EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – There’s only one team from El Paso still alive in the UIL Texas High School Football Playoffs and it’s a familiar team for everyone around the state: the Canutillo Eagles.

For the second year in a row and third time since 2014, Canutillo (10-2) advanced to the Class 5A Division II Regional Semifinals, with a 21-14 win over Arlington Heights in last week’s Area round. Jeremiah Knox scored the winning touchdown for the Eagles with under 30 seconds left in the game to send them into the Sweet 16.

Waiting for Canutillo in the Regional Semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in Fort Stockton is Abilene Wylie (9-3), which took down Colleyville Heritage 50-40 in last Friday’s Area round. Wylie also beat El Paso High 54-14 in the Bi-District round two weeks ago.

These are two teams that are red-hot entering round three; the Eagles have won eight straight games, while the Bulldogs have won seven games in a row. It may be a bit of a contrast of styles when they meet up, too.

Wylie has a prolific offense and an elusive quarterback that Canutillo head coach Scott Brooks compared to Johnny Manziel. The Bulldogs average almost 40 points per game, but also allow 26 points per game and have give up 30 or more points in five games in 2022.

Canutillo, meanwhile, leans on a rushing attack that’s dictated by Stanford-committed running back LJ Martin (1,937 rushing yards, 21 total TD) and a defense that gives up an average of 11 points per game and has shut out four teams this year.

“No matter who you play in this round, they’re going to be a really good football team. I have to tell our kids, ‘hey we’re a really good football team and we can play with them,'” Brooks said. “They’re 300 pounds across the front and we’ll have to do our little Chihuahua impressions and get after people the way we do. The kids believe in what we’re doing and in each other.”

The experience of playing in the Regional Semifinals a year ago helps this year’s Eagles, too. Canutillo fell to Wichita Falls Rider 24-7 in 2021’s Sweet 16, a loss that has been driving them for an entire calendar year.

“It just prepares us to know what to expect, we know we’ll face a tough team,” Martin said. “We’ll go into this round knowing we have to play our hearts out and do a good job all around in order to come out with the win.”

If Canutillo takes down Abilene Wylie, they’ll become the first Sun City team to advance to the State Quarterfinals since the Eagles themselves did it in 2014. The winner of Canutillo-Wylie will face undefeated Argyle in the 5A DII State Quarterfinals.