Texas Panhandle games to watch: A breakdown of Thanksgiving weekend playoff showdowns
Class 6A Division II
The game: Tascosa Rebels (9-3) vs. Flower Mound Marcus Marauders (11-1).
When: 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls.
The coaches: Ken Plunk, Tascosa; Kevin Atkinson, Marcus.
How Tascosa got here: Beat EP Pebble Hills, 41-6, in bidistrict; Beat Arlington Bowie, 45-37, in area.
How Marcus got here: Defeated Keller Central, 34-7, in bidistrict; Defeated Lake Highlands, 36-27, in area.
The matchup: With a win against Flower Mound Marcus, Tascosa could tie Longview and Austin Westlake with seven playoff wins, which is the most in Class 6A Division II over the past two years.
The Tascosa ground game has been nothing less than spectacular, averaging 362 yards a game in two playoff wins. It starts up front with senior lineman Brandon Gonzalez (6-foot-1, 290 pounds), Logan Fulton (5-foot-9, 300 pounds and Sobhan Soleymani (6-foot-1, 230 pounds).
That trio has will not only make it their 28th consecutive start Saturday, and have paved the way for quarterback Joseph Plunk with his plethora of back. Plunk has been dynamic in two playoff games, rushing for 415 yards and seven touchdowns.
Marcus enters the contest on an 11-game win streak, with its lone loss to Arlington Bowie — which Tascosa beat in last week’s area round, 45-37 — way back in the season opener, 28-14 on Aug. 29.
Leading the charge is four-star quarterback Garrett Nussmeier (3,695 yards, 35 touchdowns), who’s the son of former NFL QB Doug Nussmeier. The 6-foot-0 junior has five Division I offers, including LSU and Georgia. Complimenting Nussmeier is three-star receiver, J.Michael Sturdivant, who had 1,076 yards with nine TD catches.
Class 4A Division I
The game: Dumas Demons (12-0) vs. Decatur Eagles (12-0).
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Where: PlainsCapital Park-Lowrey Field, Lubbock.
The coaches: Aaron Dunnam, Dumas; Mike Fuller, Decatur.
How Dumas got here: Beat Wichita Falls Hirschi, 22-17 in bidistrict; Beat Seminole, 23-15 in area.
How Decatur got here: Defeated Canyon, 55-28 in bidistrict; Defeated Mountain View, 69-0 in area.
The matchup: This is a matchup fans have been quietly clamoring for.
The No. 4-ranked Decatur Eagles take on the No. 5 Dumas Demons in a battle of unbeaten’s with a state quarterfinal berth on the line.
The Eagles, the District 4-4A champion, have yet to be tested in the postseason, beating Canyon and Moutain View by a combined score of 124-28.
Dumas on the hand, has had two tight games, rallying Wichita Falls Hirschi, 22-17, and holding off Seminole 23-15.
Fans will see a matchup of a great Eagles offense going against a sensational Dumas defense. Decatur is averaging 49.7 points a game, while the Demons are allowing only 140 yards passing, and 50 rushing.
Dumas will have to account for Decatur three-star quarterback, Roman Fuller. The Tulsa commit has 3,664 yards through the air with 40 TDs.
Class 3A Division I
The game: Bushland Falcon (10-2) vs. Brock Eagles (12-0).
When 3 p.m. Friday.
Where: Hawks Stadium, Iowa Park.
The coaches: Chad Worrell, Brock; Jimmy Thomas, Bushland.
How Brock got here: Beat Clyde, 24-0, in bidistrict; Beat Denver City, 55-14, in area.
How Bushland got here: Defeated Tornillo, 70-8, in bidistrict; Defeated Whitesboro, 34-10, in area.
The matchup: A prestigious Brock team is no stranger to deep playoff runs, making four trips to the state semi’s in the past five years, including a 2015 state championship. It will be Bushland’s toughest test to date, but the Falcons are undefeated for a reason with a potent offense and stingy defense. Quarterback Jared Thomas and his band of wide receivers will need a fast start against a Brock defense allowing only 10 points a game.
Thomas has thrown for 2,729 yards with 43 touchdowns. Skyler Jaco, Jackson Espe and Jake Orcutt have to keep pressure off Thomas. That trio has 2,083 receiving yards this year.
The Bushland defense is going up against a physical, smash mouth unit that loves to wear teams down. The Eagles, led by running back Cash Jones, have run for over 200 in playoff wins against Clyde and Denver City.
Class 2A Division I
The game: West Texas High Comanches (10-2) vs. Post Antelopes (12-0).
When: 4 p.m. Friday.
Where: Bobcats Stadium, Dimmitt
The coaches: Steven Flowers, WT High; Michael Pittman, Post.
How WT High got here: Beat Olton, 79-26, in bidistrict; Beat Seymour, 56-26, in area.
How Post got here: Defeated S. Fritch, 54-0, in bidistrict; Defeated Ozona, 28-0, in area.
The matchup: On paper, not many games any can top this one at the small school level. Both teams are having phenomenal seasons, led by explosive offenses.
West Texas High is averaging 456 yards a game, and scoring 50.9 points a game, which is tied for 19th among all UIL 11-man schools.
The Antelopes are averaging 402 yards a game, and 44.6 PPG. Post is also solid defensively, allowing only nine ppg, and haven’t given up a point in the playoffs.
Both teams are built around dynamic speed. Quarterback Avian Cruz is one of many speedsters on the Comanches squad. Cruz has been stellar this year, throwing for 2,274 yards, rushing for 1,305 yards with a combined 48 touchdowns.
Post counters with a speedy running back of its own in Ashton Jefferson. The junior has totaled 1,586 yards on the ground with 17 TDs.
Class 1A Division I
The game: McLean Tigers (11-1) vs. White Deer Bucks (10-2).
When: 6 p.m. Friday.
Where: Bulldogs Stadium, Borger.
The coaches: Clint Linman, McLean; Justin Rucker, White Deer.
How McLean got here: Defeated Happy, 54-8, in bidistrict; Defeated Spur, 54-8, in area.
How White Deer got here: Beat Petersburg, 64-16 in bidistrict; Beat Ira, 80-50, in area.
The matchup: It’s a rematch of District 1–1A rivals, who are meeting for the fourth time within a calendar year. As of late, this series has been dominated by McLean, which has won the past three meetings by 42.3 points per game. That includes a 66-22 thumping of the Bucks in a week 9 matchup on Oct. 25.
White Deer coah Justin Rucker and his team will be ready to go in this fourth contest, but can they figure out how to slow down Ben Crockett. The reigning Class 1A Player of the Year has piled up 2,179 yards rushing on the year with 56 touchdowns.
The Bucks are playing with much confidence after a convincing win against Ira. Ira held a 36-20 lead at half time, until White Deer started rolling for an 80-50 win. Look for two-way standout John Perriman to make an impact for the Bucks.
Notable playoff games
Randall quarterback JaKobe Norman scrambles against Amarillo High during a nondistrict game earlier this season. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
Class 5A Division II
Lubbock Cooper (12-0) vs. Randall (5-7), 4 p.m. Friday, Kimbrough Stadium.
Class 3A Division II
Canadian (12-0) vs. Cisco (11-1), 2 p.m. Friday, Leo Brittain Field at Lions Stadium, Vernon
Stratford (11-1) vs. Gruver (8-4), 2 p.m. Friday, Dick Bivins Stadium, Amarillo
Region II Division II
Hamlin (9-2) vs. Wheeler (10-2), 6 p.m. Friday, Fair Park Stadium, Childress.
Class 1A Division II
Groom (10-2) vs. Motley County (9-3) 7 p.m. Friday, Swifts Stadium,