Playoffs: Division 1 – Region 4 Preview

FAVORITES

1. Harlingen Cardinals (10-0) – What a year it has been for the Cardinals – undefeated with a win outside the region over Abilene – and it could still get a lot better.  Many outside of the valley have convinced themselves that the win over Abilene wasn’t that significant.  What they fail to realize is that it showed this team can handle playoff type pressure in a neutral venue and pull out a win in a close game.  It’s not something that should be underestimated over the next month.  They’ll field the best offense, can the defense hold up their end of the bargain?

Key Players: QB Kevin Ledesma (Sr.), RB Brian Blake (Sr.), WR Randy Bermea (Sr.), DE Tadeo Rodriguez (Sr.), LB Nathan Prado (Jr.), S Daniel Ramirez (Sr.)

2. San Antonio Wagner Thunderbirds (7-3) – They come out of the highly competitive 25-5A, home to multiple state ranked teams at various points this season, including the defending D2 state champs in Cibolo Steele.  Wagner does most of their damage on the ground behind 1,200+ yard back senior Derrick Kindred.  They also feature three other backs that have combined for nearly 900 yards rushing.  On the defensive side of the ball, Wagner features a solid, speedy defense.  These are ingredients for a successful playoff run.

Key Players: QB Jacoby Clay (Sr.), RB/LB Derrrick Kindred (Sr.), WR Xavier LaGrant (So.), RB/DB Robert Gardner (Jr.), DB/WR Naeem Martin (Sr.)

3. Converse Judson Rockets (8-2) –  This makes 27 playoffs appearances in the last 30 seasons for the Rockets.  Needless to say, this is a stage they’re very comfortable with.  The Rockets play their best ball when putting rock in the hands of senior RB Quaylon Jones, who has run for nearly 3,100 yards in his career, and working in a play-action passing game with senior WR Dennis Parks.  This Judson group came into 2011 as a Region 4 favorite, a couple competitive losses to Wagner and Steele hasn’t changed that.

Key Players: QB Matt McCarty (Sr.), RB Quaylon Jones (Sr.), WR Dennis Parks (Sr.), LB Stephon Moody (Sr.), LB Kevin Clanton (Sr.), S Jarveon Williams (Jr.)

DARK HORSE

SA East Central Hornets (7-3) – The Hornets enter the playoffs flying under the radar, but they are currently riding a six-game winning streak.  If you’re looking for a team with enough talent to hang with the better teams of the region it’s East Central.  They have several guys that colleges are looking at, junior RB Chris Armstrong (2,200 yards rushing in career), senior ATH Edwin Dearring (6’0 215 4.5), senior DB Nick Coleman (5’11 185 4.5), junior DB Austin Jupe (6’1 180 4.5), junior OL Andrew Tercek (6’3 260).

5A PLAYOFF HISTORY

State Championships

Converse Judson – 2002, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1988, 1983

Regional Championships

Converse Judson – 2007, 2005, 2004, 2002, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1983, 1982
San Antonio Madison – 2007, 1984
San Antonio Churchill – 1987, 1981
Edinburg – 1999

Five Deepest Runs (last 5 years)

Converse Judson (2007) – D1 State Finalists
SA Madison (2007) – D2 State Semifinalists
SA Wagner (2010) – D1 Regional Finalists
SA Stevens (2010) – D1 Regional Finalists
Harlingen (2010) – D1 Regional Semifinalists

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing

Alec Salas, Jr., Laredo United – 201 for 304, 2,698 yds., 37 tds, 10 ints
Rex Dausin, Sr., SA Warren – 151 for 232, 2,112 yds., 21 tds, 6 ints
Kevin Ledesma, Sr., Harlingen – 77 for 125, 1,258 yds., 14 tds, 7 ints
Jorge Fernandez, Del Rio – 94 for 151, 1,380 yds., 17 tds, 3 ints
Josh Valdez, Sr., SA Stevens – 92 for 160, 1,354 yds., 13 tds, 6 ints

Rushing

Quaylon Jones, Sr., Converse Judson – 168 car., 1,664 yds., 24 tds
Marquise Warford, Jr., SA Madison – 185 car., 1,240 yds., 14 tds
Eduardo Fraire, Donna – 186 car., 1,249 yds., 18 tds
Derrick Kindred, Jr., SA Wagner – 161 car., 1,293 yds., 11 tds
Eduardo Ramirez, Sr., Los Fresnos – 135 car., 1,135 yds., 13 tds

Receiving

Randy Bermea, Sr., Harlingen – 36 rec., 710 yds., 7 tds
Jordan Thomas, Sr., SA Stevens – 38 rec., 688 yds., 9 tds
Jordan Terrell, Del Rio – 37 rec., 663 yds., 10 tds
Boone Niederhofer, Sr., SA Churchill – 47 rec., 640 yds., 5 tds
Rolando Flores, Sr., Laredo United – 57 rec., 635 yds., 7 tds