Thomas Rhoades

Sophomore quarterback Thomas Rhoades enters his second season as a starter for the Lions.

Aside from Hutto, Granger probably has the best odds of any area team to make the playoffs this fall.

Not only do the Lions play in a five-team district (13-2A II) where four go to the postseason, but they lose just a handful of starters – mostly at wide receiver and linebacker – from a squad that played for a bi-district title last year.

In part three of our summer football tour, we put Granger's 2018 schedule under the microscope and preview all 10 matchups.

Aug. 31 vs. Snook

The Lions will be tasked with slowing down Snook RB/LB Damon Allen (1,570 rushing, 18 TDs; 98 tackles) in their season opener.

Allen ran wild last year in a 29-22 loss to Granger, racking up 234 yards and two touchdowns on only 22 carries. The senior is one of eight returning starters on each side of the ball for the Bluejays.

Snook's 2017 record: 3-7 (1-4 District 13-2A II)

Sept. 7 @ Frost

Expect another steady dose of the ground game in Week 2, when Granger hits the road to take on the Frost Polar Bears.

Most of Frost's offense will go through RB Ramon Manrriquez (1,103 yards, 17 TDs). If he gets bottled up, look for the Polar Bears to air it out with all-district QB Antoni Alvarado (1,360 yards, 16 passing TDs).

Frost's 2017 record: 7-4 (4-1 District 10-2A II), bi-district finalist

Sept. 14 @ Meridian

Meridian should not be taken lightly, despite a poor record in 2017. After starting the season 0-5, the Yellow Jackets went 3-3 down the stretch with lopsided wins over Dawson, Chilton and Hubbard.

A big reason for the turnaround was LB/RB Demetrik Davenport (623 yards, 8 TDs; 93 tackles), who returns to anchor Meridian's offense and defense.

Meridian's 2017 record: 3-8 (3-2 District 10-2A II), bi-district finalist

Sept. 21 vs. Bruceville-Eddy

One of Granger's toughest tests will come against Bruceville-Eddy, which drops from Class 3A, Division II to 2A, Division I.

The Eagles boast an experienced defense led by pass-rushers Ellis Warrick (78 tackles) and Ian Moore, but lose most of their offensive leaders from a year ago. If the Lions can limit RB Nathan Quattlebaum (312 yards, 8 TDs), they should be competitive in this one.

Bruceville-Eddy's 2017 record: 5-6 (4-2 District 12-3A II), bi-district finalist

Sept. 28 @ Anderson-Shiro

The Lions will fight above their weight class again in Week 5 as they visit 3A, Division II Anderson-Shiro.

The Owls went winless in 2017, but return 10 starters on each side of the ball. Among them are RB/DB Zacarrius Haynes, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards as a sophomore, and powerhouse LB/RB Reese Milligan (119 tackles, 4 sacks).

Anderson-Shiro's 2017 record: 0-9 (0-6 District 12-3A II)

Oct. 5 vs. Somerville

After back-to-back games against bigger schools, Granger welcomes former district rival Somerville to town.

While the Lions are the better team on paper, don't be surprised if Somerville hangs around in this one. The Yeguas have a seasoned offensive line, anchored by C Preston Sprouse and OT Josh Urbanowski, and a versatile triggerman in Willie Carroll.

Somerville's 2017 record: 2-9 (2-3 District 13-2A II), bi-district finalist

Oct. 12 @ Iola

Granger opens district with a difficult road game against Iola, which returns 18 total starters from a team that reached the regional semifinals in 2017.

If Lions are going to pull off an upset, they will have to keep Iola's one-two punch of RB/LB Chris Holmes (361 yards, 5 TDs; 48 tackles, 3 sacks) and QB Zack Dyer (787 yards, 10 TDs) contained.

Iola's 2017 record: 8-5 (5-0 District 12-2A II), regional semifinalist

Oct. 19 vs. Bremond

District frontrunner Bremond, led by preseason Defensive MVP pick Dalton Wilganowski, could hand the Lions another loss in Week 8.

In addition to linebacker, Wilganowski (711 yards, 8 TDs) also lines up at running back. He will pace a Tiger offense that also features RB/C RyKenderia Paul (201 years, TD) and WR/S Seth Kasowski (325 yards, 2 TDs).

Bremond's 2017 record: 10-2 (5-0 District 10-2A II), area finalist

Oct. 26 @ Bartlett

Granger's schedule finally eases up a bit with a road game against Bartlett, picked to finish last in the district by Dave Campbell's Texas Football.

While the rival Bulldogs went 1-9 last year, they do bring back 17 total starters. Their offense should be much improved with the return of QB Kofi Stoglin (968 total yards, 8 TDs) and linemen Roy Degollado, Alejandro Garcia and Cassius Jackson.

Bartlett's 2017 record: 1-9 (0-5 District 13-2A II)

Nov. 9 vs. Chilton

Chilton edged Granger 13-6 in last year's season opener, but the Lions have grown leaps and bounds since then under head coach Walt Brock.

With a bye week to prepare for the Pirates, who return six starters on each side of the ball from a 2-8 squad in 2017, Granger should be able to finish the regular season on a high note.

Chilton's 2017 record: 2-8 (0-5 District 10-2A II)

2018 Granger Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time

8/31 vs. Snook 7:00 p.m.

9/7 @ Frost 7:00 p.m.

9/14 @ Meridian 7:00 p.m.

9/21 vs. Bruceville-Eddy 7:30 p.m.

9/28 @ Anderson-Shiro 7:00 p.m.

10/5 vs. Somerville 7:00 p.m.

10/12 @ Iola* 7:00 p.m.

10/19 vs. Bremond* 7:00 p.m.

10/26 @ Bartlett* 7:00 p.m.

11/2 BYE

11/9 vs. Chilton* 7:00 p.m.

*District game

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