Nine El Paso High Schools Prepare for Area Football Playoff Round
And then there were nine. The area round of the Texas high school football playoffs gets underway officially on Thursday and there are some top-level local teams that hope to make the final push in order to advance.
It's win or go home for these local squads, who will have to travel across the state for their next matchup.
Let's get into the details.
Area round schedule:
Thursday, November 18
- Parkland (4-7) vs. Lubbock Cooper (10-1) - Fort Stockton
- Clint (6-5) vs. Wichita Falls Hirschi (9-2) - Midland Grande Communications Stadium
Friday, November 19
- Eastlake (10-1) vs. Byron Nelson (8-3) - Wolfforth
- Eastwood (7-4) vs. Saginaw Boswell (6-4) - Lubbock
- Chapin (9-2) vs. Mansfield Summit (8-3) - Grande Communications Stadium
- Horizon (6-5) vs. Grapevine (9-3) - Grande Communications Stadium
- Riverside (10-1) vs. Lake Worth (9-2) - Odessa Ratliff
- Canutillo (10-1) vs. Canyon Randall (6-5) - Andrews
- Andress (9-2) vs. Wichita Falls Rider (10-1) - Denver City
Parkland (4-7) vs. Lubbock Cooper (10-1) Ft. Stockton (6 PM)
Parkland beat Austin 42-21 last week as the Matadors have quietly won three straight. Their upset over the Panthers in the bi-district round was led by their running back Isaiah Beasley, quarterback Erik Ortiz and wide receiver DJ Crest-Daniels.
Lubbock Cooper is ranked No. 17 in 5A. They have won eight consecutive games and recently thrashed the Ft. Worth Southwest Raiders, 42-0, in the bi-district playoff round.
Clint (6-5) vs. Wichita Falls Hirschi (9-2) - Midland Grande Communications Stadium (7 PM)
Clint had no problem in the bi-district round as they pushed past Lakeview 33-7 last week. Senior running back Isaiah Gonzales leads the team with 1,201 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns and 373 passing yards this year.
Hirschi is ranked No. 16 in the state among class 4A. They have won nine straight heading into the area round. Freshman quarterback Jimmell McFalls leads the team with 1,207 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes with zero interceptions.
Eastlake (10-1) vs. Byron Nelson (8-3) - Wolfforth (6 PM)
In a tight matchup, Eastlake was able to squeeze past San Angelo Central for the bi-district title, 21-17. They are led by do-it-all ATH Elijah Uribe, who has 1,680 rushing yards, 22 rushing touchdowns and 2,809 all-purpose yards.
Byron Nelson is a top-50 team in the state. They are coming off a 35-14 win against Weatherford in the bi-district round. Junior Jake Wilson leads them with 2,923 passing yards (324 yards per game) and 29 touchdown passes.
Eastwood (7-4) vs. Saginaw Boswell (6-4) - Lubbock (7 PM)
Eastwood did the unthinkable last week and pulled off the 31-27 upset over Abilene High. The Troopers have been red-hot and have won four straight. Quarterback Andrew Martinez leads the air raid offense with 3,706 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Boswell just barely beat V.R. Eaton 40-37 in a shootout. They have a balanced attack and feature their running back Ezra Carter a lot in the ground game, as the junior has 1,421 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Chapin (9-2) vs. Mansfield Summit (8-3) - Grande Communications Stadium (3 PM)
Chapin was able to come back and beat Amarillo Caprock (29-28) thanks to a successful 2-point conversion in the final minutes. Quarterback Mason Standerfer leads the squad with 2,831 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, while he has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Timothy Pastran (1,077) and Anthony Rivera (1,122).
Mansfield Summit had no problem pushing past Azle (38-14) in the bi-district round in which they rushed for 276 yards. They are ranked No. 8 in 5A-1 and No. 27 overall in the Dallas Metroplex.
Horizon (6-5) vs. Grapevine (9-3) - Grande Communications Stadium (6 PM)
In another upset, Horizon was able to overcome overtime with Burges and won 57-56 because of a failed last-minute 2-point conversion by the Mustangs. Credit quarterback Jacob Quijas (1,564 passing yards, 1,096 rushing, 32 total TDs) and running back Ernie Garcia (1,497 rushing yards, 21 TDs) for leading their squad all season.
Grapevine destroyed Wichita Falls (44-7) last week. They are ranked No. 31 in 5A-2. Quarterback Walker Berryman leads them with 1,279 passing yards and 11 touchdown passes.
Riverside (10-1) vs. Lake Worth (9-2) - Odessa Ratliff (7 PM)
The Rangers are hoping to continue their historic season in the area round. They throttled Big Spring (34-7) in the bi-district playoff round. Quarterback Angel Munoz has 1,687 passing yards and 1,636 rushing yards with 38 total touchdowns. Running back Jose Guardado has 1,409 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Lake Worth is ranked No. 27 in the 4A-1 ranks across Texas. They topped a tough Hereford team last week (34-20). Senior quarterback Isaih Hall leads the squad with 1,729 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes.
Canutillo (10-1) vs. Canyon Randall (6-5) - Andrews (6 PM)
Can Canutillo repeat what they did during the 2014 playoff run? This tough group might be up for the test. They had no problems with Jefferson last week (41-13). Junior standout running back LJ Martin leads them with 2,333 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns.
Canyon Randall might be 6-5 overall but those in Amarillo think of the Raiders as one of the best teams in the area. They had no problems last week either as they beat Wyatt (63-21). Quarterback Braxton Burd leads them in the air and on the ground with 1,036 passing and 944 rushing yards.
Andress (9-2) vs. Wichita Falls Rider (10-1) - Denver City
Andress is a tough squad and has been able to battle through injuries all year. They easily blew past Ysleta last week (42-6). Iowa State ATH leads the team with nine interceptions and has 13 total touchdowns this year.
Rider is the No. 16 team out of 5A-2 and is coming off a 59-13 win over Creekview in the bi-district round. They also barely lost to the top-rated Lubbock Cooper Pirates (20-12) earlier this year.