The football teams in 15-5A and 16-5A grew to know each other well last season. Including four head-to-head matchups in the playoffs, schools from those neighboring districts faced off 13 times. A look at how it all played out and what the schedule brings in 2013:
• 2012 MATCHUPS
Aug. 31: Westwood 46, Austin High 21; Pflugerville 42, Bowie 14
Sept. 6: Pflugerville 34, Austin High 14
Sept. 7: Westwood 24, Bowie 7
Sept. 14: Cedar Ridge 42, Austin High 25; Bowie 20, Round Rock 19; McNeil 25, Del Valle 21; Lake Travis 28, Westwood 24
Sept. 21: Austin High 48, McNeil 27
Bi-district: Bowie 27, Round Rock 13; Westwood 31, Del Valle 10; Pflugerville 23, Lake Travis 20; Westlake 33, Hendrickson 13
Scoreboard: District 16-5A teams finished 8-5 in games against 15-5A opponents.
• 2013 MATCHUPS
Aug. 30: Westwood 42, Austin High 13; Bowie 42, Pflugerville 14
Sept. 5: Bowie 45, Westwood 27
Sept. 6: Austin High at Pflugerville
Sept. 12: Bowie at Round Rock; Del Valle at McNeil
Sept. 13: Austin High at Cedar Ridge; Westwood at Lake Travis
Sept. 19: McNeil at Austin High
Scoreboard: After Bowie's 18-point victory over Westwood on Thursday night, District 15-5A teams held a 2-1 edge this season in games against 16-5A opponents.
Bowie 45, Westwood 27
San Marcos 38, Victoria East 12
Travis 55, Lampasas 28
Grandview 21, Lago Vista 7
Corpus Christi John Paul II at Eastside Memorial
Over the first two weeks of the football season, Bowie and Westwood fans have gotten a glimpse of what’s to come this fall. Those fans also may have an idea now about what to expect in the postseason.
Bowie, a District 15-5A team, and Westwood, which competes in 16-5A, both opened this season with two games against teams from the neighboring district. Should both teams reach the postseason, they could meet in a bi-district playoff. In any case, Bowie would face a 16-5A team to kick off the postseason while Westwood would take on a 15-5A opponent in the opening round of the playofs.
In the second week of the regular season, though, visiting Bowie beat the Warriors 45-27 despite 505 passing yards by Westwood quarterback Bear Fenimore, a University of Houston recruit.
The Bulldogs’ 18-point victory came two years after Westwood beat Bowie 31-10 in the regular season and 52-20 in the first round of the Class 5A, Division I playoffs.
Bowie, which posted a 42-14 victory over Pflugerville last week, entered halftime against Westwood with a 35-14 lead.
During the stat-stuffing first half Thursday night, Bowie quarterback Austin Eschenburg accounted for three touchdowns, and teammate Cole Myers rushed for 99 yards and two scores. Fenimore, who finished the game with three touchdown tosses, completed 28 of his 41 passes for 327 yards while Josh Bishop nabbed 10 receptions.
Westwood scored on its first drive of the second half, but the Warriors were unable to cut Bowie’s lead to anything fewer than 15 points.
Eschenburg finished with three rushing touchdowns and a touchdown pass while Myers had 142 yards rushing. The Bulldogs defense also limited Westwood to minus-29 yards rushing and sacked Fenimore five times. He finished with 41 completions in 58 attempts.
Next week, Westwood will play another District 15-5A team in Lake Travis. Bowie will face a Round Rock team that it beat last year in the regular season and the playoffs.
“I don’t think there is any advantage,” Bowie coach Jeff Ables said of playing multiple games against the same team during a season. “It all boils down to where you are at that time of the year. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
Bowie and Westwood are two of the eighteen Austin-area football teams that have a non-district game scheduled against a team in the neighboring district. Some postseason rematches, however, are unlikely.
Vista Ridge, for example, would need two of these District 25-4A foes — Cedar Park, Leander or Rouse — to miss the playoffs in order to get another game against McCallum or LBJ, two District 26-4A teams that can advance only to the Class 4A, Division I playoffs. Vista Ridge plays LBJ on Friday before facing McCallum on Sept. 20.
But other non-district showdowns — like Wimberley’s Sept. 20 game against La Vernia — could preview a first-round postseason matchup.
“You try not to look too far ahead because there are so many scenarios that could work themselves into play,” Wimberley coach Doug Warren said. “Six, seven weeks down the road if you happen to play that team again, it could be a completely different team.”
Non-district schedules are set on a biennial basis. Schedules are usually hammered out on the day that the University Interscholastic League announces its realignment outcome, but Ables said teams often try to schedule a few of their non-district games beforehand.
The level of competition and the ability to obtain games for all of a school’s sub-varsity football teams are factors during the scheduling process. Expenses and travel costs are another reason why many Austin-area schools opt to stay close to home instead of traveling to Dallas, Houston or San Antonio.
“If you have to do that, you have to,” Ables said, “but if you have good quality people in this area that will play, it makes it a little better situation.”