The East Bernard Brahmas (8-1, 5-0) will head slightly to the north in the first round of the playoffs to face the Lexington Eagles (6-3, 3-3) in Columbus this Friday night.
This first-round match with Lexington might be more complicated than East Bernard is used to from years past.
Lexington, like East Bernard, is used to postseason success. The Eagles have made it out of the first round the last four seasons, and they’ve gone at least three games deep in three times.
The Eagles last season were district champions, finishing the year with a 5-8 record and made it to the third round of the playoffs.
This season, they’ve finished in fourth place in a more competitive district following the UIL’s realignment. In the Eagles three losses, two games have been decided by seven total points.
“This will definitely be a much tougher first-round match than we have had in a while,” East Bernard head coach Wade Bosse said.
The Eagles on offense are scoring 31 points per game. Their offense is reliant on two junior playmakers, dual-threat quarterback Sheldon Springer and running back Jarred Kerr.
Kerr is averaging 10 yards a carry, and Springer is giving Lexington 171 yards a game between passing and running. Springer also leads the team with 17 touchdowns. Outside of those two, East Bernard’s defense will have to ready for Lexington’s wide receivers to pick up yards on jet sweeps. Senior Jeh Jackson is Springer’s biggest passing threat catching 29 passes for 454 yards and six touchdowns.
Against East Bernard, Lexington will see the most formidable defense they’ve played this season and the second-best defense in terms of points per game in Region III. The Brahmas allow 11 points a game and force takeaways with 27 takes this year.
In district play, East Bernard won every game by at least 20 points.
“We had a really good regular season,” Bosse said. “(We) learned a lot and continue to grow as a football team. (I’m) proud of the kids for winning the district championship.”
Lexington’s defense has the task of slowing a rested Brahmas offense scoring 40.8 points per game. Lexington is allowing 22.2 points per game.
The Brahmas offense does not have a 1,000-yard rusher this season. However, from the slot-t, they’re still grinding out yards by spreading the ball around. Senior running backs Andrew Dirba, Nicolas Schatz and Kaleb Marek, and junior quarterback Dallas Novicek have each carried the ball more than 45 times this season.
If Lexington tires to take away the run game, Novicek can air the ball out. Novicek has completed 52% of his passes for 680 yards. The junior quarterback has done a good job of taking care of the ball, only throwing two interceptions to go with his 10 touchdowns this season.