Week 2 proved to be another exciting week of action for El Paso area teams. Week 3 provides one final tune-up before district play and the start of District 2-5A play in El Paso County. Here are some of the games to look out for this week.
Odessa Permian at El Paso Eastwood
In one of the most anticipated games in El Paso, the Permian Panthers make the long trip west to take on the Eastwood Troopers in what should be a raucous atmosphere. The MOJO have looked good so far in the early stretch with wins over Austin Vandegrift and El Paso Franklin. Senior quarterback Steve Steen and company will look to come out of the Sun City with a victory.
Meanwhile, the Troopers ran away from rival Bel Air 67-20 in a game that got heated with several penalties. Head coach Julio Lopez and his bunch will look to avenge a loss that changed the outlook of their season with Seth Ochoa going down for the year. Speaking of the senior quarterback, there is a good chance that he and sophomore Chris Castaneda split time under center and how that position is managed could have a big impact on the final outcome.
Last Result: Odessa Permian 55, El Paso Eastwood 34 (2016)
Eastlake at Parkland
The opener in District 2-5A for both teams should prove to be another exciting showdown. Eastlake is looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Chapin Huskies. Do-it-all playmaker Ivan Avina will have to be a big performer for the Falcons while quarterback Justin White will look to clean up some mistakes he made from last week.
As for the Parkland Matadors, the offense will still revolve around running back Deion Hankins. The junior already has six rushing touchdowns in two games this season and he’ll look to have another strong performance against Eastlake this season. Senior quarterback AJ Briggs will face his biggest test yet but will have playmakers to go to on the outside. Will this turn into a shootout like last year? Only time will tell.
Last Result: Eastlake 60, Parkland 49 (2016)
Pebble Hills at El Paso Chapin
Pebble Hills looks like one of the most improved teams in Year 2 of its young program history. The Spartans got their biggest win to date over Andress last week and now take on another District 1-5A contender in Chapin. Caleb Gerber (367 yards, 3 TD rushing) has been a standout playmaker for Pebble Hills and will face a tough challenge in a stingy Husky defense.
Meanwhile, the Chapin Huskies have seen improvement on offense from quarterback Anthony Baird but they will mainly try to establish the run with big bruising running back Matthew Zubiate (6-3, 240 pounds). The Huskies also have playmakers that can make an impact in space that include Christian McKeever and Will Williams.
Last Result: Chapin 37, Pebble Hills 7 (2016)
Burges at Montwood
The Burges Mustangs have flown under the radar as a 2-0 team but head coach Neal Routledge has a strong offense to work with. Quarterback Matteo Serrano will look for his favorite target in Christian Yeager (223 yards receiving, 4 TD) while countering with an aggressive defense.
Meanwhile, the Rams have simply been torching opponents on offense, averaging 64 points and 660 yards per game early in the season against out-of-town competition. Andrew Fernandez has been an absolute beast as a signal caller (543 yards and 11 TD passing, 273 yards and 2 TD rushing) as has receiver Tyreese Andrus (7 TDs). As they get their final tune-up before district play, they’re one of the favorites to take home the District 1-6A title in 2017.
Last Result: Montwood 35, Burges 14 (2016)
Austin at Clint
In what may be one of the best early turnaround stories in the state, the Austin Panthers are now 2-0 after suffering a 25-game losing streak. Head coach Eric Pichardo has done a great job getting his team motivated and believing with an old-school option attack. A win would give the Panthers their first 3-0 start since 2008.
Meanwhile, the Lions have been a consistently solid team in Class 4A in El Paso County. Like Austin, they play a similar ground-and-pound style and execute it very well. Head coach Rosvel Martinez will rely on strong leadership from running back Marco Martinez and Nate Lasyone.
Last Result: Clint 21, Austin 7 (2016)
BONUS: El Paso El Dorado at Midland Lee
El Dorado got a good bounce back win last week over Wolfforth Frenship. Cedarious Barfield looked to be his old self and the defense was able to get enough stops in the end to hold off the Tigers. He’ll look to his favorite go-to receiver in Cameron Hill as the Aztecs continue a brutally difficult five-game stretch to open the season.
Meanwhile, Midland Lee has looked very strong during its 2-0 start, winning in blowouts over El Paso Coronado and Abilene High. Even with quarterback Sema’J Davis graduating, the Rebels have ridden a high-powered offense led by running back Josh Traylor (421 yards, 7 TD). Quarterback Caleb Standard also has done a good job of cutting down mistakes and he’ll need to do that again in a game that appears to be heading to another shootout.
Last Result: El Paso El Dorado 62, Midland Lee 35 (2016)
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