Week 11 Game of the Week - Garden City v Sterling City ++

Leman Saunders

Six-man expert
Week 11 Big Games

Garden City (9-0) @ Sterling City (9-0) - Friday
Big rivalry game between DI top 10 ranked teams as Garden City travels to Sterling City for the district championship game. These two schools have played each other at least 77 times since 1938 with Sterling City leading the series 45-30-2. However, the Eagles will be flying against the wind in this year’s contest.

Garden City’s defense is one of the toughest in 1A allowing just 10.78 points per game and one big factor in that is the Bearkats have 26 total defensive take aways as a team (13 fumble recoveries, 13 INTs). LB Cesar Chavez leads the defense with his 112 tackles this season.

Sterling City features a solid defense which has allowed just 14.44 points per game and has a play maker on offense in back Wyatt Sisco who has rushed for 1,111 yards and 25 TDs and thrown for an additional 470 yards and 11 TDs. He also leads the team with 92 tackles followed by Kamden Pruitt with 83.

Keys to the Game:
Sterling City will need to crack the Bearkats defense. Sisco will need to have a big offensive night and so will a few other Eagles such as RB Kade Pruitt (averages 9.26 ypc), or WR Quinton McMullan (11-275, 8 TDs receiving). They will also need to win the turnover battle in order to pull off the upset.

Garden City needs to go out there and control the line of scrimmage and not allow the big plays, basically just go out and play their game. Offensively the Bearkats will need to control the pace of the game behind their multi back running attack with Amando Alegria (667 yards, 19 TDs), Hunter McMillan (374 yards, 12 TDs) and Cirildo Mier (262 yards, 6 TDs).

My Take:
It should be a solid game early, but I think it will escalate in Garden City’s favor as the game progresses. I think the Bearkats defense is just too much for the Eagles to overcome.
My pick: Garden City 64 Sterling City 32

Nazareth (7-1) @ Petersburg (7-2)
DI district two title game. Both schools claimed upset victories over district favorite Happy who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Nazareth RB Nathaneal Van Dijk has been a key part of the Swifts offensive attack. On the flip side for the Buffaloes have a balanced run attack with freshman RB Kaden Parraza being one of the best freshman in 1A and fellow RB Sergio Alvarado also able to eat up yardage on the ground. My pick Petersburg 40 Nazareth 24.

Panther Creek (4-4) @ Cherokee (3-6) - Thursday
Battle for 2nd place in DII district 16. Cherokee has won the last two meetings in 2013 and 2015, but the Panthers hold the all-time series with a 13-7 record. Cherokee has some very good running backs, namely Tristian Arkansas who has a couple of 300+ yard games to his credit, and Blazie Lopez, so the Indians will be able to move the ball well on the Panthers. However, that Indian defense is prone to giving up points and the big play. Panther Creek has a playmaker as well in Matthew Morris (79-1,076 yards, 16 TDs rushing; 127 yards, 5 TDs passing; 100 yards, 2 TDs receiving) who can make defenses pay in more ways than one. This should be a great matchup and tough to predict, but I’m going with Cherokee and their overall team speed to make just enough big plays to pull this one off. My pick Cherokee 60 Panther Creek 52.

Buena Vista (4-5) @ Sierra Blanca (5-2)
This game will decide the DII district 5 runner-up. Sierra Blanca was idle after their showdown with GR in week 9 so the Vaqueros should be rested up and ready for this battle. In contrast, Buena Vista is coming off a hard fought loss last week to Grandfalls-Royalty and may be a little banged up. This is a classic “who wants it more” game that will give one team a playoff berth and the other a quick start to basketball season. While many feel Sierra Blanca is the underdog in this one, I’m sticking with the well-rested home team to pull off the upset. My pick Sierra Blanca 56 Buena Vista 40

Other Big Game Picks:
Strawn over Gordon
Southland over Wilson
Cranfills Gap over Walnut Springs
Balmorhea over Rankin
Bryson over Savoy
Saint Jo over Perrin-Whitt