'Friday Night Lights': Texas Highways Edition

[For more on NBC's decision to continue shooting the excellent Friday Night Lights, see this week's Film News.]

The four regions the UIL uses for Texas high school athletics generally run clockwise along the state's perimeter: Region I (West Texas), II (Dallas/North Texas), III (Houston/East Texas), and IV (San Antonio/South Texas). Teams from our neck of the woods are shoehorned into II, III, or IV, meaning anything resembling home-field advantage can be hard to come by when the playoffs roll around. Even so, as the long, slow march to state begins this weekend, plenty of games are within easy driving distance. Defending 3A Division II state champs Wimberley will be under way against Marion at New Braunfels Canyon in about two hours. Thorndale meets Harper in a 1A Division II bi-district match 7:30pm at Dripping Springs.

Friday, area teams are in action everywhere from Houston to Smithson Valley, where the 5-5 San Marcos Rattlers pay a courtesy call on the 9-1 Rangers. Also playing before home crowds are state-ranked A&M Consolidated, who welcomes Round Rock to College Station's Kyle Field at 7pm (with the winner likely next facing powerhouse Lufkin), and 17-4A champ McCallum, who draws Montgomery at Burger Center. Up north, the Round Rock ISD Stadium hosts Killeen Ellison and Leander, while the Lions' Bible Stadium gets Harker Heights vs. Cedar Park, and Liberty Hill and China Spring do a 3A Division II-step at Round Rock High's Dragon Stadium. Just over the Travis County line, Pflugerville hosts a pair of 2A Division II games: Lexington and Jarrell at Connally Stadium, and Rogers vs. Somerville at Kuempel.

Down in Hays County, Westlake and San Antonio Churchill tangle at San Marcos' Bobcat Stadium, and Austin High's fightin' Maroons take on San Antonio MacArthur at Bob Shelton Stadium in 5A Division II action. For true road warriors, how about Brenham vs. Elgin at Bryan, Waco Robinson vs. Hutto at Temple, Bellville vs. West Columbia at Houston's Rhodes Stadium, Sweeny vs. La Grange at Houston Strake Jesuit, and Giddings vs. Wharton at Tomball?

Our two 1A schools playing Friday don't have quite as far to travel: Granger vs. Johnson City at Bastrop, and Thrall vs. Medina at Dripping Springs.

Lots more football all day Saturday. At noon, Hays Consolidated and Lake Travis tangle at Westlake. LBJ and Conroe Caney Creek get going 1pm at Bryan, Schertz Clemens and Burnet have a 2pm kickoff at Burger Stadium, and Seguin and San Antonio Reagan start things up at 3pm in the Alamodome. Saturday evening, Westwood and Bryan tilt at 6pm at Kyle Field, Bandera and La Vernia blow the whistle the same time at Shelton, and Blanco faces Reagan County way over at Brownwood's Gordon Wood Stadium. Connally and New Braunfels square off at 7pm at Round Rock ISD Stadium, Waco LaVega gets Cameron Yoe the same time at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen, and in the final game of the week, Salado and Hearne lock horns at 7:30pm in Temple.

Time to update that AAA membership ...

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