Teams burst into Week 8 of the Central Texas high school football season with playoff hopes and undefeated seasons on the line. Many of Friday night’s winners lodged footholds on the playoff ladder, while some losing teams might have seen the season slip away. Teams have either two or three games left on their schedules after Friday. Let’s take a look at what shook in district standings, and what teams preserved undefeated records.
Ball Hawks and Hippo Talk. The Hendrickson Hawks lost their first two district games before last week’s bye. Hendrickson entered a must-win home game against McNeil on Friday, and responded with a 36-28 victory. The win launched them into a fourth-place tie with Westwood in District 13-6A, after Stony Point upset the Warriors. With three games left on their schedule, winning out would make Hendrickson’s 1-4 overall start a distant memory, and redefine the season. After the Hutto Hippos dropped their first two district matchups, and the state playoffs seemed a hefty swim away. Hutto responded with a three-game win streak, however, and last night’s comeback win over East View pushed their district record to 3-2. Next week’s game versus 3-2 Rouse might decide who travels down Playoff Road, and who’s left stranded at Season-Over Station.
Snake Bites. The Vandegrift Vipers sought revenge for a playoff defeat to the Vista Ridge Rangers last year. The Vipers also owned the opportunity to push Vista Ridge to a 1-2 district record, while improving to 3-1. Vandegrift controlled the first half, taking a 17-7 lead into the locker room. Vista Ridge charged back to tie the game in the second half, but the Vipers responded with two unanswered touchdowns, notching a 31-17 win. Vandegrift, who started the season 1-4 overall, now enjoy a three-game win streak and find themselves trailing only Lake Travis in district standings. The San Marcos Rattlers experienced consistency problems in non-district play, and didn’t stand out as a favorite in District 14-6A. Last night’s overtime win at Del Valle, however, was the team’s third straight victory. The Rattlers placed themselves atop the district standings, tied with Anderson and perennial power Bowie. San Marcos looks to make the playoffs for the second straight season.
Timberwolves, Raiders, and Cougars, oh my! Three teams remained undefeated on Friday night, overcoming rugged challenges. The Cedar Park Timberwolves battled a powerful offense in the Georgetown Eagles, with Georgetown pulling to within one score on two separate occasions. Cedar Park immediately answered with quick touchdowns in both situations, and walked off with a convincing 41- 20 win.
The Pflugerville Connally Cougars trailed Rouse 19-0 at halftime, and it appeared Rouse might knock off its second undefeated opponent in as many weeks. The Cougars rallied, however, scoring on their first possession in the second half and chalking up two fourth-quarter touchdowns. An 80-yard fourth quarter drive in the waning moments provided the go-ahead touchdown, and Connally escaped with a 20-19 win. The Cougars clash against Cedar Park next week.
The Cedar Ridge Raiders encountered their toughest test to date, the Round Rock Dragons. Cedar Ridge had never beaten Round Rock in the program’s history, but first-year coach and former Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell changed the Raiders’ fortunes. A field goal gave Cedar Ridge a 16-14 lead as the first half expired, and an outstanding kickoff return to open the second half muscled control of the game. Round Rock’s explosive offense frantically tried to keep pace, but Cedar Ridge prevailed in the shootout, 51-43.