KENS 5 AREA H.S. FOOTBALL RANKINGS: Johnson on cusp of first district title

SAN ANTONIO - Johnson has advanced to the state semifinals once and made the playoffs four other times since opening in 2008, but the Jaguars have never won a district championship.

That could change Thursday night.

Johnson beat Reagan 21-14 last week, clinching at least a tie for the District 26-6A title the Rattlers have won each of the past four seasons. A Reagan victory against Madison on Thursday would vault the Jaguars, who have a bye this week, to the district championship.

If Madison beats Reagan, the Mavericks (4-4, 3-1) would play Johnson (7-2, 5-0) for the title in their regular-season finale on Nov. 10. Reagan is 6-2 overall and 3-1 in district.

“In our district, every win is huge,” Jaguars head coach Ron Rittimann said. “I’ve been in the district 27 years now, and you’ve got to take every district win and feel good about what you’ve done. You’ve got to be prepared to play because the level of coaching and the level of athletes in our district is always very competitive. It’s always been that way.

“And with what Reagan’s done in the past few years, you know what they’re going to bring to the table. Our guys were just up to the challenge. We had a real good week of practice. I feel like our team’s gotten better since week one. Every week, we’ve gotten a little bit better. That’s what we’re going to try to continue to do.”

Johnson moved from No. 6 to No. 5 in the KENS 5 area Class 6A rankings. Judson (8-0) remained No. 1 after beating previously unbeaten Clemens even though the Rockets played without dynamic quarterback Julon Williams, who has missed two of the last three games with a leg injury.

O’Connor (8-0) stayed at No. 2 and Smithson Valley (7-1) moved to No. 3, switching places with Clemens (7-1).

Kerrville Tivy (6-2) moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Sub-6A rankings, supplanting previously undefeated Navarro (7-1). The Panthers slipped to No. 3 after losing to Wimberley by two touchdowns. Pleasanton moved from No. 3 to No. 2, followed by No. 4 Somerset (6-2) and Medina Valley (6-2).

Reagan had won 27 consecutive district games before losing to Johnson, which trailed 14-0 until quarterback Mike Chandler scored on a 1-yard run with 27 seconds left in the half.

Justin Rodriguez’s 1-yard TD, combined with Brody Patty’s second PAT, tied the score at 14 midway through the third quarter.

Reagan appeared poised to reclaim the lead early in the fourth quarter but the Johnson defense stiffened, stopping Travis Sthele on a quarterback sneak at the 1 on a fourth-down play. Taking over inside their 1, the Jaguars went the length of the field before Chandler ran for a 2-yard TD with 2:39 left. Patty kicked the extra point to make it 21-14.

“Last Friday, it was kind of a playoff atmosphere as far as the weather got cold, there was some wind blowing, a big crowd, and there was something at stake,” Coach Rittimann said. “You’re playing in a game now that’s very relevant.

“Like I told our players all week, ‘You put yourselves in that position because not everybody gets to go play in an important high school football game in their career. A lot of great players went on to the NFL and never played an important high school game or an important college game.’ We just took that approach to last week.”

Rittimann credited senior noseguard Daniel Subia and senior tackle John Wallace for plugging the middle on the critical fourth-down play that turned the game.

“Reagan got off to a pretty good start,” Rittimann said. “Even after we fell behind 14-0, our guys never wavered. They kept playing hard, and finally got the momentum turned, and then we did some good things the last three quarters. In my opinion, it was a great high school football game for anybody to watch. I’m extremely proud of the way our guys competed and won the game.

Rittimann, 50, is the only head football coach Johnson has had since it opened in 2008. Now in their 10th season, the Jaguars have gone 60-49 in their history.

KENS 5 Area High School Football Rankings

Class 6A

1. Judson (8-0)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Defeated Clemens 31-14
The skinny: The Rockets beat previously unbeaten Clemens without dynamic quarterback Julon Williams, who missed his second game in three weeks with a leg injury. Junior running back Sincere McCormick was impressive while subbing for Williams again, rushing 23 times for 139 yards.
This week: vs. No. 3 Smithson Valley, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rutledge Stadium

2. O’Connor (8-0)
28-6A Zone B
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Beat Jay 63-12
The skinny: Quarterback Roel Sanchez keyed an O’Connor offense that piled up 494 yards, completing 5 of 8 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.  
This week: vs. Clark, Thursday, 7 p.m. Farris Stadium

3. Smithson Valley (6-1)
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Defeated New Braunfels Canyon 14-9
The skinny: Canyon outgained the Rangers 231-228 in total offensive yardage.
This week: at No. 1 Judson, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rutledge Stadium

4. Clemens (7-1)
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: Lost to Judson 31-14
The skinny: Clemens had yielded a total of only 55 points in seven games before giving up 31 to Judson.
This week: at New Braunfels, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

5. Johnson (7-2)
Ranking last week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated Reagan 21-14
The skinny: Johnson quarterback Mike Chandler, who rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, scored the game-winner on a 2-yard run with 2:39 left. The Jaguars snapped Reagan’s 27-game district winning streak and clinched at least a share of the 26-6A title.
This week: Bye

6. Steele (4-4)
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Defeated East Central 50-14
The skinny: Steele, which has won three in a row, held East Central to 147 total yards.   
This week: vs. Wagner, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Lehnhoff Stadium

7. Reagan (6-2)
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost to Johnson 21-14
The skinny: The Rattlers’ loss to the Jaguars was their first in district play since Nov. 9, 2012, when they fell to Roosevelt 24-21 in their regular-season finale. Reagan had gone unbeaten in district play each of the past four years.
This week: vs. Madison, Thursday, 7 p.m., Heroes Stadium

8. Brennan (5-3)
28-6A Zone A
Ranking last week: No. 9
Last week: Defeated Taft 34-9
The skinny: Playing without standout running back Jahmyl Jeter, Brennan trailed 9-7 at the half before outscoring the Raiders 27-0 in the final two quarters.   
This week: vs. Marshall, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Farris Stadium

9. Brandeis (7-2)
28-6A Zone A
Ranking last week: No. 9
Last week: Beat Holmes 55-16
The skinny: The Broncos bounced back in a big way after their loss to zone-leading Brennan the previous week.
This week: Bye

10. Southwest (7-1)
Ranking last week: No. 10
Last week: Defeated Laredo Johnson 35-8
The skinny: Southwest is 4-0 in District 28-6A.
This week: at Eagle Pass, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Entering the rankings: None
Dropping out of the rankings: None


1. Kerrville Tivy (6-2)
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Defeated Boerne Champion 20-13
The skinny: The Antlers remain one game behind district leader Dripping Springs with two games left in the regular season.
This week: at Seguin, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

2. Pleasanton (8-0)
District 15-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: Defeated La Vernia 18-17
The skinny: The Eagles can clinch at least a share of the district title with a victory against Somerset.
This week: vs. Somerset, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Eagle Stadium, Pleasanton

3. Navarro (7-1)
13-4A Division II
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Lost to Wimberley 49-35
The skinny: The loss to the Texans snapped the Panthers’ 30-game regular-season winning streak
This week: vs. Hondo, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Panther Stadium

4. Boerne (7-2)
14-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Lost to Taylor 42-21
The skinny: The Greyhounds have lost two consecutive district games.
This week: vs. Austin Eastside Memorial, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Boerne ISD Stadium

5. Somerset (6-2)
15-4A/Division I
Ranking week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated Robstown 56-6
The skinny: Somerset (2-1) can move into a tie with Pleasanton (3-0) for first place in the district with a win over the Eagles this week. 
This week: at Pleasanton, Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

6. Medina Valley (6-2)
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Defeated Lockhart 14-7
The skinny: The Panthers face their biggest test of the season this week.
This week: at Dripping Springs, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

7. Canyon Lake (7-2)
14-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 8
Last week: Defeated Fredericksburg 53-35
The skinny: The Hawks trailed 14-7 after one quarter, but never trailed after Benjamin Fulton connected with Tristan Chacon for a 15-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in the half. Fulton passed to Trenton Lorett for the two-point conversion, giving Canyon Lake a 29-22 lead at intermission.
This week: Bye

8. Alamo Heights (4-4)
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost to Dripping Springs 34-14
The skinny: The loss to first-place Dripping Springs dropped the Mules to fourth in the 26-5A standings, one game ahead of the team they play this week.  
This week: vs. Boerne Champion, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Orem Stadium, Alamo Heights High School

9. Highlands (6-2)
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Edison 41-13
The skinny: Owls running back Rene Palomino rushed 30 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns, and Joseph Palafos completed 12 of 20 passes for 160 yards and three scores.  
This week: vs. Memorial, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Edgewood Veterans Stadium

10. Holy Cross (6-2)
TAPPS Division II-District 3
Ranking last week: No. 10
Last week: Bye
The skinny: The Knights (3-1) are third in the district race, trailing co-leaders Austin Regents (4-0) and Austin Hyde Park (4-0).
This week: at Austin Hyde Park, Friday, 7 p.m.

Entering the rankings: Highlands (6-2)
Dropping out of the rankings: Fredericksburg (5-3)

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