H.S. football: Region IV finals scouting report
Seeking redemption: Judson and Navarro will try this weekend to avenge 2017 playoff losses.
Navarro (10-2) faces nemesis Cuero (12-1) in a Class 4A Division II regional final at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Comalander Stadium. Judson (12-0) takes on Austin Lake Travis (11-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome in Class 6A Division I.
Cuero and Navarro are meeting in the playoffs for the sixth straight year. The Gobblers won 38-24 a year ago in the postseason and topped Navarro 43-7 in district play on Nov. 2. Lake Travis outlasted Judson 47-39 last year in the second round, avenging a season-opening 65-45 loss.
Trying to break through: Two big area schools play at the dome Saturday for their first-ever trips to state. Wagner (12-1) takes on Mission Veterans Memorial (12-1) for the Class 5A Division I title at 10 a.m., and Brandeis (11-2) battles Austin Westlake (12-1) at 6 p.m. for the Class 6A Division II crown.
Refugio vs. Mason, 3:30 p.m. Friday, Alamodome: While neither is an area school, this contest will jump-start a big weekend at the dome. Refugio (11-2) has ousted the Punchers (13-0) from the playoffs the past three years. Mason, which is 97-9 over the past eight seasons and whose only losses each of the past two years came vs. Refugio, won a Class A Division I state title in 2011. Refugio has reached the state final in five of the past eight seasons, winning the Class 2A Division II championship in 2011 and the Class 2A Division I title in 2016.
La Vernia defensive line vs. Liberty Hill backfield: Bears linemen Tristan Neatherlin, Dawson Friederick and Walker Ring will have their hands full trying to slow down Liberty Hill’s slot-T attack when the two teams meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at San Marcos High School for the Class 4A Division I title. Liberty Hill has rushed for 6,187 yards and 89 touchdowns this season, averaging 9.9 yards an attempt, and has four backs with more than 500 yards — Kyle Harrison (2,391 yards and 35 TDs), Shane Gonzalez (1,029 yards, 13 TDs), Kristian Taggart (599 yards, 10 TDs) and Jacob Cearley (505 yards, 13 TDs). Liberty Hill scored 89 points in a game this season, and its lone loss was 52-51 in overtime to Class 5A Hutto after being stopped short on a two-point conversion.
Navarro defense vs. Cuero WR Jordan Whittington: A Texas commit, Whittington has 39 catches for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns in only nine games. Against Navarro in the playoffs in 2017, he caught three passes for 85 yards and two TDs.
By the numbers
19: Minutes it took for Navarro and Rockport-Fulton to play the first quarter of their Class 4A Division II third-round encounter last week at Alamo Stadium. The teams combined to run 24 plays — only one a pass — and each had two possessions. Navarro, which has at least 10 wins in each of the past seven seasons, won 28-13.
69: Points scored by Judson in its Class 6A third-round win last week over San Benito, a school record for the playoffs. The Rockets’ previous best was 68 vs. Laredo United in the third round on Nov. 29, 2013.