Top 5 high school football games to watch in West Texas in Week 1

Here are our top high school football games to watch in West Texas during the first week of the 2022 season:

1. Coleman in Mason

Let’s kick off the 2022 high school football season by watching some of the top teams in the state at the Puncherdome in Mason. Coleman is ranked No. 9 in Class 2A Division I, while Mason is ranked No. 13. It is believed to be their first game since they met Mason in the second round of the 2004 playoffs, winning 33-6. Coleman returns 15 starters. From a team that went 11-1 and won two playoff games. Among the returnees are dual-threat junior quarterback Jadin Jackson, who accounted for more than 1,834 total yards last year, and senior Ryland Gentry, a running back (870 rushing yards, 13 TDs) and linebacker (113 tackles). Mason returns 10 starters from last year’s 9-2 team that lost its playoff opener. It was only the second time since 2007 that Mason failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Punchers are led by junior running back Ryne Todd, who rushed for 928 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Mason’s defense allowed 11.6 points per game last season, but Coleman’s defense was even tighter at 6 points per contest. This is a great test for both teams where points could be at a premium despite all the offensive talent on the field.

Choice: Coleman 21, Mason 14

2. Eldorado in Cristobal

Beau Jolly (2) rushes the ball for Christoval during their game against Eldorado on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

It has been a great district rival over the last few seasons. The year ended when Christoval readjusted to Class 2A Division 1, but they didn’t have to wait long to play again. Christoval is ranked No. 17 in the state, while Eldorado is ranked No. 18 in 2A D-II. Both teams return six starters, but Christoval appears to have the edge in experience as the Cougars return their quarterback, Kyle Lohman, and continue with seventh-year head coach Casey Otho. Eldorado is replacing its quarterback and learning under first-year head coach, Chad Tuttle. The Eagles are riding the pace of their most successful season in 71 years after reaching the third round of the playoffs, while Christoval heads into the offseason with a dunk in a one-point first-round playoff loss. Last year, Christoval pulled off a stunning 46-22 victory in this game when Eldorado was ranked No. 8. The Eagles should keep it close this time, but Christoval will be hard to catch.

Choice: Cristoval 26, Eldorado 20

3. The Wall in Eastland

Wall quarterback Drew Morrison (12) runs the ball against Eastland during the season opener Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, at Maverick Stadium in Eastland.

These teams are often the best in their classifications, and that honor will be fulfilled this fall despite each program coming off sub-par seasons by their standards. Wall was 5-5 last year, while Eastland was 6-6, but each is ranked in the top 25 in Class 3A Division II — Wall at No. 18, Eastland at No. 23. They have played Eastland eight times. Wall has won every time, including a 15-14 playoff win in 2011, and a 28-21 win last year. The Mavericks return six starters on each side of the ball, though they will have to find a new quarterback. Wall returns eight starters on offense and 10 on defense, but the Hawks will also have to replace their QB, with All-West Texas fullback Dominic Garcia. This should be a close-fought game, but Eastland is going to prove they can get the best of Wall before picking up another win in this rivalry.

Choice: Wall 28, Eastland 17

4. Garden City vs. Turkey Valley (at Zeton)

The Garden City Bearcats hold up their helmets in celebration after a win.

This looks to be easily the best six-man game of the week. Each of these teams has aspirations of making a deep run in the Class 1A Division 1 playoffs. Valley went 9-4 last year and reached the state quarterfinals, and the Patriots return five starters on offense and four on defense. Garden City returns all but one starter from a 7-4 team that lost in the first round (but also showed what it can do with a win over eventual state champion Westbrook). These two teams have what it takes to put in a playoff-caliber game in Week 1.

Choice: Garden City 50, Turkey Valley 46

5. Ballinger in Sonora

Sonora High School's Jaime Buitron (20) looks upfield as he breaks through a hole in the Ballinger defensive line during a District 2-3A Division II football game Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, at Ballinger's Bearcat Stadium.

The game was a down-to-the-wire thriller last year with Ballinger coming close to the goal line in a 28-21 loss that allowed the Broncos to leave town with a share of the district title. Both the teams have managed to win playoff games. This time the rematch will have no title or playoff implications, but is a continuation of the long-standing rivalry between these schools dating back to the 1920s. Sonora was rejoined in Class 2A Division I in the offseason, but the Broncos could have an advantage in 3A D-II Ballinger because Sonora returns 15 starters, including the 1-2 punch of quarterback Jaime Buitron and running back Hunter O’Bannon. Ballinger has just nine lettermen returning after a big hit from graduation as the Bearcats begin a new era under head coach Ty Lang. Ballinger also has wins over programs like Jim Ned and Llano over the last two seasons, so the Bearcats’ ability to pull off an upset shouldn’t be overlooked.

Choice: Sonora 31, Ballinger 21

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.