Seguin seniors Michael Mickles (82) and Chris Zuniga (62) look to help the Mats put together a productive outing against Drippings Springs tonight. Photo by Andie Rangel.
(Seguin) – The pre-season favorite in the District 26-5A football race visits Matador Stadium tonight as Seguin looks to hand the Dripping Springs Tigers, ranked as high as No. 9 in the various state polls, their first loss of the season.
Both teams won their district openers last week, with the Matadors (2-2, 1-0) rallying from deficits of 14 and 10 points to edge Lockhart 31-27, while the Tigers (4-0) cruised past Kerrville-Tivy 40-7.
Dripping Springs, coached by Galen Zimmerman, has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 40.8 to 16.5 with 15 returning starters from the 2016 team that went 12-2 and advanced to the 5A Division I Region IV finals.
"By far, this is the best team in the district," Seguin head coach Travis Bush said. "After getting district film on every opponent right now, I really feel this will be a good test for us, to see where we stand, and kind of where we're at. We talk about this being like a playoff game, a playoff atmosphere. If you want to make the playoffs, these are the kind of games those are going to be."
Senior quarterback Trevor Greenman is the focal point of a balanced Dripping Springs offense that has produced 243.3 rushing yards and 231.3 passing yards per game. Greenman has thrown for 929 yards and 11 touchdowns while running for a team-high 387 and six scores. He’ll also hand the ball of to running-back Jake Cox (261 yds., 2 TD), and his favorite target has been Johnny Hoyle (14 rec., 294 yds., 4 TD).
Seguin’s offense is off to a prolific start as well, putting up averages of 45 points and 466 total yards per game in the first four weeks of the season. Quarterbacks Anthony Gonzalez, Jhaelen Mickles, and Syngen Riojas have all enjoyed productive stretches. Gonzalez overcame two early interceptions to lead the fourth-quarter comeback against Lockhart last Friday, and enters tonight with a 64-percent completion rate, 693 passing yards, seven combined passing and rushing touchdowns, and five interceptions.
Seguin junior Hayden Haas has been one of the most productive receivers in the region, corralling 21 receptions for 520 yards (24.8 per catch) and six touchdowns. The Mats will give a heavier workload to senior tailback Clarence Tibbs now that last year’s All-District performer and 1,000-yard rusher Brandon Palomares has moved to the defensive side of the ball. Tibbs has averaged a whopping 9.6 yards per carry this season while scoring four touchdowns, and churned out 88 yards on 13 carries in the win over Lockhart.
The Mats will try to keep their offensive momentum going against a Dripping Springs defense with eight starters who earned All-District honors in 2016. The Tigers’ leader on that side of the ball is senior linebacker Beau Collins with 56 tackles (six for loss).
"We're going to have to have some explosive plays," Bush said. "We're going to have to get big chunks of yards at times, because they're not going to let you just sit there and pound away two, three yards down the field. We're going to have to extend some plays at quarterback. There's going to be some times they're going to get some pressure. We're going to have to see where it's coming from, pick it up up front, and be able to get the ball out of our hands and keep the chains moving."
Seguin’s statistical leaders on the defensive side of the ball include senior linebacker Garrett Luensmann with 47 tackles, junior rover Deryn Taylor with six tackles for loss, senior tackle Keane Davis with three sacks, and junior cornerback Valentino Trevino with two interceptions.
Tonight’s kickoff at Matador Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with pre-game coverage at 6:30.
The Seguin ISD Athletic Hall of Honor will also induct its 2017 class – former Matador basketball standouts Thomas Gipson Jr. (’87) and Charles Houston (’05) during a ceremony before the game starts.