WEEK 5 PREDICTIONS: Picking winners for every Wichita Falls area high school football game
By Jonathan Hull, Wichita Falls Times Record News,2023-09-21
District play gets underway this week with 7-2A Division II teams starting the true hunt for a postseason berth.
On that topic, what better way to open this week’s picks than with the five district matchups we’re most looking forward to seeing over the next seven weeks.
Limiting this list to five was tougher than I thought it would be, and some very intriguing matchups were left off, including Archer City-Windthorst, Rider-Abilene Wylie, Henrietta-City View, Nocona-Alvord and Archer City-Electra.
All five of the games listed below are considered de facto district title matchups.
5. Benjamin at Crowell (Nov. 2) – It’s possible this game ends as another 45-point mercy-rule victory for Benjamin, but I don’t think it will. Benjamin doesn’t have the depth it did a season ago, and Crowell is vastly improved. We’re going to find out more about Crowell this week when they play Knox City.
4. Seymour at Windthorst (Oct. 27) – This matchup is almost always competitive, and it projects as a district title showdown, although Archer City earned a share of the 7-2A D-II title last year and could muck everything up.
Is this the year someone finally takes the district championship mantle completely away from the Trojans? Seymour has the best chance of doing so.
3. Graham at Hirschi (Oct. 5) – I’m only talking about this game from a football perspective. We all know the extra that happened at last year’s game, and I don’t believe it will be repeated.
These are the top two teams in District 3-4A Division II. It’s likely Graham is undefeated entering this matchup, while Hirschi will have had a couple more weeks to get its offense working. But the Huskies may field the best defense Graham will see until the playoffs.
2. WFHS at Decatur (Oct. 13) – These two met twice last season and both games were competitive. The regular season version was both great and controversial with Old High’s Ke’Ondrae Fleeks being called out of bounds on what might have been a game-winning touchdown in the game’s final minute.
Old High is winless right now, but that won’t be the case by the time these two meet. The Coyotes have played a sneaky strong schedule, and I have no doubt they’ll be ready to challenge Decatur for the District 4-4A Division I title.
1. Jacksboro at Comanche (Oct. 13) – There is no doubt this is a District 5-3A Division II championship game, assuming both teams stay healthy.
These two teams are so good that one coach in District 6-3A DII has told me, “We gotta finish first or second in district. You don’t want to play Jacksboro or Comanche in the first round.”
Stops will be at a premium, and the team with the ball last may win. Expect a playoff atmosphere at Indian Stadium on Oct. 13.
ON TO THE PICKS…
There are several teams idle this week, so the schedule is lighter than usual.
You can find the picks of the local media “expert panel” below, and yes, Cory Hogue has gained a two-game lead on me in the standings.
I blame former TRN Sports writer and current freelancer Zach Duncan.
No real reason why. I’ve just decided to make him the scapegoat for all my shortcomings in life.
WFHS 41, Iowa Park 13 – The Coyotes get their first win of the season and get rolling in the right direction. Old High is better than its 0-4 record, and I’m not just saying that. The Coyotes have played a tougher schedule than any of us thought it would be. Hereford and Plainview are both 4-0 against respectable competition. And outside of the season opener against Rider, the Coyotes have been competitive in every game.
Rider 26, Stephenville 22 – The Raiders learned a lesson last week, and quickly put it to use against Stephenville. I’m siding with a game with a moderate amount of scoring, which would also play more into Rider’s favor. Stephenville doesn’t mind a shootout, although the Jackets aren’t as high scoring as a year ago and have a 14-7 win over Everman on their resume.
Graham 48, Mineral Wells 14 – The Steers continue to cruise. We thought this team would be back to being a regional contender this season. As a reporter, it’s hard not to look to the future. Regardless of how this season ends up, I already expect the Steers to win the region next season. And it won’t be surprising if they do it this season.
Vernon 34, Burkburnett 20 – The Lions can get to 5-0 for the first time since 2013 with a win, and I like their chances of doing so. There’s only one game left on Vernon’s schedule – Jim Ned – in which it will be an underdog.
Childress 39, Bowie 19 – Give first-year coach Tyler Price and his Bowie coaching staff credit. The Rabbits were very competitive against Burkburnett last week and at least appear to be playing with confidence. But beating Childress is a tall order.
Jacksboro 52, Henrietta 37 – Jacksboro is averaging 50 points per game and hasn’t scored less than 42 points this season. Oh, and that game was called in the middle of the third quarter due to lightning, Henrietta is averaging 40 points per game, and Jacksboro does give up its fair share. But it’s hard not to take the Tigers in a shootout.
City View 37, Alvord 13 – This game was recently scheduled after City View’s original opponent – Atlas Homeschool – had at some point put the Mustangs and Alvord on its schedule for this week. So the two teams chose to just play each other instead. Alvord’s offense erupted for 59 points against Petrolia last week, but the Bulldogs will find that tougher against the Mustangs.
Nocona 46, Valley View 13 – Nocona should cruise to a 4-0 record. The game does provide some comparisons as Valley View has suffered losses to Nocona district mates Alvord (17-14) and Tioga (66-20).
Windthorst 28, Haskell 7 – Windthorst’s defense has played better than its offense the past two weeks, and that may continue to be true in this district opener.
Seymour 59, Munday 0 – I’m not comfortable predicting how many points Seymour could score against Munday. The Panthers scored 75 points against Quanah last week. They can name their score this week.
Electra 33, Petrolia 14 – PigskinPrep and other rating systems still haven’t caught up to how improved Electra is this season. The Tigers are listed as a 10-point underdog. I’d pick Electra to win even if Petrolia was fully healthy which it is not.
Hamlin 28, Quanah 13 – This is Quanah’s best chance at a win this season. It won’t surprise me if the Indians pull this one out, but my educated guess sides with the Pied Pipers.
Knox City 62, Crowell 30 – This projection shows respect for Crowell. Knox City has been mowing down some of the state’s better teams in the past two weeks. Crowell will offer the Greyhounds a challenge.
Newcastle 45, Northside 0 – Northside is undefeated but hasn’t played an opponent close to Newcastle’s level.
Bryson 52, Woodson 22 – The only quality opponent Woodson has played (Newcastle) won by the mercy rule. Bryson may execute it as well.
Saint Jo 48, Gold-Burg 46 – This is the toughest game to pick this week as these Montague County rivals appear evenly matched. I’m siding with the home team that’s also in the bigger six-man division.
Benjamin 45, Roby 0 – This one ends with the mercy rule at halftime.
Guthrie 42, Chillicothe 14 – No mercy rule, but it’s hard to pick Chillicothe to keep this one close.
Harrold 45, Lueders-Avoca 0 – Harrold goes to 5-0 and wins a third straight game by the mercy rule.
Whitharral 48, Throckmorton 40 – Throckmorton is a classic case of a good team that may be 1-3 after this week. Still, the Greyhounds should cruise to a district title and potentially advance in the playoffs.
Forestburg 44, Sherman Texoma Christian 20 – It’s so hard to get a read on six-man private school programs. This comes down to be more comfortable picking Forestburg and knowing who the Longhorns have played so far.