Texas vs. the world
A look at 'must-see' games involving teams from other countries and states
In case you haven’t heard, football season has already started!
Obviously, Texas is a state that takes a lot of pride in this sport that we all love so dearly. And most people admit the Lone Star State has the best high school football in the country — come on, is that even an argument?
But seriously, states like Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina produce some of the nation’s top ranked teams and are ready to flex their muscles against some of the best Texas has to offer in 2014.
Plenty of pride will be on the line in these 10 (plus a few more) ‘must-see’ Texas vs. out-of-state/country matchups. Remember, these games were not eligible for our 50 ‘must-see’ games series that wrapped up last week.
10. Navasota/George Ranch/Brownsville Porter vs. Nuevo Leon (MX)- Three games in one! Yes, Nuevo Leon, a team from south of the border, will be taking on three very different squads. George Ranch has a stellar defense led by Kingsley Keke and could be very dangerous this year and Navasota is one of the top small schools in the state. Brownsville Porter, on the other hand, hasn’t had much success since the days of Billy Garza in the mid-2000s. We’re pumped to see these international matches.
9. Stephenville vs. Anchorage South (AK)- That’s right, Anchorage South is making its way down to Texas to face arguably the strongest team in 4A. The Wolverines finished 5-4 last season but won the 2012 Alaska big school state title. Anchorage South will travel approximately 4,000 miles for this game, which will mark the first time a Texas school faces an opponent from Alaska. Anchorage South fans should get familiar with the name Jarrett Stidham.
8. Wellington vs. Hollis (OK)- It’s a rivalry renewed in what should be a very entertaining small-school matchup that features two state champions. Behind a strong running game, Hollis finished 2013 undefeated and brings back some key starters from last year’s squad. Read the last sentence again and replace Hollis with Wellington. The two schools are very similar, so expect explosive rushing attacks in this one. It should be noted that Wellington beat Hollis back in 2008, 45-0.
7. Highland Park vs. Pulaski Academy (AR)- One of the top teams in Arkansas will meet tradition rich Highland Park, which is moving up a classification. Fans should expect to see fireworks in this one. Last season, Pulaski Academy averaged 49.6 points per game while Highland Park, which is led by standout quarterback Brady Burgin, averaged 41.9. By the way, Pulaski Academy refuses to punt and tries an onside kick on every kickoff. But we’re not exactly sure that’s a good idea against a well-coached Randy Allen team.
6. Midland Christian vs. Calvary Baptist (LA)- A private school clash that is making our mouths water. Midland Christian enters the season looking to capture its fourth straight title and boasts a mammoth blocker in Oklahoma State commit Johnny Wilson. Quarterback Shea Patterson, who is one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation in the 2016 class, will lead Calvary Baptist. It’s worth mentioning that Patterson actually started his career here in Texas with Hidalgo before leaving the state.
T-5. Lufkin vs. John Curtis (LA)/Longview vs. Neville (LA)- Fans at the Battle of the Border Showcase, which also features the match above, are in for a treat. Yes, Lufkin didn’t exactly live up expectations last year, but we expect wide receivers Keke Coutee and Terry Mark to help the Panthers be superior again in 2014. John Curtis won the mythical national championship in 2012 and is projected to once again be a perennial power in Louisiana. Fans can stick around and see another strong East Texas squad when Longview takes on Neville. Both teams are threats to win state titles in their respective states.
4. Southlake Carroll vs. Tulsa Union (OK)- Texas high school football fans should already be familiar with Tulsa Union. The Redskins, who fell to Jenks in last year’s Oklahoma 6A state championship game, came to Texas last season to face Euless Trinity. We expect this one to go kind of the same way — a close, hard fought game with the Texas team coming out on top. Stud quarterback Ryan Agnew and the Dragons are simply too talented to lose at AT&T Stadium.
3. Prestonwood vs. IMG Academy (FL)- Another highly anticipated private school matchup, this one has the makings of a classic. Prestonwood fell a couple of plays short of winning a state title last year, but folks around here know the Lions always reload, and that’s why they are our No. 1 ranked 11-man private school team. IMG Academy, however, will be a big early season test. The second year program is littered with FBS recruits and coached by former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke.
2. Allen vs. Dutchfork (SC)- Allen is arguably the best team in the state. But what about the nation? The Eagles and superstar quarterback Kyler Murray will get to prove just that when they meet Dutchfork. Like Allen, Dutchfork is coming off a state title and is nationally ranked by various preseason polls. The Silver Foxes, who are No. 1 in South Carolina, are headlined by Louisville commit Matt Colburn at running back and junior athlete Stephen Davis Jr., the son of the former Auburn star and NFL running back.
1. DeSoto/Euless Trinity/ Coppell vs. Eastern Christian (MD)- We started with three games in one, and we’re ending with three games in one! Why? Well, like Nuevo Leon, Eastern Christian is spending most of its early part of the season in Texas and will face three of the Dallas-area’s premier teams. The trio are all ranked in the top 25 and are led by some of the state’s biggest stars — DT Bryce English (DeSoto), OL Patrick Vahe (Euless Trinity) and RB Charles West (Coppell). So what can these teams expect from Eastern Christian? The Honey Badgers are coming off a 9-3 season and bring back numerous FBS recruits of their own including quarterback David Stills, who committed to USC as a seventh-grader. We know you’re not supposed to mess with Honey Badgers, but they will soon find out that nobody messes with Texas.
EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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