Class 4A Playoff Bracket Preview/Predictions
By PAUL LIVENGOOD
No. 15 Liberty Hill (7-3) vs No. 37 Beeville Jones (9-2)
Prediction: Liberty Hill 38, Beeville Jones 35
The Panthers have their work cut out for them against Beeville Jones. Why? In a loss against China Spring, the biggest mismatch for the Panthers was the size of the Cougars receivers. The Trojans match that size and talent with senior wide receiver Waydale Jones. The 6-foot-5 receiver leads the team with 1809 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns on the year. The Trojans junior quarterback, Justin Gomez, has thrown for 3551 yards, 44 touchdown passes, and only 13 interceptions this season. The Gomez-Jones hookup will prove difficult to defend for a Panthers secondary which has been exposed by pass heavy offenses in Burnet, Lampasas, Gatesville, etc. Eliminating as many big plays in the passing game as possible will be the Panthers number one concern. On the flip side, the Panther offense will play a crucial role in keeping the Trojans’ high potent offense off the field. If Liberty Hill can chew up the clock and put together long, time consuming offensive drives, it’ll give the Panthers a big advantage in playing keep away from Gomez and Jones. This game should be a high scoring shootout, but I give the nod to the Panthers simply because being more battle tested throughout the season. The Panthers have played four teams in the top 50: No. 2 La Vega, No. 3 China Spring, No. 35 Burnet, and No.41 Gatesville. The Trojans haven’t played any top 50 ranked 4A-1 teams but have competed against No. 26 Sinton (4A-2), in a 55-45 loss.
No. 3 China Spring (10-1) vs No. 61 Grulla (7-4)
Prediction: China Spring 45, Grulla 7
China Spring outmatches Grulla in every facet of the game. Not only are the Cougars more battle tested, but the only loss this season for the Cougars is a 17-10 game against No. 2 ranked Waco La Vega. Outside of that game, the Cougars average margin of victory is 36 points per game. China Spring’s size and speed in their skill positions will help them dominate this game against the Gators. The winner of this matchup will play the winner of Liberty Hill and Beeville Jones. Assuming China Spring wins this game, the potential rematch with Liberty Hill would be intriguing, but also a matchup with the high potent offense of Beeville Jones would make for a fun offensive shootout as well. Football fans couldn’t lose either way.
No. 16 Taylor (8-3) vs No. 43 Somerset (9-2)
Prediction: Taylor 35, Somerset 21
Taylor has played better competition, beaten better teams, and even defeated a mutual opponent that Somerset was shut out by. Somerset lost to Boerne 21-0, while Taylor defeated in a 15-7 matchup. Both Somerset’s loss and Taylor’s victory were on the road in the same stadium. The game will be tight in the beginning, but Taylor will pull away in the second half. The Ducks consistently come out of halftime strong and finish games off well. In the past three games, 98 of the Duck’s 140 points scored has come in the second half. 55 of the 140 have come in the fourth quarter alone.
No. 2 La Vega (11-0) vs No. 54 Rockport-Fulton (8-3)
Prediction: La Vega 56, Rockport-Fulton 3
It’s a battle of the Pirates! Unfortunately for Rockport-Fulton, those Pirates don’t stand a chance toe-to-toe with the Pirates of La Vega. La Vega has dominated 4A high school football all season long, with no losses in their record thus far, and that won’t change at this juncture. The defending state champs are going to make a deep run into the playoffs, and will not face competition up to their level until the later rounds of the tournament. Expect to see the Pirates move onto the next round, the Pirates of La Vega, that is. The winner of this matchup will play the winner of Taylor and Somerset. The only team that has come anywhere close to defeating La Vega was China Spring, but the Pirates still took that matchup 17-10. La Vega is the class of 4A football, and Rockport-Fulton is about to that find out Friday night.