AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW CAPSULES: TEMPLE, BELTON AND SALADO
By GREG WILLE
– NON-DISTRICT –
ARLINGTON MARTIN WARRIORS (1-1)
at No. 23 TEMPLE WILDCATS (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Wildcat Stadium
Last week: Martin 37, The Woodlands College Park 0; Temple 28, Magnolia West 13
Game notes: After two long road trips and two wins, Temple rides a wave of positive momentum into its long-awaited home opener at Wildcat Stadium, where head coach Scott Stewart's Wildcats will play a game for the first time in 11 months. Temple had dominated the second halves of its two games thus far, outscoring state-ranked Longview and Magnolia West by a combined 37-0 after halftime en route to a pair of victories by at least 15 points. . . . The Wildcats certainly face a difficult test against Martin, which went 11-2 last season and reached the Class 6A Division I Region I semifinals before losing to eventual state runner-up Duncanville. Coach Bob Wager's Warriors bounced back from a season-opening 47-24 loss to 5A D-I No. 1-ranked Denton Ryan to dominate College Park 37-0 a week ago in Groesbeck, where the teams met only two days after the game was scheduled because their original opponents couldn't play due to COVID-19 reasons. . . . Temple senior quarterback Humberto Arizmendi has passed for 418 yards and six touchdowns against one interception in his first two games as a starter, tossing two TDs to Luke Allen and one each to Mikal Harrison-Pilot, Samari Howard, AJ McDuffy and Tr'Darius Taylor. . . . Howard helped get Temple's rushing game going by running for 111 yards and two TDs a week ago at Magnolia West. . . . Sophomore linebacker Taurean York leads the Wildcats with 22 tackles, junior “boom” safety Jaden Jackson made a team-high 10 tackles vs. Magnolia West and junior free safety O'Tarian Peoples has had a hand in three turnovers through two games. . . . Temple begins defense of its District 12-6A championship next Friday at Copperas Cove. . . . Martin features a trio of NCAA FBS commitments in quarterback Zach Mundell (Army), outside linebacker Morice Blackwell (Texas) and safety Placide Djungu-Sungu (Duke), while junior defensive end Ernest Cooper IV has scholarship offers from programs such as Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and Notre Dame. . . . Mundell, a dual-threat QB, has passed for 24 TDs and three interceptions in the last two seasons. . . . Cal Robinson and Cydd Ford lead Martin's corps of wide receivers. . . . Blackwell paces the Warriors with 19 tackles. . . . Martin has advanced to the playoffs in all 14 previous seasons with Wager as head coach and has seven years of 10-plus wins during his career.
BELTON TIGERS (0-2) at No. 18 MIDLAND LEE REBELS (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Grande Communications Stadium, Midland
Last week: Round Rock 35, Belton 33; Lee 31, Amarillo Tascosa 21
Game notes: It's on the road again for Belton, which plays the second of its three consecutive road games. The Tigers of first-year head coach Brett Sniffin are aiming to bounce back from a tough defeat last week at Round Rock. Belton rallied back from a 28-0 deficit to get within 35-33 before the host Dragons in the game's final seconds blocked a short field goal that would have given the Tigers a dramatic victory. . . . Belton begins its seven-game District 12-6A schedule next Thursday at Killeen. . . . Senior quarterback Ruben Jimenez has been a dual-threat weapon for the Tigers' offense, passing for 389 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 230 yards and two TDs. He's complemented by senior running back Maurice Reed (187 rushing yards), and Jimenez's top receiving targets include senior Kanyn Utley (10 catches, 131 yards) and junior tight end Bryan “Itty” Henry (seven receptions, 120 yards). . . . Senior linebacker Joe Sniffin made 11 tackles in his Belton debut last week, and junior safety Trent West has 11 tackles and an interception. . . . Lee went 11-2 last season and reached the 6A Division I Region I semifinals before losing 49-27 to Southlake Carroll. This season, coach Clint Hartman's Rebels have outscored Amarillo and Tascosa by a combined 85-61. . . . Lee is picked by Texas Football magazine to win the District 2-6A championship. . . . After passing for 3,735 yards and 48 touchdowns and adding 12 rushing TDs in 2019, senior QB Mikey Serrano leads a Lee offense full of playmakers. He's passed for 342 yards and five TDs and rushed for 95 yards and a score. Makhilyn Young (220 yards, two TDs) and Shemar Davis (175, three) form a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield, and Christian Romero (16 catches, 189 yards, four TDs) is Serrano's go-to receiver. . . . Linebacker Wesley Smith leads Lee's defense with 23 tackles.
– DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION II –
SALADO EAGLES (5-1, 1-0) at
WACO CONNALLY CADETS (3-2, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Mac Peoples Stadium, Lacy-Lakeview
Last week: Salado 63, Gatesville 3; Connally 49, Robinson 7
Last year's meeting: Connally 28, Salado 21
Game notes: Salado brings significant momentum into one of biggest challenges of the season. Coach Alan Haire's Eagles have won four straight games since a home loss to two-time defending state champion Grandview, and they dominated Taylor and Gatesville by a combined score of 112-6 the last two weeks. . . . Salado's customary Slot-T rushing attack continues to churn out huge chunks of yardage, averaging 408.3 ground yards per game. Senior backs Noah Mescher (897 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Reid Vincent (730, five) rank second and third, respectively, among area players in rushing yards, and sophomore Caden Strickland has 404 yards and eight TDs. . . . Kofi Stoglin, Wrook Brown, Lucas Morvant and Josh Huckabee are the leading tacklers for a balanced, improving Salado defense that hasn't permitted a touchdown in its last two games. . . . After going 12-1 last year and reaching the 4A Division II Region II semifinals, coach Shane Anderson's Connally program was picked to win the 9-4A D-II title this year by Texas Football magazine. . . . The Cadets' powerful rushing attack is led by all-around star Kavian Gaither (691 yards, five touchdowns) – also a top defender at safety – and Tre Wisner (384, six). . . . Connally first-year starting QB Tyler Webb is committed to Idaho.
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