Here are previews for each game:
• Fort Stockton (1-0, 5-0) @ Snyder (0-0, 3-1), 7 p.m.
There are several similarities between the Fort Stockton High School Panthers and the Snyder Tigers besides their mascots both being big cats.
Both teams are headed by third-year coaches in Fort Stockton’s Mike Peters and Snyder’s Cory Mandrell who have established their imprints on the respective programs.
Both programs have winning records following two consecutive losing seasons (dual 3-7 records by the Panthers and a 1-8 and 2-9 mark by Snyder).
Both teams are also off to their best starts since 2011.
And, both teams are now in the same district this year after UIL realignment.
The Panthers (1-0, 5-0) opened district play with a 33-18 win over Pecos last week. The Tigers (0-0, 3-1) had an open week, so the Panthers will be their district opener.
“Snyder is one of the best teams that we’ll have face so far,” said Peters. “They are big on both sides of the ball. They are very athletic and very physical.”
Fort Stockton makes its longest road trip of the season, which will be a little adjustment for the team after playing four of its first five games at home – including the last three in row. Its lone road trip was a short dash to Alpine.
“It’s just the challenge of getting back used to traveling,” Peters said. “It’s a different thing. A home game, you’ve got a different routine. You what time you are supposed to be out of school and at the field house. know what time Road games are different. The school day changes. It’s a long trip to Snyder. It’s just a road trip and keeping focused on the way.
“We’re away-home-away-home from here. We have to get used to playing on the road.”
Fort Stockton “had some players banged up” against Pecos, according to Peters. He said running back and defensive back Cesar Trejo will be a game-time decision after missing the Pecos game with a knee strain.
Snyder won its first three games over Littlefield (27-13), Brownfield (31-21) and Lake View (61-21), before falling to Andrews (48-26) on Sept. 21. The teams have a common opponent in Lake View, which Fort Stockton beat 34-6.
Snyder uses a mix of offensive formations, from four or five receivers wide to two-back formations with quarterback Logan Green under center.
The Tigers offense has been balanced with 10 touchdowns coming by the run and 12 on passes. The team has 613 rushing yards and 969 passing yards.
Running backs Greg Williams and Jenile Burns have the majority of the team’s rushing yards. On the receiving end, Nathan Kendrick went over 300 yards on the season with a 193-yard effort against Andrews. Jake Chavez is another one of Green’s prime targets, although 10 players have receptions so far this season.
Peters said the Panthers’ defensive line will be outsized and will need to counter with its speed.
“We’re small, but we play well,” Peters said. “We’ll just have to play hard for four quarters.”
Defensively, Snyder uses a 4-2-5 formation similar to Fort Stockton.
“They are similar to Pecos in that they bring a lot pressure,” Peters said.
Snyder, however, gave up 511 yards in offense in its loss to Andrews. Against Pecos, Fort Stockton was able to protect against the pressure and totaled 350 yards in offense.
• Iraan (5-0) vs. Winters (5-0)
Next up for the Braves are the Winters Blizzards 7:30 p.m. Friday in Iraan’s homecoming game. The Blizzards are 5-0 and run a triple-option offense.
“We are going to have our hands full,” Maurer said. “I don’t know what ding-dong decided that we ought to play them for homecoming.”
The Blizzards are coming off a 40-14 win over Christoval, which was as close at 18-14 in the first half. Winters has also defeated Goldwaithe (34-14); Eldorado (22-0); Bangs (36-6) and Ranger (60-0).
“They run something we don’t see often in a flex-bone offense,” Maurer said. They move around really good on defense and they have kids that can run on offense.”
Maurer said the defense will need to be very assignment oriented if they are to contain Winter’s offense.
The non-district road doesn’t get any easier for the Braves, as they travel Oct. 12 to play 3A-Div. 1 Alpine. The team has an open week Oct. 19 before starting district play Oct. 26 against Wink.
“We’re definitely in the middle of some big trains just keep rolling down the track,” said Maurer. “You know, if you want to run with the horses, you’ve got to line up with them. We can’t shy away from that. We have had and expect to have some more playoff level games.”
• Buena Vista (1-4) at Marfa (0-4)
The Buena Vista Longhorns let and 18-6 first-half lead slip away in losing their homecoming game to the visiting Klondike Cougars, 28-26.
The loss is the fourth in a row for the Longhorns and first-year head coach Dale Pustejovsky, who take a 1-4 record into Friday’s non-district game at Marfa (0-4). The team has a bye Oct. 12 before opening up 1A-Div. 2 District 5 play at home against Dell City.