Last week served as the first full week where just about every school in El Paso back in action. Districts 1-6A and 1-5A got underway, while District 2-5A was in its second week. There were some surprises and a few close games last week, but there are a number of games that could have major playoff implications down the line.
Here are a few games to watch in El Paso this week.
District 1-5A: El Paso Andress (2-2, 1-0) at El Paso Bowie (3-1, 0-1) (6:30 p.m. MST Thursday, Baty-Simmang Memorial Stadium)
The matchup between these two ended up being pivotal in deciding who came away with the District 1-5A title. The Bowie Bears intercepted a hail mary pass from Dominique Smith in the end zone to come away with the 23-19 victory that helped spring the Bears season.
This year, both of these teams are looking to get things righted a bit. Andress defeated El Paso High 49-19, but it was a game that the Eagles looked a little slow to start off. Meanwhile, the Bears are coming off a tough loss to El Paso Burges in their district opener. With their ground-and-pound style, the Bears will look to shorten the game in what should be a good one on El Paso’s South Side.
District 1-6A: El Paso Montwood (4-0, 1-0) vs. El Paso El Dorado (2-2, 1-0) (7 p.m. MST Friday, Socorro ISD Student Activities Complex)
This game has quickly turned into one of the Sun City’s budding rivalries. These two are usually two of the best in the district and there’s usually much at stake.
Montwood has looked like the best team in El Paso at 4-0. Head coach Ariel Famaligi is hoping to be back fully healthy on Friday after sitting out three of his starting receivers last week. Andrew Fernandez and Tyreese Andrus are one of the strongest quarterback-wide receiver duos in the state, and the Rams defense will be tasked with stopping one of the best athletes in the city.
Cedarious Barfield (1,466 total yards, 15 total TDs) leads the Aztecs on offense and the San Diego State commit is a dynamic playmaker. In last week’s comeback win over Eastwood, El Dorado may have found another weapon in the running game in Seth Davis (134 yards rushing last week). It was a shootout the last time these two teams played and all signs indicate there will be another one at the SAC on Friday night.
District 2-5A: El Paso Parkland (4-1, 2-1) at El Paso Del Valle (4-1, 3-0)(7 p.m. Friday, Conquest Stadium)
This classic 2-5A matchup pits strong offense against strong defense.
The Parkland Matadors have continued their torrid pace on offense this season, averaging 654.8 yards of offense and 50.4 points per game. They’ll have one of the state’s top running backs in Deion Hankins (1,307 yards, 14 TD) and senior quarterback A.J. Briggs has shown great improvement as well.
On the other side, Del Valle has arguably the strongest defense in the city, only allowing 49 points in five games, including three shutouts. They will face the best offense they’ve played all year at home on Friday and could have a big say in the District 2-5A title race.
District 1-6A: El Paso Eastwood (1-3, 0-1) at El Paso Franklin (1-3, 0-1) (7 p.m. Friday, Cougar Stadium)
These two teams may be 1-3, but it’s also a reflection of the tough out-of-district competition that these two teams have played. They each played Odessa Permian and have also played teams like Copperas Cove, Midland Christian and Midland High. Franklin won this matchup by one last season and ended up being the difference between who was in or out of the playoffs.
Eastwood is looking to bounce back after losing a second half lead to El Dorado. After coming back at the start of the season, quarterback Seth Ochoa is ready to lead the Trooper offense with a number of offensive weapons.
Franklin is coming off of a tough loss to Pebble Hills in a game that really got away from the Cougars in the second half. Quarterback Chris Kelley runs the offense and also has a number of targets to go to in receivers Gabe Stonewall and Khatib Lyles and a reliable runner in Seth Dominguez.
In a game that’s expected to be a shootout, this one could come down to who can make the big defensive play.
District 2-5A: El Paso Eastlake (3-1, 2-0) at El Paso Bel Air (2-3, 2-1) (7 p.m. Friday, Highlander Stadium)
In another intriguing District 2-5A matchup, Eastlake travels to a tough Bel Air team that blew out Canutillo and lost to Parkland last week.
The Eastlake Falcons are all about speed and explosiveness, but they may be without star receiver Ivan Avina, who recently had surgery on an injured finger. Led by quarterback Justin White, he’ll lean on running back Ezekiel Jones and 6-3 receiver Emilio Rios to come up with explosive plays.
For Bel Air, they lean on quarterback Isaac Ybarra. The dual-threat signal caller has had a good year and also has a steady defense to back him up. This game turned into a wild shootout at the SAC last season. Will be the story be the same this time around at Highlander Stadium?
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