Photo via TexasHSFootball.com

Every year there are a handful of heavyweight non-district clashes that pack stands and determine who drops in the rankings and who rises.

The UIL determines districts in the state, so the coaches determine non-district games. While examining teams for season previews, we’ve come across a handful of games that are can’t-miss matchups

Some of these aren’t traditional matchups or old rivals. These 4A non-district games are based on last year’s results and this year’s projections.

Sept. 1

Geronimo Navarro at Giddings

Don’t let Navarro’s 37-21 win in this contest last year fool you. The Panthers had a 14-1 season with a state semifinal appearance. Giddings was young and went three rounds deep — and both teams lost to eventual state champ West Orange-Stark in the playoffs. This year Navarro travels to Giddings, which is a tough place to play, and Giddings will be a top 10 team this year in Division II.

3A Cameron Yoe at Bellville

Yoe will be a favorite to win the Class 3A Division I title — not long ago they were a 4A school in attendance and only recently dropped down. Bellville is good almost every year, and this year will be no exception. The Yoemen won this meeting, 33-10, last year at Bellville’s “Pasture of Pain.”

Monahans at 3A Wall

Monahans won this matchup last year convincingly, but this year the Loboes must travel to Wall, which made it to the state semifinals in 2016. Though Wall is 3A, they can probably hang with the 4As.

3A Mineola at Van

Van made it to the state quarterfinal in 4A DI last year while Mineola went on to a 3A DI state championship. These East Texas schools will clash again. The Vandals won last year’s game, 41-21.

Sept. 8

Giddings at Wimberley

Both teams will look to move and shake in the playoffs this year. Wimberley is looking to avenge last year’s 24-13 loss at Giddings, and this year they get the Buffaloes at home.

Sept. 15

Argyle at Celina

Old-school tradition meets the new school in this battle, which newbie Argyle won, 43-14, last season. Celina returns a plethora of talent and Argyle, which missed the state title game after three-straight trips, will be loaded again. Argyle is Division I and Celina DII, but just like records, throw those out the window for this one.

Silsbee at Jasper

These two rivals first played against each other in 1922 and have been in the same district for what seems like 100 years. Thanks to the UIL’s separate divisions, they’re not in the same district anymore — Silsbee is DI and Jasper DII. Thanks to geography, they can still play in non-district and keep the rivalry going. And thanks to their projections in 2017, they make the list of 4A non-district games to watch. Last year Silsbee pulled out a 20-19 win.

Bellville at Stafford

Stafford (DI) and Bellville (DII) have played over the years, but not as often as one might expect. Both teams had solid performances in 2016, and both have high expectations in 2017. Stafford reloads from a team that won this game, 42-0, on the field last year but later had to forfeit.

Sept. 22

Abilene Wylie at Argyle

Argyle’s only loss in 2016 was to Wylie in the third round of the playoffs. The two were supposed to play in Week 4 last year but the game got cancelled. Argyle missed the state championship game for the first time since 2013 last year. Who took their place? That would be Abilene Wylie. To top things off, this will be Argyle’s first home game after two neutral site contests and a road trip to Celina. Think this game will be packed? You bet.

Wimberley at Fischer Canyon Lake

Wimberley went three rounds deep in the playoffs last season and Canyon Lake got bounced in the first round. Canyon Lake is projected to have a very good team this year and Wimberley is the traditional power. Wimberley won this meeting last year, 31-21, but this year the Texans hit the road.

Sept. 23

Carthage at Gilmer

The football gods must’ve made this two-year matchup. This could perhaps be the best game of the year in Texas, regardless of classification, or maybe even regardless of non-district or district. Both teams have lofty state championship expectations, and they can’t meet in the playoffs as Carthage (DI) and Gilmer (DII) will go in separate directions. Oh, the names in this game will light up the scoreboard. Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram has committed to Texas and Gilmer quarterback Poppy Brown is downright dazzling. The whole state might be scoreboard watching this night, and the stands are guaranteed to be packed with standing room. Carthage won last season, 55-37.

Oct. 6

Kennedale vs. West Orange-Stark (at Nacogdoches)

These schools are five hours apart in a car; probably even longer in a bus. It’s rare to have such late-season non-district meetings, and even more rare to have one of this caliber. Kennedale made it to the Division I state semifinal last season while West Orange-Stark won its second-straight Division II title. WOS must replace a lot of defensive talent while Kennedale returns seven players who combined to rush for 5,300 yards. WOS won this meeting last year, 45-21, also at a neutral site.

Andrews at 5A Lubbock Coronado

Like many other teams in West Texas, non-district scheduling becomes a problem for Andrews, which went three rounds deep in 2016. They play up in 5A, and on the road, to a Coronado team that also went three rounds deep. Coronado won this meeting, 49-28, last season.

 

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