The winner of this game has won the district six of the last seven seasons. That will likely be the case again with Navarro and Wimberley taking the field tonight.

“It’s obviously a very exciting game. Wimberley and Navarro has kind of become somewhat of a new rival,” Navarro coach Les Goad said. “It is a big game for both communities and we realize how strong a tradition Wimberley (has) and Navarro has been strong the last few years and (is) trying to reach that level.”

From 2010-12, Wimberley had Navarro’s number with three straight wins and three straight district championships. But Navarro turned the tables in 2013, winning every game since, while taking three consecutive league titles from 2014-16.

“It seems like anytime we play it has some championship implications on the line,” Wimberley coach Doug Warren said. “When we get together it’s typically a really, really good football game and two good teams that have been going at it for a while now and have become pretty good rivals so there is a difference in the air about it.”

Back To The Future

Navarro runs the old slot-T offense, a relic in today’s modern game, which Goad learned from Texas High School Coaches Association Hall-of-Famer Bruce Bush at Gregory-Portland. Goad helped install the offense at Liberty Hill for Jerry Vance, who won two state championships with it. When Goad took over at Navarro in 2007, he immediately ditched the spread the team had been running for his slot-T and the Panthers have been competing for district titles since.

“It’s tough because they do such a great job of executing it,” Warren said. “It’s not particularly the offense, per se, because there’s other teams that run it and we see it but it’s the way that they execute it, the physicality they bring to it and they just do such a good job over there of teaching their kids and coaching their kids, and their kids do a great job of executing out on the field so that’s what makes it tough.”

December 9, 2016 – Navarro running back Tanner Law (20) looks for an opening in the first half during the Texas state 4A Div. II semi-final playoff game between West Orange-Stark and Navarro at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. West Orange-Stark leads at halftime 35-0. (Image Credit: John Glaser)

The beauty of the slot-T rests in giving the ball to multiple ball carriers going different directions through a series of fakes. This makes it very tough to react accordingly. The Panthers have four players averaging at least 47 yards rushing with senior quarterback Will Eveld (661 yards, 6 TDs), junior running back Chris Gomez (542 yards, 5 TDs), senior running back Will Reyna (387 yards, 7 TDs) and senior fullback Tyler Law (332 yards, 3 TDs).

Some slot-T coaches love to talk about how the offense gives them an advantage because opponents aren’t used to defending it in this age of spread attacks. But Goad doesn’t believe that will be the case since Wimberley has a long history of playing slot-T teams like Liberty Hill and Canyon Lake. He does hope the offense successfully eats the clock and keeps the Texans’ explosive offense, led by senior quarterback Jordan Weeks (135-of-217, 2,393 yards, 27 TDs, 1 INT), off the field as much as possible.

“They have such a great passing game. They have tremendous skill players. It gives us the opportunity to hopefully control the clock a little bit to keep some of their skill players off the field,” Goad said. “(Wimberley has) really grown up a lot. They were young for the last couple of years. Their quarterback and their passing game is tremendous, and they’re big and physical and they just seem to be playing with a whole lot of confidence right now.”

Navarro has outscored opponents 66-7 in the first quarter this year, but Wimberley has already proven that they’re not fazed by any sort of deficit. The Texans fell behind 13-0 to rival Canyon Lake only to score 20 straight points in a 20-13 win. The next week, they entered the fourth quarter down 14 to Fredericksburg but came back to steal one in overtime, 37-34.

“I learned that these kids believe in each other, believe in the system. They never wavered when they found themselves down by a couple touchdowns in any of those games. They just kept hanging in there and playing,” Warren said. “I like this team that we have. They’re fighters. They’re going to do everything that you ask them to do and they’re fun to be around, and like I said, they’re is never any quit in these young men.”

Game Time

The two schools hook up this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Texans Stadium in Wimberley.

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