KENS 5 H.S. football rankings: No. 1 Judson, No. 2 Steele clash this week

Steele quarterback Xavier Martin talks about matchup with Judson

SAN ANTONIO – In another time, when only district champions advanced to the playoffs, the Judson-Steele game Friday night probably would be for a postseason berth.

With four teams from each district making the playoffs under the current UIL format, and barring monumental collapses, both powerhouse teams are virtually assured of playing beyond the regular season.

Still, Friday night’s highly anticipated clash at Lehnhoff Stadium will have a playoff feel to it – even if it’s only midseason and temperatures remain in the 90s.   

Steele, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in District 27-6A, started the season No. 1 in the KENS 5 area rankings, but slipped to No. 2 after a 59-56 double-overtime loss to Austin Lake Travis in Week 2. Judson (4-0, 1-0) moved from No. 2 to No. 1, and has cemented its position with two routs in its last two games.

"They're a well-coached team with a bunch of really good athletes," Judson coach Sean McAuliffe said Monday morning. "They're physical up front defensively. They're just big and fast. It's the same old, same old. When you look at them on tape, they're really good."

Steele coach Scott Lehnhoff was equally complimentary of the Rockets, who have scored 55, 66 and 54 points in their last three games. 

"Judson is one of the most talented teams in the state of Texas," he said. "A lot of team speed. Well coached. You know where they're going to be, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you can block them, or you can tackle them, or you can win the game."

Judson is tied with DeSoto for No. 2 in this week/s Associated Press 6A state poll, and Steele is No. 8.

The Knights are coming off a hard-fought 24-17 victory over Smithson Valley in their district opener. 

"It's been quite a start to the season, the people that we've played, and the kind of competition we've been up against," Lehnhoff said. "The schedule has not been real kind. No doubt about it, these are games as coaches and players that you want to be in.

"When you face opponents like this, it will expose your weaknesses and show you where you're at as a ballclub and where you need get to get to and where you need to be. I think the Judson game has made us better in the past, and I think that'll be true this year."

An overflow crowd is expected to jam into Lehnhoff Stadium, Steele's home field, to watch the No. 1 Rockets and No. 2 Knights square off for the seventh time. The Knights are 6-0 against Judson, but the Rockets have kept it close since getting beat 51-34 in 2013, losing 20-13 last year and 23-22 in 2014.

Steele has been the San Antonio area’s dominant program since it won the 2010 Class 5A Division II state championship in only its fifth varsity season. The Knights have gone 85-10 since moving into the UIL's largest classification in 2010, and haven't lost two regular-season games in the same year since stumbling to a 1-2 start during their title season. 

Judson has a rich tradition of its own, having won six state titles since 1983. The Rockets have advanced to the state final five other times. 

The game will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the area, Steele senior Xavier Martin and Judson junior Julon Williams. Martin committed to Texas Tech last summer before his junior season, and Williams has started since his freshman year..  

Williams has completed 23 of 36 passes, with one interception, for 433 yards and two touchdowns and has rushed for 239 yards and five TDs on 38 carries (6.29 average).

"He's played real well the past two years, but you can tell this is his team now that he's a junior," Lehnhoff said of Williams. "When you're a freshman and sophomore, even kids who are great players and leaders, they have a hard time winning over the locker room with some of those older kids. You can tell that there's a different attitude that he has in the way of controlling those guys in the huddle than maybe he didn't have in the past."

Martin has been a force through four games, completing 52 of 81 passes for 841 yards and eight TDs and leading the team in rushing with 474 yards and five TDs on 54 carries (8.8 average). He has had two passes intercepted. 

"He's a difference-maker for them," McAuliffe said. "When they need a play, he always seems to have a knack for for getting them the big play that they need. A year ago on the first third down against us, we had them in third and some pretty negative yardage and he pops a draw like it was nobody's business and scores a touchdown. Tech is getting a good football player in a year, I'll tell you that."

The Rockets and Knights are playing at Lehnhoff Stadium, which is named after Scott Lehnhoff's parents, for the second consecutive season because it's a realignment year when coaches draw for sites of district games.

"It doesn't really matter where we play," McAuliffe said. "We'd play at Schertz Park if they wanted to, or (FM) 78. We could probably go out to the parking lot and play there if we had to."

District 27-6A continues to dominate the KENS Class 6A rankings, with five teams holding spots in the Top 10. Clemens (3-1) is No. 3 and Smithson Valley (1-2) and Wagner (3-1) are No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.

O’Connor (3-1) moved from No. 6 to No. 4 after beating then-No. 4 Johnson, and Reagan climbed from No. 7 to No. 5. Johnson and Smithson Valley, which lost to Steele 24-17, slipped to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

Alamo Heights (4-0) and Boerne Champion (3-1) remain 1-2 in the Sub-6A rankings, but Uvalde (4-0) moved from No. 4 to No. 3 after Somerset (3-1) lost to Boerne last Friday night. Class 4A power Navarro (4-0) and Sam Houston (3-1) are No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in the Sub-6A Top 10.

KENS 5 Area High School Football Rankings

Class 6A

1. Judson (4-0)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Defeated New Braunfels 54-13
The skinny: The Rockets have outscored their first four opponents 210-74, and have put up 55, 66 and 54 points in their last three games.
This week: vs. No. 2 Steele, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Lehnhoff Stadium

2. Steele (3-1)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Defeated Smithson Valley 24-17
The skinny: The Knights haven’t lost two regular-season games in a year since 2009.
This week: vs. No. 1 Judson, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Lehnhoff Stadium

3.  Clemens (3-1)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: East Central 56-21
The skinny: The Buffaloes continued to roll behind dynamic dual-threat quarterback Frank Harris.
This week: vs. No. 8 Wagner, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rutledge Stadium, Judson High School

4. O’Connor (3-1)
District: 28-6A
Ranking last week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated Johnson 24-8
The skinny: The Panthers got back on track after losing to Steele by 21 the previous week.
This week: vs. Taft, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Farris Stadium

5. Reagan (3-1)
District: 26-6A
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Defeated Hays 27-14
The skinny: Reagan heads into district play with back-to-back wins after stumbling against Laredo United in Week 2.
This week: vs. MacArthur, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Heroes Stadium

6. Johnson (3-1)
District: 26-6A
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Lost to O’Connor 24-8
The skinny: The Jaguars had only 177 total yards in their last tuneup before starting district play.
This week: vs. Roosevelt, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Comalander Stadium

7. Smithson Valley (1-2)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost to Steele 24-17
The skinny: Steele’s Xavier Martin passed for 299 yards and two TDs against the Rangers.  
This week: at East Central, Friday, 7:30 p.m., East Central Stadium

8. Brandeis (2-2)
District: 28-6A
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Madison 30-7
The skinny: The Broncos have won two in a row after an 0-2 start.
This week: vs. Clark, Thursday, 7 p.m., Farris Stadium

9. Wagner (3-1)
District: 27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 8
Last week: Lost to New Braunfels Canyon 29-15
The skinny: A week after piling up 671 yards in a 68-7 rout of Marshall, the Thunderbirds had only 187 in their district opener against previously winless Canyon.
This week: vs. No. 3 Clemens, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rutledge Stadium

10. Holmes (3-1)
District: 28-6A
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Harlandale 49-28
The skinny: The Huskies fell behind Harlandale 21-7 before striking for 35 unanswered points that put them ahead 42-21 with 8:15 remaining.
This week: vs. Stevens, Thursday, 7 p.m., Gustafson Stadium

Dropped out of rankings: Madison (2-2), New Braunfels (2-2)

Sub-6A

1. Alamo Heights (4-0)
District: 26-5A
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Defeated Marble Falls 41-16
The skinny: The Mules opened district play with a decisive road victory.
This week: vs. Kerrville Tivy, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Orem Stadium, Alamo Heights High School

2. Boerne Champion (3-1)
District: 26-5A
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Defeated Medina Valley 42-0
The skinny: The Chargers bounced back with a rousing performance after losing to Brandeis the previous week.
This week: at Lockhart, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Lion Stadium

3. Uvalde (4-0)
District: 29-5A
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Defeated Fort Stockton 32-27
The skinny: The Coyotes go into their final nondistrict game having scored at least 32 points in each of their last three outings.
This week: at Gonzales, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Apache Field

4. Navarro (4-0)
District: 13-4A / Division II
Ranking last week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated La Grange 42-13
The skinny: The Panthers held La Grange to 101 total yards.
This week: at Refugio, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Sportsman Bobcat Stadium

5. Sam Houston (3-1)
District: 28-5A
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Defeated Memorial 39-10
The skinny: Quarterback Jawon Anderson passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores as the Hurricanes improved to 2-0 in district.  
This week: vs. Brackenridge, Thursday, 7 p.m., Alamo Stadium

6. Antonian (4-0)
District: TAPPS Division I / District 2
Ranking last week: No. 8 
Last week: Defeated Floresville 38-28
The skinny: Kyte McDonald rushed for 174 yards and two TDs on 29 carries for the Apaches.      
This week: vs. Blanco, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Antonian Stadium

7. Holy Cross (4-0)
District: TAPPS Division II / District 3
Ranking last week: No. 9
Last week: Defeated Hondo 48-28
The skinny: Running back Robert Adame rambled for 243 yards and four TDs on 24 carries in the Knights’ final nondistrict game.
This week: vs. Saint Mary’s Hall, Saturday, 7 p.m., Harlandale Memorial Stadium

8. Somerset (3-1)
District: 15-4A / Division I
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: Lost to Boerne 21-0
The skinny: Somerset finished with only 148 yards in the loss – 60 rushing and 88 passing.  
This week: vs. Harlandale, Friday, 7:30 p.m. Bulldog Stadium, Somerset

9. Harlandale (3-1)
District: 29-5A
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost to Holmes 49-28
The skinny: Harlandale led 21-7 with 2:53 left in the first half before Holmes went on a 35-0 run that gave the Huskies a 42-21 lead with 8:15 left.
This week: at Somerset, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Bulldog Stadium

10. Edison (2-1)
District: District 28-5A
Ranking last week: No. 10
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Memorial, Friday, 7:30 p.m., SAISD Sports Complex  

Dropped out of the rankings this week: None

(© 2016 KENS)


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