Pretty much any Texas high school football coach will say that if they’re still holding practices and studying an opponent’s game footage during the Thanksgiving holiday week, they’re doing something right.
That has been the case for two Galveston County teams this past week, as the Dickinson Gators remain alive in a loaded Region III-6A, Division I playoff bracket, and the Bay Area Christian Broncos march on to the next round in TAPPS, Division III postseason play.
Here’s a look at what each team faces this week.
DICKINSON VS. NORTH SHORE
• 1 p.m. Friday at Galena Park ISD Stadium
The Gators will have a daunting task at hand when they take on what is being called one of the best North Shore teams in that program’s storied history on the Mustangs’ home field (Dickinson hosted an area round playoff game against North Shore in 2016, and UIL rules dictate that if the two teams meet again within the span of two years in a playoff game after the first round, the previous visiting team gets to host).
Sophomore signal caller Dematrius Davis is already being heralded as one of the best quarterbacks North Shore has ever had, and he, along with lead back Zach Evans and top receiving target Shadrach Banks, will helm a well-oiled offensive machine that has averaged just over 55 points a game for the 11-0 Mustangs.
North Shore brings and equally impressive defense that has only surrendered an average of slightly less than a touchdown per game and has four shutouts on the season. Of the 73 total points the Mustangs’ defense has allowed, 40 of those came in two games: a 35-21 win in their season opener against state powerhouse Katy, and last week’s 56-19 bi-district win over Pasadena Dobie.
“They’re solid everywhere, and, you know, North Shore is North Shore,” Dickinson head coach John Snelson said after the Gators’ bi-district win last week. “They’re always talented, and coach (John) Kay and those coaches do an outstanding job of getting their kids to just play relentlessly, and we’re going to have to match that.”
To their credit, the 10-1 Gators have been impressive this season, as well. Dickinson’s 10 wins have been decided by an average score of about 45-10, with an absolutely wild fourth-quarter comeback by the Clear Springs Chargers representing the only blip on the Gators’ record.
Dickinson is also coming off an impressive bi-district playoff victory over a Pearland Oilers team that was 10-0 headed into the contest, recording a 49-21 win that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates. In that game, the Gators let their solid secondary led by D.J. Warnell go man-to-man with Pearland’s receivers, allowing for blitzes and constant pressure on Oilers QB J.D. Head.
On offense, Dickinson features a talent-rich passing attack with quarterback Mike Welch’s top options being one of the nation’s most heavily recruited tight ends in Jalen Wydermyer and a constant big-play threat in receiver Darryl Harris.
The winner of this game will move on to face the winner of the Katy-Jersey Village game.
BAY AREA CHRISTIAN VS. TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
• 5 p.m. Saturday at T.J. Mills Stadium in Sealy
Winners of eight straight and coming off a one-sided first-round playoff win last week, the district champion Bay Area Christian Broncos look to keep the good times rolling against a tough Texas School for the Deaf Rangers team out of Austin.
Both teams will look to move the ball down field on offense mostly through the run, although they’ll do so through highly contrasting methods.
The Broncos (8-3), led by the running back trio of Decapprio Selexman, Matthew Merritt and Andrew Brown, will line up tight in the slot-T and try to keep the Rangers’ defense guessing which direction the ball is going.
On the other side, the Rangers will operate their run-oriented offense out of the shotgun formation, with Preston Garrett getting the lion’s share of their totes on the ground.
Bay Area Christian head coach Les Rainey said TSD’s offense will be a tough one to stop and touted the Rangers’ defense (which will offer multiple different looks) as one with good speed and one that operates with a lot of discipline.
The Rangers (8-3) enter Saturday’s game winners of four straight, including a 59-21 rout of Houston Northland Christian in their first-round playoff game last week.
The winner of this game will move on to face the winner of The Woodlands Christian-Boerne Geneva game. Of note, The Woodlands Christian was in the same district as Bay Area Christian, and the Broncos eked by the Warriors, 14-6, in their district opener.