It didn’t take long to get the tryptophan out of our collective system this past Friday!
After a wild weekend of frenetic third-round action, seven high school football teams from the greater San Antonio area are still alive in the UIL playoffs. Brennan is now the last Class 6A squad from the Alamo City left standing after an historic win over Lake Travis, while Smithson Valley and Boerne join a dwindling list of teams now three wins away from a state title. That’s right. Three weeks from now, we will crown UIL State Champions at AT&T Stadium. The best of the best are rising to the top.
Before we break down who’s still playing, let’s recap the biggest moments from the week that was in the Best of BGC.
Be sure to check out all of the highlights from Week 14 as well:
After 15 weeks of play, there’s finally a new No. 1 team! Brennan takes over the top spot heading into the State Quarterfinals. Who else moved up?
BRENNAN 34, LAKE TRAVIS 17
Ashton Dubose is flat-out ridiculous.
Brennan’s senior quarterback shined from start to finish in an impressive Class 6A Division I victory over a Lake Travis team that had just defeated previously-undefeated Steele. In fact, the Cavaliers had won 14 straight games against San Antonio-area schools dating back to 2016, including a fourth-round victory over the Bears in last year’s playoffs.
That didn’t faze Dubose. He got Brennan on the scoreboard first with an elusive, electrifying seven-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and he added another seven-yard score midway through the second quarter to give Brennan a 14-10 halftime lead.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, and the seesaw nature of the game continued into the fourth, as the Cavaliers made it a 20-17 game on quarterback Kadyn Leon’s four-yard touchdown run. Brennan simply would not be denied. Dubose dropped an absolute dime to his twin bother Aaron Dubose for a 24-yard touchdown that reinstated a 10-point lead, then minutes later, Ashton ripped off a 31-yard TD run that put the game away for good. His final stat-line: 184 passing yards, 81 rushing yards and all five of the Bears’ touchdowns. Jason Love, Avron Carter and Nathan Reyes all helped Ashton contribute to a ground game that racked up 225 yards on 31 carries.
The Bears just got revenge for their fourth-round exit from last season. They’ll need to pull out all the stops in the Regional Final this year against defending state champion Austin Westlake. After Friday’s casual 44-7 victory over San Benito, the Chaparrals are riding a 53-game winning streak, a run that includes three straight UIL State titles. Brennan clashes with Westlake in the Alamodome on Saturday at 2 p.m.
LIBERTY HILL 37, ALAMO HEIGHTS 32
Alamo Heights was inches away from joining the Bears in the fourth round.
In a playoff rematch with Liberty Hill -- last year’s state runners-up in Class 5A Division II -- the Mules jumped out to an early lead thanks in part to a rare safety on a special teams miscue in the first quarter. Running back Bennett Flesher capped the ensuing drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to give Alamo Heights a 9-3 lead at the break. Flesher scored again on the Mules’ first drive of the second half to make it a 16-3 game with roughly 20 minutes left in regulation.
Minutes later, the Panthers finally broke through on Noah Long’s 25-yard touchdown run. Flesher appeared to restore order with a stunning 61-yard touchdown burst on the ensuing drive, but Liberty Hill’s offense had simply reached another gear. The Panthers scored touchdowns on their next three offensive snaps. Ben Carter capped the turnaround with a 48-yard scamper that gave Liberty Hill an improbable 31-25 lead. Alamo Heights responded with quarterback Conley McKenna’s three-yard keeper and vaulted back in front 32-31, but the Panthers could not be stopped. Long struck again with a seven-yard score on the ensuing drive, and Alamo Heights’ last-second ‘Hail Mary’ attempt fell just out of wide receiver Rett Andersen’s reach, as the Mules fell to Liberty Hill in the playoffs for the second straight season.
So, who will join Brennan in the State Quarterfinals? We’ll break down every team in detail, but first, here’s a link to this week’s entire UIL schedule!
SMITHSON VALLEY RANGERS
Smithson Valley wasted little time establishing dominance in their Class 5A Division I third round matchup with Fulshear on Friday afternoon. Quarterback Chase Senelick threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers -- Cole Freund, Quentin Sampson and T.J. Hunt -- in the first half as the Rangers built a commanding 21-0 lead. The Chargers scored the next 13 points to make a game of it in the second half, but Senelick restored order with a 31-yard touchdown run that effectively put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter. Kicker Clayton Amaya booted a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to provide the final 31-13 margin.
Next up, Smithson Valley takes on 11-2 College Station, who just trounced Georgetown 52-28 in the third round. Kickoff between the Rangers and Cougars is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Pfield in Pflugerville.
It’s rare to see the level of dominance Boerne displayed in the third round of the Class 4A Division I high school football playoffs. The Greyhounds demolished Port Lavaca Calhoun 51-0 and racked up 515 total yards of offense in the process. Quarterback Jaxon Baize completed 17 of his 23 passes for 249 yards and a trio of touchdowns, while running TJ Dement carried the ball 14 times for 110 yards and a pair of scores. Boerne has now scored 42 or more points in all three of their playoff games, and the Greyhounds are 13-0 for the first time in school history.
Boerne next faces Calallen in a battle of 13-0 teams. The Wildcats just defeated Somerset 31-17 in the third round. Using the Bulldogs as a measuring stick, the Greyhounds defeated Somerset by a similar margin 35-14 during the regular season. Expect a high-scoring affair when these two teams meet on the gridiron at Alamo Stadium Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wimberley continues to roll through the playoffs at a blistering pace. The Texans stormed out to a 42-0 halftime lead and cruised to an emphatic 64-6 victory over Jarrell in the Class 4A Division II third round thanks to another big performance from quarterback Cody Stoever, who completed 14 of his 17 passes for 262 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran for another score. Wide receivers Noah Birdsong and Lane Patek each caught two touchdowns in the win. Believe it or not, the six points the Texans surrendered to Jarrell are the first points they’ve allowed in the playoffs. That’s not a typo. Wimberley opened their playoff run by outscoring opponents 191-0 before finally allowing a Cougar touchdown late in regulation. They promptly returned the ensuing extra point for a two-point conversion.
Next up, undefeated Wimberley takes on Lago Vista in another clash of District 13-4A-II squads. The Texans used a late score to defeat Lago Vista 31-28 in their regular-season meeting back on October 28. The Vikings just dispatched Navarro 27-7 on Friday night. This state quarterfinal showdown has all the makings of an instant classic.
On the other side of the Class 4A Division II bracket, Cuero dispatched Hamshire-Fannett with relative ease 39-14. The Gobblers raced out to a 21-8 halftime lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from Tyscen Williams and a seven-yard keeper from quarterback Mason Notaro. Those two combined with seniors Zyler Jones and Jeremiah Wilson to rush 33 times for 303 yards and six touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Gobbler secondary feasted, recording four interceptions.
Cuero will put their nine-game winning streak on the line this coming Friday against 13-0 Silsbee. Kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston is set for 1:30 p.m.
Poth has looked like a powerhouse with three rounds of playoff action in the books. In their Class 3A Division II playoff battle against Taft, Quarterback Zane Raabe got the Pirates off to a perfect start with an elusive touchdown run, and the rout was on. Poth led 48-6 at halftime and salted away yet another dominant win 55-13. The Pirates have scored 161 total points over the course of three playoff games while holding their opponents to just 47.
Next, Poth takes on 11-2 Tidehaven in the State Quarterfinals on Friday at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos at 7 p.m. The Tigers have been similarly dominant, outscoring their three playoff opponents by a combined margin of 130-15.
SHINER COMANCHES VS. REFUGIO BOBCATS
At this point, this showdown has become a tradition.
Friday’s meeting will mark the fifth straight season that District 15-2A-I rivals Shiner and Refugio will meet in the playoffs. Both programs have split their last four playoff meetings, with the Comanches winning the last two matchups en route to back-to-back Class 2A Division I State titles. In fact, in three of the last four seasons, the winner of this matchup has gone on to win the state title outright.
This year, the rolls are reversed. Since dropping their regular-season opener, Refugio has ripped off 12 straight wins, including a 53-7 third-round victory over Ganado. The Bobcats led 12-7 at halftime before pulling away with an incredible 41-point second half. Meanwhile, Shiner ran straight through Flatonia 45-7 in the third round to earn their fourth straight victory thanks in large part to running back Dalton Brooks, who carried the rock 31 times for 298 yards and three touchdowns. The Comanches’ last loss came at the hands of the Bobcats in the de facto district title game 38-27 on October 21.
Now, Shiner and Refugio meet once again with everything on the line this Friday at Rattler Stadium in San Marcos. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Instead of focusing on high school sports this week, I’d like to shine my spotlight on the college ranks, where San Antonio football fans have a lot to be proud of.
UTSA has once again shown their mettle throughout a thrilling regular season. The Roadrunners improved to 10-2 on Saturday with a comeback for the ages, erasing a 24-point second-quarter deficit to defeat UTEP 34-31 and clinch the program’s first undefeated record against Conference USA opponents. Now, for the first time since last December, UTSA (23/24) is ranked in both the AP Top 25 and the AFCA Coaches Poll. If that wasn’t enough, UTSA will also host the CUSA Championship Game at the Alamodome for the second straight season. This year, they face North Texas for the crown. The Roadrunners defeated the Mean Green in the regular season 31-27 back on October 22. Head coach Jeff Traylor is adamant that he wants the Alamodome packed with 45,000 people. Help him reach that mark and cheer UTSA on to their second straight conference title this Friday! Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, UIW is returning to action after a enjoying a bye week. The 7th-seeded Cardinals will host Furman in the second round of the FCS Playoffs on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium. Quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. has been sensational, throwing a whopping 50 touchdowns this season, while running back Marcus Cooper has anchored an effective ground game with more than 1,000 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. This is UIW’s third appearance in the FCS playoffs, and this year’s run is already tied for the deepest playoff run in program history. The Cardinals advanced to the second round last season but fell short in a 49-42 loss to Sam Houston State. UIW has been underlined as a dark horse candidate in this year’s bracket, and they’re eager to show what they can do.
Lastly, Trinity’s remarkable season as come to an end in the second round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs. The Tigers fell behind 17-0 and couldn’t quite piece together a second-half rally in a 24-17 loss to the defending National Champions Mary Hardin-Baylor. Congratulations on a great season, and we can’t wait to see y’all take the field next year!
We’ll see you on Friday night for the start of the State Quarterfinals!
Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter