Welcome to another edition of the previous week recap and coming week preview of games involving Texas Longhorns football commits, BON's unofficial leader in the "article word count : comments received" ratio standings. A large portion of the state got soaked by rain last weekend. Abilene and other parts of west central Texas got 3-4 inches of rain. Most of the Dallas-Fort Worth area got more than that, and parts of the I-45 corridor were pounded by double-digit figures.
All over the state, games were played in very soggy conditions or postponed and played in slightly less rainy weather, and some that did get played on Friday were only finished after a lightning delay or two, or three. At least one game scheduled for Friday got pushed to the following Monday. Conditions were terrible everywhere, so if ever there was a week to not read too much into the stats, this is it.
As for the actual games, one featured two Longhorn commits playing against each other, another saw a receiver commit grab five touchdown catches, and the team of another commit came back from a 21-point 4th quarter deficit to get a win. More on all that below.
Rain is in the forecast again this weekend for some areas of the state, and many DFW-area schools that battled the elements last weekend have moved their games for this week up to Thursday night to avoid possible storms on Friday. [Author's note: the start times for some of the games listed below has been edited since this post was published two hours ago, as Southlake Carroll, Arlington Lamar, Gilmer, and Bullard all moved their games originally slated for Friday up to Thursday, and Tyler John Tyler moved its Friday night game to Saturday afternoon because rains had delayed their week 9 game until this past Monday.]
For this week's tangential, non-UT recruiting topic, I'll profile a pair of under-the-radar 2016 wide receivers who've caught my attention of late, and have some fun with roster measurement listing changes.
QB Shane Buechele (Arlington Lamar)
Last week: Completed 7 of 13 passes for 103 yards and 1 touchdown, and rushed 4 times for 91 yards and 1 TD in a 51-17 win over North Crowley
This week: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00, at Weatherford
Notes: The weather did not affect Buechele's Lamar team because -- as luck would have it -- their game last week was one of a series of high school games that had been scheduled to take place under the dome of AT&T Stadium. Against North Crowley, Lamar didn't need Buechele to pass for 300 yards, and they relied on their running game for the most part, attempting 27 runs to only 17 passes, committing no turnovers, and only punting once.
Lamar led 24-3 following a field goal made with 8:52 left in the 2nd quarter, but two North Crowley TDs late in the half pulled them to within 24-17, but that was as close as they got. The second of those two NC touchdowns was scored with only 10 seconds remaining in the half, but somehow -- probably on a long kickoff return -- Lamar managed to get the ball to the North Crowley 17-yard line and kicked another field goal as time expired to go into halftime with a 27-17 lead.
Lamar received the second half kickoff and Buechele took a 69-yard run to the house on their first play. North Crowley went three-and-out and punted on the ensuing possession, and Lamar took only four plays to score another TD. Trailing 41-17, North Crowley went for it on 4th-and-5 from their own 41-yard line on their next drive, but their QB's pass fell incomplete to give Lamar the ball and a short field to work with. Six plays later, Buechele found Draven Cantly for a 30-yard TD pass to put Lamar up 48-17 with 2:58 left in the 3rd quarter, and Buechele's night was done. Lamar scored points on all 8 of their possessions while Buechele was in the game.
Lamar is 4-1 in district play and has clinched a playoff berth, while their opponent in Week 10, Weatherford, is 3-2 in district play, 5-3 overall (if nothing else, they've clinched their first non-losing regular season record since 2009), and will be fighting for its playoff life, needing a win against either Lamar this week or Arlington Bowie next week in order to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
WR Tren'Davian Dickson (Navasota)
Last week: Caught 5 TD passes in a 77-0 win over Houston Furr
This week: Saturday, October 31 at 1:00, vs. Houston Wheatley
Notes: Another week, another blowout win for Navasota. To save time and keystrokes on future posts, I should just paste this for each Navasota recap:
I haven't found full game stats for the Navasota-Furr game, but the box score says Dickson caught TD passes from 40, 15, 35, 10, and 5 yards out, the first four of which all happened before the game was 16 minutes old. This week, Navasota will
blow out take on another Houston ISD pushover district opponent in Houston Wheatley, which is 5-3 on the year but -- and this is all you need to know about their chances of an upset -- lost by one point to Houston Sterling one week after Navasota beat Sterling 70-6.
WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (Manvel)
Last week: Did not record a catch in a 62-0 win over Pasadena Rayburn
This week: Thursday, October 29 at 7:00, at Pasadena Memorial (Pasadena Veterans Stadium)
Notes: See: video in previous section. Manvel outgained Rayburn 455-67. Hemphill did not appear in the box score last week, though I've read nothing to indicate he was injured before or during the game.
Manvel has reeled off seven straight wins since a season-opening 29-26 loss to Spring Westfield, and aside from their 49-31 win over Pearland Dawson (their only district game in which they've broken a sweat so far), they have outscored their other five district opponents by a combined score of 341-28. Expect more of the same when they play Pasadena Memorial tonight. Manvel moved up from #10 to #8 in this week's AP Class 6A poll.
WR(Valley Christian - San Jose, CA)
Notes: Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in his team's Week 3 game and he will miss the rest of the season.
TE Peyton Aucoin (Brother Martin - New Orleans, LA)
Last week: Team lost to #1-ranked Archbishop Rummel 59-27
This week: Friday, October 30 at 7:00, vs. Archbishop Shaw
Notes: Facing Louisiana's top-ranked 5A team, Brother Martin fell behind 21-7 in the 1st quarter and couldn't dig out of that hole, and they went into halftime trailing 45-13. As a result of their lopsided loss, Brother Martin dropped from 6th to 9th in this week's LSWA Class 5A poll. Their next opponent, Archbishop Shaw, features a three-star running back in senior Trey Ragas, who is reported to have a double-digit number of FBS offers and who looked impressive in spots as a freshman playing behind then-junior Leonard Fournette at New Orleans St. Augustine.
OL Tope Imade (Arlington Bowie)
Last week: Team gained 626 total yards on 69 plays in a 42-41 win over Arlington
This week: Friday, October 30 at 7:30, at Fort Worth Paschal (Handley Stadium)
Notes: Bowie's rushing attack gained 464 yards on 57 carries last week (theirs was another game held under the roof of AT&T Stadium), but they also committed 4 turnovers and really had no business winning that game. Bowie trailed Arlington 24-20 after scoring a TD with 5:15 left in the 3rd quarter, then answered an Arlington TD by fumbling the ball back on their own 21-yard line on the last play of the quarter. Bowie held Arlington to a field goal and got the ball back trailing 34-20 with 11:18 left in regulation. Five plays later, Bowie was in the red zone but lost a fumble at the Arlington 11-yard line, and when Arlington's sophomore RB Kenland McCray ran for an 89-yard TD on the very next play, it put Arlington ahead 41-20 with 9:49 left in regulation and seemingly put the game out of reach.
But Bowie mounted a furious comeback in the game's final minutes. They scored in six plays and converted a two-point try to cut the deficit to 41-28 with 7:48 left. After an Arlington three-and-out, Bowie completed a seven-play drive with another TD with 4:23 left to pull within 41-35. After holding Arlington to another three-and-out, Bowie took possession at their own 22-yard line with 2:47 remaining and holding one timeout. Six runs and one completed pass later, they scored and made the PAT to take a 42-41 lead with 1:00 on the clock, after having trailed by 21 points only seven minutes earlier. Arlington got the ball back at their own 28, having no timeouts left, and in four plays they couldn't get out of their own end of the field before time expired.
Bowie is 3-2 in district play and tied for third along with Arlington and Weatherford. A win this week over Paschal along with an Arlington loss to Martin would most likely clinch a playoff berth for Bowie, though if some crazy upsets took place this week, their playoff hopes could come down to a win-or-go home regular season finale vs. Weatherford in week 11.
DT Gerald Wilbon (Destrehan, LA)
Last week: Team defeated Gray (LA) Bourgeois 56-12
This week: Friday, October 30 at 7:00, vs. Thibodaux
Notes: Destrehan maintained their undefeated record, moving to 8-0 with their win last Friday, and remains the #3 ranked team in Class 5A. After opening their season with a 33-23 win over Slidell, Destrehan has beaten all of their last seven opponents by 20 points or more, and six of them by 25 points or more. The poor Bourgeois center (see what I did there?) doesn't appear to have had much fun attempting to block Wilbon last week.
LB DeMarco Boyd (Gilmer)
Last week: Had 4 carries for 11 yards, 2 receptions for 14 yards, and 6 total tackles in a 28-21 win over Bullard.
This week: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00, at Nevada Community
Notes: Gilmer had a very tough time in a rain-soaked matchup with Bullard, trailing 14-7 and 21-14 at different points in the game, but Gilmer came back and scored two 4th quarter TDs to take a 28-21 lead and preserve their undefeated record and #2 state ranking in Class 4A. Gilmer was uncharacteristically limited to just 36 rushing yards and lost two fumbles during the game, and the two teams combined to make only 24 first downs. This game was at least the third or fourth time this season that future Texas Longhorns were on opposite sidelines, as this one had DeMarco Boyd on one side and 2017 TE Major Tennison (more on him later) on the other.
DB Obi Eboh (Southlake Carroll)
Last week: Made 3 tackles, had 6 passes defensed, and recovered a fumble in a 49-14 win over Colleyville Heritage
This week: Thursday, October 29 at 7:00, at Haltom (Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex)
Notes: The script for the Heritage win reads like a typical Carroll game, they trailed 14-7 early in the 2nd quarter, then outscored their opponent 42-0 the rest of the way. Carroll's defense forced three turnovers and limited Heritage's passing attack to only 11 completions on 25 attempts. Eboh being credited with 6 passes defensed suggests he had an active game in the secondary, though he and 2017 safety Robert Barnes (an Oklahoma commit) were on the wrong side of a 63-yard TD catch and run by Heritage's sophomore receiver Ke'Von Ahmad in the 1st quarter (if you watch through the end of the play, the two seemed to not know who was supposed to cover Ahmad once he cut into the middle of the field on his route). Ahmad, I should mention, has 57 catches for 1,158 yards (leading all Dallas-area receivers in Class 6A) and 15 TDs for the season.
Carroll ends its regular season by facing District 7-6A's two cellar-dwellers, Haltom and Hurst L.D. Bell, which are a combined 2-15 this year. A win over Haltom tonight would ensure Carroll at least 2nd place in the district.
QB Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake)
Last week: Completed 17 of 37 passes for 178 yards and 1 TD, and rushed 21 times for 71 yards and 1 TD in a 35-14 loss to Lake Travis
This week: Friday, October 30 at 7:30, at Del Valle
Notes: So it would seem Sam Ehlinger is human after all, as his #8 Westlake team fell to #6 Lake Travis in a battle between rivals and state-ranked opponents. It was Lake Travis's eighth straight win over Westlake dating back to Garrett Gilbert's senior season in 2008. Ehlinger and the Westlake offense were held scoreless in the first half, and trailed 13-0 before briefly cutting the lead to 13-7 in the 3rd quarter, but their defense couldn't get stops against Lake Travis in the second half. Lake Travis (didn't we used to have somebody at BON who was from there?) took a 35-7 lead after two 4th quarter TDs, and Ehlinger's 7-yard TD pass to Reed Klubnik to make the score 35-14 came very late in the game.
Westlake has clinched a playoff berth and will clinch at least 2nd place in District 14-6A with a win on Friday. They will close their regular season schedule facing two opponents who are a combined 2-14 so far.
WR Damion Miller (Tyler John Tyler)
Last week: Caught 4 passes for 90 yards and 1 TD, and had one carry for 7 yards in a 36-14 win over Corsicana
This week: Saturday, October 31 at 1:30, vs. Jacksonville
Notes: The John Tyler-Corsicana game was originally scheduled for last Friday, but storms in the area postponed the game all the way to Monday of this week. Damion Miller's TD reception was officially a 31-yard catch eight minutes into the 1st quarter, though the play was a controversial one. According to the ETSN recap of the game, "Miller appeared to drop the ball midway through the pass-and-catch around the 15-yard line before ever having possession of it, but an official threw a bean bag to signal a fumble. So, Miller picked the ball up and went the rest of the way to close the first half scoring." Corsicana was later assessed two personal foul penalties for arguing over the call.
After watching the play a few times (it begins at around the 1:15 mark in the video below) I'll say Miller definitely dropped the ball after making the catch and trying to dodge a defender, but it's at least arguable that he had the ball and had made a "football play" (thank you, NFL referees) before the ball came out of his hands. Miller's disputed TD made the score 14-7 in favor of John Tyler, a lead they held until Corsicana tied things up midway through the 3rd quarter. But John Tyler scored 22 unanswered points in the 3rd and 4th quarters to put the game away.
The win was John Tyler's fifth straight after losing their first three games of the season. They sit atop district 16-5A with a 5-0 record in district play and have clinched a playoff spot. A win over Jacksonville (a team that has been outscored by an average of 20 points per game in district play) on Friday would secure them the district title.
TE Major Tennison (Bullard)
Last week: Caught 3 passes for 41 yards and 1 TD in a 28-21 loss to Gilmer
This week: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00, vs. Melissa
Notes: The newly-minted 2017 Longhorn commit played last Friday at the stadium named after his future position coach (assuming Jeff Traylor isn't promoted to another position between now and the summer of 2017). Tennison's TD came on a 16-yard reception with 6:31 left in the 3rd quarter and gave Bullard a 21-14 lead that they managed to hold for nearly nine minutes of game time before Gilmer tied the score in the 4th quarter and eventually took the lead to win. On one of Tennison's other two catches in the game, he gained 19 yards on a screen pass to get the first down on a 4th-and-8 play that began at the Gilmer 29-yard line.
DE Lagaryonn Carson (Texarkana Liberty-Eylau)
Last week: Team defeated Quinlan Ford 48-7
This week: Friday, October 30 at 7:30, at Paris North Lamar
Notes: Quinlan Ford rushed for over 230 yards and averaged just under five yards per carry as a team, but their seldom-used passing game netted only 8 yards on two completions and had an interception, and Liberty-Eylau's defense kept them off the scoreboard until the final play of the 3rd quarter, before which L-E led 48-0.
L-E is 7-1 and ranked 10th in the state in this week's Class 4A poll, their only blemish being a five-point loss to #2 Gilmer in the season opener for both teams. A win on Friday could set up their Week 11 game vs. Princeton as a contest to decide the champion of district 7-4A Division I.
Fun with roster measurements
One of the many entertaining aspects of following recruits as they go from high school to college and develop through their career is to watch how their listed sizes change from year to year. Players long listed at a particular height during their recruitment sometimes turn out to be an inch or two shorter when listed on their college's roster. Players may be initially listed at 215 pounds when they enroll and are added to their new school's roster, then a redshirt year later they may be in the 240s. Others have weirder fluctuations that can only be explained as exaggerations at one time or another.
Case in point is the year-to-year "progression" of Washington State cornerback Charleston White, an alum of Amarillo Palo Duro (where he was a teammate of former Longhorn Montrel Meander) and a 2013 recruit I was on the record as being a fan of. (Irony alert: I called White a poor man's Kendall Sanders, a player with whom his high school teammate Meander -- who wasn't really on UT's radar until some three months later -- got into a pretty serious imbroglio two years later.) (Side note: according to a BON search, the previous sentence contained the first usage of "imbroglio" by a BON author in nearly six years. Now, on with the column.)
As a recruit, White was listed as 6' and 160 pounds on his Rivals page. As a freshman in 2013, he was listed on Washington State's roster at a slightly bigger 6'1" and 175 pounds. After redshirting his first year, WSU's 2014 roster suggested he had shrunk, as he was listed at 5'10" 176. Now a redshirt sophomore and regular contributor after starting 7 games in 2014, he is currently listed at 6' and 185 pounds.
Tarleton State defensive tackle Tavaris Owens was an intriguing athlete as a senior at Class 2A Whitney. A class of 2014 recruit, he finished 2nd in the shot put at the 2014 state track meet with a heave of over 56 feet. Owens played linebacker as a senior and was credited with 142 total tackles, 7 sacks, 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. And between football and track, he played basketball and averaged nearly 15 points per game. In a conversation with his head football coach during his senior year, Owens was described as being about 6'1 and 245 pounds with wide shoulders and a "gigantic wingspan", in other words, big with room to get a lot bigger. Owens didn't attend camps before his senior year and wasn't a widely-known recruit, and ended up signing with the Division II Tarleton State Texans.
He redshirted in 2014 and was listed at 6'2 290, meaning he must have gotten to know the TSU cafeteria (or Jake and Dorothy's Cafe) pretty well his first few months in Stephenville. Now a redshirt freshman and starter at defensive tackle, Owens is listed at... 6'4" and 310 pounds! I've heard of growth spurts, but 2 inches and 20 pounds between one's first and second year in college? In seven games this season he has been credited with 34 tackles, 2 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss.
Two under-the-radar DFW 2016 wide receivers I like
I've already twice mentioned Richland senior Aaron Denson in previews/recaps of Obi Eboh, as I thought Denson would be one of the best receivers Southlake Carroll would see this season, and, lo, he proved me right by catching 8 passes for 138 yards, 1 TD, and a two-point conversion when those teams played. The following week in a loss to Coppell, Denson blew those numbers away by catching 10 passes for 260 yards and 3 TDs. Yardage-wise, Denson is the second-leading receiver this season among Dallas-area 6A players with 56 catches for 1,024 yards and 11 TDs through 8 games.
Denson has very good stats and has had good games this season when facing future collegiate defensive backs, but his only current offer is from FCS program Alcorn State, and he says Abilene Christian is the only in-state school that has shown him much interest.
He doesn't offer great size (he measured 5'10.5 at the Dallas The Opening regionals in March) and won't run a sub-4.5 forty (maybe not even a sub-4.6 forty), but his highlights show a receiver who knows how to find soft spots against zone coverage and who can get separation against bigger and faster defensive backs with good footwork and by running good routes, traits that have no doubt been enhanced by his work with Margin Hooks, the former BYU and pro wide receiver who recently has worked with a significant number of highly-rated recruits in DFW and central Texas. Denson should be on a FBS roster next fall and I'll be shocked if Alcorn State is still his only offer by the end of this season.
Another senior receiver who has recently caught my attention is Nathan Stewart from Bryan Adams High School in Dallas. Stewart is the Class 5A receiving yardage leader in Dallas, having caught 53 passes for 1,113 yards and 9 TDs in 8 games. Stewart has good speed and maybe better acceleration, which has been put to use in other facets of the game as well. In addition to killing opposing secondaries, he also has 10 carries for 151 yards and 2 TDs, he has scored three other times on punt or kickoff returns, and he has scored on eight (8!) two-point conversions.
Listed at 6'1 and 175 pounds (but appearing a bit shorter on film), Stewart has the speed and skill-set to beat opponents in a number of ways. In a 45-30 win over North Dallas last week, he caught 5 passes for 64 yards and 2 TDs, caught 2 two-point conversion passes, returned one kickoff 92 yards for a score and returned another almost to the red zone, and returned a punt for a TD. The overall competition level he has faced in District 11-5A is not very good, but early this season in a 59-28 loss to Celina - currently the 3rd tanked team in Class 4A - he caught 4 passes for 198 yards and 2 TDs.
Stewart is currently graded as a two-star recruit and the #277 prospect in the state in 247Sports' composite rankings, but I'm sure there are a fair number of receivers ranked ahead of him who I'd take him over. He reports having offers from Sam Houston State, Montana State, and Prairie View A&M, and says he has had recent contact with Texas Tech, UTSA, Utah State, and Stephen F. Austin, and that coaches from some of those schools either have or will soon come to Dallas to see him.