Photo: Courtesy of Grant Freeman

There isn’t much action in North-Central Texas this week, with many teams taking their bye week. There’s still a handful of decent matchups however, headlined by a storied cross-city rivalry:

Wichita Falls (2-3, 0-1) vs. Wichita Falls Rider (2-3, 1-0) (10/6) Memorial Stadium

Rider and “Old High” meet up for the 55th all time meeting on Friday, with this contest featuring possible playoff implications. Neither team saw much success in non-district play — with both dropping three games during that portion — though Wichita Falls strung together back-to-back wins for the first time in two seasons under first year coach Grant Freeman. Rider has an early lead in 5-5A, winning their district opener against Sherman last week.

With Denton Ryan as the favorite to win the district, postseason placement becomes even more important. Rider played through a tough non-district schedule (two of the Raiders three losses came against currently undefeated teams), but still recorded a respectable 27.5 points per game. Wichita Falls will need to find a fast fix for their defense against this usually potent offense, allowing 34 points per game in five games, including last week’s 55-21 loss to Denison in their district opener.

Last Result: Wichita Falls Rider 50, Wichita Falls 16 (2016)

Seymour (5-0) @ Hawley (3-2) (10/6) Forrest Field

The Panthers continue their strong season, moving to 5-0 for the first time since 2013 with a 16-10 win over a Munday squad who appears to be getting their groove back. Seymour’s 16 points was the fewest scored so far this season, but the defense was strong, holding the Moguls to their fewest scored points this season as well.

Hawley so far is a case of a team potentially being better than what their win-loss record shows. The Bearcats are 3-2, but those two losses are respectable ones — losing by 10 to an always potent Hamlin team, and running into a buzzsaw last week with Mason. Despite this, Hawley’s offense has performed well so far, finding ways to keep afloat with an above .500 record. Most of Hawley’s games have been relatively close so far, they’ll need the defense to keep this one within range as well.

Last Result: Hawley 48, Seymour 21 (2016)

Windthorst (2-3) @ Anson (3-2) (10/6) Tiger Stadium

Speaking of teams potentially being better than their record shows, these win-loss records wouldn’t really jump out, but one could make the case both of these teams’ losses were respectable ones — and that it would be surprising for either of these teams to miss the playoffs. Anson hit a bit of a skid, dropping back-to-back games against Tuscola Jim Ned and Albany; however, the former is one of the more quickly improved teams in 3A, and Albany is always a force at the 2A level. The Tigers did right their record with a three point win over Roscoe last week.

Windthorst is actually slightly improved from last season, with two wins compared to only one this time in 2016. The Trojans losses came on a 10 point defeat to a strong Henrietta team in the opener, an eight point loss to a quickly improved Jacksboro team, and an eight point loss to a now improved Munday squad. When Windthorst’s offense is on their game, they’re a sight to behold; the Trojans scored an average of 31 points per game so far, including 47 and 42 point victories. Anson’s defense has allowed an average of 37.6 points per game in 2017, but can the Tigers hold strong before a home crowd?

Last Meeting: Windthorst 52, Anson 48 (2016)

Crowell (4-1) vs. Turkey Valley (3-1) (10/6) Dick Todd Field

Crowell suffered their first setback of the season last week against a strong Happy team 74-16; despite this the Wildcats have been a powerful team in 2017, scoring an average of 63 points up until last week. Valley’s one loss was also against the Happy Cowboys, an 84-56 defeat in week three.

The Patriots offense is just one step behind Crowell’s, having scored 54 points per game including their loss. Unless the Wildcat defense can wow the home crowd, look for this one to be a classic six-man shootout.

Last Result: Crowell 84, Turkey Valley 80 (2016)

Newcastle (2-3) vs. Knox City (4-1) (10/6) Bobcat Field

12-1A DI play seems uncertain with competition beginning next week. Saint Jo and Forestburg both sport 4-1 records, but Bryson and Newcastle could still be threats despite their records. In perhaps the biggest game for district teams this week, the Bobcats will look to bounce back against a quality team, dropping last week’s contest to Throckmorton 42-32. Newcastle’s offense still performs well, scoring an average of 36.4 points per game so far.

The Bobcat defense will need a fast fix with the potent Knox City offense coming to town. The Greyhounds, who defeated Throckmorton the week prior 92-42, are successful this season behind a unit averaging 61.6 points per game. Despite the losses against Gordon and Throckmorton, Newcastle kept them close with a combined score margin of 16 points. The defense will need to keep this one close as well to give the offense an opportunity.

Last Result: Knox City 38, Newcastle 28 (2016)

Saint Jo (4-1) vs. Throckmorton (1-4) (10/6) Harley Sewell Field

In the other 12-1A DI matchup this week, Saint Jo closes out their non-district schedule with a Homecoming matchup against a Throckmorton team which seems to have their confidence in place. The Panthers are rolling under first year coach Derek Schlieve: After dropping the season opener to a tough Tioga bunch, Saint Jo rattled off four straight wins, scoring an average of 60.5 points in those wins. The current streak was capped off by the Panthers first win over Savoy in five outings 62-38.

Throckmorton had to wait an additional week for their first win on the season, but the Greyhounds did get that win last week, topping a decent Newcastle team 42-32. Throckmorton did easily handle the Panthers last season, but with Saint Jo’s instant success under a new coach, could the tables turn? Or can the Greyhounds string together consecutive wins for the first time in two seasons?

Last Result: Throckmorton 51, Saint Jo 6 (2016)

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