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David Campbell's weekly high school football picks - BrazosSports: Football

David Campbell's weekly high school football picks

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:00 am

Welcome, one and all, to the regular-season awards show, and we promise that neither Seth MacFarlane, the hobbled Ryan Lochte nor Miley Cyrus will make an appearance.

That's your spoiler alert. Do with it what you will.

With the playoffs kicking off Thursday night as Cameron prepares to face Edna and Franklin meets Maypearl, there are a few (by award-show standards) regular-season football trophies to present. Try not to trip if you take the stage, Katniss.

Best team: Franklin

I count myself one of the lucky few. I have seen Franklin quarterback Dylan Smitherman throw a pass. He throws it pretty well, and it's even overhand.

The reason Franklin has passed so little this year is because the Lions have had no need for it. When you run that well, it makes sense to force someone to stop it first, and nobody has yet. An improved defense and some exceptional special teams play might keep the Lions in contention for the Best Team, Period Award. The Lions are the rare big-play team that wins with fundamentals. Simple but powerful.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Award: Brazos Christian

The Eagles' convincing 41-12 win over St. Joseph gave them the TAPPS Division III District 5 championship but might have earned them a tougher path in the playoffs. Brazos Christian opens against a quality Cypress Christian team, although the game is at home. Wafting in the wings if they win is a potential second-round matchup with 11-0 Marble Falls Faith.

Best Turnaround Team: Anderson-Shiro

The Owls went 1-9 last season, finishing on an an eight-game losing streak with no wins over UIL teams. They have taken flight in their second season of varsity football, growing into a 5-4 playoff team. They scored no more than two touchdowns in four of their games last season. Only once have they been held under 20 points this year.

Best Turnaround Team (in season): Burton

The Panthers were 1-4 and had been pounded by Chilton 49-6 and shut out by Bremond 21-0. That wasn't much of a preview for the District 13-A Division II champions, whose opening 28-18 win over Milano proved to be the start of something big in the district as the Panthers swept all five league games.

Best Turnaround Unit (in season): A&M Consolidated defense

The Tiger defenders now enter the playoffs playing well to complement an offense that has hit on all cylinders almost all year.

Most Overlooked Team: Calvert

The Trojans haven't always won big this season and have been the underdog on several occasions even as they piled up wins, but they will take an 8-1 record into their bi-district game against unbeaten Jonesboro. You guessed it. Jonesboro is the favorite.

Of course, I know the real answer to Most Overlooked Team will be whichever team you wanted me to pick, but I didn't. I'm happy to be the straight man in that joke.

Most Motivating Loss: Lago Vista 27, Cameron 20

No one wants to lose, but Cameron's first loss after a 20-game winning streak helped make the Yoemen a better team and a state title contender again. Lago Vista pounded the ground as the Vikings defended their home turf against the Yoemen.

If you wondered if the Yoemen could bounce back quickly, may I present Cameron 55, McGregor 13 the following week, the only loss for the McGregor Bulldogs.

And if you wondered if the Yoemen could stop another outstanding running team like Lago Vista, Exhibit A would be a 41-0 win against Troy when Cameron limited the Trojans to 218 total yards (201 rushing). Troy averages 344 rushing yards per contest.

The Yoemen got beat but then got better.

Best Pre-Playoff Win: Bremond 21, Chilton 14 (OT)

It's hard to argue against Iola's 40-20 victory over West Hardin, which opened the door to the playoffs, or Franklin's big 63-33 win over Teague in a showdown that had been anticipated all season. But Bremond wins this one in overtime. Overtime games toy with your emotions and the victory over an old rival could be quite a lift for the Tigers. It also helped them on the bracketology. If they get to the quarterfinals, at least two of the other presumed Big 3 in Region III -- Tenaha, Chilton, or Hubbard -- will have retired for the year.

Best Chance to Win It All: Cameron

I still think it's the Yoe. So many key players from that state title team returned for the title defense. They know what it takes to win state. They also played in an extremely strong district. Add in newcomer Traion Smith to an offense led by Jason Kopriva, and the attack looks good. Somari Wright, the guy who impressed everyone in the state championship game last year, is back to lead the defense.

But one of our other top contenders includes Franklin, which could provide an obstacle for Cameron at the semifinal round.

If Bremond or Navasota wins it crowns, should anyone be shocked? No, and despite the challenges, Brazos Christian has a chance to complete a perfect season in the TAPPS playoffs.

Dark Horse Trophy: Navasota

Fire the cannon volleys if you want, but I think the Rattlers fall into this category.

The defending 3A Division II state champs are playing in Division I this year, which appears to be a tougher path. And yeah, it's a stretch to call a once-beaten team that has been state-ranked all season a dark horse, but after losing a great senior class that led the 2012 title run, this team has shown it will have to fight tooth and nail to have a chance for a new set of rings.

They'll take 'em one game at a time, but the Rattlers have shown they have that fight in them. Pick against them at your peril.

Fantastic Finish: A&M Consolidated

Until some Brazos Valley team hoists a state championship trophy, Consol will hang on to this one for that after-the-gun, against-all-odds, amazing kickoff return against Copperas Cove in the opening game of the season in which Derrick Dick crossed the goal line for the win.

Title winners only

Like Navasota's Lee Fedora, Robinson's Tommy Allison has coached a state championship team, winning the Class A Division II title at Cayuga in 2009 when current Texas A&M wide receiver Malcome Kennedy served as his quarterback.

Robinson and Navasota will square off in the 3A Division I bi-district round at Waco ISD Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Coincidentally, Fedora coached at Robinson before moving to Navasota.

And Allison was offensive coordinator at Palestine when Adrian Peterson played there. Could he, or anyone else, have had a better job?

THREE TO WATCH

1. Navasota vs. Robinson

It's not a home game for the Rockets, but you can literally see Waco ISD Stadium from the Waco suburb. This is an immediate threat for the Rattlers. Don't be confused by the surprising scores in 17-3A. It's like a Family Feud there with those schools so close together. Robinson has weapons that Navasota will need to slow, or the Rattlers will have to compensate on offense.

2. Rockdale vs. Lorena

Lorena always seems at its best when the Leopards spot the playoffs.

During the regular season, Lorena often seemed puzzling. The Leopards almost shut out Robinson in an 11-7 victory but gave up a 2A record 613 passing yards to Salado's McLane Carter in a 75-67 victory earlier this season.

Rockdale has the offense in high gear. The Tigers have a dangerous passing attack but can run, too, with Elijah Brooks up to 1,127 rushing yards.

3. Cypress Christian at Brazos Christian

They usually meet in the opening game of the season, and it is almost always close. There's far more on the line this time, and both teams have momentum. Brazos Christian beat a 7-2 St. Joseph team 41-12, while Cypress Christian rolled past a 1-6 squad for Galveston O'Connell 70-0.

Cypress Christian is 5-5 compared to Brazos Christian's lofty 9-0 record, but each of the Warriors' losses has been to a team that has won at least seven games. So throw out the records.

Oops, I overlooked Calvert, didn't I?

Here are this week's playoff picks:

Thursday

Cameron vs. Edna -- Tough for these Cowboys, too. Cameron 45-18

Franklin vs. Maypearl -- Lions an upgrade over Panthers. Franklin 48-14

Friday

A&M Consolidated vs. Humble Kingwood -- Dethroned. Consol 44-28

Brenham vs. Georgetown East View -- New view of playoffs. Brenham 33-21

Rockdale vs. Lorena -- Leopards leap haltingly forward. Lorena 35-28

Madisonville vs. Waco Connally -- Cadets march on. Connally 39-30

Centerville vs. Groveton -- Tackle, guard, Centerville. Centerville 42-20

Anderson-Shiro vs. Crawford -- Pirates seek to plunder. Crawford 30-14

Iola vs. Bosqueville -- Some Bulldogs are out. Bosqueville 35-21

Milano vs. Runge -- Not quite 'Jacket weather. Milano 32-27

Cypress Christian at Brazos Christian -- Pounding it out. Brazos Christian 13-8

St. Joseph vs. Central Texas Christian -- Repeat. St. Joseph 42-14

Calvert vs. Jonesboro -- Upsetting again. Calvert 44-40

BVCHEA at Allen Academy -- Rams at home. Allen Academy 42-20

Saturday

Navasota vs. Robinson -- Rattlers' next quest begins. Navasota 30-16

Last week: 16-4 (.800)

This season: 192-45 (.810)

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