SPRING BRANCH — Continuing its playoff run, Smithson Valley will face Manvel in the area round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs.
The Rangers (10-1 overall, 7-0 in district) are coming off a 30-7 win over Cedar Park for their 20th bi-district title win.
A big reason for the Rangers’ win last week, as it has been all season, was their performance on defense. The unit only allows nine points per game and has held six opponents to one or fewer scores six times this season.
“I don’t think you win championships without having a defense,” Hill said. “I don’t think [scores of] 55-54 is the formula for winning championships. If it comes to that, I guess you do what you have to do, but I thought our guys played extremely well.”
The Mavericks enter this contest averaging 291.8 yards and 31 points per game. They have had success on the ground, running for 1.773 yards and 25 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Senior quarterback Kaeden Smith has proven to be a dual threat with 1,397 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air, and 438 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
On defense, in their last three games, the Mavericks have held each of their opponents to under 10 points.
“They’re as good as advertised,” Hill said. “They’re used to being in games like this. Nothing is gonna intimidate or surprise them [Friday]. Defensively, they’re really talented up front. The secondary has got good players at every position. [They’re] just not giving up very many points. Offensively, they’re very diverse in the sense that they’re a spread team that runs the ball really well as well as throw it.”
Although this year’s Rangers may be eager to outperform past Ranger teams, Hill says they focus on taking it one game at a time.
“Legacy is defined when you’re through,” Hill said. “It’s just gotta be this game, this week, this practice for this game this week. You don’t get a do-over. Every week the field gets cut in half. You’re gonna wanna bring it in a situation where you know the opponent is really, really good. Most teams in the playoffs are… The margin for error is tiny, so you can’t afford to not be prepared.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Bastrop Memorial Stadium in Cedar Creek.