'Friday Night Lights': AISD Teams Choke, 14-5A Flies

Because class 5A added another playoff team this year, bringing the grand total to four per district, last weekend's opening round was the busiest Texas high school football playoff weekend ever. Unfortunately, Austin schools didn't fare so well: AISD's Austin, McCallum, and LBJ racked up a big goose egg, going 0-for-3 (albeit in generally close games) against teams from San Antonio and the Conroe area. Only Westlake advanced, and barely, in a 42-40 squeaker over San Antonio Churchill. The Chaps earned a trip to the Alamodome Friday night to face San Antonio Jay, who thumped Corpus Christi Carroll 60-20. 8pm kick. And congratulations to the San Marcos Rattlers, who knocked out powerful Smithson Valley in Smithson Valley 35-34. For their troubles they get San Antonio Marshall noon Friday, also in the Alamodome. By the way, tickets for this year's 5A state championship games, which just happen to be in the Alamodome (nice that they're using it for something), are on sale now.

Our good neighbors to the north in 14-5A, however, ran the first-round table, with all four teams advancing. Regular-season champ Leander beat Killeen Ellison convincingly, 49-22, and takes on Klein Forest 8pm Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station. Also making the trip to Aggieland for a 1pm Saturday kick is Westwood, who eliminated Bryan 35-14 and face one of the Greater Houston area's perennial powers in Spring Westfield. Cedar Park has the least bit of traveling to do; the Timberwolves face Klein Oak 2:30pm Saturday at the palatial Round Rock ISD athletic complex, one of three playoff games in the area this weekend. Finally, Round Rock, who barely qualified for the playoffs at all, upset No. 8 A&M Consolidated 42-16 on the Tigers' home turf. Saturday the Dragons face an even bigger challenge in Lufkin, who jockeyed with Southlake Carroll all season for the No. 1 5A ranking. More than worth a trip to Cy-Fair's Berry Stadium, 8877 Barker Cypress Rd. in Cypress, for the 2:30pm kick.

In class 4A, local schools were decimated; only New Braunfels and Hays Consolidated made it through. The Unicorns face San Antonio Alamo Heights in a tough one 5pm Saturday at the Alamodome, while the Rebels draw the Battlin' Billies of Fredericksburg 2:30pm Saturday at San Antonio's Comalander Stadium, 12002 Jones Maltsberger Rd.

Four area 3A schools made it through to the next round, all in Division II. After stomping Wharton 62-14, Giddings draws resurgent East Texas powerhouse West-Orange Stark in one of the weekend's best matchups in any class. The Mustangs wasted Liberty 60-0 last week, so the number of points in this one, 7:30pm Friday in Humble, could easily break the century mark. Defending state champs Wimberley cruised past Marion 56-20 and faces Medina Valley 7:30pm Friday at Comalander. Liberty Hill doubled up China Spring 54-27 and gets Crockett 1pm Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco. Llano, 26-20 winners over Luling, gets Hondo in another nearby game, 7:30pm Friday at San Marcos' Bobcat Stadium.

Last but not least, the 2A and 1A schools did well last weekend. Somehow shunted off into Region I, 2A Blanco beat Reagan County 34-17 and returns to Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood to face Wall 6pm Friday. Lexington, who skunked Jarrell 30-0, faces a strong Shulenburg team 7:30pm Friday at Bob Shelton Stadium in Buda. After a 26-22 thriller over Johnson City, class 1A Granger meets Iola 7:30pm Friday at A&M Consolidated in College Station. Thrall draws Chilton 2pm Saturday in Temple after putting the hurt on Medina 74-12. And Thorndale, who shut out Harper 28-0, gets Bremond 7:30pm Friday in Rockdale.

Best of luck to all Central Texas teams taking the field this fine fall weekend. Fly to the football, kids.

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