STORY BY: TIM SCHNETTLER
– NAVASOTA – The great Yogi Berra, once quipped, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” For the Navasota Rattler football team the saying holds true for a second consecutive week of the Class 3A Division I playoffs.
After facing the Sealy Tigers last week in the first round of the playoffs, the same team Navasota faced in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, the Rattlers again face a familiar foe.
This time it is the Huffman-Hargrave Falcons, a team the Rattlers defeated at this same juncture of last year’s playoffs.
The Rattlers (10-1) and the Falcons (9-2) will battle at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Conroe, Friday at 7:30 p.m., in the area round of the playoffs. Last season the Rattlers defeated the Falcons, 43-26.
“They are a disciplined team and they are not going to fall apart,” Fedora said of the 2011 Falcons. “They are going to keep competing. They are going to throw the ball around like crazy and if you don’t cover well they are going to find those spots and hit it.”
The Rattlers are coming off a 40-13 victory over the Sealy Tigers. In that victory the Rattlers got off to a fast start, scoring on the second play of the game then used a 14-point fourth quarter to extend a 10-point halftime lead and take control.
“I was proud of our kids,” Fedora said. “It was an outstanding game against a good opponent and I was very proud to get the win. Our kids really stood up to the occasion.”
When the Rattlers and the Falcons faced off last season, Navasota carried a one-point lead into the half thanks to an 89-yard kickoff return by Tevin Creeks just before intermission. The return sparked the Rattlers as they outscored the Falcons 22-6 over the final 24 minutes of the game.
Huffman stayed in the game last season thanks in large part to quarterback Cole DeBerry, who completed 24 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a team-high 73 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Berry has graduated, but the Falcons possess another strong-armed quarterback in junior Preston Townley who has thrown for 2,670 yards and 29 touchdowns so far this season.
Townley’s favorite target is senior Kade Hardy, who has 53 receptions and a team-high 11 touchdown receptions.
“He is a great quarterback and you can tell he makes great reads and their receivers do a great job,” Fedora said. “It is going to be a test for our defense. We are going to have great pass rush and wrap up and we have to have great play in our linebacker and secondary.”
Navasota counters with a strong quarterback of its own in junior Kadarius Baker who has completed 154 passes for 2,497 yards and 35 touchdowns. In 233 passing attempts, Baker has been intercepted just twice.
“What impresses me the most about Kadarius is he has thrown 35 touchdowns and only two interceptions,” Fedora said.
Junior receivers Solomon McGinty and Austin Collins have combined for 111 receptions for 1,846 yards and 25 touchdowns.
The winner of Friday’s game advances to face the winner of the Chapel Hill vs. La Vega game in the Division I quarterfinals. Last season Chapel Hill defeated Navasota, 42-13 in the quarterfinals.
Friday’s Navasota game can be heard live on Navasota News 1550 KWBC with the pregame slated to start at 7:05.