PREDICTION: Will Sonora Pass Childress' Tough Test?
SAN ANGELO, TX-- This Friday, in Abilene, Childress (11-1) and Sonora (12-0) will clash in a third round battle of 10-win teams.
This season, Sonora's offense has been tremendous and their defense has been even better. The Bronco's defense is allowing just 12 points per game while their offense is putting up 48.4 points per game.
Childress is a battle-tested team from District 1 in the panhandle, the very same district as state powerhouse Canadian. Canadian is the only team to beat Childress this year and that was a close, 27-15 score in favor of the Wildcats. Those 27 points were the lowest total all season for Canadian.
Sonora is coming off a 56-8 blowout win over Spearman, while Childress dominated a solid Cisco team 42-20 in the Area round.
Both teams bring impressive resumes to the table, but who will make it to the likely Regional Final matchup with Canadian?
Offense: Advantage Sonora
The Broncos are scary on the offensive side of the ball. Sonora is averaging 506.4 yards per game along with their 48.4 points. Led by senior quarterback, and Mr. Texas Football nominee, Kaden Cordell, the Broncos have ran circles around opponents this season.
Cordell has put up 3,017 passing yards, 785 rushing yards, and 40 touchdowns in 2017.
Childress, however, need not be overlooked. The Bobcats have a junior quarterback that has put up some respectable numbers in Luke Latimer.
Latimer, a dual-threat QB, has accounted for 3,508 of Childress' 4,810 yards of offense and 41 touchdowns.
But Childress appears to be more one dimensional than Sonora and that's where the Broncos hold a major advantage.
Latimer's 959 rushing yards leads the Bobcats. When Latimer passes the ball, he usually finds senior receiver Joe Dan Gambol. Gambol has caught a team leading 85 passes for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns. The next closest receiver to Gambol is junior Haggan Lott with 545 receiving yards.
The Broncos bring at least four weapons to the table in Cordell, Wesley Dutton, Jarrett Jackson, and Willie Munoz.
Dutton, Jackson, and Munoz have all eclipsed 600 receiving yards with Dutton and Jackson past 800 yards receiving.
Jackson is also the leading rusher for Sonora with 1,250 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground.
Combined, that quartet has put up 60 of the Bronco's 82 total touchdowns in 2017. Sonora also brings reinforcements with senior Abel Cruz and junior Evan Shannon who have combined for 10 receiving touchdowns this season.
Both defenses have been lights out in 2017 with Sonora allowing just 12 points per game and Childress allowing just 13.8.
Whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game. Both teams have been phenomenal at that this season. Childress holds an advantage in that respect with 33 takeaways compared to Sonora's 24.
Junior Stephon Harris has been a ball hawk for the Bobcats, swiping six of the 19 interceptions this season for Childress.
Cordell helps his own cause on the defensive side of the ball with four interceptions on the year. Junior Brandon Martinez has come up with six of the Bronco's 14 fumble recoveries in 2017.
But Sonora gets after their opponent's backfield, something Childress has struggled to do this season.
The Broncos have tallied 77 tackles for a loss and 20 sacks this season while Childress has just 33.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks on the year.
Three Broncos have put up double digit TFLs this year with sophomores Brock Aschebeck and Jansen Morris leading the pack. Morris leads the team in both categories with 24 TFLs and seven sacks. Aschenbeck is third on the team in TFLs with 10 while occupying the second spot in the sack category with four.
I still think the defenses are even, but the push from the Bronco's defense could be enough to get Latimer out of rhythm and make mistakes, giving the Broncos the ball via turnovers.
This will be one of the closest games Sonora has faced all season, but they should prevail.
Prediction: Sonora 41, Childress 34