Welcome to the free KSAT 12 Big Game Coverage Newsletter. If you are interested in a wrap-up of the biggest local high school football scores, highlights, players and teams, you can sign up for the biweekly newsletter for free right here.
The beginning of district play lived up to the billing and then some! Week 4 of KSAT 12′s Big Game Coverage (BGC) brought pulse-pounding action, shocking upsets and come-from-behind victories from the first kickoff on Thursday to the last whistle on Saturday night.
As always, we can’t kick off the new week without highlighting the biggest moments from the week that was in Week 4′s Best of BGC.
Week 4 featured some jaw-dropping runs, passes and catches all across the greater San Antonio area. Check out the best of the best, including plays from Clark, Warren, Smithson Valley, Pleasanton and Navarro!
Week 4′s results have shifted the landscape of KSAT 12′s Top 12 once again. Perennial power Judson has fallen out of the rankings for the first time this season. Who takes their spot, and how does that change the rest of the list? Find out who’s in and who’s out heading into Week 5!
There were so many great games over the past few days, so we’re calling an audible and switching up this Newsletter’s formula! Before we go into our weekly Three Deep segment, let’s take a moment to go in-depth on Week 4′s Game of the Week.
SMITHSON VALLEY 42, WAGNER 14
Thanks to an opportunistic defense and a classic rushing attack, Smithson Valley (4-0, 1-0) pulled away in the second half of their District 27-6A opener against Wagner (2-2, 0-1) to remain undefeated with a 42-14 victory.
The Thunderbirds struck first on Isaiah Williams’ 21-yard touchdown pass to Mar’kel Ford, but the Rangers outscored Wagner 42-7 for the remainder of regulation. Running back Malachi Lane gave Smithson Valley a 14-7 lead on a scintillating 61-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Chase Senelick added a TD of his own late in the first half to give the home team a 21-14 advantage at the break. Lane made his mark on the game once again in the third quarter, this time on defense. He scooped up a loose fumble and returned it 38 yards for a game-breaking touchdown, the signature play of a stellar defensive performance.
Running back Travis McCracken paced the Ranger offense with a game-high 85 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He now leads the team with 421 rushing yards this season.
Wagner battled in the trenches all night long, racking up 242 rushing yards. Ford and senior Quentin Owens each posted 59 yards on the ground, while Williams added 66 yards on just nine carries.
NEW BRAUNFELS 24, JUDSON 21
Who saw this result coming?
After three straight weeks cutting their teeth against some of the toughest opponents in the state, Judson (1-3, 0-1) returned to Rutledge Stadium on Thursday night looking for a bounce-back win against New Braunfels. Instead, the Unicorns (4-0, 1-0) came away with a dramatic, comeback victory.
The Rockets seized control of the game with a pair of touchdowns early in the second quarter. Moments after Anthony Evans scored a two-yard TD on a jet sweep, Dantrelle Eggleston hauled in a tipped pass for an interception that gave Judson prime field position just outside the red zone. Two plays later, Marvin Beasley found the end zone an elusive 23-yard run. Within a span of 37 seconds, New Braunfels found themselves down 14-0.
The Unicorns were unfazed. Landon Marsh came up clutch late in the half with an eight-yard touchdown run of his own, and New Braunfels trailed 14-7 at the break. Both teams traded scores in the third quarter, and Marsh struck again on a remarkable 17-yard effort to tie the game at 21 early in the 4th quarter. He finished with 12 catches for 121 yards and five carries for 39 rushing yards. One of those catches helped set up junior Kade Wenzel for the eventual game-winning 34-yard field goal that gave New Braunfels a 24-21 lead with just one second left on the clock. Judson had one final chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but Marsh made a great open-field tackle on the ensuing kickoff to seal the Unicorns’ win.
Aside from a pair of interceptions, quarterback Aiden Baumann was spectacular under center for the Unicorns, completing 24 of 28 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Ryker Purdy added 74 yards on the ground to balance the offense.
NAVARRO 29, CUERO 27
Friday night’s clash of perennial Class 4A powers Navarro (3-1) and Cuero (3-1) was selected as the Best Game in Week 4′s Best of BGC, and a quick glance at the box score will tell you why.
Trailing by six points heading into the fourth quarter, the Panthers started to rally. Quarterback Nick Billings called his own number on a 14-yard scamper to give the home team a 20-19 lead, but Cuero answered back three minutes later with Tycen Williams’ two-yard touchdown run. Williams posted a team-high 80 rushing yards on 13 carries, headlining a ground game that was responsible for every Gobbler touchdown. Williams then passed the ball to QB Jerry Rossett (11 of 18, 150 yards) on the ensuing two-point conversion for a 27-20 lead.
Up until this point, Navarro had been churning out yards on the ground thanks to an impressive performance from Brody Whitson, who tallied 144 yards on 16 carries. But with under four minutes to play and the game on the line, the Panthers looked to the passing game for the biggest play of the night. Billings rolled to the left and slung the ball to Brody Whitson in stride on the opposite side of the field for a stunning 65-yard touchdown pass. It was Billings’ first completion of the night.
The Panthers went for two, but their attempt was unsuccessful. Still trailing 27-26, Navarro’s defense forced a crucial three-and-out, and Billings once again managed to lead a drive deep into Cuero territory. With 30 seconds remaining, he found Landary Blackburn for a 17-yard completion that gave kicker Jaxen Monkerud a chance to end it. The senior did just that, securing the 29-27 victory with his 30-yard field goal and etching his name in the annals of this historic rivalry.
BURBANK 27, EDISON 26 (OT)
The fans at SAISD Sports Complex were treated to a back-and-forth battle of District 13-5A Division I rivals on Friday night, as Burbank (3-1, 2-0) withstood a furious rally to defeat Edison (1-3, 1-1).
The Bulldogs built a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Ramiro Salazar. He found Keven Hernandez on a 10-yard touchdown early in the first quarter that proved to be the only score of the first half, then hit Andrew Buentello for a 23-yard score midway through the third quarter. Edison’s offense hit their stride just in time to mount a comeback. Quarterback Roger Lopez found the end zone twice in a span of four minutes to tie the game at 14 midway through the fourth quarter, putting the pressure on Burbank to respond.
Running back Matthew Cortez answered the call, scoring on a three-yard plunge that gave the Bulldogs a 20-14 lead. He finished with a game-high 146 rushing yards on 24 carries. Edison wasn’t done just yet. Lopez scored on a QB keeper with 31 seconds left to tie the game at 20 all, but the Bears missed the extra point, and both teams headed to overtime with offenses firing on all cylinders.
Salazar reinstated a seven-point Bulldogs lead with his third touchdown of the game, a 19-yard toss to Kaleb Hernandez. Edison once again turned to Lopez, and he delivered by finding pay dirt for the fourth time. The dual-threat QB finished with 113 yards passing and 77 yards rushing. Rather than try and tie the game at 27 with another extra point attempt, the Bears put the ball in Lopez’s hands for a two-point conversion. With the game on the line, Burbank’s defense found a way to keep Lopez from crossing the goal line, clinching a hard-fought, one-point victory.
What did the experts think?
Week 4 of the high school football season started off with a battle of the unbeatens between the Taft Raiders and the Marshall Rams. The Raiders would be the last team standing on this night after forcing six big turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown. Taft QB Justice Hurt also added 200 yards rushing. The last time the Raiders started a season 4-0 and 2-0 in District 29-6A was 20 years ago. What makes the Raiders performance so impressive, it comes the week after they defended a 2 point conversion attempt to beat Holmes 14-13.
But what about the huge upset that the New Braunfels Unicorns pulled off by beating the Judson Rockets in Converse 24-21 to drop the Rockets to 1-3 and move the Unicorns to 4-0. In that upset the Unicorns had to come from behind down 21-7 to win the game. Landon Marsh would tie the game on 17 yard TD. Then Kade Wenzel kicks the game winning 34 yard field goal.
The other big upsets happened on Friday night when Navarro was able to knock off Cuero 29-27 handing the Gobblers their first loss of the season. Jaxen Monkerud kicked the game-winning 30-yard field goal as the Panthers improved to 3-1. And Central Catholic was able to knock off its second 6A team of the season by beating Laredo United South 39-17. I can’t wait to see what happens in Week 5.
The Shiner Comanches beat the Poth Pirates 39-10 to remain undefeated this season at 4-0. Shiner’s star duo of Dalton and Doug Brooks are as good as advertised. Plus, Shiner’s defense is legit as well holding Poth to 124 yards total offense. RB/DB Dalton Brooks had 15 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. RB/DT Doug Brooks rushed 11 times for 55 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Doug was a handful for the Pirates’ offensive line. He helped the Comanches produce two defensive safeties in the third quarter. On the first safety, Doug powered through the offensive line with ease and tackled the quarterback in the end zone. Minutes later, Doug muscled through the O-line again and got a hand on the ball carrier, but his momentum broke his grasp, and a different defender finished the tackle for two more points. Doug Brooks is solid with a thick trunk, while his brother Dalton has a thinner frame and much quicker speed.
Shiner will be a tough out as they chase back-to-back 2A State championships. This game was a great test for Poth, who open district play this Friday at Karnes City.
My first visit to Cornerstone High School this season felt like a trip to a Division I college. The facilities and football field are immaculate, and both the Warrior faithful and Eagle Pass fans provided a phenomenal game day atmosphere.
Dartmouth commit Ivan Hoyt really stood out. The two-sport star scored the Warriors’ first points of the game on an amazing 66-yard run that showcased vision, power and raw speed. Quarterback Diego Narezo proved he was just as elusive later in the game on a 14-yard keeper that gave Cornerstone the lead for good in a 50-10 victory over Eagle Pass. Those two are certainly capable of offensive fireworks every time they step on the field.
On Saturday night, I got a chance to see Brennan for the first time in person against Warren, and while quarterback Ashton Dubose and that lethal offense deserve praise for their consistent performance, the Bears’ defense is ridiculously impressive. Senior linebacker Alyzah Williams set the tone on one of the first snaps of the game with a thunderous stop, and Santiago Cruz recovered an game-changing fumble at the four yard-line that stifled a Warren threat and kept the game scoreless. There is a real swagger to the way Brennan carries themselves on the field, and they will be tough to beat in District 29-6A.
Watch Big Game Coverage Preview show Thursday at 4 p.m.
Greg Simmons and Larry Ramirez will get you set up for Week 3 of the high school football season with our weekly Big Game Coverage Preview show, featuring breakdowns of KSAT 12′s Game of the Week and some of the biggest matchups to watch. As a reminder, the show is now starting at 4 p.m. See you then!
Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter
If you have any questions about this newsletter or story ideas for the season ahead, feel free to reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.