Week 5: Blackcats vs Caldwell Hornets

By Stephen R. Farris
Mexia News Sports Editor

My oh my!
Can you believe it? We are at the halfway mark of the regular season for Texas high school football.
Where has the time gone?
Seems like yesterday the season was just about to start.
Yes, we are in Week 5 and there are plenty of good matchups this Friday night. The Mexia Blackcats will host the Caldwell Hornets for homecoming. Wortham travels to Granger to take on the Lions and in six-man action, the 3-1 Coolidge Yellowjackets clash with the 3-1, 2016 state finalist team, the Jonesboro Eagles on the road.
What a great night of football action, so let’s take a look at the breakdown for this Friday night’s slate of games, Week 5!

Week 5
Class 4A
Mexia Blackcats (1-3) vs. Caldwell Hornets (1-2)
Place: Black Cat Field in Mexia
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2016 results: The Hornets won over the Blackcats last year, 48-36.
District: Mexia District 9-4A DII. Caldwell finished 5-6 and 3-2 in District 10-4A DII.
Returning starters: Mexia (N/A); Caldwell (10)
Last playoff appearance: Mexia (2015) Area finalist: Caldwell (2016) Bi-district finalist.
All-time series record: The Blackcats lead the series dating back to 1986, 4-3-0.
Mexia: The Blackcats ran up against the No. 2 ranked team in Class 4A Division I last week. This Friday night will be another challenge and if history repeats, it’ll be a thrill ride for Mexia and Caldwell fans as these two teams seem to always play each other close. Missing in action last week was linebacker Jaquay Martin, who hopes to return this week. Jaden Proctor played well at the cornerback position, intercepting a La Vega pass to halt the Pirates scoring attempt in the second quarter of the game. Look for coach Frank Sandoval to pull out more offensive plays this week, especially with district play beginning soon. Jadrian Smith leads the team in rushing and should rack up a lot of yards against this Hornet defense this week. Mexia will more than likely need to air out the ball a little more to keep the pressure on Caldwell’s secondary. Players to watch for the Blackcats will be Marcos Gonzalez (WR/FB), Dre’Vaun Cooper (MLB, RB), Phillip Lejeune (WR/OLB) and kicker Lalo Ortiz.
Caldwell: The Hornets are coming off back-to-back losses to Madisonville (Week 3) and Taylor (Week 4). The Taylor game has been their closest scoring game so far this season. Coach Bobby Jack Goforth will utilize his top receiver - Domonique Chambers - any way possible in this game to keep the offense moving. The Hornets offensive line is strong, helping provide protection for quarterback Will Faust and opening running lanes for Chambers when needed.
Summary: You never know just how many points these two teams will put on the scoreboard. In their last three meetings, the two teams have combined to score 252 points. Friday night, expect the offenses to light up again. Caldwell is averaging close to 40 ppg., while giving up 38. It could end up closer than expected, however, Mexia is due a win in this series.
Prediction: Mexia 33, Caldwell 27

Class 2A
Wortham Bulldogs (4-0) vs. Granger (1-3)
Place: Lion Stadium in Granger
Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m.
2016 results: Granger beat Wortham, 43-20.
District: Wortham, District 11-2A DII; Granger finished 9-3 and 4-1 in District 13-2A DII
Returning starters: Wortham (9); Granger (11)
Last playoff appearance: Wortham (2012) Bi-district finalist; Granger (2016) Area finalist
All-time series record: Granger leads the series 1-0
Wortham: Last Friday night was the battle of the Bulldogs as the namesake team from Dawson gave the blue and white a run for their money. A late interception return by Brandon Coker for the game winning touchdown, gave Wortham their best start (4-0) in years. Wortham struggled offensively without running back Stephon Ester - out with an injury sustained in Week 3 - amassing only 51 yards on the ground and 89 in the air. However, Wortham’s defense stepped up to the challenge big time with the Coker interception, a fumble recovery by Anthony Perez and a 75-yard safety return by Hunter Turner. This week, the defense will need to play just as strong.
Granger: After dropping their first three games of the season, the Lions finally found the winning side, slipping past the Hubbard Jaguars 28-21. Last Friday marked the third consecutive game in which Granger has scored 21 points in a ball game, after managing just six points in Week 1 against Chilton. Players to watch will be running back Rodolfio Gonzalez, tight-end Jakob Strubhart, offensive linemen Zach Gadison and Roy Degollado and defensive back Richard Medina.
Summary: Wortham must keep on their toes and increase their offensive production this week against Granger. Defensively, the Bulldogs should have the advantage in keeping the Lions offense in check.
Prediction: Wortham 35, Granger 21

Class 1A
Coolidge Yellowjackets (3-1) vs. Jonesboro Eagles (3-1)
Place: Pruitt Field in Jonesboro
Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2016 results: Jonesboro defeated Coolidge, 60-12
District: Coolidge 14-1A DI 6-Man; Jonesboro was 14-1 overall and 3-0 in District 10-1A DI 6-Man in 2016.
Returning starters: Coolidge (9); Jonesboro (5)
Last playoff appearance: Coolidge (2016) Bi-district finalist; Jonesboro (2016) State finalist
All-time series record: The series that began in 1967 is tied at 5-5.
Coolidge: The Yellowjackets were successful in spreading out Oakwood’s defense in last week’s 38-28 win. Successful to the tune of Torrey Hoover getting some action out of the back field for 253 yards and two touchdowns, while teammate Jordan Brown - playing in only his second game of the season - rushed for 122 yards on 12 carries and three TDs. Hoover also led Coolidge in passing with 129 yards, completing seven out of eight attempts and a touchdown. Colton Carter, Jayson Miller and Colby Casarez were the three main receiver options for Hoover, along with Brown and Juan Acevedo - who led the Yellowjacket defense with 15 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. The team will need all of that offensive production again this week.
Jonesboro: The Eagles are riding a two-game win streak coming into this Friday night’s game. Jonesboro - state runner-up in 2016 - returns just five starters from last season, which include quarterback Wyatt Young, who did most of his damage on the field from the defensive side of the ball, making 137 tackles. Joining Young are teammates Andy Sarmiento (RB/DE), Ethan Lilljedahl (RB/DB) and Christian Baker (RB/DB).
Summary: This could be our “last man standing” game of the week and more of a defensive battle as well. But if coach Wayne Ware’s team can repeat what they did in the Oakwood game, look for the Yellowjackets to return home with the W.
Prediction: Coolidge 44, Jonesboro 32