Disturb the nest

Football could clinch a playoff berth Friday at East Central


Paul Tubridy

David DeHoyos brings down a Wagner running back. DeHoyos, a safety, will have his hands full against a talented East Central receiving corps.

Jackson Posey, Sports Editor

Football’s game this Friday carries with it a bevy of consequences, but with a playoff berth hanging in the balance, most of those consequences will come outside the lines.

Behind a defense that’s allowing just 11 points per game, and hasn’t allowed a point in 11 straight quarters (and allowed just seven total since Oct. 9), football is making their case as the best team in District 27-6A.

The offense has been firing on all cylinders, as well: quarterback Jalen Nutt has compiled 936 total yards despite sitting for the second halves of the Wagner and South San games. He’s captained an offense that’s averaged 300 yards and 34 points per contest up to this point in the season.

East Central, meanwhile, has been a victim of circumstance. The Hornets (1-5, 0-4) upset Kerrville Tivy, who won ten games last year, but losing quarterback Caden Bosanko (606 total yards, 8 touchdowns in just over four games) and offensive guard Elexander King has dealt a heavy blow to the Hornets’ offense.

The Hornets haven’t scored more than 14 points since their 31-point outburst against Tivy. Still, they have some dangerous offensive weapons, especially at wide receiver. Anston Bryant-Kelley (258 yards receiving, 5 touchdowns) and Reginald Stewart (144 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns) are big-bodied targets who will make life difficult for the Ranger secondary.

“[Bryant-Kelley and Stewart], one is 6’5”, one is 6’4”, [and] they’ve made big plays on everybody,” said Larry Hill, head football coach at Smithson Valley. “Some of them catch-and-runs, which, they both have great speed, but oftentimes [it’s] just going up and winning 50-50 balls. 

“[And] our cornerbacks are, uh, not the tallest guys in the world, to put it nicely. And that concerns us, just getting into some jump ball situations. And you don’t have to win every one of them, but if they win a couple, then that could put us behind the eight ball.”

That talent could be magnified if Bosanko, a game-time decision, is available for the game.

Caden is questionable,” said Joe Hubbard, head football coach at East Central. “You can expect [him to be] an extremely competitive young man, who is a great leader for our offensive unit and our team.”

Bosanko may be a coin flip to play, but the Rangers are preparing as if he will.

“Bosanko in pregame the other night was out there throwing the ball around, and moved around pretty good,” Hill said. “He didn’t dress, but he was out [there] in street clothes. So we kind of gained the sense that he might be about ready. So we’re expecting him to be out there Friday, and there’s no question it’d be a shot in the arm for any team, ‘cause he can really throw the ball around and runs real well.”

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football set the line for tonight’s game at Smithson Valley -35, meaning the Rangers are favored by 35 points. A win Friday would lock them into the playoffs, an important milestone – their strength of schedule will take a big jump the next two weeks, with district-leading teams Steele and Judson on the docket to close out the season.

Their post-game road may be fraught with confusion, but for now, the goal is clear: to beat the team in front of them. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a must-win game for a team with aspirations far beyond the regular season.

The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hornet Stadium. The game will be streamed live on Rangers Network.