KENS 5 AREA H.S. FOOTBALL RANKINGS: Memorial enjoying historic season

The Salsa Bowl has a little more spice to it this season.

After finishing 0-10 last year, Memorial can clinch its first football district championship in school history with a victory against Edgewood ISD rival Kennedy on Friday night. 

The Minutemen secured their first winning season since 1994 and made history by earning at least a share of the district title with a 20-9 win over Highlands last Friday. 

Second-year Memorial head coach Kemmie Lewis dismissed any notion Monday that the Minutemen could have a letdown this week.

“Our goal since the offseason has been to win the district championship,” Lewis said. “Every week, our players come back to school on Monday yearning for more, and more and more. The Salsa Bowl is always huge for us, but this group is a little bit different.

“Years before, they used to say, ‘Well, we’ve lost every game. This is the year to beat Kennedy in the Salsa Bowl.’ The talk now is not about the Salsa Bowl. It’s about another game that we’re going to prepare for to get to our goal, a district championship. We respect Kennedy, but they’re another team that’s in our way of getting to that goal.”

Memorial, 6-3 overall and 6-1 in District 28-5A, and Kennedy (0-9, 0-7) clash at 7:30 Friday at Edgewood Veterans Stadium. The Rockets lead the series 37-12 and have won the last 17 meetings, but the Minutemen have the momentum this season after winning their last five games. T

Kennedy's 17-game winning streak is the longest in the series. Memorial hasn't beaten Kennedy since 1999, when it recorded its third consecutive victory against the Rockets. It's been all Kennedy since then. 

Memorial moved into the KENS 5 area Sub-6A rankings this week for the first time this season, coming in at No. 10.  

O’Connor (9-0) moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the 6A rankings after Smithson Valley (8-1) beat former No. 1 Judson (8-1). The Rockets had held the top spot since the start of the season. Judson slipped to No. 3, followed by Clemens (8-1) and Johnson (7-2).

Kerrville Tivy remained No. 1 in the Sub-6A rankings, but Pleasanton (8-1) dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 after losing to Somerset (7-2). The Bulldogs moved from No. 4 to No. 3. No. 2 Navarro and No. 4 Canyon Lake (7-2) are the other teams in the top five.

Memorial already had ended a streak of 22 consecutive losing seasons before it knocked off a Highlands team that was 6-2. If the Minutemen lost to Kennedy, they will share the crown with Sam Houston (6-4, 6-2). But the Hurricanes will advance to the playoffs as the higher seed by virtue of its head-up win against Memorial.

“We don’t want to share the district title,” senior running back Juan Garza said Monday. “We want it to ourselves. I feel that we deserve it. We’ve worked extremely hard.”

Memorial finished 0-10 last year for the ninth time in 13 seasons and started the 2017 campaign on a 19-game losing streak. The Minutemen lost their first two games to Southside and Pearsall, both of which have clinched playoff berths, before beating Jefferson in their district opener.

A 26-13 loss to Sam Houston the next week dropped Memorial to 1-3, but the Minutemen haven’t lost since then.

Given its history – Memorial lost 51 consecutive games from 1983 to 1989 – the Minutemen’s turnaround this season has been nothing short of remarkable.

The large crowd that gathered at Memorial to welcome the team back to the campus after the victory over Highlands is indicative of how the Minutemen’s success has buoyed the community surrounding the school.

“As we came back to the school, we had literally a parade of cars in front of the school,” Lewis said. “Alumni and fans were excited. They were honking their horns and revving their engines, waving flags. As the players came off the bus, there were lines for them to walk through. It was an amazing scene.

“People started doing this after we beat Jefferson, but Friday night was the biggest crowd we’ve had at school after a game. People were congratulating the players, hugging them and kissing them on the cheek. It was something I’d never experienced as a coach, and something these kids had never experienced.”

The buzz in the community isn’t limited to just Friday nights. When Lewis and his coaches go to lunch at any restaurant near the Memorial campus, fans of the Minutemen congratulate them.

“Everywhere we go, if you’ve got a blue shirt on and it has an ‘M’ on it, you’re going to get some recognition,” Lewis said. “People are just happy with what’s happening in the community and what the football team is doing. They’re ecstatic with the outcome of these games.

“The way that the community is accepting and understanding that changing is happening at Memorial has been great to see. Jump on the bandwagon and stay on it because we don’t want to stop here. We want to keep going this year, next year and years to come.”

KENS 5 Area High School Football Rankings

Class 6A

1. O’Connor (9-0)
District:
28-6A Zone B
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Beat Clark 41-7
The skinny: A victory against Zone A champion Brennan in the 28-5A title game would give O’Connor its first 10-0 regular season in school history.  
This week: vs. No. 8 Brennan, 28-6A title game, Thursday, 7 p.m., Gustafson Stadium

2. Smithson Valley (8-1)
District:
27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: Defeated Judson 40-37 (OT)
The skinny: Rangers quarterback Levi Williams threw three interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown, but he also riddled the Rockets’ defense for 299 yards and three TDs.
This week: vs. New Braunfels, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Ranger Stadium

3. Judson (8-1)
District:
27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Lost to Smithson Valley 40-37 (OT)
The skinny: The Rockets played their third game in the past four weeks without a dynamic quarterback, who is sidelined with a knee injury.
This week: at New Braunfels Canyon, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

4. Clemens (8-1)
District:
27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Defeated New Braunfels 17-7
The skinny: The Buffaloes head into their regular-season finale tied with Smithson Valley and Judson for first in the 27-6A standings.
This week: vs. No. 6 Steele, Lehnhoff Stadium, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

5. Johnson (7-2)
District:
26-6A
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Bye
The skinny: Reagan’s 55-43 victory over Madison vaulted Johnson to its first district title in school history.
This week: vs. Madison, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Heroes Stadium

6. Steele (5-4)
District:
27-6A
Ranking last week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated Wagner 31-14
The skinny: The Knights clinched the last playoff spot in 27-6A with their win against Wagner.     
This week: vs. No. 4 Clemens, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Lehnhoff Stadium

7. Reagan (7-2)
District: 
26-6A
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Defeated Madison 55-43
The skinny: The Rattlers bounced back from their first district loss in five years with a wild victory against the Mavericks.  
This week: vs. Roosevelt, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Comalander Stadium

8. Brennan (6-3)
District:
28-6A Zone A
Ranking last week: No. 8
Last week: Defeated Marshall 41-6
The skinny: Brennan heads into the 28-6A title game with a six-game winning streak.  
This week: vs. No. 1 O’Connor, 28-6A title game, Thursday, 7 p.m., Gustafson Stadium

9. Brandeis (7-2)
District: 
28-6A Zone A
Ranking last week: No. 9
Last week: Bye
The skinny: The Broncos make the playoffs with a victory against Jay.
This week: vs. Jay, 28-6A zone playoff, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Farris Stadium

10. Southwest (7-2)
District:
29-6A
Ranking last week: No. 10
Last week: Lost to Eagle Pass 18-13
The skinny: The Dragons, 5-1 in 29-6A, are in the playoffs but must beat South San and hope Del Rio defeats Eagle Pass (5-1) to win the league title.  
This week: vs. South San, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Southwest Stadium

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

Sub-6A

1. Kerrville Tivy (7-2)
District:
26-5A
Ranking last week: No. 1
Last week: Defeated Seguin 49-28
The skinny: The Antlers have won five in a row after a 2-2 start that included a 40-7 loss to Dripping Springs in their district opener.   
This week: vs. Lockhart, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Antler Stadium

2. Navarro (8-1)
District:
13-4A Division II
Ranking last week: No. 3
Last week: Defeated Hondo 56-29
The skinny: The Panthers rolled up 580 yards of total offense as they bounced back from their first loss of the season.
This week: at Bandera, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

3. Somerset (7-2)
District: 
15-4A/Division I
Ranking last week: No. 4
Last week: Defeated Pleasanton 48-35
The skinny: The Bulldogs, tied with Pleasanton and La Vernia atop the district standings, can win the title with a victory against La Vernia.
This week: vs. La Vernia, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Bulldog Stadium, Somerset 

4. Canyon Lake (7-2)
District:
14-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 7
Last week: Bye
The skinny: The Hawks play Taylor for the district championship in their regular-season finale.
This week: at Taylor, Friday, 7:30 p.m. 

5. Pleasanton (8-1)
District:
District 15-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 2
Last week: Lost to Somerset 48-35
The skinny: The loss to the Bulldogs dropped the Eagles into a three-way tie with Somerset and La Vernia for first in the district.
This week: at Beeville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

6. Boerne (8-2)
District:
14-4A Division I
Ranking last week: No. 6
Last week: Defeated Austin Eastside Memorial 42-0
The skinny: The Greyhounds broke a two-game skid with the victory in their regular-season finale.
This week: Bye

7. Medina Valley (6-3)
District:
26-5A
Ranking last week: No. 5
Last week: Lost to Dripping Springs 41-0
The skinny: The Panthers are still in playoff contention
This week: vs. Alamo Heights, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Panther Stadium

8. Southside (7-2)
District:
29-5A
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Harlandale 55-21
The skinny: Senior Edward Perez rushed 22 times for 304 yards and five touchdowns for the Cardinals, who clash with Floresville for the district title this week.
This week: at Floresville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

9. Pearsall (9-0)
District: 
14-4A Division II
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Devine 29-9
The skinny: Senior Oscar Cubriel rushed for 130 yards on only 12 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns for the Mavericks.
This week: vs. Carrizo Springs, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Pearsall

10. Memorial (6-3)
District: 28-5A
Ranking last week: Not ranked
Last week: Defeated Highlands 20-9
The skinny: The Minutemen clinched their first winning season since 1994 with the victory against Highlands, and can capture their first district championship in school history by beating Edgewood ISD rival Kennedy in the annual Salsa Bowl.
This week: vs. Kennedy Friday, 7:30 p.m., Edgewood Veterans Stadium

Entering the rankings: Pearsall (9-0), Southside (7-2), Memorial (6-3)
Dropping out of the rankings: Highlands (6-3), Holy Cross (6-3), Alamo Heights (4-5)

© 2017 KENS-TV


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