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Texas Longhorn commits: Playoff round one preview

It’s high school football playoff time in Texas, and the teams of 14 Longhorn commits will have postseason games this week.

Cameron Rising (Newbury Park, California) warms up before a September 15 game against Valencia.
Will Gallagher (Inside Texas)

It’s finally here! The Texas high school football playoffs, that is. Eleven weeks after the state’s schools kicked off the 2017 season, it’s now win-or-go-home from here on out for everybody who performed well enough to reach the postseason.

The season has already come to an end for three of the Texas Longhorns’ four out-of-state commits, with the exception being Rondale Moore’s nationally-ranked Louisville Trinity squad, which plays its third round game in Kentucky’s playoffs this week and is three wins shy of taking home a second consecutive state championship.

Of UT’s 15 in-state commits, only two played for teams that did not reach the playoffs. Two commits whose teams did reach the playoffs, B.J. Foster and Jalen Green, both suffered recent injuries and their status for this week is not known to this writer. At the very least there should be a dozen future Longhorns in action at some point this week, and you can go see one or more of them play if you live within a short drive of Allen, Austin, Baytown, Houston, Jasper, San Augustine, San Antonio, Louisville, Kentucky, or Portales, New Mexico (more on that one later).

But if you’re reading this on Thursday afternoon or evening you might have to hurry to get to some games, as four commits will play tonight. Below I’ll have notes on where and who each commit’s team will play in this week’s playoff games, and detail how each of their teams finished the regular season.

2018 Texas Longhorn football commits

QB Cameron Rising (Newbury Park, California)

Last week: Did not play in a 56-35 loss to Citrus Hill in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

Season over

Notes: Rising suffered a knee injury late in Newbury Park’s October 27 loss to Moorpark, which ended his season. Newbury Park rebounded to win its final regular season game and earn an at-large bid in the CIF Southern Section’s Division 3 playoff bracket, but the Panthers’ postseason run ended with a first round loss last week to a 9-1 Citrus Hill team.

Newbury Park trailed 21-7 at halftime. They got as close as 28-21 in the 3rd quarter, but Citrus Hill outscored them 28-14 the rest of the way. Citrus Hill’s senior running back Jonathan Jefferson accounted for 8 total touchdowns. Jefferson rushed 33 times for 355 yards and 7 TDs, and completed a pass for a 66-yard TD.

According to stats posted on Newbury Park’s MaxPreps page, Rising finished his senior season with: 123 completions on 237 pass attempts (51.9% completion percentage) for 1,689 yards, 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and he rushed 62 times for 496 yards and 9 TDs.

QB Casey Thompson (Newcastle, Oklahoma)

Season over. Newcastle did not qualify for Oklahoma’s 4A playoffs.

Notes: Thompson’s Newcastle team finished 3-7, but scored 42 more points than in their 2015 and 2016 seasons combined (Thompson played his previous seasons at Southmoore and this was his first and only season to play for Newcastle). He finished his senior season with 221 completions on 383 pass attempts (57.7% completion percentage) for 3,217 yards, 37 TDs and 9 interceptions, and 153 carries for 884 yards and 8 TDs.

RB Keaontay Ingram (Carthage)

Last week: Rushed for 3 TDs in a 49-20 win over Tyler Chapel Hill

This week: Thursday, November 16 at 7:00, vs. Huffman Hargrave in the bi-district round of the 4A Division I playoffs (at Jasper’s Bulldog Stadium).

Notes: Ingram rushed for three touchdowns in Carthage’s regular season finale, as the Bulldogs put the game away early by scoring its first 28 points in the first 15 minutes. Ingram scored on TD runs of 18, 1, and 21 yards. The last of his three TDs put Carthage ahead 28-0 with 9:07 left in the 2nd quarter. Chapel Hill returned the kickoff following that score for an 88-yard TD, but got no closer than that. Carthage led 42-13 at halftime.

Carthage completed an undefeated 10-0 regular season run and has now won 20 consecutive games dating back to last season. The defending 4A Division I state champions will go into the 2017 playoffs as Class 4A’s top-ranked team and will begin the defense of their state crown on Thursday against a 4-4 Hargrave team that had to beat a 1-6 Bridge City team in the final week of the regular season to claim District 10-4A Division I’s fourth and final playoff spot.

The winner of Thursday’s Carthage-Hargrave game will move on to face the winner of Friday night’s Brazosport-Houston Worthing game.

WR Brennan Eagles (Alief Taylor)

Last week: Team lost to Richmond George Ranch, 37-7.

Season over. Taylor did not qualify for the 6A playoffs.

Notes: Eagles was not mentioned in the box score for last week’s Taylor-George Ranch game and likely did not play. He had been sidelined recently with an unspecified injury and had not played in a game since Taylor’s October 6 loss to Pearland.

Taylor needed to win its last two games to earn a playoff berth out of District 23-6A. The Lions upset eventual district runner-up Pearland Dawson two weeks ago to keep their hopes alive, but fell flat last Thursday in a win-or-go-home game against George Ranch that decided who would get the district’s final playoff berth. Taylor was limited to 132 total yards in the loss.

George Ranch led 14-0 midway through the 2nd quarter. Taylor cut the deficit to 14-7 with 3:36 left in the 2nd quarter, but George Ranch scored 23 unanswered points to close the game. In addition to missing Eagles, Taylor may have also been without their 2nd-leading receiver Shea Whiting, who did not appear in the game’s box score.

Taylor finished its season 3-5 overall, and the team’s MaxPreps page credits Eagles with 15 catches for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns in just four games played.

Eagles’s senior football season is over, but - assuming he’s recovered from his recent injury - he still has one game left to play before he reports to Austin. This week he received his jersey for the U.S. Army All American Bowl Game, which will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio on January 6, 2018.

WR Rondale Moore (Trinity - Louisville, Kentucky)

Last week: Caught 4 passes for 91 yards and 2 TDs, and threw a 45-yard TD pass in a 51-13 win over Campbell County in the second round of Kentucky’s 6A playoffs.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:30, vs. Simon Kenton in the quarterfinal round of the 6A playoffs.

Notes: The Trinity Shamrocks made quick work of a Campbell County team that entered their second round playoff matchup with a 7-4 record, winning 51-13. Rondale Moore scored on half of his four receptions and also passed for a TD. The 13 points Campbell County scored were the first points Trinity had allowed since September 22, and they equaled the points the Shamrocks had allowed to their previous eight opponents combined.

Trinity maintained the #9 spot in this week’s USA Today Super 25 expert rankings. Their opponent in the third (quarterfinal) round of the playoffs is 11-1 Simon Kenton from Independence, a town in the northernmost area of Kentucky a short distance south of Cincinnati, Ohio. Simon Kenton won its first 9 games this season and was ranked as high as 3rd in 6A before losing 56-38 to then-7th ranked Ryle in their final regular season contest.

Simon Kenton has averaged 46 points per game and should be the best team Trinity has faced in over two months. The teams have three common opponents: Campbell County, Jeffersontown and Ballard. Simon Kenton defeated those three teams - the latter two in the playoffs - by a combined score of 156-69. Trinity beat that trio - Campbell County in the playoffs and the other two in the regular season - by a combined 140-19.

Trinity will host Friday’s game, their third straight playoff game that will be at their home stadium. Remarkably, Trinity is preparing for their 13th game of the season and has played outside of Louisville only once.

WR Al’Vonte Woodard (Houston Lamar)

Last week: Caught 4 passes for 176 yards and 2 TDs in a 36-18 win over Houston Westbury.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Houston Cypress Falls (at Houston’s Delmar Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division I playoffs.

Notes: Al’Vonte Woodard’s two scoring receptions last week against Westbury covered 43 and 62 yards and both came in the 1st quarter. After a slow start to the season his production has been ramping up at just the right time. In Lamar’s first five games he had 9 catches for 127 yards and one TD. In Lamar’s last three games he has totaled 11 catches for 367 yards and 4 TDs.

With the win over Westbury, the Lamar Texans completed an undefeated run through District 18-6A, going 6-0 and outscoring their district foes 288-31. Their opponent in the first round of the playoffs is Cypress Falls, which finished the regular season 5-4 and in fourth place in District 17-6A. After a delayed start to their season due to Hurricane Harvey, the Cy Falls Eagles lost their first two games, won their next four, lost their next two, and earned their district’s fourth and final playoff spot by beating Cypress Creek last week, 51-27.

Cy Falls has not been a high-scoring team; they averaged just under 25 points per game during the regular season, and the 51 points they scored a week ago represented only the second time this season that they’d scored more than 26 points in a game. Notably, they lost by an average of 22 points in matchups against their district’s other three playoff representatives: Cy-Fair, Langham Creek, and Cypress Ranch.

TE Malcolm Epps (Spring Dekaney)

Last week: Caught 5 passes for 115 yards and 2 TDs in a 38-0 win over Aldine MacArthur.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:00, vs. Klein Collins (at Klein’s Memorial Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Dekaney ended its regular season run with two straight shutout wins, and with three shutouts in its last five games. I noted last week that Malcolm Epps was one touchdown reception shy of his previous career high in a season, and he set a new single-season mark by catching two TDs in last week’s win over MacArthur, which gave him six for the season.

Dekaney finished the regular season at 6-3 overall, and 4-3 in district play, which gave the Wildcats the third best record in District 16-6A. They received their district’s 2nd seed in the 6A Division II bracket. Extending their season beyond this week will be a stiff challenge, as their first round opponent is the champion of District 15-6A, Klein Collins, who is 9-0 for the season and ranked 8th in the AP’s final poll for Class 6A.

Collins opened its season with a 23-14 win over Houston Lamar, and they proceeded to run through their other eight regular season victims by an average winning margin of 36 points. The one common opponent this season for Collins and Dekaney was Klein Oak, the runner-up in District 15-6A. Dekaney beat Klein Oak 13-7 on September 21, and Collins beat them 21-10 two weeks later.

OL Rafiti Ghirmai (Frisco Wakeland)

Last week: Team defeated Frisco 62-28.

This week: Thursday, November 16 at 7:00, vs. Prosper (at Allen’s Eagle Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 5A Division I playoffs.

Notes: Wakeland lost three of its first four district games and was in real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012, but the Wolverines rebounded to win their last three games, capping off their regular season with a resounding 62-28 win over Frisco to clinch one of District 13-5A’s final two playoff spots.

The Wolverines led 27-2 at the end of the 1st quarter, scoring four TDs on just eleven offensive plays in the opening frame. That lead expanded to 41-9 when junior QB Dylan Cadwallader tossed his sixth TD pass of the game in the final seconds of the first half. Cadwallader completed 16 of 23 passes for 238 yards along with his six TDs in just one half of play. The first-year starter at QB finished the regular season having completed 67% of his passes for 2,581 yards, 38 TDs and just 6 interceptions.

Wakeland scored touchdowns on nine of its first ten possessions and made sure there was no drama as to the game’s outcome. They were ahead as much as 62-15 in the 3rd quarter, then Frisco scored two TDs in the last six minutes of the 4th quarter to marginally decrease the deficit.

Wakeland finished the regular season 7-3 and in a tie for third place in District 13-5A. They were placed in the 5A Division I playoff bracket and will play the champion of District 14-5A, Prosper. Prosper went 8-2 in the regular season and 6-1 in district play, their only district loss being a 14-7 defeat to The Colony. They also lost early in the season 33-16 to Mansfield Lake Ridge, a team that finished just outside of the Class 5A rankings in the AP’s final regular season poll. Aside from in those two losses, Prosper put at least 35 points on the board in every game, and in their eight wins their average margin of victory was nearly 37 points.

Frisco Liberty was the only common opponent for Wakeland and Prosper this season. Wakeland beat Liberty 51-17 in the season’s opening week, and Prosper beat Liberty 43-7 in a non-district game two weeks later.

OL Reese Moore (Seminole)

Last week: Bye

This week: Thursday, November 16 at 7:00, vs. Dalhart (at Greyhound Stadium in Portales, New Mexico) in the bi-district round of the 4A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Yes, you read that right. Seminole will play its first round playoff game in New Mexico. Seminole is in far west Texas, about 80 miles southwest of Lubbock and less than 30 miles east of the New Mexico border. Their opponent, Dalhart, is in the northwesternmost corner of the state, some 70 miles northwest of Amarillo, as the crow flies. The two schools agreed upon Portales, New Mexico as a neutral site for the game, which will be played on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University at Greyhound Stadium, a brand-new facility that opened in September.

Texas teams playing playoff games at sites in other states is - like the ability to talk to snakes in the Harry Potter universe - unusual but not unheard of. Teams in far west Texas and in the panhandle have occasionally played playoff games in New Mexico or Oklahoma in years past. Portales is, like almost all of New Mexico, in the Mountain Time Zone, but I’m guessing the 7:00 start time listed for the game is Central Time.

Seminole went 9-1 in the regular season and goes into the playoffs as the champion of District 2-4A Division II and the owner of a nine-game winning streak. Dalhart went 3-7 in the regular season and advanced to the playoffs by “virtue” of being the fourth-best of the five teams in District 1-4A Division II. Seminole and Dalhart had one common regular season opponent in Amarillo River Road, a 3A Division I team they both faced in non-district. Dalhart beat River Road 36-29 on September 15, and Seminole beat River Road the following week by a score of 56-0.

Of Dalhart’s three wins, two came against 3A teams River Road and Spearman, and the other against their district’s last-place team, Brownfield. Those three teams combined for eight wins this season, so Dalhart gets no points for strength of schedule.

DT Keondre Coburn (Spring Westfield)

Last week: Team beat Aldine Davis 34-10.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:00, vs. Houston Stratford (at Spring’s George Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Westfield completed an undefeated regular season and won the outright championship of District 16-6A with their win over Davis last week. The Mustangs go into the playoffs with a 9-0 record and having outscored its seven district opponents 287-31.

They will open their playoff run against a 6-3 Houston Stratford team that finished in third place in District 15-6A. Westfield and Stratford did not have any opponents in common this season. Stratford had a 2-3 record against the five teams they played that qualified for the playoffs, and on average they were outscored by 12 points in those games.

LB Ayodele Adeoye (IMG Academy - Bradenton, Florida)

Last week: Made 5 tackles and had one QB hurry in a 48-0 win over Virginia Beach (Virginia) Bishop Sullivan Catholic.

Season over

Notes: IMG, which plays an independent schedule against teams from all over the country, finished its season last week with a 48-0 win over a talent-laden but still overmatched Bishop Sullivan team from Virginia. The win was IMG’s 37th straight dating back to their 2014 season. The blowout win was in stark contrast to the teams’ matchup at the end of the 2016 season, in which IMG trailed for much of the game before rallying in the 4th quarter for a 16-6 win.

IMG finished the season 9-0, and is ranked 2nd in this week’s USA Today Super 25 expert rankings.

Ayodele’s five tackles in the win over Bishop Sullivan were the most for an IMG player, according to MaxPreps stats. He was credited with 25 tackles and 1 sack in eight games played. His status as a Texas commit has seemed tenuous of late. A dozen 247Sports analysts have entered Crystal Ball predictions in the past three weeks forecasting Adeoye to flip to Oklahoma, a school he recently visited. He told Rivals last week he was “100-percent committed to Texas”, but in the same week he told The Football Brainiacs he would not be able to make it to Austin for last week’s Kansas game (understandable since he had a game of his own that same day), and also that he didn’t know if he would reschedule his visit.

LB Byron Hobbs (Fort Worth Eastern Hills)

Last week: Team beat Fort Worth Carter-Riverside, 46-3.

Season over

Notes: Two weeks after being eliminated from playoff contention, Eastern Hills ended their season on a high note with a 46-3 beatdown of lowly Carter-Riverside. Eastern Hills has not posted any stats from the game to its MaxPreps page, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has added no details of the game - not even the final score - to the dfwVarsity section of its website.

With the win Eastern Hills improved its overall season record to 4-6, and they finished with the sixth-best district record out of the eight teams in District 8-5A. Byron Hobbs was injured about half-way through Eastern Hills’s Week Two game and did not return to the field until Week Nine. Eastern Hills lost 19-12 in the game in which he was injured, went 1-4 in the games he missed entirely, and was 3-1 in the other games he played in. A healthy Hobbs would have obviously added considerable playmaking ability and athleticism to Eastern Hills’s defense, but it seems unlikely that his presence throughout the season could have helped Eastern Hills to a playoff berth. The Highlanders lost to all of their district’s top five teams by a combined score of 253-54.

DB B.J. Foster (Angleton)

Last week: Did not play in a 48-7 win over Port Lavaca-Calhoun.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:30, vs. San Antonio Highlands (at San Antonio’s Alamo Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 5A Division I playoffs.

Notes: It was no B.J. Foster, no problem for Angleton in their regular season finale last week against Port Lavaca-Calhoun. While Foster sat out the game to recover from a recent injury, Angleton forced six turnovers and kept Calhoun off the scoreboard until the 4th quarter. They forced five Calhoun fumbles one week after Richmond Foster fumbled six times against them.

Angleton goes into the playoffs undefeated at 9-0 and holding the #5 ranking in Class 5A. The Wildcats outscored their nine regular season opponents 461-35. They shut out four foes and allowed the other five to score exactly seven points each. Their first round opponent, San Antonio Highlands, is 7-3 and finished in a tie for third place in District 28-5A. Their record may look decent but I expect Angleton will win handily, even without Foster in the lineup.

Highlands is in the playoffs for the third straight year, the first time its program has accomplished that feat. Before making the playoffs in 2015, the Owls had reached the postseason just twice in their previous 23 seasons. Mark White was the Governor of Texas the last time Highlands won a football playoff game (1984), and I doubt that changes this year.

Whether or not Foster plays this week remains to be seen, but Angleton head coach Ryan Roark was quoted a week ago saying his five-star senior needed a week or two to recover from “a little injury”, but also stated, “We’ll have him back when we need him back.”

DB Jalen Green (Houston Heights)

Last week: Bye

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:00, vs. Houston Langham Creek (at Cypress’s Berry Center) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Green broke his collarbone in October, and at the time it was estimated that he’d be able to return for the first or second week of the playoffs, at the earliest. Heights will need something approaching a healthy Jalen Green this week if they want to still be playing in round two, as they face a 8-1 Langham Creek squad that was unbeaten until the final week of the regular season and finished as the runner-up of District 17-6A.

With or without Green in the lineup, Heights will look to three-star senior receiver Jacoby Hopkins for offensive playmaking. Hopkins scored touchdowns in three different ways in Heights’s Week Ten win over Houston Chavez. Langham Creek’s offense will counter with junior three-star QB Chris Herron (who has rushed for 18 TDs this season and reportedly holds four FBS offers) and senior two-star wide receiver Golden Eke (who has several FCS offers).

DB D’Shawn Jamison (Houston Lamar)

Last week: Made one tackle and intercepted a pass in a 34-18 win over

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Houston Cypress Falls (at Houston’s Delmar Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division I playoffs.

Notes: See the notes in Al’Vonte Woodard’s section. One notable play that doesn’t show up in his stat but is can be seen in the video below is the clip that starts just after the 0:30 mark, in which Jamison is on the punt return team and scoops up the ball after a teammate has muffed the return and zips across and down the field until he’s picked up 35 yards or so on a play that could easily have resulted in a turnover had he not retrieved the loose ball.

DB DeMarvion Overshown (Arp)

Last week: Bye

This week: Thursday, November 1 at 7:30, vs. Newton (at San Augustine’s Wolf Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 3A Division II playoffs.

Notes: After starting their season 1-4, Arp recovered to win three of its final four games and earn the fourth and final playoff spot out of District 9-3A Division II. They got a bye for the final week of the regular season, and now that the playoffs are upon them the Arp Tigers face a monumental challenge if they want to extend their season beyond tonight.

Arp’s first round opponent is Newton, a team that went 9-0 in the regular season, is ranked 4th in Class 3A, and outscored its five opponents in District 10-3A Division II by a combined score of 303-8.

DB Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele)

Last week: Caught 3 passes for 19 yards, made 7 tackles, intercepted a pass and defended two other passes in a 14-13 win over Schertz Clemens.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:30, vs. San Antonio Brennan (at San Antonio’s Gustafson Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Steele had already clinched a playoff spot going into last week’s rivalry game with Schertz Clemens, but their win in that game gave the Knights a five-game winning streak going into the playoffs after starting the season 1-4. Steele finished the regular season 6-4 overall and tied with Clemens for third place in District 27-6A. Their win over Clemens was just their second win over a team with a winning record this season.

The game was a tight affair, with the teams combining for just 27 points and 469 offensive yards. Steele scored first on a 1-yard TD run by Rice commit Brenden Brady with 8:05 left in the 1st quarter, but they did not score again until over three and a half quarters later. During that time, Clemens scored a 2nd quarter TD and field goals in the 1st and 3rd quarters to take a 13-7 lead. Steele took the lead back for good late in the 4th quarter with a 14-play, 60-yard drive which ended with Brady’s second 1-yard TD run of the game with just 1:41 left in regulation. Brady finished the game with 29 carries for 148 yards.

Clemens received the kickoff with a chance to win the game, but Caden Sterns intercepted a 4th down pass intended for Clemens’ four-star WR Tommy Bush, and Steele took possession of the ball with 1:01 left to ice the game. Bush was held to just one catch for 11 yards in the game, and Clemens as a team completed just 2 of 9 passes and was intercepted twice.

Steele will need another win over a quality opponent to keep their season going now that the playoffs have begun. In the first round they will face 6-4 San Antonio Brennan, which finished with the best record in District 28-6A Zone A. Brennan’s offense features Oklahoma State running back commit Jahmyl Jeter and senior wide receiver Alex Wise. Wise has seven TD catches this season and is a downfield receiving threat, having averaged 22 yards per catch in each of the past two seasons. On defense, Brennan is led by one of the San Antonio area’s more underrated defenders in senior linebacker/safety hybrid Isaiah Paul, who’s been credited with a team-leading 88 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 1 blocked punt and 2 blocked field goals.

Steele and Brennan are familiar playoff opponents. The teams met in the second round of the playoffs in 2014 and 2015, with Steele winning both games. Friday night’s playoff game will be between two programs that are not used to first round exits. Steele has made the playoffs in every season since 2007, has never lost in the first round, and has reached at least the fourth round of the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons. Brennan went 0-10 in its first varsity season (2010) but has reached the playoffs in every year since. The Bears have advanced to at least the second round in five consecutive seasons, and reached the 4A Division I state championship in 2013, where they lost to a Denton Guyer team led by Jerrod Heard.

K Cameron Dicker (Lake Travis)

Last week: Made a 44-yard field goal and was good on 5 of 5 PAT attempts in a 40-28 win over Austin Vandegrift.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:30, vs. San Antonio Madison (at Lake Travis’s Cavalier Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 6A Division I playoffs.

Notes: Last week’s Lake Travis-Vandegrift game was a battle for 2nd place in District 25-6A. Lake Travis took a 21-0 1st quarter lead, but Vandegrift used a touchdown and two field goals between the 2nd and 3rd quarter to cut the deficit to 21-13. Lake Travis scored on a TD pass and a 44-yard Cameron Dicker field goal to extend their lead to 31-13. Vandegrift scored a TD and added a two-point conversion early in the 4th quarter to get within ten points, but that was as close as they got. The teams traded scores one more time, then Lake Travis scored the game’s final two points on a safety.

Lake Travis finished the regular season 8-2. Anything other than a state championship win would end the Cavaliers’ season with three losses for the first time since 2006, when they finished 8-3 before winning state titles in the following five consecutive seasons.

Their first round opponent is San Antonio Madison, which made the playoffs despite a 4-6 overall record by going 3-3 in district play and finishing in 4th place in District 26-6A. Madison averages 38 points per game but lost in a few high-scoring contests. Among their six losses were games in which they scored 48, 43, and 42 points. They’ve tended to give up a lot of points when facing good teams; five of their 2017 opponents qualified for the playoffs, and against those teams they allowed an average of 51 points.

This game will be a re-match from last year’s postseason. Lake Travis beat Madison 56-7 in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, en route to their eventually winning the 6A Division I state championship. Lake Travis and Madison had one common opponent this year in Cibolo Steele. Steele beat Madison 36-3 in Week One, then lost to Lake Travis 34-31 a week later, with a last-second field goal by Cameron Dicker providing the winning margin.

2019 Texas Longhorn football commit

QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)

Last week: Completed 14 of 24 passes for 126 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs, and rushed 36 times for 292 yards and 5 TDs in a 36-35 loss to Nederland.

This week: Friday, November 17 at 7:00, vs. Crosby (at Baytown’s Stallworth Stadium) in the bi-district round of the 5A Division II playoffs.

Notes: Port Neches-Groves received the first blemish on their 2017 record last week by falling by one point to district rival Nederland. Roschon Johnson was intercepted twice in the first half, and Nederland took a 14-7 lead into the 3rd quarter. The second half was a back-and-forth game in which the teams combined for 50 points. Johnson rushed for four of his five TDs and for over 200 yards after halftime, and his fifth TD of the game gave PN-G a 35-28 lead with 1:36 left in regulation. But Nederland responded with a 66-yard drive and scored on a 15-yard TD pass with just 13 seconds left, and then were successful on a two-point conversion pass to take a one-point lead.

PN-G finished the regular season with a 8-1 overall record and in a tie with Port Arthur Memorial for first place in District 22-5A. Whereas many district champions end up playing their first round playoff games against relative cupcakes opponents, some of whom snuck into the postseason with sub-.500 overall records. But Friday night’s Port Neches-Groves vs. Crosby game is a stark exception, as they are two of the highest-scoring teams in their region and both entered the final week of the regular season with perfect 8-0 records. PN-G’s Week 11 loss to Nederland did not affect their standing as their district’s #1 seed in the 5A Division II bracket, while Crosby’s 63-38 loss to New Caney gave them their district’s #2 seed in the same bracket.

Crosby averages 51 points per game, but has also allowed nearly 31 points per game, and the Cougars came away with victories against opponents to whom they allowed 45, 36, 35, and 32 points. Port Neches-Groves has scored 49 points per game while allowing about 20. Only three of the Indians’ opponents have scored more than 27 points against them.

Roschon Johnson ended his nine-game regular season with over 3,200 total yards and 48 total touchdowns. He’ll unquestionably be PN-G’s biggest star on the field on Friday night, but Crosby will be bringing some playmakers of their own. Their junior quarterback Jaiden Howard has compiled over 2,500 total yards and passed for 20 TDs against just 3 interceptions, while four-year varsity running back Craig Williams, a Baylor commit, has over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and has 30 total TDs. Williams has scored at least 65 touchdowns in his varsity career.

This game should be one of the very best playoff games in the state this week. Bold prediction: a lot of points will be scored, and, win or lose, Roschon Johnson will account for at least four touchdowns, as he has done in every game so far in 2017.