The CenTex Fieldhouse: Week 5 action

TPI has added a new edition to the team and to the site with The CenTex Fieldhouse. H. Horne shares his insights from watching hours of high school video and visiting with Austin area coaches. Here is his weekly report. This week's edition is free, but will become a premium feature in the future.

Upcoming Game of the Week: Bastrop v. Westlake 
Currently there is a three-way tie for first place in District 25-5A between Bastrop, Westlake and Austin High. The winner of this game takes early control of the district race and at 3-0 will be out in front for the District Title. The Bastrop bandwagon is filling up fast as Bastrop is off to a hot 5-0 start and shows no signs of cooling down. Westlake is not a flashy team but very efficient and battle on every snap until they wear you down. Should be an interesting game to say the least.

Team of the Week: Austin Anderson
Honestly I can't remember Anderson ever beating Austin Bowie. I'm sure it must have happened before – I just can't remember that far back I guess. Anderson's special team were the difference in this nip-n-tuck back as Anderson Safety and kick holder Jeff Arnold threw a first half TD pass on a fake FG and then Anderson QB Sam Wehmeyer finally put his team over the top with a 30 yard TD pass with less than a minute left. Huge upset win for Anderson who continues to improve in huge strides under Head Coach Mark Reiland.

Best Individual performance I saw for Week 5: 
Dom Espinosa Center Cedar Park HS. Cedar Park rushed for 363 yards against a struggling Austin McNeil team – most of those yards right up the middle behind All-Everything and University of Texas bound Center Espinosa. Espinosa is not just a big O-lineman. Just about every 5A school in Texas has a big O-lineman with Espinosa's size. However, almost none have an O-lineman with the skill, footwork and strength of Espinosa. Big Dom just dominates anyone lined up over in front of him and Friday night against McNeil was no exception. 

Game Film Observations:
1. Lampasas v. Pflugerville Hendrickson
Lampasas actually put up a good fight with Hendrickson although the final score of 55-23 might not reflect so. Hendrickson didn't really take a commanding lead until the midway through the third quarter. Lampasas DB Aaron Renya (#8 RB/DB – SR) did his part to keep the game close with some fearless hitting and several big tackles on Hendrickson backs for losses or minimal gains. Renya also showed good speed on his carries. Brode DuBose (#2 FB – SR) is a load at 220 plus lbs coming off the ball in the Lampasas running attack and racked up 75 hard fought yards and 2 TDs. Rounding out the three headed RB attack for Lampasas is Edward Grant (#34 FB – SR) who never shied away from contact and has a fearless running style.

My pick for the best RB in Central Texas, Kenny Williams (#34 RB – JR), also showed us that he can throw the ball as he chunked a nice 38 yard spiral down field to connect with Daje Johnson (#8 RB/DB – Soph) on a nice RB option play. Tommie Robins (#10 DB – JR) electrified the home crowd with an impressive 85 yard Punt Return TD in the 2nd Quarter. Robins showed good speed and even better use of his blocks to put some more points on the scoreboard for his team. Hendrickson seems to have solved their turn over problem that doomed them against Del Valle (8 fumbles) and their Offense is now generating plenty of points scoring at least 49 points in their last three games. Up next is 4A State Champs Lake Travis after a bye week, which will be the real acid test for this young upstart team.

2. Westlake v. Pflugerville 
Westlake is just a solid team that will not fold. After Pflugerville jumped up early, Westlake just worked their way back into the game with solid running and a very efficient short passing game from QB Tanner Price (#10 QB - SR). One of Price's favorite receivers was big Charlie Copa (#89 TE – SR). Copa has excellent hands and runs great routes. His strongest feature is how easily he can get off the line of scrimmage and get into his routes. Westlake's Defense is anchored by Bryce Hager (#44 LB – SR) who has a unique ability to pick the right hole to shoot thru and make the big tackle for loss on the other side. At times, Hager looked almost unblockable – or at least invisible to the Pflugerville linemen. Westlake used several different blitz packages to keep the Pflugerville Offense off balance for most of the night. Price also contributed heavily to the win by using his legs as much as his arm.

Pflugerville got off to a good start with a nice 14 yard TD run by Sammy Flowers (#4 RB – JR) and a 25 yard FG by Sean Ianno (#17 K – SR) for a 10-0 lead. The Pflugerville Defense just had difficulties getting off the field, as Westlake just always seemed to find just enough yards to keep the chains moving. Pflugerville's own big Tight End – Kyle Moon (#80 TE – JR) got into the offensive flow with 5 catches to contribute to Pflugerville's cause and Flowers made a spectacular catch at the end of the game in the End Zone for Pflugerville's final points. Pflugerville has hit a tough 3 game losing streak since star RB Storm Woods (#43 RB – JR) went down with a knee injury against Round Rock. Look for Coach Herrmann to regroup his team and play much better this week against Austin Anderson.

3. Austin McNeil v. Cedar Park
Once again Cedar Park's massive Offensive line set the tone for this game by pounding huge holes for QB Nathan Thornhill (#17 QB – SR) and brother Darren Thornhill (#24 RB – SR)to both rush for over 100 yards each. Utility Back Brian Hogan (#12 QB/WR/RB – Soph) also made his presence felt after a nice 29 yard TD on a reverse play that completely froze the McNeil defense. The Cedar Park defense also was on the prowl for turnovers as they visibly attempted to strip every McNeil ball carrier and had success on the first play of the game when the linebacking group of Garrett Quick (#22 LB – SR), Joey Nichol (#47 LB – SR), Holmes Onwukaife (#90 LB/DE – SR) and Alex Damron (#33 LB – JR) forced fumbles on McNeil's first two offensive series that quickly turned into 2 Cedar Park rushing TDs. Finally Zach Espinosa (#21 S – Soph) picked off an errant Cole Smith (#5 QB – SR) pass in the third quarter for a quick Pick 6 TD that essentially put the game away as Cedar Park jumped up to a 34-0 lead.

Credit McNeil for battling back towards the end of the third quarter with short TD runs by Smith and Adrian Smith (#37 RB – SR). Cole Smith did his best to try to get his team back in the game but several costly penalties on top of the forced turnovers were just too much to over come. Cole Smith is a huge QB and thus not afraid to sit in the pocket or hold the ball until a receiver breaks open. Adrian Smith is a big bruising back along the lines of young Jerome Bettis. End the end, the physical nature of this game was just too much for McNeil and not just on the scoreboard as two McNeil players were ejected for loosing their cool. And while McNeil is now 1-4, they are still a very dangerous team on Offense thanks to Adrian Smith and Cole Smith.
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Video Highlights from this past week can also be found on my website – www.hhorne.com. Send me your comments and feedback at hhorne@mac.com. Have a great weekend of Football!

Each week I visit several coaches around Central Texas and collect game video as a Football Recruiting Producer (H. Horne Sports Video). I also get a chance to talk to football dads and moms, area sports writers, high school athletes and other folks in the know. My weekly report to TPI is the perfect forum to share these observations and inside info with other Texas HS Football lovers.


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