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High School Playoffs: Championship Update

Apologies for the tardiness of this post, but thought everyone would still like to know how the playoffs wrapped up now just a little more than a week ago. -- GoBR --

Daingerfield 62, Bushland 14

Perhaps it's not so surprising that the Daingerfield Tigers took home their second consecutive state championship. After all, the team possesses enough talent to make the majority of 5A teams look like a bunch of talentless hacks. And Daingerfield competes at the 2A level, going against district opponents like Queen City and Ore City. Ever heard of them?

As usual, Chris Jones did his part at the wide receiver position, hauling in a 22-yard pass to start the scoring for Daingerfield only minutes into the game, then catching a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Jones finished with five catches for 67 yards to go along with his three carries for 37 yards -- his next game will come in a Texas uniform.. Quarterback Tyler Boyd passed for 170 yards a week after completing only one pass for a loss of a yard. Boyd and running back KoKo Smith did some serious damage on the ground as well, combining for nearly 300 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

The only scores for previously undefeated Bushland came late in the fourth quarter, well after the game was out of hand, as Daingerfield put it away early by taking a 34-0 halftime lead after forcing three first-half turnovers, including an interception by possible 2011 target Steve Edmond. Daingerfield romped through the playoffs, outscoring opponents 312-65.

Cayuga 38, Albany 24

Opposing 1A teams were not able to stop Traylon Shead all season. In fact, he was only slowed down by two things -- a canceled game due to lightning and an ankle injury early in the season. Prior to the game against Albany, a hamstring injury incurred in warm ups almost ended his night prematurely, keeping Shead from having a chance to win the state championship that eluded Cayuga last season. But Shead was too tough to let an injury slow him down with his goal in sight -- he rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns, while also contributing on defense. His backfield partner, quarterback Malcolme Kennedy, did even more damage, accounting for four touchdowns and running for 241 yards himself.

Albany took a 10-0 lead early and nearly ran out the clock in the first quarter without having to play a snap on defense. When the ball did finally reach the hands of Kennedy and Shead, the Albany defense was made to pay, as Kennedy scored on a 68-yard touchdown run before Shead set up another touchdown with a 50-yard run, then scored later on a 21-yard touchdown catch on a screen. And with that 20-point outburst, Cayuga took control of the game and not even a painful hamstring injury was enough to keep Traylon Shead from winning that state championship he was not able to secure last season. Sweet redemption.

Carthage 13, Graham 12

Faced with the decision to try for a game-tying extra point or go for the victory with a two-point conversion, Bob McCoy opted for the latter, but Dylan Fulford was stopped short of the goalline to preserve the victory for Carthage after Graham motioned out of their PAT formation and put Fulford in the shotgun. The subsequent onside-kick recovery sealed a second straight state championship for Carthage -- remarkably, it was the hero of the day for the Bulldogs who recovered the kick, junior wide receiver Jalen Claiborne, who caught eight passes for 157 yards and first-quarter touchdown.

Graham managed to hang in the game with four stops in the red zone, including two interceptions and two fourth-down stops, but an interception deep in Carthage territory thrown by Case McCoy hurt the Steers. McCoy did not have his finest day, completing only two of 10 passes in the first half and finishing 10-21 for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Lake Travis 24, Longivew 17

Michael Brewer may not be Garrett Gilbert, but he was more than good enough and probably a better dual threat than Gilbert. In any case, the ultimate result was the same -- another undefeated season for Lake Travis, another state championship. That would be three in a row now.

Like Gilbert before him, Brewer had plenty of help -- Rice commit Andy Erickson scored two touchdowns, including a 57-yard pass reception that put Lake Travis on the board first and Lake Travis' final touchdown midway through the third quarter on a carry after the Cavalier defense recovered a fumble to provide a short field for the offense.

The performance was not without mistakes for both Brewer and Erickson, as the quarterback threw an interception in the end zone and Erickson lost a fumble, but the game ended with Lake Travis in the victory formation and securing their 46th consecutive victory.

Aledo 35 Brenham 21

Last season, it was San Antonio Madison's Aaron Green who burst onto the Texas high school football scene with incredible performance after incredible performance as a sophomore. This year, Aledo's Johnathan Gray has taken those honors as the sophomore taking the state by storm. On the biggest stage, Gray showed just how unstoppable he is, racking up 252 yards on 32 carries and four touchdowns, including a game-clinching 88-yard touchdown run with the clock ticking down under two minutes to go in the game.

Abilene 28 Katy 17

Once viewed as being outside looking in on the elite duo of 2010 running backs -- Aaron Green and Malcolm Brown -- Herschel Sims proved definitely this season that he deserves mention with the two shining stars of the class, even before helping the Eagles win their first state championship since 1956. In what was not even his most spectacular performance of the playoffs, Sims began the game and ended it with touchdowns, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, then clinching the game with a 60-yard touchdown run, finishing with 12 carries for 102 yards as the Katy defense focused their resources on slowing him down. In fact, that emphasis on stopping Herschel opened up running lanes for the other Sims, cousin Ronnell, who did have the performance of a lifetime, carrying the ball 28 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns.