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Corpus Christi High School Football: A preview of players to watch, top games in Week 8

Quinton Martinez Len Hayward Rey Castillo
Corpus Christi Caller Times

GAME OF THE WEEK

CALALLEN AT MILLER

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Buc Stadium

Records: Calallen 4-2, 1-0; Miller 4-2, 1-0

Last week: Calallen 52, Tuloso-Midway 13; Miller 73, Alice 42

Broadcast: TV — KDF. Video Stream — RioSportsLive. Radio — KKTX-AM 1360; CatsiRadio.com.

Live coverage: Twitter — Quinton Martinez (@qmartinez); Annie Rice (@annierice_photo)

Miller's quarterback Andrew Body runs ball during the second quarter of their game against Alice at Memorial Stadium in Alice on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.

Three key players

Miller QB Andrew Body 

Body, who recently passed 10,000 career passing yards, has been one of the top signal callers in the Coastal Bend the last few years after surging onto the scene as a freshman. Though many of his offensive pieces have changed from last season, Body has been just as effective and the Bucs have increased his usage on the ground.  

Calallen RB Jeremiah Earls

Earls was on pace for a huge season before he was injured against Waco La Vega, after which he missed two games. But even with weeks on the sideline Earls is still among the area's leading rushers. His physicality combined with his speed makes him tough to stop and he will likely be one of the key focuses of Miller's defense on Friday.

Miller LB JayShawn Trimble

Though Miller's offense has been nearly as potent as it was last season, the defensive numbers have not been as strong, forcing the Bucs to win several higher-scoring games than last season. The Bucs will have to prove they can slow Calallen's rushing attack and Trimble, the leader of Miller's defense, will need to be a big part of it. 

Calallen vs Kerrville Tivy on Friday, Oct. 2.

Three key storylines

Stopping the run

The Bucs will need to show they can be physical enough to slow Calallen's Wing-T that has quarterback Terik Hickmon and running backs Epi Hinojosa and Marvin Beasley playing well along with Earls. Miller failed its first real test against a top rushing attack in a 44-41 loss to Rockport-Fulton. The Bucs' chances will hinge on making strides to slow Calallen's vintage offense.

Stopping the pass

Calallen has faced two schools that put the ball in the air more than 25 times. Jourdanton threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, but the Wildcats came away with two interceptions in the game and held the Indians to negative rushing yards. Calallen fared better against G-P, holding them to 12 of 27 passing for 111 yards. Teams have not been able to stop the Miller passing attack the last two seasons, but if Steve Campbell's defense can force turnovers and make the Bucs work for anything they get, Calallen will be in good shape.

Experience

The Wildcats have been playing in big games for decades under Phil Danaher and defensive coordinator Steve Campbell. Although Miller has acquitted itself well in the last two seasons, including wins against Flour Bluff and Veterans Memorial, is that enough to take down the power from the Northwest side of town that won't panic regardless of the score? 

Texas High School Football:Calallen's Earls keeps Wildcats in the running

Veterans Memorial faces King in a football game, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, at Cabaniss. Veterans Memorial won, 57-20.

THIS WEEK'S GAMES

DISTRICT 15-5A DIVISION I

GREGORY-PORTLAND AT VETERANS MEMORIAL

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Cabaniss Multipurpose Stadium

Records: Gregory-Portland 1-2, 1-1; Veterans Memorial 3-0, 2-0

Last week: Gregory-Portland 50, Carroll 20; Veterans Memorial 61, Victoria East 7

Live coverage: Twitter — Rey Castillo (@reycastillo361)

Broadcast: Video Stream — RioSportsLive. Radio — KBSO-FM 94.7 (Veterans Memorial), KEYS-AM 1440 (Gregory-Portland).

What you need to know: Veterans Memorial is clicking on all cylinders through the first month of the season. The Eagles have scored at least 57 points in all three games and the defense had its best performance of the season, holding Victoria East to seven points. Quarterback Carter Senterfitt and receiver Cameron De La Pena (18 catches, 440 yards, six TDs) have connected for big play after big play and Senterfitt has also been a running threat in the red zone with seven touchdowns. Gregory-Portland bounced back from an 0-2 start with a big win in the Battle of the Bridge. Kaleem Gholsby is the area's second-leading rusher (385 yards) among Class 5A programs. G-P QB Gage Gleinig is a threat to run and throw and has several receiving threats in Brian Harris and Conner Durril.

VICTORIA EAST AT FLOUR BLUFF

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Hornet Stadium

Records: Victoria East 1-2, 1-1; Flour Bluff 2-0, 1-0

Last week: Veterans Memorial 61, Victoria East 7; Flour Bluff 49, King 28

Broadcast: Video Stream — Flour Bluff Sports Information on YouTube. Radio — KSIX-AM 1230; KSIX-FM 95.1.

What you need to know: Flour Bluff quarterback Nash Villegas made a splash in his second varsity start, throwing for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns in the Hornets win against King. The Hornets had two 100-yard running backs (Matthew Martinez, Jose Martinez) and two 100-yard receivers (Rayden Campbell, Aidan Featherby) in the win, amassing 577 yards. Victoria East found little success against Veterans Memorial, scoring once in a one-sided loss. Sophomore Jadon Williams and Latavian Johnson both played for the Titans at quarterback and running back Alan Jimenez was limited to 31 yards on 12 carries in the loss.

Moody faces Beeville in their season opening football game, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, at Buc Stadium. Moody won, 46-43.

DISTRICT 15-4A DIVISION I

PORT LAVACA CALHOUN AT TULOSO-MIDWAY

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Warrior Stadium

Records: Calhoun 5-1, 1-0; Tuloso-Midway 3-3, 0-2

Last week: Calhoun 56, Beeville 35; Calallen 52, Tuloso-Midway 7

Broadcast: Video Stream — TM Athletics on Facebook

What you need to know: Tuloso-Midway is looking to bounce back after last week’s loss to No. 5 Calallen but faces another tall task in No. 4 Calhoun. The Warriors have lost two straight games after capturing three consecutive wins against Robstown, Ray and Ingleside. The Sandcrabs have averaged 39 points a game behind fullback Steve Johnson, who has rushed for 1,167 yards and 15 touchdowns. First-year quarterback Jarius Stewart is another threat in the Sandcrabs’ backfield with 813 yards on the ground and 15 touchdowns. The Warriors will have to stop Calhoun’s option offense that combined for 568 rushing yards in a district-opening win over Beeville.

BEEVILLE AT ALICE

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Alice Memorial Stadium

Records: Beeville 2-4, 0-1; Alice 0-2, 0-1

Last week: Calhoun 56, Beeville 35; Miller 73, Alice 42

Broadcast: Alice: Radio — KOPY FM 92.1; Video — Alice ISD on YouTube. Beeville: Radio — KTKO FM 105.7; Video – Kicker 106 FM on Facebook

What you need to know: Beeville coach Chris Soza will travel to Alice Memorial Stadium to face his former team for the first time since leaving the program in 2016. The Trojans have lost two consecutive games to Moody and Calhoun. Beeville’s lone win came against Somerset on Sept. 18. Jalen Spicer has caught 21 passes for 434 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback William Harper has passed for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. Alice is searching for its first win after opening the season with losses to Class 4A Division II state finalist Wimberley and district rival Miller. The Coyotes began their season Sept. 7 after coaches and athletes were tested for COVID-19. Both teams are still searching for their first district wins. The Coyotes are led by quarterback Jacob Guzman and RJ Salaiz.

DISTRICT 15-4A DIVISION I

HIDALGO AT KINGSVILLE

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Javelina Stadium, Kingsville

Records: King 0-3; Hidalgo 1-0

Last week: San Diego 15, Kingsville 14; Hidalgo 32, Grulla 0

What you need to know: Kingsville opens District 16-4A Division I play at home against Hidalgo. The Brahmas are still searching for their first win after starting the season 0-3. Kingsville came close in a 15-14 loss to San Diego last week. The Brahmas have received solid production from quarterback Sergio Gonzales, who passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns against the Vaqueros. Jesse Salinas and Dorian Arredondo have also made big plays early for the Brahmas. Hidalgo has only played one game against La Grulla and won 32-0.

Sinton faces Rockport-Fulton in a football game, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Sinton. Sinton won, 54-35.

DISTRICT 16-4A DIVISION II

SINTON AT WEST OSO

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Bear Stadium, Bear Ln at Flato Rd, Corpus Christi

Records: Sinton 3-3, 1-0 in district; West Oso 2-5, 0-1

Last week: Robstown 18, West Oso 10; Sinton 54, Rockport-Fulton 35

What you need to know: The Pirates earned a statement win last week against Rockport-Fulton and look to have the inside track to a district title and the top seed in the district. West Oso, meanwhile, is coming off a loss to Robstown where two interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Sinton’s defense could be tested by Bears quarterback Eddie Garza and Jalen James, and West Oso will look to stop a Sinton offense that rolled up nearly 500 yards rushing last week.

ROBSTOWN AT INGLESIDE

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Mustang Stadium, 2807 Mustang Ave., Ingleside

Records: Ingleside 5-1, 0-0; Robstown 1-4, 1-0

Last week: Robstown 18, West Oso 10; Ingleside was open

What you need to know: The Mustangs open district play facing a Robstown team that won its first district game in seven years, thanks to two interception returns for touchdowns. The Mustangs rely on their run game for production as three backs have more than 250 yards and is averaging more than six yards a carry.

Refugio plays George West on Friday, Sept. 4.

FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cameron De La Pena, Veterans Memorial — De La Pena has more than 400 yards receiving in three games and has been a gamebreaker for the Eagles this season.

Antwaan Gross, Refugio — The two-way star for Refugio has caught 20 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Jaxon Mabile, Ingleside — Mabile is second on the team in rushing with 283 yards, averaging more than 8 yards a carry and leads the team with 57 tackles, including six for loss.

Manny Pina, Bishop — Pina threw two touchdown passes in the win over Hebbronville last week and faces another stout defense this week in San Diego.

Sean Suarez, Taft — In a game that could be a defensive slugfest, Suarez’s ability to throw could be key for the Greyhounds against Odem.

Taft football holds practice at Taft High School on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

THREE AREA GAMES TO WATCH

BISHOP AT SAN DIEGO

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Vaqueros Stadium, 4571 FM 1329, San Diego

Records: San Diego 1-1, 0-0 in 16-3A Division I; Bishop 1-0, 0-0

Last week: San Diego 15, Kingsville 14; Bishop 28, Hebbronville 20

What you need to know: This is the district lidlifter for these teams that have had delayed starts to the season. Both are coming off wins as San Diego topped Class 4A Division I school Kingsville last week, and Bishop opened its season with a win on the road against Hebbronville. Bishop quarterback Manny Pina threw two touchdown passes, including a game-clinching TD on fourth down late in the game against the Longhorns. San Diego’s Hector Gaza III is averaging 65 yards on two kickoff returns this season.

TAFT AT ODEM

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Owl Stadium, 1000 Cook Ave. Odem

Records: Taft 5-2, 0-0 in 16-3A Division II; Odem 4-3, 0-0

Last week: Taft 8, Premont 7; Odem 47, Falfurrias 6

What you need to know: This San Patricio County showdown could be a battle for the zone championship in this district. Taft and Odem are part of the North Zone with Skidmore-Tynan. This is also a battle of two teams that like to run the football. Taft is averaging 233.4 yards a game on the ground and is led by running back Jermiah Sanchez with 775 yards and 10 touchdowns. Odem is led by quarterback Hunter Dawson, who has rushed for 498 yards and five touchdowns and thrown for 504.

REFUGIO AT KENEDY

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Lion Stadium, 300 FM 719, Kenedy

Records: Refugio 6-0, 2-0 in 15-2A Division I; Kenedy 4-1, 2-0

Last week: Refugio 51, Three Rivers 7; Kenedy 44, Bloomington 0

What you need to know: This is a battle for the top spot in the district as the two teams are a combined 10-1 this season. Refugio has been blasting opponents all season, outscoring its six opponent 265 to 54 and rolled up 2,425 yards of total offense. Kenedy’s lone loss was in the season opener against Skidmore-Tynan (20-18) and has picked up wins against Woodsboro, Taft, Freer and Bloomington.