Class 4A Games To Watch In Week One

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Photo via John Glaser,

Class 4A in the state of Texas has the best of both worlds; whether you like small town football or don’t want to travel too far out of the city to catch some action, 4A football accommodates all.Here are some of the top games coming up this weekend with at least one from each region:

Pampa vs. Littlefield (9/1) Harvester Field

Pampa returns an explosive offense from last season’s area finalists, making the Harvesters strong 1-4A DI title contenders. Back under center is QB Brandon Steward, who lit up scoreboards all across the Panhandle region with 4,008 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2016. One of his top targets returns too, TE/WR Darrell Fields hauled in 1,078 yards receiving and 10 total scores last season, three on the ground. The defense will be young however, as only four starters return; back on this unit is LB Bradey Porter. Porter racked up 178 tackles in 2016, averaging nearly 15 per game.

Littlefield engineered a deep playoff run in 3A DI last season, but may have some rebuilding to do as only eight total starters return. The Wildcats look to be a run-oriented team, led by RB Chris Douglas (1,281 yards rushing, 15 TDs). RBs Antqwon Griggs, Isaiah Rios and Jimmy Riddley could also take some snaps in 2017.

Last Result: Pampa 57, Littlefield 31 (2016)

Princeton @ Celina (9/1) Bobcat Stadium

Princeton returns 12 total starters from last season, including a steady stable of offensive support. QB Brendon Strickland (1,324 yards passing, 8 TDs), WR Alex Flores (665 yards rushing, 9 TDs) and ATH Jacob Purdon (325 yards passing, 359 yards rushing, 4 TDs) return for the Panthers on offense, and LB Elmer Cruz (119 tackles) is back on defense.
Celina looks to be stout once again in 2017, as 14 total starters return for the perennial playoff favorites. Not only does the offense return a pair of potent rushers in Ismael Ortiz (829 yards rushing, 11 TDs) and Ryan Nebeker (402 yards rushing, 6 TDs), a pair of gritty linemen, C Charlie Rose and G Cooper Buchanan, return to protect them up front.

Last Result: Princeton 42, Celina 27 (2016)

West Columbia @ Sweeny (9/1) Bulldog Stadium

West Columbia qualified for the playoffs last season, but stand a chance to improve on their 5-6 record with the return of a whopping 17 total starters. Jarrett Brown moves over from defense to take over under center, and he’ll have a potent rusher to work with in RB Keithan Taylor, who averaged 10 yards per rush in 2016.

Sweeny will need to restock in the skill positions, but experience in the trenches and on defense should assist in that effort. DLs Michael Willer (39 tackles) and Josh Ellis (49 tackles) return up front for the Bulldog defense, while FS Jordan Johnson (68 tackles, 4 INTs) and CB Bryce Williams (51 tackles) lead the secondary.

Last Result: West Columbia 24, Sweeny 7 (2016)

Taylor vs. Robinson (9/1) Memorial Stadium

Taylor claimed the 14-4A DI title and won a playoff game in 2016, and the return of 14 total starters bodes well for the Ducks. Back on offense is QB Ryan Gardner, who exploded onto the scene with 1,961 yards passing, 657 yards rushing and 36 total touchdowns. Also back is WR Andre Jones (344 yards receiving, 4 TD) and OL Ramon Martinez (18 pancakes). LB A.J. Zarate exploded onto the scene as well on defense, recording 134 tackles as s sophomore.

Robinson returns six starters on offense, including WR Braxton Ashcraft (104 catches, 2,080 receiving yards) and RB Isaiah Houston (737 yards rushing, 381 yards receiving), but will need to break in a new quarterback.

Last Result: Robinson 62, Taylor 46 (2016)

Glen Rose @ Grandview (9/1) Zebras Stadium

Glen Rose experienced quite the rollercoaster ride last season; after an 0-4 start the Tigers swept district competition and engineered a deep playoff run. The return of 11 total starters bolsters hopes of improving on their record in 2017. While offensive talents like RB Westen Halcom (772 yards rushing, 13 TDs), WR Tyler Torres (547 yards receiving, 6 TDs) and TE Davis Shackelford (309 yards receiving, 5 TDs) return, GR will need to find a new signal-caller.

Grandview returns nine starters from a stingy defense in 2016, led by LB David Villa (117 tackles, 2 sacks) and LB Dylan Moore (83 tackles, 6 sacks). While the offense returns only four starters, two of those are a dynamic pass-catch duo: QB Landon Moon tallied 2,580 total yards and 35 touchdowns, while WR/CB Kamron English (461 yards receiving, 6 TDs; 51 tackles, 4 INTs) is a threat on defense as well.

Last Result: Grandview 47, Glen Rose 21 (2016)

Tatum @ Arp (9/1) Tiger Stadium

Tatum hit a very rough patch in 2015, unable to win a single game in the season, the first time in a long time for the Eagles (1962 to be specific). First year coach Craig Barker was quick to improve the team however, rebounding to a 7-4 record and a playoff appearance. The return of 10 total starters bodes well for the Eagles continued resurgence. Back under center is QB O.B. Jones (860 yards passing, 200 yards rushing), a threat in the air and on the ground. Also back is RB Cedric White (1,345 yards rushing, 16 TDs), forming a potent backfield duo.

Arp was one win away from a state title appearance, but will have lots of rebuliding to do in 2017 with the return of only seven total starters. Back among the five starters on offense is OL Blake Hays, who started all 15 games as a sophomore up front, and he’ll be protecting RB Demontrea Wade (1,200 yards rushing, 12 TDs) among others. DB DeMarvion Overshown is only one of two returning starters on defense, but he’s a beast on this side, having racked up 173 tackles, four sacks, and five interceptions.

Last Result: Tatum 24, Arp 14 (2016)

Giddings vs. Geronimo Navarro (9/1) Buffalo Stadium

Giddings postseason streak is now at three, having reached the fourth round in 2016. The return of 10 total starters has the Buffaloes eyeing four in a row. The defense will be especially stout this season with the return of six starters, including a strong line featuring Mason Tyler (23 tackles, 4 TFL) and Richard Rogers (89 tackles, 9 TFL). RB Tavion Page (306 yards rushing) is back to lead the offense.

Navarro was one win away from a state title berth last season, and has some rebuilding to do if the Panthers hope for another deep playoff push. Four starters return on offense, including district offensive MVP Will Eveld (1,488 yards passing, 21 TDs) back under center. Eveld will be protected up front by C Garrett Dietert (90 percent grade, 8 pancakes) and Wyatt Tate (16 pancakes). Back to lead the defense is a pair of potent linebackers with Tyler Law (141 tackles, 6 sacks) and Will Reyna (53 tackles).

Last Result: Geronimo Navarro 37, Giddings 21 (2016)

Devine @ Boerne (9/1) Boerne ISD Stadium

Devine won the 14-4A DII title last season, and 11 total starters make the Warhorses the favorites to repeat. Back under center is QB Connor Schmidt, who will be protected up front by a pair of stout offensive linemen with Marcus Burford-Zawahreh and Christian Arredondo, who graded out at 93% and 94% respectively.

Boerne can improve upon last season with the return of 13 total starters, as well as a transfer to provide additional backup up front; OL/DL Caelan Keenan (137 pancakes) moves in from Argyle, where he earned honorable mention all-state honors last season. Back under center is QB Brooks Klutts (2,230 yards passing, 23 TDs), and he’ll also have a pair of talented skill players back with WR Douglas Hodo (41 catches, 626 yards receiving) and RB Colton Pool (889 total yards).

Last Result: Boerne 55, Devine 12 (2016)

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