RTS Feature Games: Week 2 Schedule

Last week, it was strictly a Tennessee affair, but this week we branch out with games in Tennessee, Texas and … Ontario, Canada! We cover the CIS Canadian college football scene each year in the College Football America Yearbook following the action from afar, but we finally get to make our first trip north of the border for the first full weekend of Canadian college football.

But before we get there, we’ll also open the NAIA and NJCAA seasons on Thursday night before taking in a full slate of Texas (UIL) high school football Friday and Saturday. Then, finally, it’s on to Canada Sunday!

Georgia Military Bulldogs at Navarro Bulldogs
Corsicana, Texas
7 p.m. ET Thursday, August 25, 2016

The “Battle of the Bulldogs” is set, and both teams are ranked heading into the season. Navarro checks in at No. 9 while the visitors from the Peach State head into the season at No. 15. Navarro’s 2015 season ended at 7-4 with a surprising 42-28 loss to the Kilgore Rangers in the SWJCFC Championship Game while Georgia Military made it to the postseason as well finishing 8-4 after losing to Iowa Western 20-6 in the Graphic Edge Bowl.

Hoover (AL) Buccaneers at Allen (TX) Eagles
Allen, Texas
8 p.m. ET Friday, August 26, 2016

Yeah, this is the place you’ve heard about – the $60 million dollar high school stadium that wouldn’t look out of place on some of the campuses in the lower ranks of major college football. And after being shuttered for the 2014 season to repair cracks that had begun to show in the stadium’s foundation, it reopened last fall to further acclaim. This is an interesting interstate battle featuring the top program from Alabama, and it will give one of these state’s bragging rights over the other. Both are ranked in the Top 200 of the MaxPreps rankings currently, and while both programs have slipped a little over the past year or two, this game still matters on the national scene.

Pewitt (Omaha, TX) Brahmas at Sabine (Gladewater, TX) Cardinals
Gladewater, Texas
8 p.m. ET Friday, August 26, 2016

The Paul Pewitt Brahmas were only 6-4 heading into the UIL Class 3A Division 2 playoffs before heating up and making a run to the regional semifinals. The run ended there in a 31-12 loss to the West Rusk (New London, TX) Raiders, but the 8-5 finish was a big turnaround from 2014’s 3-8 ledger. The Sabine Cardinals, meanwhile, made their second straight appearance in the Class 3A Division 1 playoffs marking the first time the school has made back-to-back playoff trips since the early 1950’s. So forget the 4-7 record from a year ago, this is a school enjoying a two-year stretch like it hasn’t experienced in decades.*

Independence (Frisco, TX) Knights vs. Reedy (Frisco, TX) Lions
Frisco, Texas
10 a.m. ET Saturday, August 27, 2016

It’s the first game at the new Ford Center at The Star, part of the new practice facility the Dallas Cowboys built in this city located just north of Dallas. Two of Frisco’s newest schools have the honor of playing in the initial game, but they’ve got to get up early Saturday morning to do it. Independence opened in 2014, and went 1-9 that fall before improving slightly to 2-8 last year. Reedy, meanwhile, will be playing the first varsity game in school history so expectations for both of these programs are still on the low end. This matchup is the first of four games that will take place on opening day at the Ford Center.

Heritage (Frisco, TX) Coyotes vs. Lone Star (Frisco, TX) Rangers
Frisco, Texas
1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, August 27, 2016

Heritage and Lone Star both opened in 2009, but as of last fall, their football fortunes couldn’t be much further apart. The Coyotes went 5-5 last fall while Lone Star made a run all the way to the Class 5A Division 2 state championship game in Houston, Texas, where they fell to the Cedar Park (TX) Timberwolves 22-6 in the finale. Their only other loss during a 14-2 campaign was to their district rivals, the Frisco Raccoons, and with returning senior quarterback Jason Shelley around for another run, the sky’s the limit for the Rangers. Shelley tallied more than 5,000 yards of offense and more than 60 touchdowns as a junior, and he is the district’s reigning MVP.

Liberty (Frisco, TX) Redhawks vs. Wakeland (Frisco, TX) Wolverines
Frisco, Texas
6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, August 27, 2016

Liberty and Wakeland both date back to 2006 as Frisco’s population began to expand at a rapid pace. The Redhawks were only 2-8 a year ago while the Wolverines turned in an 8-3 record that included a first-round loss in the Class 5A Division 1 playoffs to the Wylie Pirates by a score of 31-21. Their head-to-head meeting in 2015, however, was a close, high-scoring affair with Wakeland eventually coming away with a 44-36 victory.

Centennial (Frisco, TX) Titans vs. Frisco (TX) Raccoons
Frisco, Texas
9:30 p.m. ET Saturday, August 27, 2016

These two school are Frisco’s oldest high schools although Frisco High (opened in 1902) predates Centennial (2003) by more than a century. The two teams will square off in the nightcap of the Ford Center’s opening day celebration, but even in the new digs it will be hard to beat last year’s classic in the series. The Titans held on for a 31-27 victory in overtime, but in the end, it was the Raccoons who made the Class 5A Division 2 playoffs losing to the Lovejoy (Lucas, TX) Leopards 34-10 in the first round to finish 8-3. Centennial finished a respectable 6-4, but it wasn’t enough to get the Titans to the postseason.

Toronto Varsity Blues at Guelph Gryphons
Guelph, ON
1 p.m. ET Sunday, August 28, 2016

RoadTripSports.com’s first visit to Canada is our first opportunity to document the Canadian college game, and we are tentatively planning on visiting three games including this matchup between the Varsity Blues and the Gryphons. Toronto opens its 155th season of play in the midst of a 20-year playoff drought dating back to 1995. Guelph, on the other hand, was in the midst of a nearly 20-year drought of their own before going on an improbable run last fall and winning the Yates Cup. Expectations have been reset for the Gryphons, however, and they’ll try to do something this fall that they’ve never done before – repeat as conference champions.

Queen’s Gaels at Laurier Golden Hawks
Waterloo, ON
1 p.m. ET Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Gaels were eliminated in the OUA quarterfinals last fall, while the Golden Hawks made it to the semifinals. If last week’s season opener for Laurier was any indication, however, the Golden Hawks could be primed for a deeper run this fall. The Hawks had the Montreal Carabins – the 2015 Vanier Cup finalists – on the ropes heading into the fourth quarter with a 27-19 lead before the Carabins’ experience finally paid off in an 18-6 run to close the game for a 37-33 win.

Carleton Ravens at McMaster Marauders
Hamilton, ON
7 p.m. ET Sunday, August 28, 2016

Carleton returned to the football field in 2013 after a 15-year hiatus, and the Ravens’ quick ascension through the OUA ranks has been nothing short of impressive. After going winless in that 2013 campaign, the Ravens made it all the way to the OUA semifinals last fall, and a Yates Cup could be within reach with all 12 of the team’s starters back on both sides of the ball. They’ll likely find out where they stand right out of the gate against a McMaster squad that’s recently had its eye on a different cup. The Marauders have played for Canada’s Vanier Cup in three of the past five seasons, and anything less than an appearance in the national championship game right now is considered a disappointment to the Marauders’ faithful.

* – College Football America Publisher Kendall Webb is a graduate of Sabine High School

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