SAN ANTONIO — Judson football coach Rodney Williams will be at a game Friday night, but he won't be on the Rockets' sideline.

Brandeis coach David Branscom won't be with his team, either. 

Williams plans to be in Flatonia, his hometown, cheering on the Bulldogs when they host Weimar in a matchup of undefeated Class 2A Division II teams.

"That's a rivalry," Williams said Thursday. "You don't want to lose to the Weimar Wildcats."

Judson, Brandeis and all the other 6A teams in the San Antonio area have a bye this week. They have practiced but won't play a game again until next week. The bye, welcomed by most coaches and players, comes midway through the 10-game regular season.

In addition to giving players and coaches a break from the grind, the bye coincides with the week when grades for the first grading period of the school year must be turned in.

"By UIL rule, the grades are due by the end of the school day Friday, which is 4:15 for us," Branscom said. "That's always a nail-biter. There are always things you didn't forecast well enough, or didn't see well enough or didn't get the right information from the kids as far as where they really were (academically). 

"I'll be battling that Friday. All I care about is that we come out with the same kids that we had before 4:15."

FBH Judson head coach Rodney Williams
Rodney Williams, 45, was offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for five seasons at Judson before getting promoted to head football coach Tuesday night.
Courtesy Photo

Branscom has mixed feelings about the bye week, but he's generally come to accept the break in the middle of the season.

"I think in high school with six weeks and grades, and the midpoint of the season, I'm encouraged by it (bye week) because it does provide that buffer to kind of reboot in some manner," Branscom said. "It doesn't mean my body and brain appreciate the reboot, but that's kind of a selfish statement."

Like almost all 6A area teams, including Judson, Brandeis has curtailed its workouts this week. Judson has confined its practices to its daily athletic period. The Rockets normally practice before school and during their athletic period. 

"We wanted to give the kids all this week to concentrate more on their studies," Williams said. 

Brandeis played its best game of the season before the bye week, rolling to a 51-16 rout of previously unbeaten Brennan last Friday night. The Broncos practiced after school Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and started preparing for their next game against rival O'Connor. 

"The bye week can hurt your momentum," Branscom, 42, said. "My old me, we'd be in pads and getting after it. I've always been an overdoer by nature, and I've changed a lot in that sense.

"The reality is what kind of situation you're in as far as bringing kids back from injuries. We've had some kids banged up. The bye week gives them a chance to heal."

Judson (5-0) and Brandeis (5-0) have been No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the 6A area rankings since the start of the season. The Rockets, 2-0 in District 26-6A, will play at New Braunfels (4-1, 1-1) next Friday night.

FBH Brandeis QB Jordan Battles takes snap as Corion Holmes gets ready to block
Brandeis junior quarterback Jordan Battles, taking a snap as senior running back Corion Holmes prepares to block, is one of the top dual threats in the San Antonio area.
Miguel Esparza / Special to

Brandeis, 4-0 in 28-6A, and O'Connor (4-1, 4-0) will enter their showdown next week tied atop the district standings.

Like Branscom, Williams has learned to adapt to the midseason bye week. 

"It's not bad," Williams said. "I kind of like it because when we start spring training, we go against each other for so many months that you get tired of looking at each other.

"I know the kids have put a lot of effort into where we're at right now, so just to give them a break from us, give us a break from them, I just think it comes at a good time."

Born in Hallettsville and raised in nearby Flatonia, Williams graduated from Flatonia High School in 1992. A four-sport letterman, Williams was a quarterback, cornerback, punter and kicker for the Bulldogs.

A cousin of Williams, Brandon Williams, is Flatonia's offensive coordinator. The Bulldogs (5-0) are ranked No. 8 in 2A Division II. Head coach Chris Freytag was a freshman when Rodney Williams was a senior.

"I told my cousin that I'm going to wear a Bulldog shirt and I just want to come to the game and see the boys," Williams said. "I want to sit in the stands and just enjoy it."

Williams' mother and other family still live in Flatonia, which is about 90 miles northeast of San Antonio on Interstate 10.