SAN ANTONIO — Thanksgiving week wouldn't be the same without a helping of high school football to go with the turkey and dressing.
As local coaching legend Jim Streety said so many times throughout his long, stellar career, "You know you've had a good season if you're still practicing on Thanksgiving."
The numbers have thinned out substantially after two rounds of playoffs, but the San Antonio area still has nine teams, including Class 6A powerhouses Judson and Brandeis, playing in the regional semifinals this week.
Judson (11-1) plays Laredo United (10-2) in a 6A Division I game at 8 p.m. Friday at the Alamodome. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals against the Lake Travis-Weslaco survivor. Lake Travis has eliminated the Rockets from the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
In 6A Division II, Brandeis (12-0) squares off against Edinburg Vela (9-3) at 2 p.m. Friday at the Laredo United ISD Student Activity Center. Vela is coached by former Brandeis coach John Campbell, who built the foundation for the Broncos' winning program.
"Obviously, he's a heck of a coach and he builds quality programs," Brandeis coach David Branscom said of Campbell, a Jay High School graduate. "They're very disciplined. They're very fundamentally sound. They play hard."
Brandeis eked out a 33-32 win over Brownsville Hanna in last year's regional semifinals, rallying from a 26-7 third-quarter deficit to avoid a major upset.
"Based on my one experience of playing in the Valley week, coaching against Hanna, I hope that we can get across to our kids the importance of how good a football team Edinburg Vela is," Branscom said. "What we're going to preach to our kids is the importance of what they've got to do to prepare to be their own biggest enemy this week.
"I think we learned a lot from that Hanna game. Talking to our kids afterward, the reality of it was, what they heard outside of here was so much of the problem. I mean, they couldn't get past everybody telling them how great they were, how easy the week was going to be."
San Antonio 6A teams refer to the regional semifinals as "Valley week" because they usually play Rio Grande Valley opponents in that round of the playoffs. San Antonio has dominated Valley teams through the years.
Brandeis opened in 2008 and went 69-19 in its first seven seasons, all with Campbell, at the helm. The Broncos reached the state quarterfinals three times and won five district titles during that span.
Campbell resigned in January 2015 to take a job as assistant head coach at NCAA Division II Texas A&M-Commerce.
Campbell returned to San Antonio in 2016, when he was hired to succeed Mark Smith at Madison, but he coached the Mavericks for only one season before resigning in February 2017. Campbell is in his third season as head coach at Vela, where he is 33-5.
Vela won district championships and reached the third round of the playoffs in each of its first two seasons under Campbell, finishing 12-1 each year.
The Brandeis-Vela winner meets the Austin Westlake-Weslaco East winner in the 6A Division II quarterfinals. Westlake beat Brandeis 26-0 in last year's regional final.
The marquee area matchup in the Sub-6A ranks will pit Wagner (11-1) against Harlan (12-0) in the 5A Division I regional semifinals at 4 p.m. Friday at the Alamodome. Wagner, which advanced to the 5A Division I state semifinals last year, finished the 2019 regular season No. 1 in the KENS 5 Sub-6A rankings.
The Thunderbirds survived a close call against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in the second round Saturday, holding on for a 42-38 victory. Wagner has won 10 straight since taking a 52-14 beating from Judson in their annual Hammer Bowl game.
Harlan reached the second round last year in its first varsity season, and beat Victoria West 34-14 on Friday to advance to the regional semifinals.
The Wagner-Harlan winner plays the Corpus Christi Miller-Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial winner in the state quarterfinals.
Boerne Champion (11-1) is the only area school still in the 5A Division II playoffs. The Chargers play Mission Pioneer (11-1) in the regional semifinals at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome.
UIL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
REGION IV SEMIFINALS
(Winner of each game advances to state quarterfinals)
CLASS 6A DIVISION I
Lake Travis (11-1) vs Weslaco (10-2), Friday, 1 p.m., Alamo Stadium
Judson (11-1) vs Laredo United (10-2), Friday, 8 p.m. Alamodome
CLASS 6A DIVISION II
Austin Westlake (11-1) vs Weslaco East (9-3), Friday, 7 p.m., Alamo Stadium
Brandeis (12-0) vs Edinburg Vela (9-3), Friday, 2 p.m., Laredo United ISD Student Activity Center
CLASS 5A DIVISION I
Wagner (11-1) vs Harlan (12-0), Friday, 4 p.m., Alamodome
Corpus Christi Miller (12-0) vs Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (9-3), Friday, 2 p.m., Buccaneer Stadium, Corpus Christi
CLASS 5A DIVISION II
Brenham (10-2) vs Corpus Christi Calallen (11-1), Saturday, 8 p.m., Alamodome
Boerne Champion (11-1) vs Mission Pioneer (11-1), Saturday, 4 p.m., Alamodome
CLASS 4A DIVISION I
Needville (10-2) vs Lampasas (11-1), Saturday, noon, Alamodome
El Campo (10-2) vs Liberty Hill (6-5), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Bastrop
CLASS 4A DIVISION II
Navarro (12-0) vs Sinton (7-5), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Gobbler Stadium, Cuero
Wimberley (9-3) vs. Rockport-Fulton (9-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Veterans Memorial Stadium, Beeville
CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Columbus (10-2) vs Vanderbilt Industrial (11-1), Friday, noon, Alamodome
Hallettsville (9-2) vs George West (12-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Farris Stadium
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Comfort (10-2) vs East Bernard (12-0), Friday, 1:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Bastrop
Poth (11-1) vs Ganado (9-3), Friday, 2 p.m., Gobbler Stadium, Cuero
CLASS 2A DIVISION I
Holland (12-0) vs Mason (10-2), Friday, 7 p.m., Shelton Stadium, Buda
Shiner (12-0) vs Refugio (12-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rutledge Stadium
CLASS 2A DIVISION II
Bremond (11-1) vs Flatonia (11-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Tiger Stadium, Rockdale
Falls City (11-1) vs Granger (9-3), Friday, 7 p.m., Cougar Stadium, New Braunfels