By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – All the Houston County teams won big last week to advance to the Area Round of the 2019 UIL Football Playoffs. The competition gets a little tougher this week and the games should be much closer.
GRAPELAND SANDIES (9-2) vs. CUMBY TROJANS (8-3) – The Sandies got off to a hot start against the Frost Polar Bears and never looked back as they demolished Frost by a final score of 63-14. Grapeland showcased several of its weapons in the Bi-District Round but also kept several on the shelf.
Look for the Sandies to utilize the run a little more this week while keeping the Trojans’ defense off balance with quick flares to the sideline and an occasional deep shot or two.
Cumby took on the Bowie Pirates last week and handled their business by a score of 50-28. To advance to the Regional Round, the Sandies will have to stop Cameron Scott who led the Trojans with over 330 total yards and four touchdowns against Bowie. They also will need to keep an eye on Jacob DeMidio who rushed for over 130 yards and also had three touchdowns.
Cooper Sheridan, Dameion Smith and Kaden Dupree will lead the Grapeland defense as it hopes to have any big game in the postseason.
Look for Keizion Ashford, Cadarian Wiley and BJ Lamb to lead the rushing attack for Grapeland while Cooper Ward and Deco Bryant will help the Sandies move it through the air.
Expect the Sandies to pick up the W and advance to the Regional Round
CROCKETT BULLDOGS (9-2) vs. TROY TROJANS (10-1) – We’re about to find out how good the Bulldogs are this year. After losing a game to Garrison they shouldn’t have lost and not playing their best against Diboll, Crockett seems to have put it all together just when they needed it most.
A 60-33 win over a tough Franklin team to end the regular season, along with a 49-0 beat down of Anahuac in Bi-District, points to a Crockett team that may be on the rise. Jordan Bedford has played smart football over the last half of the season and hasn’t forced what’s not there.
Jordan Bedford, A’myron Dixon and Jackecian Jones have shown they can take it the distance on any given play or lower their head to pick up a tough yard.
With Allen Horace at tight end and a stable of wide receivers led by Shannon Bacon and Cristian Brice, the Bulldogs pose a threat from any spot on the field.
They will face a Troy team who is ranked #6 in the state and has only lost one game. It should be noted the Trojans like to run the ball. In Troy’s Bi-District win over Teague, QB Ben Presley only threw the ball 10 times.
On the ground, however, the Trojans ran the ball 45 times with Zach Hrbacek toting the rock 22 times for 209 yards and a touchdown.
If the Bulldogs are able to jump out early, look for the Trojans to struggle in the passing game. However, if Crockett can’t stop the run, the Bulldogs will be in for a long night. Look for Crockett to pull it out by less than a touchdown.
LOVELADY LIONS (6-4) vs. MUENSTER HORNETS (9-2) – It’s a rematch of last year’s Area Championship as the Lions square off against the Hornets, once again. Last year’s game was one by the Hornets 32-22 and don’t think that loss isn’t in the back of the Lovelady players.
The Lions heave rebounded from a 0-3 start to win six of their last seven games. With Slade Murray now under center, Lovelady has become more of a running team with Josh Martinez getting the bulk of the work load.
While Martinez will get his fair share of carries, look for Murray to sling the ball down the field a little more.
The Hornets have been a contender for the last several years and are favored big in this game. Muenster likes to run the ball but isn’t afraid to pass. The key for Lovelady is going to be the play of the defensive line. If Morgan Thrasher, Carter Murray, Peyton Harrison and Jaxson Reeves can stop the run and get some pressure on the Muenster QB, the Lions have a good chance of pulling this one out.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.