Not that the games haven't been significant so far, but the heat will be turned up in District 2-5A Division II for a couple of metro teams tonight, regardless of the weather conditions.
Palo Duro and Amarillo High both face games that will say a lot about them starting with tonight's 7:30 p.m. kickoffs. Palo Duro will be at Dick Bivins Stadium to host Abilene Cooper, while Amarillo High takes its longest road trip of the season to date to face powerful Lubbock Coronado at PlainsCapital Park Lowrey Field.
Here's a look at each game and how it could effect the standings.
Abilene Cooper (2-4, 1-1) at Palo Duro (3-3, 1-1): Palo Duro got its much-needed first district win last week by routing Lubbock High 54-13 on the road in a game which was delayed by weather. It didn't seem to effect the Dons, at least not offensively, as they had 477 yards, including 321 rushing.
Charles Anderson, Tony Green and Treyson Dilworth combined for most of that total, and quarterback Dondray Degrate threw three touchdown passes. As much as anything, PD coach Chris Fisher likes the way his team responded to the situation on the road.
"What it does is it shows we're growing as a program," Fisher said. "To come back after sitting shows how mentally tough we're getting. We talk about the ability to overcome adversity."
Cooper, on the other hand, suffered its first district loss, falling to Coronado 42-23 last week. The Cougars are still averaging over 28 points a game.
"For us it starts defensively," Fisher said. "We have to find a way to slow down their running attack. We have to get off the football well."
Amarillo High (4-1, 1-0) at Lubbock Coronado (5-1, 2-0): Amarillo High is coming off a 27-24 come from behind win over Lubbock Monterey to open district. The Sandies scored on their last two possessions, tying the game with a touchdown drive, then winning it on a 28-yard field goal by John Grist with a minute left.
That win came following an open week, which came after a 26-19 loss to Randall where quarterback Beau Barker suffered a concussion. Barker missed the Monterey game and was replaced by sophomore Will Maynard, who led the fourth quarter comeback.
"It's just a big weight off our shoulders for both our coaches and our kids," AHS coach Chad Dunnam said. "If you let up a bit over a loss you're setting yourself up for failure."
Barker has been cleared to play, but Dunnam said he'll make his decision on who starts tonight based on practice.
Either way, the biggest challenge the Sandies face figures to be on defense. Coronado is averaging almost 39 points a game.
"I think they're the best team we've played up to this point," Dunnam said of the Mustangs. "They're good athletically and schematically. They're fast and very efficient running their offense."
Tascosa (3-2, 0-0) at Midland High (2-3, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.: Following a 35-19 loss to Brownsville Hanna two weeks ago in San Antonio then a week off, the Rebels are on the road again, this time making a trip to the Permian Basin to open District 2-6A. Tascosa coach Ken Plunk is hoping his team can take advantage of the clean slate aspect of the game.
"You're 0-0 now," Plunk said. "The only thing we take out of nondistrict is what you learn. We didn't win our last game but we took a lesson out of it. We've got to get more consistent on offense."
Andrews (4-1) at Canyon (6-0), 7 p.m.: This is the last game of a marathon predistrict schedule for Canyon, and it's been a case of so far, so good. It would be nitpicking to look for faults, but Andrews will provide one final tough test to see where the Eagles stand.
"Our goal the last couple of weeks has been to play as well as we can heading into district," Canyon coach Blake Bryant said. "The feeling we have on our team is knowing how we can help each other which is so important."