The Rider Raiders will be trying to reach the fourth round of the playoffs for a third consecutive season when they take on El Paso Burges on Saturday in Midland.
It'll be the first meeting of the two schools.
But Rider has played other El Paso schools four times during the past nine seasons and went 4-0. The average score has been Rider 45.5 and El Paso 9.75.
Rider has played in the third round of the playoffs seven times. It was won its past five chances in this round. This is the first trip to the regional semifinals for Burges.
But both teams are 10-2 and will have some momentum going into Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff at Grande Communications Stadium. The Mustangs have won eight straight games. Rider has won 10 of 11.
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Two-pronged attack: The Raiders have needed multiple players at a variety of positions to get to this point. And recently that has included running back, where junior Carlos Fleeks has emerged as a major weapon over the past month to go with leading rusher Domanic Thrasher.
Thrasher has 1,117 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season, leading the team in both categories. But Fleeks has given the offense a great change of pace with 302 yards on 36 carries — that's 8.4 per carry — with five touchdowns over the past four games.
Fleeks has 517 yards and seven TDs on the year.
"He's trusting his blocks and staying in the hole," Rider coach Jim Garfield said. "A lot of young running backs, they get a little nervous if they see a flash and they try to bounce it outside. The gap may not be very big. But they have to trust their block, and the angle will open up."
Garfield praised guards Ty Whitson and Kye Esteves for fine work inside last week. All of the blocking backs in the spread — D.J. Arnold, Bradley Goldstein and Demarcus Tillery — had chances to clear the way near the goal line, too.
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Twin killing: While shoppers had their credit cards out last week trying to keep up with the Joneses, the Hereford football team found out it had no way of keeping up with the Joneses from El Paso Burges.
Twin bothers Aaron and Alvin Jones combined for 344 offensive yards and five touchdowns in a 35-28 win over Hereford. Alvin is a quarterback, and Aaron Jones plays running back and receiver.
n Tickets for the regional semifinal game at Grande Communications Stadium will be $10 at the gate. The pre-sale tickets at Rider are $8 for adults and $4 for students.
n The winner of this Class 4A Division II regional semifinal will play the winner of Frenship and Waco.