It’s Thanksgiving week! Following an electric weekend of Area Round playoff action, 16 football teams from the greater San Antonio area are thankful they’re still playing this time of year.
That includes four of the top 12 teams in KSAT 12′s Top 12. Brennan, Smithson Valley, Alamo Heights and Harlan all flexed their muscle in various ways, while Boerne put up 50 points in a resounding win over a division rival. In fact, the Bears and Mules now have a chance to avenge their playoff exits from last year. We’ll discuss every team still alive in the playoffs in just a moment, but no game was better than our Big Game Coverage (BGC) Game of the Week featuring top-ranked Steele and Lake Travis, and everyone here at KSAT 12 is thankful we were able to broadcast the game live on Friday night!
Before we delve into the details of that epic struggle, let’s recap the biggest moments from the week that was in the Best of BGC.
On Instant Replay, we selected the best of the best, including highlights from Warren, Jourdanton, and Steele!
Be sure to check out all of the highlights from Week 13 as well:
The No. 1 team has been knocked out of the playoffs along with a significant number of other great squads. How does that impact this week’s rankings heading into the third round?
LAKE TRAVIS 24, STEELE 21
No. 1 Steele brought their undefeated record to The Pfield in Pflugerville for a rematch against Lake Travis in the Class 6A Division I Area Round. The Knights won the first meeting between these two teams 35-28 at Lehnhoff Stadium back in Week 2.
The second meeting was just as intense, but it started out very differently.
This time around, the Cavaliers roared out to a 14-0 halftime lead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Kadyn Leon to Seth Galbraith. The Knights offense finally broke through late in the third quarter. On 4th-and-4, quarterback Chad Warner found Joe Perez who made the catch, spun out of a tackle and outraced everyone to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown. Perez had a monster game, catching 10 passes for 128 yards and that score, while Warner completed 17 of his 23 passes for 180 yards. But Lake Travis returned fire early in the fourth quarter, and Aidan Albright scored from a yard out to reinstate a 14-point advantage, 21-7.
Steele was far from done. Running back Jaydon Bailey wrestled control of the game away from the Cavaliers and capped back-to-back scoring drives with powerful touchdown runs. Bailey finished the game with 33 carries for 182 yards and two TDs. His jaw-dropping nine-yard touchdown run evened the score at 21-all with 3:54 left to play.
The Knights never touched the ball again. The Cavaliers marched down the field on the ensuing drive and burned all of the remaining clock in the process. Hunter Rioux kicked the game-winning 35-yard field goal as time expired, and Lake Travis escaped with a thrilling victory. Steele ends their memorable season with an 11-1 record.
So, who’s left standing?
Brennan hasn’t come close to breaking a sweat in these playoffs. The Bears torched Los Fresnos 42-7 in the Class 6A Division I Area Round, meaning that their offense has outscored their two playoff opponents by a combined margin of 100-14. As expected, quarterback Ashton Dubose was at the center of it all. Against the Falcons, Dubose completed 22 of 29 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with six carries for 52 yards and a score. Running back Jason Love added a pair of rushing TDs, while wide receiver Armando Acevedo led Brennan’s dynamic receiving corps with six catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Now the Bears get another crack at Lake Travis. Brennan fell to the Cavaliers in last year’s Regional Final round 42-17. The rematch will take place at New Braunfels Canyon this Friday at 6 p.m.
Harlan has been similarly dominant with two weeks of playoff action in the books. The Hawks cruised past Weslaco in the Area Round 49-3 and their defense has yet to allow a single playoff touchdown. Wide receiver Izayah Manchester made the play of the game early in the second quarter with a difficult catch along the sideline. He promptly broke a tackle, threw another defender out of the way and raced in for a touchdown that gave Harlan a lead they would not relinquish.
This is the Hawks’ deepest playoff run since they bumped up to Class 6A Division II competition. Harlan next takes on Austin Vandegrift in the Alamodome on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Vipers defeated Judson in the Area Round 37-7.
SMITHSON VALLEY RANGERS
Smithson Valley outlasted perennial Class 5A Division I powerhouse Manvel in the Area Round on Friday night 38-28. Ranger senior Kyler Clarke proved to be a difference maker with a pair of big plays. Immediately after Manvel had taken a 7-3 lead, Clarke flipped the script by returning the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to the house and vaulting Smithson Valley back in front 10-7. In the third quarter, after the Mavericks had erased a 10-point deficit to lead 21-17, Clarke struck again, this time scoring on a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Senelick to reinstate a Smithson Valley lead 24-21. Doug Lantz and David De Hoyos each scored rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help put a hard-fought win in the books.
The Rangers advance to face Fulshear at Matador Stadium Friday night at 1 p.m. This is Smithson Valley’s deepest playoff run since a trip to the Class 6A State quarterfinals in 2015.
ALAMO HEIGHTS MULES
Welcome back to the third round, Alamo Heights. The Mules rolled past Gregory-Portland in the Class 5A Division II Area Round 31-8 thanks to an all-around performance from quarterback Conley McKenna, who carried the ball 20 times for 252 yards and two touchdowns, completed seven passes for 83 yards and a score, and also caught a 13-yard TD. He didn’t throw the touchdown to himself. Michael Terry III threw that pass, part of a similarly well-rounded performance that saw him accumulate 83 rushing yards on 21 carries. Rett Andersen contributed with a 35-yard touchdown catch as well, as the Mules built a 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
Next, Alamo Heights gets a rematch against the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs: Liberty Hill. This year’s showdown will be held in Bastrop on Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
VETERANS MEMORIAL PATRIOTS
Veterans Memorial won a shootout on the other side of the Class 5A Division II bracket on Friday night against Mission Sharyland 35-23. Safety Nathaniel Ortega set the tone on the opening play of the game, returning an interception 25 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Quarterback CJ Irving took over from there, completing 16 of his 23 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns, while running back James Peoples anchored the rushing attack with 20 carries for 121 yards, as Veterans Memorial earned the program’s first victory in the Area Round.
Next up, the Patriots travel to Hornet Stadium to take on Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in the third round this Friday at 6 p.m.
Through two weeks of playoff action, Boerne is still undefeated. The Greyhounds used a 20-point second quarter to pull away from Pleasanton in the Class 4A Division I Area Round and win 50-21 on Friday night. Running back TJ Dement had a day, rushing 19 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Jaxon Baize lit up the Eagles secondary to the tune of 219 passing yards and four touchdowns. Braden Baize caught five of Jaxon’s passes for 110 yards and three scores.
Up next, 12-0 Boerne faces Port Lavaca Calhoun in the third round this Friday night. The Sandcrabs defeated Canyon Lake in the Area Round 28-13. Kickoff at Indian Stadium in Jourdanton is set for 6 p.m.
Somerset picked up their 10th win of the season on Friday night with a hard-fought 23-13 victory over La Vernia in the Class 4A Division I Area Round. The Bulldogs used a punishing ground game that featured workhorse running back Josiah Lugo, who carried the ball 31 times for 191 yards. He didn’t find the end zone, but Zachary Serna did, capping three consecutive second-half scoring drives with a trio of short-yardage touchdown runs. Somerset scored all 23 of their points in the second half.
This week, Somerset hits the road to Beeville Jones for a showdown with Calallen in the third round Friday at 3 p.m. The Wildcats are undefeated at 12-0 and knocked off an impressive Davenport team 22-14 in the Area Round.
For the eighth straight season, Navarro has advanced to third round of the playoffs. After falling behind twice in the first half against Bishop, Diego Chapa’s 28-yard touchdown run tied the game at 14-14 heading into halftime, and the Panthers pulled away in the second half. Chapa scored again on a one-yard plunge midway through the third quarter, and Nicholas Schwarzlose returned a blocked punt 35 yards for a touchdown, as Navarro defeated Bishop 28-14.
Now the Panthers prepare to face District 13-4A-II rival Lago Vista squad in the third round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs. Navarro defeated Lago Vista on the road 42-21 back on October 7. Both squads will take the field for the rematch at Hutto Memorial Stadium Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Wimberley is still undefeated thanks to yet another dominant playoff performance. The Texans demolished Orange Grove in the Class 4A Division II Area Round on Friday 48-0. Wimberley’s defense has yet to allow a single point in these playoffs, and their offense has outscored their two playoff opponents by a combined margin of 129-0. Quarterback Cody Stoever was a one-man wrecking crew, completing 10 passes for 166 yards, rushing 10 times for 99 yards and accounting for five total touchdowns. Running back Johnny Ball dominated as well, rushing 12 times for 140 yards and a pair of TDs.
Next up, Wimberley takes on Jarrell in the third round in another battle between District 13-4A-II squads. The Texans already defeated Jarrell 73-14 back on October 7. They’ll have a chance to repeat that performance Friday night at 6 p.m. at Gupton Stadium in Cedar Park.
Perennial powerhouse Cuero is back in the third round as well. The Gobblers set the tone for their Class 4A Division II Area Round showdown with Sealy on their first offensive possession. Quarterback Mason Notaro found Dayson Varela for a stunning 60-yard touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. Cuero never looked back from there, taking a 21-3 lead into halftime en route to a convincing 41-18 victory. Notaro scored five total touchdowns in an all-around performance. He completed 10 of his 15 passes for 219 yards and two scores, and he also rushed 17 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, running back Tyscen Williams racked up 142 yards from scrimmage on just 19 touches and scored a pair of TDs.
Cuero now hits the road to Katy to take on Hamshire-Fannett in a third-round battle at Legacy Stadium Friday night at 6 p.m.
Blanco wasted little time dismantling London in their Class 3A Division I Area Round playoff game on Friday night. Nathan Tomlinson returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead just 48 seconds into regulation. On Blanco’s first offensive possession, quarterback Cameron Anderson doubled the lead with a stunning 69-yard touchdown run. Minutes later, Tomlinson added a five-yard touchdown run that gave the Panthers a 21-0 lead after one quarter of play, and that was pretty much the ballgame. Anderson teamed up with running back Kayden Petitt to headline a rushing attack that racked up 395 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries.
This week, Blanco will face Edna in the third round at Farris Stadium Friday night at 6 p.m.
Poth is back in the third round for the second straight season thanks to a valiant comeback effort. Trailing Boling 14-0 in the first quarter of their Class 3A Division II Area Round playoff game, quarterback Zane Raabe powered his way through the Bulldogs defense for a 15-yard touchdown. That got the Pirates offense back on track, and they took over in the second quarter. First, a key fumble recovery set up another Raabe touchdown run that tied the game at 21-all, then Raabe ripped off a 21-yard TD scamper that gave Poth a commanding 35-21 lead. Raabe added yet another touchdown — a 59-yarder! — early in the third quarter that gave the Pirates enough cushion to win a wild game, 42-34. As a team, Poth combined to rush for 336 yards in the victory.
Now, the Pirates travels to Memorial Stadium in Victoria to take on the Taft Greyhounds Friday night at 6 p.m.
The two-time defending UIL Class 2A Division I State champions are still alive after tearing Mason apart in the Area Round Friday night in Hutto. Texas A&M commit Dalton Brooks only needed nine carries to rack up 217 yards and four touchdowns in a dominant 47-21 victory. While the Comanches ran up and down the field to the tune of 349 total yards, the defense notched three interceptions and held Mason to just 201 yards of total offense.
This is the program’s fifth straight 10-win season. Next up, Shiner takes on Flatonia in Hallettsville Friday night at 7 p.m. Keep your eye on the other side of the playoff bracket: Refugio is back in the third round as well, and they will take on Ganado at Heroes Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m.
FALLS CITY BATTLIN’ BEAVERS
After an up-and-down regular season, Falls City is once again in the third round of the playoffs. The Battlin’ Beavers handed Sabinal their first loss of the season 29-21 at Indian Stadium in Jourdanton on Friday night. Freshman quarterback Braylon Johnson was the star of the show, opening the game with an interception that set up a four-yard run from running back Trey Semlinger, then weaving his way through the Yellowjacket defense for a 35-yard touchdown run that gave Falls City a commanding 15-0 lead. Sabinal rallied to score 21 straight points, but Johnson found the end zone again on a wild 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and the Battlin’ Beavers made just enough plays to advance.
Falls City will next face Granger in the Class 2A Division 2 third round at Matador Stadium in Seguin on Friday night at 7 p.m.
TAPPS – HOLY CROSS & SHINER ST. PAUL
Two teams from our area are still alive in the TAPPS Playoffs.
Holy Cross advanced to the Division III State semifinals with a 28-7 victory over Bay Area Christian on Friday night. The Knights relied on quarterback Gibby Alvarado (11-of-21, 173 yards, 1 TD), Rudy Rodriguez (5 touches, 99 total yards, 2 TDs) and Joe-Angel Perez III (19 carries, 113 yards) to rack up 404 total yards of offense in a runaway victory. Holy Cross will next face Cypress Christian at Giddings this Friday at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Shiner St. Paul raced past Tomball Rosehill Christian 52-13 to punch their tickets to the Division IV State semifinals. The Cardinals will take on Sacred Heart Saturday at 2 p.m. at Robinson High School in Waco. Shiner St. Paul lost the regular season meeting between these two teams 30-20 back on September 10.
Congratulations to the D’Hanis volleyball team on a phenomenal season! The Cowgirls finished their historic campaign with the program’s first appearance in the UIL Class 1A State championship match on Thursday afternoon. D’Hanis swept Benjamin in the state semifinals on Wednesday to earn the program’s first state tournament win before falling to Blum in three sets the next day. Senior Mabry Herrmann was selected to the UIL Class 1A All-Tournament Team. D’Hanis was the only team from the greater San Antonio area to qualify for the UIL State tournament, and this was their fourth appearance in the state tournament in the last six seasons.
We’ll see you on Friday night for the start of the Third Round! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter