Kickoff: Today, 7:30 p.m. / Ranger Stadium, 14001 TX-46, Spring Branch

Last season

— The game was canceled due to lightning.

Player spotlight

— Pflugerville Hendrickson DE/DT Michael Ike is a difference maker up front for the Hawks. Smithson Valley head coach Larry Hill said Ike and his fellow defensive linemen are “real disruptive.”

— Smithson Valley senior DE Tanner Hobeck is also a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Hobeck snagged an interception against Midland Lee, and he’ll look to try to contain the Hawks’ abundance of speed on offense, which includes dual-threat QB Xavier Lucio.


— The Rangers fell 45-21 to the Rebels last week after a few turnovers and explosive plays allowed Midland Lee to extend its lead in the third quarter. Smithson Valley had its own moments of brilliance on offense, but inconsistency overall kept the Rangers from continuing to pile on the points after striking for 21 in the first half. New RB Greg Eggleston rewarded his coaches for moving him to offense by providing 91 total yards, and RB Jacob Forton muscled his way to another 78 yards. Smithson Valley will likely only get more dangerous as first-year starting QB Luke Gombert gets more reps with WRs Maverick Freeland and Eric Titzman, TE Chandler Cole and a host of others.

— The Hawks defeated Texas High (Texarkana) 21-7 last week behind 15 straight points to end the night. Lucio found TE/WR James Hester for a 34-yard touchdown pass and later reeled off a 44-yard scoring run. Hendrickson WR Jaden Williams also hauled in a 28-yard TD. Hill says perhaps the Hawks’ greatest strength is their D-line and said his team must “find a way to control their front.” The coach said his team may use multiple strategies to try and limit the effectiveness of the Hawks’ edge rushers and run stoppers. This is the fourth year in a row in which the Hawks and Rangers are scheduled to play, but the contests in 2016 and 2018 were wiped away by inclement weather. Hopefully, Mother Nature will be more cooperative this time around.

Coach Hill says:

— “We can’t turn the ball over and we can’t give up explosive plays. It’s easier said than done. We knew that before we got on the bus going to Midland. We just reinforced what we already knew.”

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