trey Sisco said, “They’re (Westbrook) a really physical team and fast as well. They run a tight set and a spread set and they go back and forth until they find what’s working for them. They take advantage of matchups really well and I think that’s why their offense has been so successful.”

If this matchup happens to decide the district champion, it would be Sterling City’s first district title since 2015 and Westbrook’s first since 1996. The Eagles have won all six meetings between these two teams dating back to 2010. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has Westbrook favored by one point, while sixmanfootball.com has Sterling City as five-point underdogs.

No. 8 Christoval vs Eldorado, 7:30 p.m. at Larry Mitchell Stadium
This rivalry has developed into one of the must watch games in the area and determined the district champion in the last two seasons. In 2018, Christoval won forcing a three-way tie for the district title, while Eldorado returned the favor last season for its first outright district championship since 2012. Now for a third straight year, this game could be the deciding factor once again.

No. 8 Christoval (6-1, 2-0) is on a six-game winning streak after its season-opening loss to Wink and dominated District 14-2A Division II opponent Menard 66-0 last week. The Cougars are averaging nearly 400 yards per game on offense, while their defense is holding opponents to just over 16 points per game. Standout senior quarterback Brayden Wilcox has accounted for 73 percent of the team’s total offense and has thrown 15 touchdowns while rushing for 10 more. Eldorado head coach Jon Long said, “They’re (Christoval) a well-coached team and have athletes just like we do. I think their offense gets a lot of attention and rightfully so, but I’m more impressed with their defense, to be honest.”

Eldorado (3-4, 2-0) has found its stride since the start of district. The Eagles are coming off a 35-12 victory over Rocksprings and are outscoring opponents 70-18 in the last two games. Juniors quarterback Korbin Corvarrubiaz and receiver Cooper Meador are the standouts on a roster made up of several underclassmen. Corvarrubiaz has thrown for 21 touchdowns and rushed for six more, while Meador has caught nine touchdowns with 559 receiving yards. Christoval head coach Casey Otho said, “Eldorado has a great group of skill kids. We’re going to have to make sure we defend the pass, contain the run, and try to keep him (Covarrubiaz) from scrambling around.”

Christoval has won four of the last five against Eldorado. Dave Campbells has the Cougars favored by three points.

Central vs Frenship, 7 p.m. at Peoples Bank Stadium
From 2015-2017 Central won 16 straight district games in the Little Southwest Conference. Despite a two-year hiatus, the Bobcats (1-3, 1-0 in district) picked right where they left off with a 55-32 win over rival Abilene last week.

Central put together its best overall game of the season. After struggling with turnover and penalties in their first three games, the Bobcats had zero in both categories. Senior quarterback Malachi Brown threw for 344 yards and five touchdowns while completing 19 of 26 passes. Four different receivers scored touchdowns, senior Seth Levesque leading the way with four receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown. While junior running back Samuel Navarrette emerged from the JV squad to lead the team in rushing with 67 yards on 14 carries in his varsity debut. Defensively the Bobcats forced three turnovers for a second consecutive week. Junior safety Ty Casey led the team in solo tackles with eight, while senior linebacker Bryson McNutt added seven.

Frenship (2-2, 1-0) bounced back from its loss to rival Lubbock Cooper with a 37-23 victory over Midland High in its district-opener last week. Junior Corbin Gandy filled in for the injured Chad Pharies at quarterback, throwing for 210 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. This season the Tigers are averaging 28.5 points and 333 yards per game on offense and are allowing opponents to 31.75 points and just under 430 yards per game on defense. Central head coach Brent Davis said, “Defensively you name it and they’ll (Frenship) line up in it. So that makes it tough when you have to worry about all their different inside schemes. They’ll also bring corner blitzes, safety blitzes, and sometimes they’ll fake like they’re going to come and don’t. That’s the part that worries you is being able to handle all of that.”

These two teams have only faced one another four times and the Bobcats have won every time. Dave Campbells has this game as a pickem.

Other games to watch:
Bangs vs Sonora, 7 p.m. at Bronco Stadium
A crucial game for both teams as the race for the District 2-3A Division II title heats up. Ballinger, Bangs, and Sonora are all tied at the top of the standings and all face one another in the coming weeks. The Dragons (6-0, 2-0) are coming off a dominant 47-15 win over Ingram Moore, while the Broncos (3-4, 2-0) won their third straight game with a 44-13 victory over Brady. last week. Dave Campbells has the Bangs as 12 point favorites. 

Rocksprings vs Junction, 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium 
There is currently a three-way tie for first place in District 14-2A Division II between Christoval, Eldorado, and Junction. One of the three teams is guaranteed to lose this week and Junction has a chance to remain in the district title conversation with Christoval and Eldorado on its schedule to wrap up the season. The Eagles (5-2, 2-0) are coming off an impressive 33-6 victory over Miles, while Rocksprings (4-2, 0-2) its looking to rebound from losses to Christoval and Eldorado to open district. Dave Campbells has Junction as 11 point favorites.

Water Valley vs Eden, 7:30 p.m. at Sanders Field
Entering the season Eden was the favorites to win District 14-1A Division I. However, Water Valley has made a strong case its in the driver’s seat after an impressive three-games stretch. The Wildcats (3-2, 2-0) are coming off a 63-3 mercy victory over Veribest and are looking to essentially lock up their first district title under head coach Nathan Hayes. The Bulldogs (2-5, 1-0) have had two weeks to prepare for this matchup and if they win could make things very interesting in the coming weeks. Dave Campbells has Water Valley favored by 22 points, while sixmanfootball.com has the Wildcats to win by 45 points. 

Remaining games:
Andrews vs Lake View, 7 p.m. at San Angelo Stadium
No. 7 Jim Ned vs TLCA, 7:30 p.m. at Lake View Stadium
Ballinger vs Ingram Moore, 7 p.m. at Warrior Stadium
Brady vs Grape Creek, 7 p.m. at Eagle Stadium
Ozona vs Harper, 7:30 p.m. at Longhorn Field
Brackettville vs Mason, ppd
Miles vs Menard, 7:30 p.m. at Findlay Field
Paint Rock vs Veribest, 7:30 p.m. at Falcon Field



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