What to Watch For: Can Wall and Sonora Avenge 2016 Losses; Will Sterling City Upset State Champs?
When you look at the week six schedule around the Concho Valley and beyond, there are plenty of games to catch fan's eyes. Tascosa and Midland Lee, both undefeated at 5-0, will square off in a district matchup that could pave Central's path to back-to-back district titles. Veribest, who's quietly having a good year at 4-1, will travel to Blackwell and face an undefeated Hornets team that's mercy ruled opponents in three of their five games. To top it all off, Eldorado and Irion County, two teams on the rise in 2017, will duke it out in Eldorado this Friday.
Those games aren't the only ones that pop off the screen in week five:
#12 Sonora (5-0) at Iraan (3-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.
Sonora suffered one regular season loss in 2016. It came by the hands of Iraan in the form of a close 37-27 game. Both teams have been favored to make deep playoff runs in 2017. Right now, these two teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Iraan has lost two straight games after starting the season 3-0. The first loss in this streak came from Mason's 58-7 demolition of Iraan in week four. Last week, the Braves dropped a game they typically wouldn't in their 34-14 loss to Colorado City. Looking at Sonora, the Broncos are galloping through the season. Sonora, behind Senior Quarterback Kaden Cordell and great offensive line play, is averaging 50.6 points per game and 528.2 yards of offense. Nobody should write Iraan off just yet, however. Mark Kirchoff has done well at Iraan in his tenure and Iraan has that strong tradition. This game will be much closer than it looks on paper.
Prediction: Sonora 41, Iraan 34
#2 Wall (4-0) vs Iowa Park (3-2), Friday 7:30 p.m., Buckaroo Stadium, Breckenridge
This overtime game last year was one of the most entertaining of 2016. Can we expect an encore? It's not out of the question, but I doubt it. Last year, even in the 35-29 loss, Wall put up 344 yards rushing with young players still trying to find their grove. Iowa Park, through their first three games of 2017, averaged 473 yards of offense despite going 1-2 during that stretch. Iowa Park can beat teams on the ground and through the air. However, Iowa Park has not faced a defense as stout as the one Wall will line up across from them. Coaches and fans from around the area have described Wall's defense as a "machine". The 30 points allowed through the first four games of their season backs that claim up. But don't overlook Wall's offense. Seniors Brock Rosenquist, Casey Braden, and Tymber Carr have led Wall's offense that's averaging 451 yards per game and almost 40 points per game. That veteran trio, alone, has accounted for 1,214 rushing yards in Wall's triple-option offense. It's hard to think that a team could be any better than Wall was in 2016. But that's exactly what this 2017 Wall Hawks team is, much, much better. This one goes to Wall.
Prediction: Wall 31, Iowa Park 10
#1 Richland Springs (4-1) at #7 Sterling City (3-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.
Who doesn't love a top-10 matchup? Richland Springs won state in 2016 by defeating Balmorhea. That was last year. This year, the hype may be too much to live up to for the Coyotes. In their season opener, Richland Springs allowed 96 points in their loss to Happy. Since that game, Richland Springs has gone 4-0 and mercy-ruled three opponents. The Coyotes are averaging 65.4 points per game while allowing 26.2 points on average. Sterling City's offense has done well itself, averaging 54 points per game. The Eagles' defense however may be behind the figurative eight-ball in this game, as they're giving up 38 points per game. There's no telling how this game will turn out, though. Richland Springs, even with their tradition, has a schedule in which they play five non-UIL opponents. Those games, all against much lesser opponents, could be misleading to the naked eye. Richland Springs should still pull this one out and in entertaining fashion. Side note: This game will be featured on Fox Sports Southwest as their Game of the Week.
Prediction: Richland Springs 62, Sterling City 54
The Friday Night LIVE! coverage begins tomorrow with scores from across the west Texas region. Our live updates will come from Central vs Odessa High and Grape Creek vs Christoval.