Regional Semifinal Football Outlooks

Falls City (10-2) Vs. Milano (11-1) - Friday - Buda’s Shelton Stadium - 7:00

Both of these teams have had little to no problems with their two first round opponents. Falls City has cruised by Agua Dulce (65-14) and Rocksprings (44-16) while Milano had no problems with the likes of D’Hanis (41-0) and Woodsboro (56-20). The Beavers are a program that’s had plenty of success in the playoffs, with a state finalist appearance in 2013 and a state championship victory in 2010 over Windthorst (32-7). This season, Falls City has thrown for over 2,250 yards and have run for nearly 3,000, so this team is diverse and can beat you in a variety of ways. The winner of this game will probably be looking at Burton next week in the state quarterfinals. Burton beat Milano in district earlier this season, 36-31.

Josh’s Pick: Milano by 3.


Rockdale (9-3) Vs. West (10-2) - Friday - Belton’s Tiger Field - 7:30

This is a rematch of the season opener that saw West walk away with a 42-24 win at home. A few key things to remember is that was the opening game of the season and this is a different Rockdale team. The Tigers were missing three keys starters, including Oklahoma commit JaQuayln Crawford. That is not to say West has not shown improvement as they have simply been the most dominant team in region III through the first two rounds. In the 41-14 bi-district win over McGregor, the Trojans had a 390-18 rushing yard advantage. Rockdale ended up pulling away late from Woodville in a 55-30 win in the area round. The game probably would not have been that close late had the Tigers not allowed two kickoff returns in the first half. I believe both teams know they will need to be at their best this week to advance. I will be attending this game.

Josh’s Pick: Rockdale by 1.


Teague (10-2) Vs. Franklin (10-2) - Friday - Waco ISD Stadium - 7:30

This is also another rematch as these two teams squared off in the bi-district round of the 2016 playoffs, which saw Teague cruise to the 42-20 win. This game will probably not last all that long as both teams like the run and the clock will probably be running most of the night. Where Teague is going to have an advantage is size up front, and I think that is going to be the difference in this game. If you’re Franklin, you simply have to do what Cameron was not able to do - force the Teague quarterback to beat you. If Teague’s running-back Tayvis Coleman gets going early and often, it’s probably going to be a long night for Franklin. One thing everyone should know about Franklin is that they never give up and can come back on you.

Josh’s Pick: Teague by 10.


China Spring (9-3) Vs. Liberty Hill (9-2) - Friday - Killeen’s Buckley Stadium - 7:30

It’s no real surprise to see two teams from 13-4A DI matching up again in the regional semis. That district is clearly the best in the region year in and year out and that is proven again with this matchup. When these teams met up in district, China Spring held a 44-21 lead over Liberty Hill at the 7:53 mark of the third quarter. The Panthers closed the game on a 38-14 run to stun Mark Bell’s squad. The basketball score should come to no surprise as that was common place for Jeff Rogers’ teams when he was at Rogers. The Eagles once scored 72 points against Refugio and lost.

Josh’s Pick: China Spring by 7.


Salado (11-1) Vs. Bellville (7-5) - Saturday - Alamodome - 8:00

There has not been a program in the area that has improved more than Salado over the past few years. Alan Haire was the coach that had Lago Vista rolling a few years back and is now in charge of his hometown Eagles, and these birds are flying very high at the moment. Salado has crushed both Columbus (42-14) and Liberty (63-14) in the opening rounds. Not to be overlooked is the job that Grady Rowe has done with Bellville. After starting the season with a 40-14 loss to Cameron and 0-4 record, the Brahmas now find themselves in the third round after playoffs wins over Orangefield (35-14) and Fairfield (35-34). Those are the results you expect from tradition rich and well-coached programs. Fairfield actually handed Salado their only loss of the season, but I think this Salado team is just clicking on all cylinders right now.

Josh’s Pick: Salado by 14.


Madisonville (11-1) Vs. West Orange-Stark (10-0)

The winner of the Salado/Bellville game will get the winner of this game in next week’s state quarterfinal game. Rusty Nail, along with Haire at Salado, probably deserve co-coach of the year honors for what they are doing with their respective programs. I had always felt that Madisonville was a program that should have been better than they were, and now we can no longer say that. This week awaits two-time defending state champ West Orange-Stark. The Mustangs seem to be a bit down offensively this season, but the defense appears to be top notch, only giving up a combined 3 points in two playoff games. For Madisonville to win, I believe they need to keep this game in the 20s and hope for some explosive scoring plays.

Josh’s Pick: West Orange-Stark by 14.