The Jasper Bulldogs head into Friday nights matchup versus Center going for their sixth consecutive district crown, but it won't be easy. Both teams are undefeated in district play with 3-0 records and Center brings with them an "Air Raid" offense and a strong running attack led by all-star running back Keamondre Horace.
Jasper comes in as heavy favorites as a top ten team in Texas 4A, head coach Darrell Barbay expects a battle for the district crown.
"We're excited for the opportunity," said Barbay, who's had the top job at Jasper since 2012.
"Both teams are undefeated (in district), Friday nights game will be one of our better tests this year. Our kids are excited and it's good for our program."
Jasper is rolling with three straight wins over district foes Shepard, Huntington, and Tarkington, averaging nearly 50 points per win. the Bulldogs will rely on their run game with all-district candidate Montavien Hunt at running back along with sidekick Carl Limbrick.
"We're going to try and control the ball and limit their possessions," said Barbay.
"Thats one way to stop them is not let them touch the ball. Our philosophy is to run the ball, run the clock, play great defense, and make sure they don't touch it. Offensively we feel like we can score."
The winner Friday night will get the all important number one seed going into next weeks playoffs and the Bulldogs are a confident team as they look at another post-Thanksgiving playoff run.
"If you're going to get to Dallas you're going to have to beat whoever you run into. You're either going to run into them in the second, third, or fourth rounds to get there. It's going to be nice for us to play for the district championship but we're going to face whoever we need to face at some point. Our kids are confident."
A Friday night win would give Barbay his 64th win at Jasper and 144th overall in nineteen years as a head coach.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm at Bulldog Field in Jasper.
Click on the play button below to listen to the podcast interview with Jasper HC Darrell Barbay.
Crosby Football was down and out in late September. The Cougars had just lost their third consecutive game and seven out of their last eight venturing back to last season. Then new coach Jerry Prieto started to see a change.
"It really started with the (week 2) Manvel game," said Prieto, into his first season at Crosby.
"We started off 0-2 (on the season) but gained some momentum there. Even though we lost that game we controlled most of the second half. Unfortunately, after that game we had a bye and then our West Orange (Stark) game was cancelled."
With the two week layoff the Cougars would go into their district opener against Vidor ill-prepared for the Pirate "Slot T" offense and would lose 37-27. With Prieto's high-tempo offense the Cougars would rebound with a three game win streak over Dayton (44-0), Port Neches-Groves (13-7) and Sante Fe (42-12) before falling to Barbers Hill 28-7 two weeks ago.
The Cougars were clinging to the fourth district playoff spot at 3-2 and looking at their biggest home game in two years with Nederland coming to town. A loss to the Bulldogs would have dropped Crosby down to fifth place with one week left to go but the Cougars pulled out a dramatic double overtime 36-29 win.
The win propelled Crosby into a 3-way tie for 2nd place with Nederland and Port Neches-Groves, who play each other Friday night. Crosby still needs a win to advance, a loss Friday night against Baytown Lee will most likely end their season.
"We have to limit their big plays," said Prieto.
"Make them work harder than they are used to. That will be the key for us."
Baytown Lee brings with them the top dual-threat quarterback in the district in Ijenea Wooley (2,047 total yards). Kickoff is Friday at 7:30pm.
Click on the play button below to listen to the podcast interview with Crosby HC Jerry Prieto.