For the second year in a row, the San Saba Armadillos and Valley View Eagles will cross paths in the postseason — this time for the Class 2A Division I Region II championship.
Kickoff between the undefeated Armadillos (13-0) and Eagles (11-2) is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mineral Wells. San Saba booted Valley View, 48-16, in the second round of the playoffs last year en route to the Region II championship and a state semifinals berth — the best season in program history.
The Armadillos reached the fourth round of the playoffs thanks to a 57-14 triumph over Bogota Rivercrest last weekend, while the Eagles knocked off San Saba's District 7 rival Crawford, 33-14, in the regional semifinals.
San Saba has outscored its foes 731-84 — an average of 56-6 — with its closest contest being a 48-28 victory over Crawford on Nov. 1. The Armadillos have won the rest of their games by at least 37 points.
In last week's victory over Rivercrest — a game in which San Saba trailed 6-0 after one quarter — the Armadillos rushed for 447 of their 454 yards of total offense, as Eli Salinas racked up 196 yards and five touchdowns while quarterback Sean O’Keefe contributed 168 yards with two trips to the end zone. Risien Shahan also rushed for 80 yards while Justin Yarbrough chipped in a 15-yard score on the ground.
Rivercrest finished with 195 total yards — 132 passing and 63 rushing — with four turnovers, including three interceptions.
For the season, the Armadillos are producing 489 total yards per game — 346 rushing and 143 passing.
Salinas has rushed for 2,063 yards and 31 touchdowns while O'Keefe has contributed 1,664 yards and 27 scores.
Through the air, O'Keefe has thrown for 1,146 yards with 21 touchdowns and one interception, while Shahan has chipped in 450 yards and five scoring tosses with one pick.
The receiving corps features Logan Glover (25-640, 10 TDs), Salinas (18-496, 6 TDs), Juan Ramirez (15-214, 4 TDs), Cole Bryant (12-193, 3 TDs), O'Keefe (9-136, TD) and Abel Martinez (7-145, 4 TDs).
Defensively, San Saba has tallied 181 tackles for loss, 31 sacks and 30 takeaways — 16 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions — to go along with six shutouts.
Standouts on the unit include Landon Yarbrough (161 tackles, 25 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 FR), Shahan (138 tackles, 33 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 FR), Stone Sears (105 tackles, 17 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 FRs), Bryant (81 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FRs) and Jett Hibler (74 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 FR). Martinez leads the Armadillos with nine sacks and three fumble recoveries to go along with 62 tackles, while Glover has picked off a team-high nine passes and contributed 61 tackles.
Valley View dropped its season opener to McKinney Christian (49-17) and fell to Fort Worth Christian (42-16) in Week 3, but has reeled off 10 straight victories since its 1-2 start.
The Eagles average 39 points and 354 yards per game, with 315 yards coming on the ground, while giving up 15 points per outing.
Offensively, Valley View is led by running back Clint Epperson (2,167 yards, 36 TDs, 9.8 yards per carry) along with Luis Morales (907 yards, 5 TDs, 8.6 yards per carry) and Logan Lewis (436 yards, 6 TDs, 6.1 yards per carry).
Lewis, a freshman, took over at quarterback in Week 8 and has completed 15 of 32 passes for 213 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Zach Isbell began the year behind center and connected on 28 of 72 passes for 252 yards with six scoring tosses and four picks.
Receiving threats include Christian McMurray (18-215, 4 TDs) and Colby Lewis (14-188, 5 TDs).
Friday's winner will face either Post (13-0) or Hawley (13-0) from Region I in the Class 2A Division I state semifinals next weekend.
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, San Saba is a 20-point favorite.