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November 23, 2011

Class 3A Region I & II Previews

Class 3A Division I Region I Final

Seminole (11-1) vs. Alvarado (12-0) Friday 6:30pm San Angelo Stadium, San Angelo: You'd be hard pressed to find a more dominant team in 3A this year than unbeaten Alvarado. The Indians have blistered opponents with a potent ground game, deadly accurate play action passing and a punishing defense. Last week AHS rolled past Abilene Wylie 31-0, the Indians rolled up 458 yards of offense while allowing just 97 yards to a good Wylie squad. RB Wayne Onderdonck has rushed for nearly 2200 yards to lead the Indians ground game, while ATH Tyler Bates is one of the top playmakers in the state. Seminole's high powered passing game is on a long winning streak and led by QB Jacob Burtch the Indians have put up some big numbers. The key for Seminole will be can their offense find a way to solve the riddle that is the Alvarado defense, if the Indians can get the pace turned up then they have a shot. If Alvarado controls the pace and is able to impose their physical style then this one gets ugly. Stepp's Pick: Alvarado by 24

Class 3A Division I Region II Final

Celina (11-0) vs. Henderson (10-2) Friday 6:00pm Memorial Stadium, Mesquite: This is about as intriguing matchup as you'll see anywhere in the state. Celina who is among the most decorated programs in the state, hooking up with defending state champion Henderson. Celina has a reputation of being one of the most physically dominant teams in the state and why not with guys up front like Jake Raulerson leading the way. The Bobcats also are fielding maybe their fastest team ever so there is hope they'll be able to keep up with one of the beasts from the east who we all know will bring plenty of speed to the party. Celina a week ago exacted some revenge on Lovejoy with a 37-17 win over the Leopards. Freshman QB Nathan Elliot continued to show he's ready for the big stage as he accounted for 305 total yards and all five Celina touchdowns in the win. Elliot will need to be a factor once again this week as senior RB Jammarick Simmons is still not 100%. Henderson has rolled through two good teams to open the playoffs, the Lions who appear to be peaking at the right time made quick work of a Lindale squad that bears a lot of similarities to Celina last week 56-20. The Lions ground game had a big night putting up 438 yards on Lindale led by Jay O'Neal who ran for 181 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. The key for Henderson will be their passing game, Celina will look shut the Lions ground game down so QB Del Barnes and WR LaMarcus Brown will need to be in sync and ready to make Celina pay for being over aggressive. Henderson's defensive line has at times struggled against power running attacks so that matchup will be one to watch. Great contrasting styles in this one, great tradition and two great teams. You can't ask for anything better. Stepp's Pick: Henderson by 4

Class 3A Division II Region I Semi-Finals

Shallowater (10-2) vs. Snyder (11-1) Friday 2:00pm Grande Communications Stadium, Midland: Despite being one of the smallest 3A schools in the state Shallowater has done a fantastic job putting out a consistent winner and advancing to the third round is a testimony to their kids and staff. The Mustangs took care of Midland Greenwood last week 47-22, as RB Koley King had a monster evening rushing for 357 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Shallowater will have their hands full with a Snyder bunch that's won eleven consecutive games after losing their season opener. Texas Tech verbal Keenon Ward triggers the Snyder attack and when teams commit to slowing him down, Snyder has plenty of other weapons who can make plays. Snyder's defense is very good against the run and Shallowater's offense plays right into their strength. Look for Ward to break a couple of long runs early and Snyder cruises to the quarter-finals. Stepp's Pick: Snyder by 17

Monahans (10-2) vs. Brownwood (8-4) Friday 7:30pm Mustang Bowl, Sweetwater: A rematch of last year's State Quarter-Final game, this one doesn't have quite the fanfare surrounding it as both teams come in with losses on their ledger. Monahans on the defensive side of the ball has shown some weakness in the secondary, but can Brownwood exploit that weakness? The Lions took care of a game Glen Rose squad 28-14 last week, as the BHS defense contained a Glen Rose offense that the week before put up 57 points. RB Stehl Ratliff led the Brownwod offense with 194 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Monahans also had an outstanding game on the defensive side last week holding a very fast Lubbock Estacado squad to just seven points in a 27-7 win. Pedro Cano led the Loboes with 274 yards rushing and pair of touchdowns. Both teams will look to control the clock with their ground game, but give Monahans the slight edge as they've shown a bit more consistency this year. Stepp's Pick: Monahans by 3

Class 3A Division II Region II Semi-Finals

Argyle (11-1) vs. Carthage (9-3) Friday 7:00pm Newsom Stadium, Mansfield: Argyle proved the doubters wrong last week with a convincing win over the one team who put a blemish on their record earlier in the season. Argyle's defense was simply dominating in a 40-24 win over Prosper. TCU verbal QB Austin Aune was sensational throwing for 317 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Eagles attack. Carthage which has won 20 straight playoff games comes in as a bit of an underdog to some, but the young Bulldogs are peaking at the right time. Last week they made quick work of an athletic North Forney squad winning 31-12. The Bulldogs passing game looks to be coming around at the right time as QB Blake Bogenschutz threw for 245 yards and four touchdown passes, two going to Edward Pope. If Carthage can get the play action game going their balance will be tough for Argyle to contain. On paper this looks like an closely contested game, but Carthage has the edge with their playoff pedigree. Stepp's Pick: Carthage by 5

Van Alstyne (9-3) vs. Gilmer (12-0) Friday 7:30pm City Bank Stadium, Forney: Of the four teams who have advanced to this round, clearly Van Alstyne is the mystery guest at the party. The Panthers are a bit underrated as they have one of the best rushing attacks in the state led by Jordan Barnes who has put up some eye popping numbers. He runs behind a big and physical OL led by Alex Mayes and Conner Mayes who are among the top lineman in their respective classes. Gilmer hasn't been blowing people away, but this Buckeyes team despite losing QB Luke Turner to an injury earlier in the year has been extremely consistent. Last week Gilmer got a big test but passed it with flying colors taking care of Van 57-40. QB Jordan Traylor who had played receiver for GHS prior to Turner's injury had a big night throwing for 274 yards and four touchdowns, Traylon Webb was his main target as he 140 yards receiving and three scores. Rice commit Darrion Pollard had a touchdown rushing and receiving as well. Gilmer's secondary will need some work especially if they want to continue on their run, but Van Alstyne's game is not throwing the ball so it'll be strength on strength. Look for Gilmer's balance and playoff experience to play a key role. Stepp's Pick: Gilmer by 21



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