• Greg Wille

AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Preview capsules of tonight's games for Temple, Belton and Salado

By GREG WILLE

TempleBeltonSports.com

gwille2@hot.rr.com


– DISTRICT 12-6A –

BRYAN VIKINGS (2-0, 1-0) at

TEMPLE WILDCATS (3-1, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Wildcat Stadium

Last week: Bryan 28, Harker Heights 21; Temple 55, Copperas Cove 21

Last meeting: 2017 – Temple 42, Bryan 7

Game notes: Temple's fifth game of the season is only its second home game, but beginning with tonight's homecoming game, coach Scott Stewart's Wildcats will play four of their final six regular-season contests at Wildcat Stadium. . . . The Temple-Bryan winner will keep pace in the District 12-6A standings with unbeaten Killeen Shoemaker (4-0, 2-0), which beat Killeen on Thursday. Belton also would move to 2-0 in league play with a home win over Copperas Cove. . . . Temple outscored host Cove 24-0 in the game's first 9 minutes a week ago and then outscored the Bulldawgs 24-0 after halftime. Allowing 21 second-quarter points was the Wildcats' only blemish. . . . Humberto Arizmendi has passed for 744 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season as Temple's starting quarterback, but he's thrown three interceptions in the last two games and the Wildcats' opponents have turned all three into TDs. . . . After being limited to 20 rushing yards in Temple's season-opening win over Longview, junior running back Samari Howard has rushed for 111, 173 and 142 yards in the last three games against Magnolia West, Arlington Martin and Copperas Cove. He rushed for three touchdowns and three 2-point conversions at Cove. Howard also has made 14 catches for 147 yards and one TD. . . . Temple is getting strong production from receivers AJ McDuffy (13 catches, 182 yards, four touchdowns) and Mikal Harrison-Pilot (18, 187, two). Senior McDuffy and sophomore Harrison-Pilot made a combined three touchdown receptions vs. Cove. . . . Temple's defense permitted only 179 yards last week and just 68 in the second half. . . . Sophomore linebacker Taurean York paces the Wildcats with 35 tackles. . . . Bryan comes to Temple with some momentum, having made a late fourth-and-goal defensive stand at home to stave off Harker Heights for a district-opening win. . . . Factors relating to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Vikings of veteran coach Ross Rogers from playing games against The Woodlands College Park and Montgomery Lake Creek, so their second game came three weeks after their season opener. . . . Talented dual-threat sophomore quarterback Malcom Gooden is sparking Bryan's offense. He's passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 217 yards and three TDs. . . . Junior Hunter Vivaldi, grandson of Bryan's head coach, leads the Vikings with 10 catches for 179 yards and two TDs. . . . Senior cornerback Kenny Collins and junior linebacker Nic Caraway are among the leading players on a Bryan defense that gained significant experience by using a slew of sophomores during 2019's 2-8 season.

COPPERAS COVE BULLDAWGS (1-3, 0-1)

at BELTON TIGERS (1-3, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Field

Last week: Temple 55, Copperas Cove 21; Belton 33, Killeen 26

Last year: Belton 62, Copperas Cove 40

Game notes: Belton picked a great time to win its first game of the season and notch its first victory with first-year head coach Brett Sniffin. Against host Killeen in last Thursday's District 12-6A opener at Leo Buckley Stadium, the Tigers led 19-9 at halftime and later 26-9 before the Kangaroos surged back to create a 26-26 deadlock. But Belton senior quarterback Ruben Jimenez rushed for a go-ahead 17-yard touchdown in the final minute and Trent West sealed the Tigers' victory with an interception. . . . A win by Belton tonight in its 12-6A home opener would keep the Tigers tied for the league lead with Killeen Shoemaker and the Temple-Bryan winner. . . . Despite missing the game at Midland Lee, Jimenez has 510 passing yards and six touchdowns and 307 rushing yards with four scores. . . . Tigers senior running back Maurice Reed has been stellar, rushing for 526 yards and two TDs. . . . Belton's most productive receivers are junior Bryan “Itty” Henry (15 catches, 221 yards, two TDs) and senior Kanyn Utley (19, 194, one). . . . Belton linebackers Sam Ramirez and Joe Sniffin share the team with 24 tackles apiece, and juniors West and Aaron Bain have two interceptions each. . . . Copperas Cove seeks to get back on track after its lopsided home loss to Temple in last Friday's district opener. The Bulldawgs of first-year head coach Jason Hammett trailed 24-0 after 9 minutes, then responded by outscoring the Wildcats 21-7 in the second quarter before Temple scored the game's final 24 points. . . . Cove junior Shane Richey (373 passing yards, 204 rushing yards) is an effective dual-threat quarterback but left the Temple game with an injury and didn't return. Senior Russel Cochran played the rest of the game at QB. . . . Senior Brandon Ortega (313 yards) is the Bulldawgs' leading rusher. . . . Senior linebacker Kendal Parker tops Cove's defense with 31 tackles, and junior Tyrese Carter returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown vs. Temple.

– DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION II –

No. 6 SALADO EAGLES (7-1, 3-0)

at JARRELL COUGARS (1-7, 1-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday, Cougar Field

Last week: Class 4A Division II No. 10-ranked Salado 28, No. 6 China Spring 14; Waco Connally 56, Jarrell 22

Game notes: After earning consecutive high-profile wins in showdowns against Waco Connally and state-ranked China Spring, Salado tonight has the opportunity to clinch at least a share of the District 9-4A Division II championship with a win at Jarrell. Because coach Alan Haire's Eagles have head-to-head wins over the aforementioned two teams tied for second place, they also would secure the league's No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Division II playoffs with a victory tonight. . . . Both Salado and Jarrell are playing for the ninth consecutive week and will make it 10 straight next week before finally getting an open date. . . . Salado's Slot-T offense continues to be an imposing weapon, racking up 3,057 rushing yards (382.1 per game) on the strength of a hard-blocking line and a bevy of skilled backs. Noah Mescher paces the attack with 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns, Reid Vincent has 792 yards and five TDs, do-it-all standout Wrook Brown has rushed for 468 yards and 10 TDs on only 42 carries and sophomore Caden Strickland – the only non-senior among the running back corps – has 457 yards and nine scores. . . . Salado's defense has allowed a combined 35 points in its last four games and 277.1 yards per game overall. . . . Six Eagles have made 48 tackles or more: Brown (70), Kofi Stoglin (64), Josh Huckabee (56), Lucas Morvant (53), Peyton Miller (51) and LaTrell Jenkins (48). . . . Coach Amos Davidson's Jarrell squad grabbed its first win of the season with a 30-27 decision two weeks ago at Robinson, but the Cougars couldn't keep up with Connally last week in a 34-point loss. . . . Even if Jarrell loses to Salado, the Cougars could seize one of the district's four playoff berths by winning at Gatesville next Friday. . . . Derrick Warren powers Jarrell's offense with 1,122 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

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