CRYSTAL BALL: Which football teams in Austin/San Antonio have the best shot of getting to state?
The Football postseason is upon us and several Austin/San Antonio area programs have a legit shot at bringing home the UIL State Title in their respective classifications.
Here are VYPE's Top 10 teams in no particular order.
WESTLAKE - What more can you say about a team that is currently on a 50 game winning streak. While they may not have the caliber quarterback that we came accustomed to over the last 2 years of Cade Klubnik, Westlake has found other ways to dominate under first year head coach Tony Salazar. The Chaps have found success in the trenches with an offensive and defensive line that can just wear teams out. They have also leaned on the receiver core of Keaton Kubecka and Jaden Greathouse as well as junior running back Paxton Land. However, these Chaps are not the world beaters of last year. They have been challenged a few times this year, but were still able to find ways to win. This could bode well for them on how to handle tough opponents in later rounds of the playoffs. Of all the teams on the list, this has to be the one with the greatest odds to win.
REGENTS - After their disappointing exit last year in the playoffs, Regents has once again found themselves with an undefeated season. Probably the most impressive thing about the team this year is that they are being led by Freshman quarterback Quinn Murphy. In his first year at the helm Murphy has thrown for 2,052 yards, 30 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. The Knights are also relying on their defense that has only allowing 8.8 yards a game
DRIPPING SPRINGS - Dripping Springs comes into the postseason at 9-1 with their lone loss coming to Westlake in which the Tigers were only down 6 to at one point in the 4th quarter. Austin Novosad has been one of the key components to the Tigers success in their first year in 6A. If you are asking me today I think the Tigers have a really good shot of making it to at least the Regional Finals where they would most likely find themselves in a rematch with their Week 1 opponent in Vandegrift. It's from there where things will get tough. If they get past Vandegrift again they would most likely see themselves facing Katy in the Semis and then in the state championship you figure DeSoto or Denton Guyer will be waiting for them.
VANDEGRIFT - Similar to Dripping Springs, Vandegrift has been dominant this season. After their Week 1 loss to the Tigers, Vandegrift has gone on to win each of their next 9 games only allowing more than 20 points once (a 30-22 win over Round Rock). The Vipers are loaded on offense with quarterback Brayden Buchanan having a multitude of weapons to choose from including Miles Coleman who has over 1,100 yards receiving on the year. It's hard to beat the same team twice so Vandegrift hopes to be able to get some revenge against Dripping Springs if both teams can make it to the Regional Finals.
SMITHSON VALLEY - In what could be considered a sneaky good team, Smithson Valley comes into the playoffs sitting at 9-1 with their lone loss coming to 12-6A District Champion Harker Heights. The Rangers who got bumped down to 5A after the most recent realignment and could very well make it to state this year when looking at Region 3 and Region 4. The biggest question mark coming for either team that makes it to state out of region 3 and 4 is could they hang with teams like Aledo or Longview that could come out of region 1 or 2.
LIBERTY HILL - The Panthers come into the playoffs doing what they always do, dominante the regular season in district. Currently sitting at 9-1, Liberty Hill has leaned on junior running back Noah Long who has been sensation for the Panthers running for 1,859 and 18 touchdowns and Ben Carter who has totaled 1,139 yards and 17 touchdowns. As always this team will go as far as their run game will take them. Their defense has had some shaky moments this season (see their loss in Week 2 to Hutto), but I feel like their defense has improved toward the end of the season. So if the offense can put up points the Panthers can finally rise the trophy for the first time since 2007.
LBJ - The Jaguars were bumped up into 5A during the most recent alignment and it may have been seen as a negative for them but not in the way you may think. In all honesty their district may have been worse last season than it was last year when they were in 4A. They only gave up 14 points in district and that was against one team; McCallum. Other than that they were challenged in their non-district schedule with losses to Manor and Parish Episcopal, but for the 6 games of the season they have not really been challenged. And that's not their fault in the slightest. That is something you can't ignore when thinking they could face teams like Montgomery in the Area Round and Fort Bend Marshall in the Regional Final. And that is the thing, we don't know how good this team can be. But here is what I do know if they can play to their potential, led by senior running back Sedrick Alexander, LBJ definitely has the chance to get back to the state title game this year.
BOERNE - As I have said all year, Boerne may be one of the best teams in the San Antonio area that could find themselves at state at the end of the year. Sophomore quarterback has had an explosive season throwing for 2400 yards and 37 touchdowns with his favorite target being his brother Braden. Boerne will have a tough out in Region 4 with teams like Calallen and Davenport in the way (I for one would love to see a Boerne vs Davenport matchup), and then after that teams like Chapel Hill and China Springs could be in their way for a state title.
WIMBERLEY - The Texans sit at 10-0 on the year and are led by sophomore quarterback Cody Stoever. With the loss of Cash McCollum after last season, it was unclear how the Texans would respond and rebuild. But Stoever has been a great addition to the Texan offense. The one thing that gives me pause about the Texans though is 2 of their last to wins were 1 score victories with a chance they could see one of those teams in the playoffs. Not only that but if they were to make the state championship, they would most likely be playing Carthage who seems to be back to it's old Carthage way.
POTH - Over the last few years there has been one team that has seemed like it was always right there and we were just waiting for them to take the next step. That team is Poth. Two years ago they were upset by Rogers and then last season they made it to the Regional Finals before losing to eventual champion Franklin. Their lone loss came on the last play to Shiner this year and their defense has come to play this season allowing less than 6 points per game. Their offense does seem to slow a little against good opponents so that will be something to watch, but with that being said of all the Pirate teams over the last few years this could be the one that breaks through and gets to the state title game.
OTHER NOTEABLE TEAMS: