High school football: Navarro, Marion, Lifegate previews
Posted on 9/29/2017 6:26:00 AM.
Navarro hosts defending 2A Division I state champs in 2017 home opener
(Geronimo) – After winning four straight road games to start the 2017 football season, Navarro will finally play in its home stadium tonight when defending 2A Division I state champion Refugio visits Erwin-Lee Field in Geronimo.

The 4-0 Panthers, led by 11th-year head coach Les goad, wrapped up the season opening road gauntlet with a 42-7 thumping of La Grange last Friday. The Bobcats, coached by Jason Herring, are 2-0 with close wins over Goliad (35-28) and Edna (28-21). They’ve only played twice because the season opener against Hebronville was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey, and the team had an open date in Week 3.

Navarro is the last team that beat Refugio, 14-6 on the Bobcats’ home field in Week 5 of the 2016 season. Refugio has since reeled off 14 straight wins. Coming into tonight, Navarro is ranked as high as No. 9 in the various 4A Division II state polls, while Refugio sits at No. 2 behind top-ranked Mart in the 2A Division I rankings.

Navarro’s Slot-T rushing attack has produced healthy averages of 406.3 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry on the ground this season, with Will Eveld (383 yds., 2 TD), Chris Gomez (304 yds., 4 TD), Will Reyna (286 yds., 5 TD), and Tyler Law (193 yds., 2 TD) leading the stable of backs sharing the workload. Eight different Panthers have scored rushing touchdowns this season.

Refugio’s defensive leaders include 6’3”, 245 lb senior Armonie Brown up front (120 tackles, 9 sacks in 2016) and Jamel LaFond (140 tackles, 6 INT last year) in the secondary.
"A year ago, we averaged close to 50 points a game, and there was only two games that I felt like defensively the team we were playing against gave us really fits, and this is one of those teams," Goad said while scouting the Bobcats. "And so, we'll see how we can match up with them again this year. They're a team that takes a lot of pride in their defense, so we're going to have our work cut out for us. Just a big challenge for our offensive line and our skill guys to try to eke out first downs and protect that football."

Refugio has restructured its offensive backfield this season, inserting sophomore Jared Kelley as the starting quarterback while moving his predecessor Jacob Avery, the Offensive MVP of the state championship game, to running-back.

Tonight’s kickoff at Erwin-Lee Field is slated for 7:30 p.m. A complete interview with Goad can be heard during the Panther Report at 6:30 p.m. on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com.

Marion seeks bounce-back win vs. Florence
(Marion) – The Marion Bulldogs look to recapture some positive momentum in their final non-district game of the 2017 football season after a lopsided loss to Goliad last week when they host the Florence Buffaloes tonight at Veterans Stadium.

Both teams are 2-2 entering tonight’s matchup. Florence, coached by Zane Bode, had a two-game winning streak snapped in a 56-14 loss to Salado last Friday. The Buffaloes will also look to avenge last season’s 47-6 loss to Marion in tonight’s rematch.

The Florence offense is built around the diverse skills of senior quarterback C.J. Giddens (6’0”, 173 lbs), who averages 137 rushing yards and 121 passing yards per game. Marion head coach Bruce Salmon says Giddens’ unpredictable nature makes him difficult to defend.
"The thing that's tough with him is that he's going to run the option, then he's going to pull it out, and their receivers and running pass routes on the run plays, and he'll be in the middle of an option and decide to change his mind and throw it to an open receiver, and that's where a lot of their offense has kind of been,” Salmon noted. “I think the big deal is is that we're going to have to play assignment football, and not be able to come out, and we're going to have to tackle him, because he's a pretty good sized kid too."

Marion certainly has the firepower to bounce back from last week’s turnover plagued 53-13 loss in Goliad. Junior quarterback Tayler Mills enters tonight with 731 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions. His favorite receive has been fellow junior Jackson Allen, a 6’6” target with 14 catches for 248 yards and four scores. Multitalented senior running-back Jacob Berry has been spectacular in 2017 and comes in with 482 rushing yards (11.2 per carry) and 10 total touchdowns.

The Marion – Florence kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Stadium. A complete interview with Salmon can be heard during the Bulldog Report between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com.

Lifegate meets Austin Royals in 2017 homecoming game
(Seguin) – The Lifegate six-man football team hopes to overcome the rust from an unexpected open date in the schedule and notch a homecoming win over Austin Royals Homeschool tonight at Falcon Field.

Veteran head coach John Rabon’s Lifegate squad enters Week 5 of the 2017 season with only two games under its belt. The Falcons’ Sept. 1 opener at Alvin-Living Stones was cancelled due to flooding from Hurricane, and Victoria-Faith Academy forfeited last Friday’s game due to wet field conditions at their facility.

Lifegate (1-1) meets a 3-1 Austin Royals team that just defeated Corpus Christi-Wings 76-26 last Friday, but also gave up 88 points in a loss to Zephyr the previous week.

Royals quarterback Payton Hart has thrown for 765 yards and 16 touchdowns, running-backs Joseph Cook and Laron Ables have combined for 681 rushing yards and 11 scores, and receiver Owen Simpson has hauled in 10 touchdown catches to lead a balanced offensive attack through four games.
"They run multiple formations, so we've just worked on pass defense, worked on tackling, and then a lot just worked on getting lined up in the right place so we can play some football,” Rabon said. “Our philosophy pretty much has always been that we're going to keep the ball in front of us and go make a play, and we have to slow them down."

Senior spread-back Cayden Shellnut led Lifegate in its first two games with 335 rushing yards, 289 passing yards, and eight total touchdowns.

Tonight’s kickoff at Falcon Field is slated for 7:30 p.m. A complete interview with Rabon can be heard between 6:45 and 7:00 on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com.

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