AP NEWS

3 and out: Takeaways from the third round of the playoffs

December 3, 2018

The wait is over.

The anticipated showdown between state powers Judson and Austin Lake Travis is a reality.

The Rockets (12-0) and Lake Travis (11-1) will meet for the Region IV-6A Division I title at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome. Both schools have won six UIL state championships.

Lake Travis pounded Weslaco 56-14 in the third round. Judson demolished San Benito 69-18 to earn its 23rd trip to a regional final in the past 37 seasons.

Saturday’s contest is a rematch of a 2017 second-round thriller in which Lake Travis capitalized on a couple Judson miscues to rally for a 47-39 win, scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes midway through the fourth quarter to seize control. Judson pulled within eight points and recovered an onside kick with three minutes left to play, but the Cavaliers held and forced a turnover on downs to prevail.

The teams also met in last year’s season opener, with Judson rolling to a 65-45 win.

Fulfilling a destiny: A year ago, Brandeis was on the outside looking in, forced to watch instead of participating in the playoffs after losing to Jay 58-57 in overtime in the final game of the regular season.

It was at that moment that the Broncos laid the foundation for a bounce-back after missing the postseason for only the second time in their 10-year history and the first since their inaugural campaign in 2008.

The journey came to fruition when Brandeis rallied to defeat Brownsville Hanna 33-32 Saturday in a Class 6A Division II third-round game at the Alamodome.

The Broncos (11-2) advanced to play Austin Westlake (12-1) in the Region IV-6A Division II final at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome.

“We’ve been envisioning this since November of last year,” Brandeis quarterback Jordan Battles said. “We knew we were going to come here, we were going to fight. We worked hard all summer, all through two-a-days. We were expected to be in the spot we are now.”

Brandeis overcame a 26-7 deficit early in the third quarter vs. Hanna to reach the state quarterfinals for the fourth time and first since 2014.

Battles, a sophomore in his first varsity season, led the charge by accounting for 333 yards and five touchdowns, three passing and two rushing.

“My age has nothing to do with this,” Battles said. “I’m put in a position where I have to act more mature than I should, but that’s part of growing up, and I take it as a challenge. I do my best to come out every week and lead my team.”

New coach, same results: For 11 seasons, Navarro knew nothing but success under coach Les Goad. The Panthers collected 107 wins and advanced to the playoffs 10 times, including a trip to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals in 2016.

Goad resigned in February to take a job at 6A Hays and Rod Blount was hired in March as his successor.

The change in leadership hasn’t resulted in a change in success. Navarro (10-2) is in a regional final for the third time in nine seasons. The Panthers, who also made it this far in 2010, will play nemesis Cuero at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Comalander Stadium. It will be the sixth straight season the teams will square off during the playoffs.

“We’re going to love whoever we’re with,” Navarro quarterback Bryan Butler said of the coaching change. “We’re one big family.”

Titles in sight: The UIL state championships are still a few week away, but two area schools will be playing next weekend for the top prize.

Boerne Geneva faces Trinity Willow Park Christian for TAPPS Division III crown at noon Friday at Waco Midway High School. The Eagles topped League City Bay Area 49-19 in the state semifinals.

Bracken Christian will take on Huntsville Alpha Omega for the TAPPS Six-Man Division II title at 11 a.m. Thursday, also at Waco Midway. The Warriors, who routed Watauga Harvest Christian 62-24 in semifinals, were state finalists a year ago.

tthomas@express-news.net

Twitter: @en_terrence

AP RADIO
Update hourly