SAN ANGELO, TX — The 6A DI bracket certainly has a lot of firepower. In Central's region alone, there is undefeated, #1 ranked, and last year's state runner-up Duncanville, #6 Southlake Carroll (10-0), #11 Martin (9-1), #17 Midland Lee (9-1), #23 Trinity (9-1), and Lamar (9-1).
Region I is stacked, but in order to be the best you have to beat the best, and that is what Central, Lee, and Permian are trying to do.
Central (6-4) and Permian (6-4) have the hardest route to AT&T Stadium and would play each other next week if they make it past the first round. Below is a look at all three of our area teams and how they look heading into the bi-district round of the 6A Division I State Championship playoffs.
SA Central 6-4 at #11 Martin 9-1 (Friday at 7:00, UT Arlington’s Maverick Stadium)
The Bobcats are in for a monster challenge after earning their way into the postseason. Last Friday’s win against Haltom secured a playoff position, but it did not do them any favors in terms of a favorable matchup. Arlington Martin, 9-1 overall and 7-0 in the 4-6A District, has dominated in every game besides its close, week three loss at current #24 Rockwall. Including that game, the Warriors have outscored their opponents 441-117. Before last Friday’s 44-19 win against now 7-3 Bowie, there was a six game stretch where they held their opponents to eight points or less.
Central will need to perform at its absolute best in order to have a chance and it starts with their QB. Against Haltom, Malachi Brown completed 55% of his 38 attempts and struggled throwing the ball downfield accurately. Far too often, his passes to wide open targets would sail over their heads. He still had 375 yards and four touchdowns, but 156 of the yards and three of the scores came on three completions to Tanner Dabbert that the senior caught less than five yards downfield. If you take those three passes away, he was 18-35 for 219 yards. A decent day for sure but not one that will beat Martin.
Midland Lee 9-1 vs. Montwood 7-3 (Thursday at 4:30, Midland's Grande Stadium)
Midland Lee ran all over the Rams in their first contest earlier this September. In that 72-7 thumping, junior QB Michael Serrano completed 11 of his 13 attempts for a staggering 257 yards and seven touchdowns. 82 of those yards and three of those touchdowns were thrown to stud receiver Loic Fouonji, a 6'4" 200 pound four-star recruit. He only had three catches. Junior running back Shemar Davis also had a great game turning 12 carries into 185 yards and score.
Defensively, as the score indicates, Montwood was stiffled. Linebacker Michael Hinojosa led the way with three tackles for loss. Montwood only gained 45 yards on 29 carries and 125 passing yards on 29 attempts. All of that is to say, Lee dominated, and it will be an incredible upset if it does not happen again.
Also, #17 Lee is coming off a 42-39 loss to Permian that could have snapped them to attention and given them a sour taste that they'll want to wash away.
Whoever advances will play the winner of Trinity/Arlington Lamar.
Permian 6-4 vs. Franklin 8-2 (Friday at 7:00, Odessa's Ratliff Stadium)
Speaking of Permian, the Panthers, who started the season with three straight losses, turned a corner and ended the season 6-1. That one loss came at 7-3 Frenship by a score of 24-13. The next week, though, they handed Lee their only loss of the season to win a share of the 2-6A District title. Now they have their eyes set on making noise in the playoffs.
In order to do that, they will have to defeat Franklin, who beat them in Odessa 49-28 in week two. Franklin is technically the lower seed even though they have the better record. Their two losses were both inside the 1-6A district, and they finished in third place behind El Paso Americas and Montwood, who they lost to.
Reason would stand that because Permian beat Lee, who beat Montwood, then they should be able to beat Franklin, who lost to Montwood. But reason has no place in football, so who knows what will happen. If Permian wins, though, they will play the winner of the San Angelo Central/Martin game possibly leading to a Little Southwest Conference reunion.