Richland Springs, Cherokee clash for 13-A DII crown; May, Santa Anna look to clinch playoff berths

The final week of the regular season has arrived with seven local teams already in the playoffs, two more looking to follow suit and a pair of postseason qualifiers fighting for a district championship.

The District 8-A Division II championship game between Blanket and Rising Star highlights the Week 11 docket, while May looks to wrap up a playoff spot against Lingleville and Santa Anna is out to punch its postseason ticket against Evant.

Top-ranked Richland Springs is also attempting to extend its string of consecutive district championships in its 13-A Division II finale at Cherokee.

The following are brief previews for the 12 games in the Bulletin’s coverage:


Blanket (3-6, 2-0)

at Rising Star (5-4, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The two teams who represented District 8-A Division II in the playoffs a year ago are once more postseason bound — and again closing the regular season with a showdown for the league title.

After starting the season with six straight losses, Blanket is in the midst of a three-game win streak that includes victories over district foes Panther Creek (66-14) and Sidney (51-12).

Rising Star, which began the season 1-3, has reeled off victories in four of its last five contests, including league triumphs over Panther Creek (46-0) and Sidney (98-50).

In Blanket’s win over Panther Creek last week, the Tigers tallied 309 yards of total offense — 225 rushing and 84 passing — while allowing just 130 yards and forcing three turnovers.

Eddie Hernandez rushed for 83 yards and three touchdowns — from 3, 30 and 33 yards out. Gabriel Cardenas chipped in 49 yards and two scores on carries of 2 and 32 yards. Jonathan Sifuentes added a 34-yard touchdown run and Luke Kinkade scored on a 17-yard carry.

Through the air, Toby Florence was 2 of 2 for 57 yards with a 24-yard scoring toss to Kinkade. Kinkade also completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Chasteen. Blake Hood added a 33-yard reception as well.

In Rising Star’s victory over Sidney a week ago, the Wildcats finished with 565 yards of total offense — 332 passing and 233 rushing — while surrendering 373 yards — 208 on the ground and 165 through the air.

Ben Boucher passed for 307 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 210 yards and three more scores. Tommy Gann caught five passes for 159 yards and four scores, while Kyle Jaynes added scoring receptions of 46 and 20 yards, Krispin Froese caught a 25-yard scoring toss and Zac Childers added a 7-yard scoring reception.

Froese also added a 7-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown, while Childers hurled a 7-yard scoring toss.

Blanket defeated Rising Star last year, 60-12.

According to, Rising Star is a 17-point favorite.


Lingleville (3-6, 1-2) at May (5-4, 2-1)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The May Tigers, who narrowly missed out on a third straight district championship at Gordon last week, can clinch a third consecutive playoff berth Friday night with a win over the Lingleville Cardinals.

In May’s 54-50 loss at Gordon last week, the Tigers had the chance to take the lead with under two minutes left, but a fumble — May’s second of the game — allowed Gordon to run out the clock. Defensively, the Tigers forced four Gordon turnovers, including recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Tigers finished with 438 yards of total offense — 238 on the ground and 200 through the air. Zach Davis rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns and caught four passes for 96 yards and two more scores. Wyatt Mote completed 8 of 14 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, Cameron King added three receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown and Jacob Brown rushed for 21 yards and caught two passes totaling 21 yards. Christian Scott also added 19 yards on the ground and two grabs for 8 yards.

Defensively, May yielded 320 yards — 215 rushing and 205 passing.

Lingleville is coming off a 52-32 loss to Strawn, with its only league victory being a 46-8 weather-shortened triumph against Gustine.

If May were to lose, the Tigers, Cardinals and Strawn would finish in a three-way tie for second place and a tiebreaker would determine 10-A Division I’s second playoff seed.

According to, May is a 39-point favorite.


Evant (6-3, 1-1)

at Santa Anna (6-3, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The second and final playoff spot from District 11-A Division I is up for grabs as the Santa Anna Mountaineers host the Evant Elks Friday night.

Santa Anna is coming off a 104-56 loss to district champion Zephyr, a game in which the Mountaineers led 56-54 when play was halted Friday night due to lightning. The game resumed Saturday, and Santa Anna was outscored 50-0 in just over a full quarter of action.

The Mountaineers gave up 645 yards of total offense against Zephyr, including 549 rushing.

Evant, meanwhile, forfeited its district opener to Zephyr, but bounced back last week with a 79-32 victory over Lometa.

According to, Santa Anna is a 2-point favorite.


Richland Springs (9-0, 3-0)

at Cherokee (5-4, 3-0)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The No. 1 Richland Springs Coyotes are targeting their 64th consecutive district victory and 14th district championship in a row as they visit the Cherokee Indians to close out both the 13-A Division II and regular season slates.

The Coyotes, however, have stepped on the field just once since Oct. 2, earning a 45-0 victory over Brookesmith. Richland Springs also has forfeit wins from Mullin and Lohn to its credit during that span, while the Coyotes’ district bye fell last week.

Cherokee owns a forfeit win over district rival Lohn, while knocking off Mullin (75-36) and Brookesmith (60-26) on the gridiron.

Richland Springs enters Friday’s contest averaging 70 points and 380 yards — 245 rushing and 135 passing — per game, with six turnovers. The Coyotes yield 25 points and 233 yards — 139 passing and 94 rushing — and have taken the ball away a dozen times.

Walker Tippie (1,036 rushing yards, 22 TDs; 323 passing yards, 7 TDs; 18-442, 9 TDs receiving), Bryan Salinas (527 rushing yards, 17 TDs; 115 passing yards, 3 TDs; 8-127, 3 TDs receiving) and Jordan Burkhart (506 yards passing, 11 TDs; 2-61, TD receiving; 57 yards rushing) have been a three-header monster for the Richland Springs offense.

J.B. Salinas (6-146, 3 TDs), Colt Carlisle (5-115, 2 TDs) and Hutton Lusty (4-53, 2 TDs) are also threats in the passing game.

Defensively, J.B. Salinas leads the way with 58 tackles trailed by Lusty with 52, Bryan Salinas with 49, Tippie with 42, Burkhart with 41 and Carlisle with 35.

The loser of Friday’s game will be the No. 2 playoff seed from 13-A Division II.

According to, Richland Springs is a 45-point favorite.


Zephyr (7-2, 2-0) at Lometa (1-8, 0-2)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The District 11-A Division I champion Zephyr Bulldogs will tune up for their bi-district playoff game by visiting the Lometa Hornets Friday night.

Zephyr locked up a second straight district title this past weekend with a 104-56 victory over Santa Anna. When the game was halted Friday night due to lightning, the Bulldogs trailed 56-54. When play resumed Saturday, Zephyr reeled off 50 points in just over a quarter to enforce the mercy rule.

The Bulldogs generated 645 yards of total offense against Santa Anna, including 549 rushing. Bishop Norman chalked up 397 yards on the ground and scored seven touchdowns, while Nicholas Moody added 58 yards and one rushing score. Hunter Pitman contributed 57 yards rushing, Rowdy McClain chipped in a 27-yard touchdown run and J.P. Gowin scored once and rushed for 10 yards.

Through the air, Kason King connected on 3 of 5 passes for 96 yards, with scoring tosses of 54 yards to Devin Williams and 11 yards to Keifer Vernon. Norman caught the other pass, which covered 14 yards.

Defensively, Brayden Malloy recorded 13 tackles, caused two fumbles and recovered one. Jacob King finished with nine tackles and a forced fumble, while McClain added eight tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Vernon collected seven tackles while Moody, Norman and Zack Miller added four apiece.

Lometa suffered district losses to Santa Anna (64-18) and Evant (79-32), while the Hornets’ lone win this season came against Mullin (84-80).

According to, Zephyr is a 45-point favorite.


Ballinger (6-3, 2-2)

at Coleman (8-1, 3-1)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

In a battle to determine the second playoff seed from District 3-3A Division II, the Coleman Bluecats welcome their nearest league rival, the Ballinger Bearcats.

Coleman is coming off a 45-0 victory over Coahoma, the Bluecats’ first shutout of the season.

The Bluecats yielded only 154 yards — 87 rushing and 77 passing — last week, while forcing a pair of turnovers.

On the offensive end, Coleman amassed 493 yards of total offense, including 432 rushing. Kyle Boyet rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns, while Bryson Hammonds scored on quarterback keepers of 19 and 86 yards.

Through the air, Hammonds connected on 5 of 7 passes for 61 yards with a 26-yard scoring toss to Mason Burkey, who grabbed three receptions for 48 yards.

Ballinger rebounded from a 29-28 loss to Colorado City in Week 9 with a 41-7 home win over Stanton this past Friday.

According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Coleman is an 18-point favorite.


Hamilton (3-6, 1-3)

at Goldthwaite (7-2, 4-0)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The District 7-2A Division I top playoff seed Goldthwaite Eagles will attempt to complete an unblemished run to an outright district championship Friday night against Hamilton.

The Eagles are coming off perhaps their best performance of the season, a 28-0 district victory over Hico, which was previously undefeated in league action.

In Goldthwaite’s win last week, the Eagles gave up just 102 yards of total offense, and only 3 through the air, while recovering three fumbles.

Offensively, the Eagles manufactured 261 yards — 195 rushing and 66 passing.

Hunter Parrish rushed for 129 yards and scored on carries of 1 and 30 yards. Parrish also threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jansen Head and a grabbed a 9-yard scoring toss from Head.

Hamilton suffered a narrow 24-20 defeat to De Leon last week in a game that decided the fourth and final playoff qualifier from 7-2A Division I.

According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Goldthwaite is a 34-point favorite.


Hillsboro (1-8, 0-5)

at Comanche (4-5, 3-2)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

Locked into the No. 3 playoff seed from District 9-3A Division I, the Comanche Indians will attempt to head into the postseason with a .500 overall record as they host the Hillsboro Eagles in Friday’s regular season finale.

For the season, Comanche is averaging 24 points and 313 yards — 291 rushing and 22 passing — per contest, while surrendering 21 points per outing.

The Indians’ ground attack is led by Mason Lorta (993 yards, 10 TDs), Fabian Zuniga (642 yards, 6 TDs) and Payton Nance (583 yards, 9 TDs).

Nance has completed just 15 of 44 passes for 195 yards with three touchdowns, as Brandon Garcia has hauled in five catches for 61 yards with two trips to the end zone.

Kade Mercer’s 97 tackles are a team-high for Comanche followed by Dylan Thedford with 88 and Lorta with 86.

Hillsboro, which is coming off a 55-12 loss to McGregor, is in the basement of 9-3A Division I standings. The only victory for the Eagles this season came against Palmer (54-0) in Week 4.

According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Comanche is a 31-point favorite.


Brookesmith (1-8, 1-2)

at Mullin (3-6, 1-2)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The Brookesmith Mustangs are shooting for multiple wins in the same season for the first time since 2011 as they visit the Mullin Bulldogs in the season finale for both teams.

Brookesmith’s lone win on the field was a 56-6 triumph over Gustine in Week 2, while also collecting a District 13-A Division II forfeit victory over Lohn.

Mullin picked up a forfeit win over Lohn last week, with its other victories coming against Blanket (66-42) in the season opener and Panther Creek (89-75) on Sept. 25.

In Brookesmith’s 60-26 loss to Cherokee last week, the Mustangs finished with 215 yards of total offense — 144 rushing and 71 passing. Tanner Nunn led the Mustangs with 82 yards on the ground while Phoenix Burns chipped in 62 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Nunn also passed for 71 yards with an 8-yard scoring toss to Marcos Martinez.

According to, Brookesmith is a 45-point underdog.


Victory Life (3-6, 0-3)

vs. Longview Trinity (7-2, 2-1)


The Victory Life Academy Warriors will attempt to close their season on a positive note and earn their first win in TAPPS Six-Man Division III District 2 action.

Victory Life opened the season with three straight losses, rallied with three consecutive wins and is now mired in its second three-game skid of the season.

Longview Trinity has locked up the second playoff seed from the district.

Last week, Victory Life suffered a slim 53-46 district loss to Richardson Canyon Creek.

The Warriors racked up 317 total yards, with 182 in the air and 135 on the ground. Jack Haley, along with Marshall Clark and Roland Aguinaga, put up all of the Warrior points.

Defensively, Haley had 14 tackles and a sack, followed by Clark with 13 tackles. Other Warriors contributing to the defensive effort were Aguinaga, Jo Robles and Justin Tobias.

According to, Victory Life is a 45-point underdog.


Sidney (6-3, 0-2)

at Panther Creek (2-7, 0-2)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

Sidney will finish the season with a winning record, but again miss the playoffs as the Eagles target their seventh victory of the season at Panther Creek in Friday’s finale for both teams.

Sidney fell to Blanket (51-12) and Rising Star (98-50) in its first two district games, while Panther Creek lost to Blanket (66-14) and Rising Star (46-0), as both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Against Rising Star last week, Sidney surrendered 565 yards of total offense — 332 passing and 233 rushing — while generating 373 yards — 208 on the ground and 165 through the air.

Beau Cheatham rushed for 139 yards and six touchdowns while passing for 115 yards and a score. James Fortney chipped in 69 yards on the ground and Troy Seider caught three passes for 46 yards with a trip to the end zone for the Eagles.

In Panther Creek’s loss to Blanket last week, the Panthers gave up 309 yards of total offense — 225 rushing and 84 passing — while the offense mustered just 130 yards with three turnovers.

According to, Sidney is a 34-point favorite.


Hico (3-6, 3-1) at San Saba (2-7, 0-4)

7:30 p.m. FRIDAY

The San Saba Armadillos, who have been eliminated from postseason contention, will attempt to avoid a winless District 7-2A Division I campaign as they host the Hico Tigers Friday night.

San Saba, which has recorded both its wins at home, is coming off a 42-7 loss to Tolar.

In last week’s defeat, the Armadillos trailed 14-7 at halftime, but yielded 21 points in the third period alone.

The Armadillos finished with 198 total yards — 146 rushing and 52 passing — and four turnovers. San Saba forced five turnovers, but gave up 392 yards — including 304 on the ground.

Chase Turner led San Saba with 134 yards rushing, while Holt Oliver connected on 6 of 16 passes for 52 yards. Logan Guidroz was the top receiver with a pair of grabs totaling 30 yards.

San Saba’s only touchdown was scored on a fumble recovery by Erik Argote.

Hico dropped a 28-0 decision to Goldthwaite last week in a game that decided the 7-2A champion. The Tigers finished with just 102 yards of total offense and three turnovers, while surrendering 261 yards — 195 rushing and 66 passing.

According to Harris Ratings Weekly, San Saba is a 38-point underdog.