The second round of the playoffs gets underway tonight! KSAT 12′s Big Game Coverage (BGC) is all set for some great intercity matchups between San Antonio and Austin-area high schools, including a showdown between two teams that went on deep playoff runs last year: undefeated Steele and Austin Vandegrift.
That matchup just so happens to be our Game of the Week!
NO. 2 STEELE VS. AUSTIN VANDEGRIFT
The Knights put their undefeated record on the line against a Vipers squad that has won all but one of their games this season.
Steele (11-0) has proven themselves throughout the course of the season. They’ve won defensive battles against Reagan and Smithson Valley, earned victories in shootouts with New Braunfels and Judson, and most recently opened their playoff run with a convincing 42-14 win over Brandeis in the Bi-District round. As usual, the Knights are defined by a hard-nosed, run-first, defensive mentality. Running backs Teshaun Singleton and Jaydon Bailey have been the workhorses, while quarterback Connor Vincent has provided necessary balance, spreading the ball around to wide receivers like Edmarrion Contreras.
Vandegrift (10-1) has shown they can put points on the board. The Vipers rolled past San Marcos in the Bi-District round 52-14, and aside from a 38-20 loss to Round Rock in their regular season finale, their offense has scored 31 or more points in every game they’ve played this season. Quarterback Brayden Buchanan has thrown for nearly 2,400 yards by spreading the ball around to an electric wide receiving corp, and running back William Sheppard has kept defenses honest with 1,000 yards rushing.
Who wins this classic battle of defense vs. offense? Steele has won the last two meetings between these two squads 38-16 in 2017 and 17-0 in 2016. The Knights will look to continue that streak when they meet the Vipers at Lehnhoff Stadium on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Sports anchor Larry Ramirez hitches a ride along with photographer Eddie Latigo to the northeast, where the pair will make a trio of stops in San Marcos and Buda!
- Austin Westlake (11-0) vs. New Braunfels (9-2) at Rattler Stadium San Marcos - After stunning the undefeated Johnson Jaguars in Week 1, the Unicorns take on another undefeated team in the second round.
- Austin Bowie (9-2) vs. Smithson Valley (9-2) at Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos - The Rangers enter Friday night’s matchup looking to snap a five-game playoff losing streak to Austin-area schools and advance past the second round for the first time since 2015.
- Leander Rouse (10-1) vs. Floresville (9-2) at Shelton Stadium, Buda - The Tigers won their first playoff game in over a decade, and now prepare to take on a one-loss Leander Rouse squad that has scored 44 or more points in seven games this season.
Be sure to keep up with the latest information by visiting our Scores & Schedules page! That includes every game’s date, kickoff time and location. It will be updated with live scores throughout the night so you can track every game in progress.
Let’s get Greg and Larry’s thoughts on the opening week of playoff action!
This is known as “Austin week” in the high school football playoffs, where San Antonio-area teams take on opponents who are Austin-based. There’s no bigger matchup than Austin Westlake who pits their undefeated 11-0 record against New Braunfels at Rattler Stadium in San Marcos on Friday Night.
The Unicorns, who are 9-2, are coming off the biggest upset of the postseason so far in their stunning 51-45 victory over Johnson, handing the Jaguars their first loss of the season and knocking them out of the playoffs. Another major matchup facing an Austin-based opponent will also be part of our Big Game Coverage Road Trip this Friday night when Austin Bowie goes up against Smithson Valley at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos. Both teams come into this game 9-2.
Let’s not overlook East Central who came up with the other big upset of the first round of the playoffs last week, when the Hornets stung Reagan 14-7 and knocked the Rattlers out of the playoffs. Now they have to go up against another Austin-area powerhouse in Lake Travis, who is 9-2 compared to East Central’s 7-4, this Friday night in Dripping Springs. The Hornets have pulled it off before. Can they do it again?
The “Big Game” in our Big Game Coverage Friday night has the Steele Knights putting their undefeated 11-0 record on the line against Austin Vandegrift, who are 10-1, in a showdown at Lehnhoff Stadium. And then there is Alamo Heights, who is also undefeated at 11-0 and will face 8-3 Austin McCallum at Cougar Stadium in New Braunfels in the 5A Division II second round.
We’ll find out who has the better teams between the Alamo City and the Capitol City.
The BGC Road trip this week will feature the No. 1 6A team in Texas and No. 3 team in the USA by MaxPreps in the Austin Westlake Chaparrals. The Chaps are 11-0 and will play the 9-2 New Braunfels Unicorns Friday night at Rattler Stadium in San Marcos. New Braunfels defeated the previously unbeaten Johnson Jaguars 51-45 in the Class 6A Bi-District round to open the playoffs. New Braunfels, from District 27-6A, is loaded with offensive weapons, and they will need to be at their best to upset the mighty Chaps. I’ve had the privilege of watching multiple New Braunfels games this season, and when clicking, their offense is one of the area’s best. They averaged 35 points per game this season, tops in 27-6A. Quarterback Aiden Baumann led the district in passing yards and touchdown passes with 1,915 yards and 22 TDs. Running back Ryker Purdy topped 27-6A with 1,077 yards on the ground, with a district-best 13 rushing touchdowns. Wide receivers Lance Beeghley and Landon Marsh finished second and third in the district in receiving yards, respectively. Beeghley led 27-6A with 12 receiving touchdowns. New Braunfels is coming off their first playoff win since 2009, so they are feeling good, but know they have a tough mountain to climb in Austin Westlake.
The Chaparrals have won 35 straight games and back-to-back Class 6A state championships. Westlake head coach Todd Dodge will retire at the end of the season and hopes to cap off his 36-year career with a three-peat. He’s certainly got the offensive firepower and defense to do it. 5-star quarterback Cade Klubnik leads the Chaps offensive attack. He missed three weeks this season due to a non-throwing left shoulder injury, but he returned for the final week of the regular season and passed for 219 yards with 3 TD passes in the Chaps 63-21 win against Lake Travis. Westlake opened the playoffs by beating Hutto, 54-9. In that game, Klubnik passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed the ball five times for 75 yards and a score. The Clemson commit is the real deal, and New Braunfels will need to find a way to slow him down.
This week, I’m on the road to Garland to cover the UIL State volleyball tournament! We have two teams representing the greater San Antonio area.
Canyon will take the court first on Friday afternoon. The Cougarettes are preparing for the program’s 12th all-time appearance at the state tournament and are on the hunt for their first state title since 1983. Outside hitter Kyla Malone headlines a group of nine seniors that powered Canyon to a 43-8 overall record, including a 15-1 record against district opponents. They avenged their only district loss -- a 3-2 decision against Dripping Springs -- by sweeping the Tigers in the Class 5A Regional Final. They will face Grapevine (21-17) in the Class 5A state semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m.
Brandeis is making the program’s first berth at the state tournament. The Broncos have not lost a match since a 2-1 defeat to a California school back on Aug. 28 in the Leander ISD Volleypalooza. As a result, Brandeis enters the Curtis Culwell Center with a 45-2 record, the best mark of any Class 6A school left standing. TCU commits Carlee Pharris and Jalyn Gibson are the engine for a dynamic offense that has outscored opponents by an average of eight points per set. They will face Bridgeland (39-11) in the Class 6A state semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m.
Good luck to both teams!
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Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter