I usually give six games that I think will be worth watching, but I’m changing things up a bit. There are only eight public school games this week, and I can’t decide which ones to cut so I’ll mention them all. Private school folks, I haven’t talked about your games because I don’t have enough information about the teams. Maybe the coaches will send me some stats next season.
I have to mention some of last week’s games because UIL division II West was crazy.
Grandfalls-Royalty mounted an epic comeback to defeat Lueders-Avoca in the final seconds of the game. The anguish in the faces of some of the L-A players was heartbreaking, but those boys need to hold their heads up because they left it all on the field.
I said I was beginning to wonder if Jayton would be the team to mess up my division II bracket. I don’t need to wonder anymore. They destroyed it with their huge upset win over Blackwell- forcing me to rethink a few things.
Let’s get into this week’s games. The # is the ranking in their division.
#3 Follett vs #8 Motley County
7:00 PM Thursday, Nov 29 in White Deer
This is a tough game to pick. Motley County has beaten the spreads several times this year- proving what an established program can do for a team. Coaching, hard work, and grit have gotten the Matadors here, but will that be enough to get another win?
Coach Copley hasn’t been at Follett long enough to truly establish his own program, but the Panthers have a rich tradition in six-man.
My gut tells me to pick Motley, but those gut feelings haven’t been working out for me this year. I’m going with the numbers and taking Follett.
#21 Leakey vs #25 Gorman
7:00 PM Friday, Nov 30 in Brady
You can tell by the rankings that this wasn’t the hardest region in Texas, but these teams won the games they needed to win.
Leakey was my dark horse team this year, and they have proven why. The Eagles have done a great job transitioning to six-man, and have only lost one game this year. They have good speed and decent size, and use both to their advantage.
Gorman has had a good season offensively. They are averaging 57 points per game. Their defense isn’t doing as well. The Panthers are allowing an average of 44 points per game. They’ll need to find a way to improve defensively to have a shot of moving on.
I think Leakey wins this one.
#4 Richland Springs vs #7 Oakwood
6:30 PM Friday, Nov 30 in Gatesville
Perennial powerhouse Richland Springs is in the mix once again. The Coyotes aren’t as dominant as they have been in years past, but that doesn’t mean you can count them out. This is a young & hungry team with a strong tradition of winning.
Oakwood is loaded with talent, and they’re riding the momentum of five straight wins. However, their lack of deep playoff experience could be a huge obstacle.
I would like to see Oakwood pull of an upset, because everyone knows I love the underdog, but I don’t see it happening. Richland Springs comes out of this one as the victor.
#1 Strawn vs #2 Iredell
7:00 PM Friday, Nov 30 in Hico
Some people are calling this the “true state game”.
Strawn is the defending division II champion and they’ve had a wickedly tough schedule this season. The only teams able to compete with, or defeat, them are in the division I top five.
Iredell is undefeated, but they haven’t played the same caliber of competition that Strawn has. They will be depending heavily on Whitfield, but it will take a mistake-free team effort to have a chance at victory.
The Dragons will put up a fight, but I think Strawn will be a little more than they can handle.
#5 Jayton vs #13 Grandfalls-Royalty
6:30 PM Friday, Nov 30 in Sterling City
Last week, Grandfalls-Royalty showed the kind of determination a team needs to succeed in tough games. Heart and determination are important, but they’ll only take you so far. The Cowboys will need to avoid mistakes and hold on to the ball if they want a chance to win this week.
Jayton took out my pick to come out of the West, so they took the spot. There really isn’t much else to say on this one because I’m not picking against the Jaybirds.
#4 Milford vs #6 Union Hill
7:30 PM Friday, Nov 30 in Kaufman
The winner of this game will likely play in the championship game. It’s an interesting matchup, and as with any big game, it is drawing a lot of attention. Milford is more athletic and they have an explosive offense. Union Hill is more physical and more disciplined.
Neither team can afford a slow start. They will have to execute well from start to finish. I expect this one to be so close that even one turnover can make the difference. I’ll take Milford in this one.
#1 McLean vs #5 White Deer
6:00 PM Saturday, Dec 1 at Amarillo Highland Park
These teams faced off in district play, with McLean coming out on top 56-18. I expect a similar result this time. Don’t get me wrong, the Bucks are good- but McLean is elite.
I attended the district game thinking White Deer’s speed would give them a chance, but I underestimated the speed of the Tigers. I won’t make the same mistake this time. McLean is big, strong, and fast. Expect them to use everything in their arsenal in an attempt to end this one early.
#2 Balmorhea vs #3 Garden City
6:00 PM Saturday, Dec 1 in Rankin
I have been predicting that Garden City would face McLean in the semi-finals, but now I’m questioning that. The Balmorhea Bears are peaking, while the Bearkats seem to have leveled off.
Garden City won the early season matchup, with Balmorhea, by 21. However, Balmorhea turned the ball over at crucial times. If the Bears can do a better job of controlling the ball, they have a shot.
The Bears may end up being a bracket-buster, but I’m staying with my earlier prediction and saying Garden City moves forward.