Who's Playing Who? Playoff Picture Looks Clearer After Week 9
SAN ANGELO, TX-- Just two weeks away from the Bi-District round of playoffs, things are starting to look more concrete in terms of who's going to play who, with a few exceptions, of course.
Area six-man teams played their first district games this past Friday and eliminated much of the horrible guess work I had to do last week.
For many of the area eleven-man teams, not much has changed in the playoff outlook.
6A: Central defeated Permian on Friday and kept their "Drive for Five" straight district titles strong heading into the homestretch of the regular season. In Central's district, 2-6A, it looks like Midland Lee and Permian will finish one-two as the district's Division One representatives, but who will be one and two won't be decided until the final week of the season. Central looks like they'll be joined by Midland in Division Two, although Amarillo Tascosa could take the second spot in Division Two if they were to beat Central in week 11. Central and Midland square off this week. A win for Central would guarantee the Bobcats at least a share of the district title, their fifth straight title.
Division 2: W2 San Angelo Central vs R1 EP Montwood/Pebble Hills
Last week, I said Pebble Hills should be Central's opponent in the Bi-District round. A week later and I'm not entirely certain. Pebble Hills is 8-0 overall and hung 71 points on El Paso Eastwood last week. Montwood is also undefeated and won big against El Paso Americas. These two teams will be in the playoffs, but their head-to-head matchup this week will decide who goes where in the playoffs.
3A: Wall had a good showing against a solid Midland Christian team in their non-district win this week to remain unbeaten. Their District 2-3A D1 counterpart, Grape Creek (1-8, 1-2), stumbled against Kermit in a 71-20 loss over the weekend. The good news for the Eagles heading in to their bye week is that their biggest challenger to the fourth place spot, Tornillo, has only one game left against Wall. Grape Creek also holds the tie-breaker for the fourth spots. That means Grape Creek is in the playoffs for the second time in school history.
In Division Two, Sonora (8-0, 2-0) took firm control of District 3-3A with a dominant 42-14 victory over Reagan County. Reagan County(5-4, 2-1) now holds a slim advantage for second place over Alpine (5-3, 1-1). Ballinger took care of business over TLCA (3-6, 0-3) in a 35-6 win that puts the 3-5 Bearcats into a playoff spot.
Division 1: W2-Wall vs F1-Slaton
District 1-3A is still up for grabs for spots one through three. Slaton (3-5, 1-2) is fourth in that district and had a good, 28-16 win against Littlefield over the weekend. That win put one foot in the playoff door for Slaton. Wall can clinch at least a share of the district title this week with a win over Tornillo.
F2-Grape Creek vs W1-Shallowater
It always looked like Grape Creek would need just one win to get in to the playoffs this season. So far, their win against Tornillo is their lone victory of the year. Shallowater (7-1, 2-0) has been good all year. However, Muleshoe is nipping on the Mustang's heels. Both of those teams are undefeated in district play going into their matchup this week. Shallowater should prevail, but football, especially late in the year, can produce some surprising results.
Division 2: W3-Sonora vs F4-Coleman
Sonora, with their unbeaten record, is into the playoffs, that is set in stone. What isn't set in stone is Coleman's fate. This week, Coleman (2-6, 1-2) will face Dublin (2-6, 0-3). If Coleman were to drop that game, the Bluecats would drop to fifth place in District Four and give Dublin the tie-breaker heading in to the final week of play. Dublin's last game is against winless Bangs. Coleman's last game is against a good Tolar team. The Bluecat's best chance to make it to the playoffs is to handle Dublin this week.
R3-Reagan County vs T4-Tolar
The best Tolar can finish is second in District Four. They play Cisco and Coleman in the closing two weeks of the season. Two wins would put them at 3-1 in district play and tied with either Cisco or Eastland. If the Rattlers were to beat Cisco and Cisco were to lose to Eastland, that would open the door to a second place finish. However, Cisco and Eastland both have identical records at 6-2 overall, and 3-0 in district . Both teams look good and Tolar should finish third in their district. Reagan County could finish better than second, where they sit right now. They would need some serious help from Ballinger and TLCA in knocking off Sonora, something nobody has been able to do this season. Reagan County could also slip to third, if they're unable to get past Alpine this week. With Ballinger to follow after Reagan County, Alpine could leapfrog Reagan County for the second spot.
F3-Ballinger vs W4-Eastland/Cisco
Good luck picking the matchup for Ballinger. No, seriously, you've good luck with a 50/50 shot at getting it right. Eastland and Cisco, if both teams remain unbeaten, will decide their district champion in week 11. Cisco has a solid defense that held Wall to 21 points in week two. Eastland allowed more points than Cisco against Wall, but scored four more points against the Hawks. Ballinger will be up against it, regardless of who they play in this game.
2A: Christoval, Irion County, Mason, Menard, Miles, and Winters are all in the hunt for a playoff spot or have already booked a ticket in 2A.
Second-ranked Mason throttled Brackett 66-0 for their third consecutive shutout to remain unbeaten.
Christoval extended their win streak to four games with a 49-18 win over Anthony. The win also marked the second time all season that Christoval has put up over 30 points and first time they have put up over 40.
Menard beat Irion County 42-14 this past Friday. The win was Menard's fifth in their last six outings. Irion County has now lost three of their last four games. However, the Hornets are into the playoffs thanks to their win over Van Horn two weeks ago. The win has been their only one in district play so far and gave Irion County the tiebreaker for the fourth spot in District Five.
In District Six, Miles is fighting for fourth with Baird and Winters tied for second with Cross Plains. Miles had a setback against Baird in their 32-25 loss that gave Baird the tiebreaker. With games against undefeated Albany and Cross Plains (5-3, 2-1), it's a tough hill to climb for Miles to make it back to the playoffs this year. The Blizzards edged out Bronte 35-27 on the road last week. Winters could theoretically jump to second if they beat Cross Plains this week and handle business against Baird the following, which will be no easy task for the Blizzards.
Division 1: R3- Christoval vs T4- Anson
Christoval (4-4, 2-0) is one of the hottest teams in the area now that Brayden Wilcox has found his groove. The Cougars will face two tough tests, in succession, when they square off with Ozona (4-4, 1-1) this week and district front-runner McCamey (7-1, 2-0) the next. However, if Christoval were to win out, that would give Christoval at least a share of the district title and the first place spot in District Three along with a date against the Post Antelopes. Both Anson (5-4, 1-2) and Post (5-3, 0-2) would be formidable tests for Christoval in the Bi-District round. A date with Post would probably be Christoval's best route to the Area round of playoffs, however.
W14- Mason vs F13- Rosebud-Lott
This is one of the changes from a week ago. It looked as though Moody would draw the short straw of facing the state's best defense. This week, its Rosebud-Lott's honor to look down the barrel of Mason's loaded defense. Mason has allowed nothing more than one touchdown all year and an average of 3.25 points per game. The Punchers also have the offense to back their defense up, averaging 49.75 points per game.
R14- Junction vs T13- Moody
Junction held their own against previously unbeaten Sabinal in their 34-27 victory. The win could be a turning point for Junction (3-5, 2-0) in their season. However, they play the Goliath that is Mason this week. Moody may be breathing a heavy sigh of relief sitting in third in District 13 with either Junction or Sabinal staring at them in Bi-District rather than Mason.
Division 2: W5- Menard vs F6 Baird
Menard is not out of the woods, but they can see the clearing. However, Iraan isn't a team to look past. The Braves have a tradition in their program that sets them up for games like this. Miles could be the fourth team out of District Six, but winning out against Albany and Cross Plains is highly unlikely.
R5- Iraan vs T6- Winters
Regardless of whether its Iraan or Menard, Winters will get a stiff test in Bi-District. Two of Iraan's three losses this season have come to teams with undefeated record, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Menard drops to second in District Five and plays Menard. But this is how the district sits at the moment.
F5- Irion County vs W6- Albany
What a year its been for Irion County. From one win in 2016, to four in 2017 and the school's first playoff berth since 2004. This matchup looks to have the finishing touches on the stone etchings almost wrapped up, barring a historic collapse by Albany.
1A: Just one district game has been played by the six-man teams in the area, so there's still a lot to play for in the final two weeks. But it gives a better picture as to who will make it to the postseason.
Sterling City, Water Valley, and Veribest are all in the driver's seat for playoff spots after winning their district openers. Eden dropped their district opener to Nueces Canyon, putting them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Division 1: R6- Sterling City vs W5- Borden County
Sterling City (5-3, 1-0) knocked off Robert Lee 90-40 on Friday, setting up a tantalizing matchup with Garden City this Friday. Sterling City are winners of five of their last six games and are on a tear offensively. Borden County, the defending State Champions, have defended their title well, going unbeaten through eight games. If this game were to happen, it would be the second time Sterling City has faced a defending State Champ.
W8- Veribest vs R7- Buena Vista
Nothing has changed from a week ago with this matchup and the only way it will is based on the Water Valley-Veribest game in two weeks. Veribest has been very good this season.
R8- Water Valley vs W7- Rankin
Water Valley mercy-ruled Paint Rock 58-8 on Friday to put them into the top half of District Eight. Rankin and Water Valley faced off two weeks ago and Rankin mercy-ruled the Wildcats. While Water Valley wants another district title, they wouldn't mind avenging their regular season loss in a win-or-go-home situation like the playoffs.