It's hard to believe, but the 2011 high school season is nearly a month old.  I am incredibly excited for the game of the week.  For one week the 5A superpowers are taking a backseat to the two oldest schools in the city.  For the 80th time El Paso High and Austin will battle each other for the Claw.

No one will be taking the claw home this year.  It hasn't gone missing, but it's on loan.  The trophy will be residing at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin for the next year.  The Claw is part of the exhibit entitled "Texas High School Football: More than just a Game."  The original Claw went missing in 2003.  The current statue is a replica of the original.

For the first time in a while both teams come into the game with a winning record.  The Tigers are 3-1, and coming off an impressive 42-21 victory over Irvin.  The Tigers don't pass much, but they don't need to with senior running back James Saenz in the backfield.  Through four games Saenz has rushed for 472 yards and nine touchdowns.

Second year Tiger coach Robert Morales talked about changing the culture at El Paso High and his talented senior running back.

The Austin Panthers started the year 2-0, but are licking their wounds after a 35-6 week two loss to Del Valle.  After a week off, the Panthers are ready to get back on the field against their old rivals.  The Panthers are built similar to the Tigers.  They throw the ball even less than El Paso, but feature a potent ground game.  Andy Banuelos and Jesus Valles both average over five yards per carry.

Austin coach Ruben Batista thinks this game will be won in the trenches.

I may be a little biased, but I can't imagine a better place in the country to catch a high school game than El Paso High's Jones Stadium.



Andress @ Burges- The 3-0 Mustangs appear to be for real.  Junior running back Aaron Jones has picked up the slack for the injured Monderio Turner. The 2-2 Eagles are looking to rebound after last week's 21-7 loss to Chapin.

Montwood @ Eastwood- The Rams look more like the Rams after the zero week loss to Midland Lee.  Montwood coach Chuck Veliz has found a bonafide quarterback in Angel Garcia.  I expect Garcia to air it out against a porous Trooper defense.  Eastwood quarterback Josh Cuellar will do his best to keep the Troopers in the game, but they don't have the horses to hang with the Rams for four quarters.

Chapin @ Irvin- The Huskies got back to .500 with an impressive 21-7 win over Andress.  Chapin is not as explosive as they have been in previous years, but are still balanced enough to give defenses fits.  Irvin may not be the most talented team, but they have a game changer at quarterback.  Freshman Damonte Parker can beat teams with his arm and legs.  Through four games Parker is averaging 166.5 passing yards and 135 rushing yards.

Jefferson @ Bowie- The undermanned Silver Foxes hung tough with powerful Del Valle for a half last week.  The 2-1 Bears once again pack a powerful ground game.  Averaging over 200 yards a game, Bowie loves to wear teams down and control the clock.  The should be well rested and revved up after a bye week.

Del Valle @ Ysleta- Del Valle played two games last week.  They were tied with Jefferson 14-14 at the half.  The Conquistadores outscored the Silver Foxes 35-0 in the second half.  Del Valle is stingy on defense and balanced on offense.  Ysleta has a talented senior quarterback in Josh Gomez, and a tough running back in Angel Escalante.  The Indians are improved, but probably not good enough to beat the 'Monsters of the Mission Valley.'

Bel Air @ El Dorado- It took three days but the Aztecs steamrolled Socorro 73-0.  I'd be shocked if the winless Highlanders put up much of a fight, but stranger things have happened.










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