The Clements Rangers are off to their best start in more than a decade, while the Dulles Vikings are looking to start 3-1 for the second time in four years.
Both football teams have leaned heavily on the run game so far this season, and it will be interesting to see which one takes over in this week’s battle between Sugar Land foes when they square off at Hall Stadium on Thursday in the District 20-6A opener for both teams.
The Vikings’ rushing attack (234.7 yards per game) has been very much a running back by committee and the main focus of an offense that has attempted six passes through three games.
Senior Jalen Brown has been the focal point with 187 yards and three touchdowns, both of which are tops on the team. There are more weapons in the holster for head coach Shane Byrd, though, with Alfred Antwi (117 yards), Devin Graham (106 yards) and Deadrick Hubbard (103 yards) also averaging at least 5 yards per carry.
Clements’ attack has been nearly as potent, averaging 218 yards per game on the ground, but has two distinct leaders. They are Junior Onipede (177 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Dimas Kusuma (166 yards, 3 touchdowns).
When they do throw the ball, senior Patrick Smith has done the most damage. Smith’s 260 receiving yards this season account for more than 50 percent of the Rangers’ total, and he has caught four of their five touchdown passes.
Here are a few more players and matchups to watch this week:
Ridge Point (2-1) vs. Austin (0-3) – Ridge Point QB Bert Emanuel Jr./Austin QB Braeden Abboud: Emanuel has been the true definition of a dual-threat quarterback for the Panthers. His 821 total yards have been split almost evenly (419 passing, 402 rushing), while he has also totaled eight touchdowns while turning the ball over once through three games.
On the other side of Friday’s matchup, Abboud has thrown for more than 450 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ first three games. He is coming off of a two-touchdown performance last week, and has thrown at least one touchdown in all three games.
Stafford (0-3) at Sealy (2-1) – Stafford RB’s Jamaal Wiley/Terrence Wood: It’s no secret that the Spartans love to run the football, and these two will likely be heavily involved. Wiley has run for 265 yards this season, while Woods is coming off a 75-yard performance against Bellville last week and has scored three of the Spartans’ four rushing touchdowns this season.
They’ll likely be the focal point Friday night as Stafford tries to find holes in a Tigers defense that is allowing nearly 30 points per game.
On the flip side, the Spartans will need to find a way to slow down Sealy quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski (950 total yards, 13 touchdowns) if they want to get their first win of the season.
Marshall (3-0) vs. Houston Northside (0-3) – Marshall QB Ja’Koby Banks: We may be starting to sound like a broken record by highlighting Banks, but his performance has warranted it. Through three games this season, Banks has used a combination of explosive running ability and quick decision-making to accumulate nearly 900 total yards and 13 touchdowns.
You can’t truly overlook any opponent in high school football, but look for the junior signal caller – who holds offers from Texas A&M, Marshall University and Pittsburgh – to have another big day Saturday against a Northside team that has surrendered at least 50 points in each of its first three contests.
This Week’s Schedule
Dulles vs. Clements, 6 p.m., Hall Stadium
Ridge Point vs. Austin, 7 p.m., Hall Stadium
Stafford at Sealy, 7:30 p.m.
Marshall vs. Houston Northside, 11 a.m., Hall Stadium
Willowridge vs. Houston Waltrip, 6 p.m., Hall Stadium
Kempner at Katy Paetow, 6 p.m., Legacy Stadium