The top two seeds in District 12 won their playoff openers and advanced to the area round, while the bottom two seeds found the end of their season.
Sealy claimed its third bi-district trophy in four years with a 41-0 shutout of Orangefield, and Bellville earned its 10th straight first-round win with a 41-10 win over Hardin-Jefferson. As for the other District 12 representatives, fourth-place Sweeny was eliminated by No. 2 West Orange-Stark, 59-8, and third-place La Marque fell to Silsbee, 50-6.
In the second round, Bellville will meet No. 6 Salado, winners of District 9, at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Sealy will face Center, third-place finishers from District 10, at Waco ISD Stadium with both games kicking off at 7 p.m. In the other area matchups in Region III, No. 1 Carthage squares off with Silsbee and West Orange-Stark faces China Spring.
Bellville and Salado have some recent playoff history having met three years in a row in successive rounds. Bellville won the first two meetings – 49-7 in the 2015 bi-district round and 34-14 in the 2016 area round – although it fell to the eventual state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs both years. In the 2017 regional final, Salado got its revenge with a 13-10 overtime win although it fell to the eventual state runner-up West Orange-Stark Mustangs.
This year, Salado finished the regular season ranked sixth in the state with a 9-1 overall record where it outscored opponents 42.7-14.9 on average, having won the final two district games by 66-0 and 47-0 scores.
Salado earned a forfeit win over Rusk in the bi-district round and will face a Bellville squad that outscored opponents 53.2-21.6 on average in the regular season. Brahma junior running back Richard Reese collected 265 yards rushing and scored all six of his team’s touchdowns in the playoff-opening win.
Sealy and Center have never met in their respective football histories, although Center has been in the playoffs every year since 2009 except for 2014 and owns a 21-31-1 all-time postseason record.
The Roughriders recorded consecutive seasons as the runners-up in their district the two previous years before earning the third seed this year. Center and Waco Connally needed an overtime period of the bi-district round but the Roughriders prevailed 31-30 despite a 17-14 halftime deficit thanks in part to three touchdowns and 267 yards from Center senior running back Keamodre Horace. Center finished the regular season 7-3 overall and outscored opponents 40.3-27.6 on average.
Sealy improved its all-time postseason record to 47-22 behind three passing touchdowns from D’vonne Hmielewski to Draper Parker and the second consecutive bi-district shutout under head coach Shane Mobley. The Tigers closed the regular season 7-2 overall and outscored their opponents 37.2 to 16 on average.