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Brazos Valley high school football picks: Rockdale vs. Lexington promises to be shootout

Brazos Valley high school football picks: Rockdale vs. Lexington promises to be shootout

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The stars will be out along with fireworks in a top 10 showdown between the Rockdale Tigers and Lexington Eagles on Friday night.

The Tigers (2-0), ranked sixth in Class 3A Division I, and Eagles (2-0), seventh in 3A Division II, both feature dynamic offenses powered by Power Five conference recruits, and the first all-Brazos Valley top 10 matchup of the season set for 7:30 p.m. in Lexington should live up to its billing.

Rockdale entered the season with a core group of seniors — running back Cam’ron Valdez, receiver KeSean Raven and quarterback Jace Robinson — poised for a special run in their third year starting together. Valdez, who has offers from Texas Tech, Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and Raven, who has offers from Arkansas and Air Force, are off to a strong start. Valdez is averaging 10 yards per carry and has rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns, and Raven has 226 total yards and five touchdowns.

Robinson left with a broken leg just before halftime of the Tigers’ season opener against La Grange. Junior backup Kobe Mitchell, who played defensive back and receiver as a sophomore, stepped in admirably in the six quarters since and was named The Eagle’s Brazos Valley Player of the Week after throwing for 295 yards and five touchdowns on 17-of-18 passing in a 55-21 win over Taylor last week.

Lexington will be Mitchell’s biggest test yet, particularly with junior Jarred Kerr roaming in the secondary.

Kerr, a two-way standout, was offered scholarships by Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida and Notre Dame following Lexington’s 25-14 win over West in Week 1. He leads the Brazos Valley with 375 rushing yards and is tied with Raven for the area lead in touchdowns with five.

Kerr is complemented by third-year starting quarterback Sheldon Springer, a junior, and a strong offensive line anchored by senior center Juan Lara.

Players have instigated good-natured banter over Twitter throughout the week, which should add to the game’s excitement.

With all that star power on offense, expect a high-scoring game, but a key defensive play will prove to be the difference.

Prediction: Rockdale 49-42

THREE TO WATCH

1. Cameron at Franklin

7:30 p.m. Friday

In another top 3A matchup, these familiar powerhouses come in with questions to answer before district play starts.

Cameron (1-1) struggled to defend the run in Week 2, allowing Bellville junior Richard Reese to rush for 342 yards and score seven total touchdowns in the Brahmas’ 54-41 win. The Yoemen don’t get a break as Franklin (0-1) always has a great power run game with its Wing-T offense.

The Lions haven’t played since Week 1 after they canceled last week’s game against Hearne because of COVID-19 cases. Franklin rallied late, but its two-point conversion failed in a 21-20 loss to Lorena two weeks ago. Franklin scored first but sputtered for most of the game, gaining just 37 yards in the first half following its opening drive.

Prediction: Cameron 35-28

2. Mexia at Navasota

7:30 p.m. Friday

The Rattlers (2-0) are coming off a 33-28 win at Sealy and are rolling on both sides of the ball after two weeks. Junior quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie, senior running back Darius Randle and receivers Xavier Steptoe, Liam Wilson and John Lee headline a formidable and balanced offense. The group has a challenge in facing Mexia (0-2), which held high-flying Cameron to 21 points in its opener.

Navasota held Wharton to 13 points — including a garbage-time touchdown in the closing seconds — in the opener and led Sealy 33-21 before allowing another late touchdown. The Rattlers have been solid defensively and will aim to slam the door on the Blackcats.

Prediction: Navasota 28-14

3. Lovelady at Iola

7 p.m. Friday

The Bulldogs are champing at the bit to catch up with the rest of the lower classification teams that have been playing for the last two weeks.

Iola had to cancel its first two games because of positive COVID-19 cases and will open its season at home against Lovelady (0-2). The Lions are coming off blowout losses to quality opponents in Groveton and New Waverly, but they may have the upper hand this week as the Bulldogs likely will have some rust to knock off in their first game.

Prediction: Lovelady 27-21

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