The undefeated San Saba Armadillos have marched their way to the Class 2A Division I Region II semifinals, where the Celeste Blue Devils await at 7 p.m. Friday at Mineral Wells.
In the second season under head coach Jared Fikac, the Armadillos boast one of the most explosive offenses and stingiest defenses in the state.
San Saba (12-0) — which won just three games, averaged 19 points per game and gave up 30 per outing a year ago — is producing 54 points and 456 yards per contest in 2018, while giving up just 101 points the entire season, an average of 8 per game.
After a flawless regular season, the Armadillos disposed of Italy (67-8) and Valley View (48-16) to reach the third round.
San Saba, which generated 297 rushing and 159 passing per game, is led by quarterback
Sean O’Keefe — who has passed for 1,979 yards with 33 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 1,230 yards and 14 scores — and running back Eli Salinas — who leads the Armadillos in rushing yards with 1,510 and 27 touchdowns, and is the top receiver with 25 catches for 510 yards and six scores.
Other weapons in the air attack include Lucas Glover (23-532, 10 TDs), Ruben Parra (15-294, 4 TDs) and Joseph Watson (10-129, 5 TDs).
Leading the charge defensively are Erik Argote (165 tackles, 35 for loss, 6 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries), Sakima Herrera (85 tackles), Risien Shahan (77 tackles), Watson (72 tackles, 9 sacks), Glover (68 tackles, 7 interceptions) and Junior Jaimes (64 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries).
The Armadillos have recorded 36 takeaways — 22 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions — and 36 sacks.
Celeste (11-1) is coming off a 42-28 victory over Bosqueville in the area round of the playoffs. The only loss for the Blue Devils this season occurred on Nov. 2, a 22-19 defeat at the hands of Collinsville, which was knocked out of the playoffs by Riesel, 58-45, last week.
The Blue Devils notch 39 points and 409 yards — 273 passing and 136 rushing — per game on average, with 13 points allowed.
Quarterback Jalen Rector is the driving force of the offense, having passed for 1,550 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions, while rushing for 1,076 yards and 18 scores. Kaden Douglas is the leading rusher with 1,575 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground, while receiving threats include Seth Buckley (27-432, 6 TDs), Jace Givens (27-404, TD), and Truitt Murphy (22-408, 2 TDs).
The defense, which has tallied 27 takeaways — 15 fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions — and 13 sacks, is led by Dylan Zachary (101 tackles, 3 sacks) and Thadeus Clark (94 tackles).
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, San Saba is a 16-point favorite.
Friday’s winner will face either Riesel (10-2) or De Leon (8-4) in the Class 2A Division I Region II championship game next weekend.
CLASS 3A DIVISION II REGION II SEMIFINALS
Gunter (12-0) vs. Comanche (9-3)
For the second year in a row, the Comanche Indians are 13 games into the football season where the 2017 state finalist Gunter Tigers are the latest hurdle for head coach Stephen Hermesmeyer’s squad to clear.
Kickoff for the Class 3A Division II Region II semifinal is at 7 p.m. Friday in Springtown.
Comanche is in the midst of a seven-game win streak, including postseason victories over Edgewood (42-38) and Nocona (42-30).
Gunter is coming off a 30-27 area round victory over Lexington, which followed a 69-21 thrashing of Comanche’s District 6-3A Division II rival Millsap in bi-district.
The Indians are averaging 28 points and 323 yards — 273 on the ground and 50 through the air — per outing, while allowing 18 points.
Kade Mercer is both the leading rusher and receiver for Comanche with 1,419 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground, and 10 grabs for 211 yards and another score. Zach Rodriguez (584 yards, 9 TDs), Zach Foster (471 yards, 2 TDs) and quarterback Trendon Morin (427 yards, 5 TDs) also aid the rushing attack, while Morin has also thrown for 599 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Price Odom (9-172, 4 TDs) and Rodriguez (8-119, TD) are also receiving threats.
The Comanche defense is also anchored by Mercer, who leads the Indians with 110 tackles including 17 for loss with 10 sacks and five interceptions. Other key contributors on defense are Max Jimenez (87 tackles, 6 for loss), Dakoda Moreno (66 tackles, 8 for loss, 6 sacks) and Roberto Medrano (50 tackles, 9 for loss).
The Indians have tallied 33 sacks and 21 takeaways — 15 fumble recoveries and six interceptions.
Gunter heads into the contest averaging 42 points and 294 yards — 212 rushing and 82 passing — per game, while giving up just 8 points.
Offensive leaders include quarterback Ethan Everson, with 1,044 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions to go along with 297 rushing yard and three touchdowns; top rushers Dylan Jantz (742 yards, 14 TDs), Peyton Lowe (433 yards, 8 TDs) and Bryson Rigsby (379 yards, 6 TDs); and leading receivers Jantz (16-262, 2 TDs), Clayton Reed (14-219), and Lowe (13-263, 6 TDs).
On defense for Gunter, Steele Culp (67 tackles, 11 for loss, 2 sacks), Kennon Magers (47 tackles), Chris Martinez (45 tackles), Rigsby (43 tackles) and Lowe (42 tackles) lead the charge.
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Comanche is a 27-point underdog.
Friday’s winner will face either Buffalo (12-0) or Holliday (11-1) in the Class 3A Division II Region II championship game next weekend.