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Cameron Smith

Could Mexico-heavy schedule hurt a Texas football power?

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Stony Point (Texas) High is widely considered one of the nation's best football teams. The Tigers are 3-0, have outscored their three foes 163-28, and are currently ranked No. 41 in the RivalsHigh 100 and sit at No. 4 in Texas' vaunted Class 5A.

Yet despite their dominance, some have significant questions about whether the Tigers are a great team. All those doubts come down to scheduling. Of the Tigers' three overwhelmed opponents, two hailed from the Mexican state of Monterrey, both ill suited to mount any kind of a challenge after traveling all the way to the Austin suburb of Round Rock.

According to RivalsHigh senior analyst Dallas Jackson, Stony Point's foray into Mexican competition was driven purely by a need to schedule additional opponents, one of which was needed at the last minute. Still, he said it was unusual for a team as highly ranked as Stony Point to have two of those games, and have both of them so early in the season.

Interestingly, the need for competition is just as acute for the Mexican teams, too.

"It is happening more frequently in recent years with teams in Texas playing teams in Mexico," Jackson said. "Strangely it is for the same reason that American teams need to go out of state to fill their schedules.

"Monterrey (Mexico) Autonoma de Nuevo Leon and Monterrey (Mexico) Prepa Tech are actually a couple of the top teams in Mexico and both have had a tough time getting other Mexican teams to play them in nonconference games."

Jackson said that Prepa Tec, which was demolished by Stony Point 59-7 on Thursday, has had to schedule seven different teams in Texas this year to fill out their schedule. The Borregos (that's Spanish for Rams) opened their season against another highly ranked Texas team: the Woodlands, ranked No. 55 in the current Rivals100.

It's worth noting that Stony Point isn't the only team in the country to play multiple games against foreign opponents, either. As reported here and elsewhere, Eden Prairie (Minn.) opened up the season with a bizarre doubleheader against Canadian opposition in Winnipeg. Eden Prairie won both games, despite having to play with a split squad using Canadian rules. Both victories were reflected on the team's season record.

However, neither Eden Prairie foe had the reputation of Prepa Tec, routinely the Mexican National Champion, but that hardly helped make them competitive against the Woodlands or Stony Point. It's hard to blame them much, given the travel involved for both games -- both Stony Point and The Woodlands are more than 12 hours from Prepa Tech's Monterrey campus.

Prepa Tec's Class 5A adventures began in 2008, when the Borregos travelled 15 hours to face off against Allen High -- the first Class 5A team they'd played -- and were demolished 55-15. Since then they've continually tried to schedule top-tier Class 5A teams in hopes of an eventual Appalachian State-Michigan upset.

The Borregos are still waiting for that headline-grabbing breakthrough, as is Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. The question now is whether playing those two games will leave Stony Point less prepared for their first big in-state face-off, at DeSoto, No. 70 in the RivalsHigh 100, on Friday.

"I don't think it will hurt them too much as they are usually one of the best teams in the state and a perennial playoff team," Jackson said. "The opening game of the season was actually supposed to be against San Antonio (Texas) Madison, who dropped the game in favor of a television game against Cibolo (Texas) Steele."

But, Jackson added, if the games against weaker Mexican opposition were to hurt the Tigers, the damage would probably be done this week by DeSoto. That should make a compelling matchup in DeSoto even more of a must-watch game.

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