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Texas Longhorn commits: Week 11 preview

While a dozen commits prepare for the playoffs, three members of #RevolUTion18 must win this week to clinch a postseason berth.

Texas Longhorns 2019 QB commit Roschon Johnson (left) with Longhorn legend and fellow Golden Triangle athlete Earl Thomas
Roschon Johnson (@RoschonJ)

The final week of the regular season for Texas high school football is nigh upon us. Between tonight and Saturday, thousands of seniors across the state will be putting on their helmet and pads for what they already know will be the last time, while others hope to stave off the end of their season for at least one more week by getting their team into the playoffs. And teams who have already punched their ticket into the postseason just want to end their regular season on a good note and with all of their players healthy.

Health has been an issue for a number of Texas Longhorn commits. Cameron Rising’s season ended two weeks ago when he injured his knee while diving for a touchdown. Brennan Eagles has sat out his team’s past three games with an unspecified injury. Rondale Moore and Reese Moore (no relation) both sat out games earlier in the season while nursing injuries, but returned to put up strong statistical performances. Byron Hobbs missed a little over half of his team’s season after dislocating his collarbone in Week 2. Jalen Green injured a shoulder a few weeks ago and may very well have played his last high school game. And B.J. Foster, Tom Herman’s highest-rated commit (currently #17 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings) and a player who already missed over a season’s worth of games between his sophomore and junior seasons, was injured last week and will have to sit out another week or two before he’s able to return.

If you’re keeping count at home, that’s three of UT’s four highest-rated commits who have missed multiple games this season due to injury. Hopefully those young men all make a full recovery and are back to 100% by the time they report to Austin next year.

While high school football in Texas is just concluding its regular season, Lone Star State gridders’ counterparts in California and Oklahoma will play their first playoff games this week, and Kentucky’s playoffs are entering their second week.

Of UT’s 19 current commits (18 seniors from the 2018 class and one junior), 13 are either already in the postseason or have seen their teams punch their ticket, only two have been definitively eliminated, and three need wins this week to assure that their senior seasons don’t end before Veterans Day.

After this week, these reports will necessarily begin to get shorter, as teams are eliminated from the playoffs and there’s progressively less action to re-cap or upcoming games to preview. If recent history is any guide, these posts will still likely continue all the way up to state championship week, as - by my count - at least one state championship team from each of the past 21 Texas high school seasons has had a future Texas Longhorn on its roster.

2018 Texas Longhorn football commits

QB Cameron Rising (Newbury Park, California)

Last week: Did not play in a 42-17 win over Thousand Oaks.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, at Citrus Hill (Perris, California) in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

Notes: Cameron Rising suffered a knee injury in the 4th quarter of Newbury Park’s October 27 loss to Moorpark, and is likely done for the season. As it turned out, his injury was thankfully not a torn ACL, but Super K of The Football Brainiacs reported last week that Rising’s knee injury would still “require 6-8 weeks of recovery time.”

In Rising’s absence last Friday, Newbury Park had a lot of success with its ground game, rushing for 226 yards and 3 TDs in a convincing win over Thousand Oaks. Newbury Park’s leading rusher was freshman Christian Middleton, who had 108 yards and 2 TDs on ten carries.

The win broke a three-game losing streak and saved Newbury Park from finishing winless in Camino League play. The Panthers finished the regular season 5-5 and were 1-3 in league play. They were one of three teams to receive an “at large” bid for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section’s Division 3 playoffs. The CIF’s Southern Section has 18 teams in Division 3, and 16 of them earned playoff bids.

Newbury Park’s first round opponent is Citrus Hill, a team that went 9-1 in the regular season and ran the table on its Mountain Pass League opposition, going 5-0 and outscoring its league foes by an average score of 50-12. Citrus Hill was the 3rd-ranked Division 3 team in the Southern Section going into the final week of the regular season. Citrus Hill’s lone defeat of the season was a 30-0 shutout loss on September to Rancho Cucamonga, the 6th-ranked Division 1 team in the Southern Section. Newbury Park and Citrus Hill did not have any common opponents in the regular season.

QB Casey Thompson (Newcastle, Oklahoma)

Last week: Completed 15 of 21 passes for 215 yards and 4 TDs, and rushed 16 times for 205 yards and 1 TD in a 41-23 win over Cache.

This week: No game, Newcastle did not qualify for Oklahoma’s Class 4A playoffs

Notes: Casey Thompson accounted for 420 offensive yards and 5 total TDs last Friday and helped his Newcastle team end its season on a high note with a 41-23 win that spoiled the postseason hopes of their opponent, Cache. Newcastle finished the season 3-7 overall and 3-4 in district play.

I wrote in last week’s post that Newcastle might still have a chance at a playoff berth, since a win over Cache coupled with a Clinton win over Elgin would have resulted in those four teams all finishing with district records of 3-4 and in a tie for fourth place, and tiebreakers would have been required to determine who got the district’s fourth and final playoff spot. But that scenario was averted when Elgin beat Clinton, 21-14, and an article in The Oklahoman that painstakingly described District 4A-1’s various playoff scenarios going into last week’s games suggested there was no possibility of Newcastle emerging with a playoff bid.

According to The Oklahoman’s high school stats page, Casey Thompson’s senior year stats were: 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. In his 9th-11th grade years, all spent on the varsity squad at 6A Southmoore, Thompson passed for a total of 6,580 yards, 70 TDs and 17 INTs, and rushed for 2,150 yards and 39 TDs on 361 carries.

Southmoore offensive coordinator Jeff Brickman was hired as Newcastle’s head coach last spring, and a number of Southmoore football players - most notably Casey Thompson, his brother Cade (a junior receiver), and incoming senior receiver Jacob Morris - eventually made the move to Newcastle as well. The two schools are roughly 6 miles apart - as the crow flies - and their attendance zones border each other, so it wasn’t a radical transfer but it wasn’t without some local controversy.

In both of its previous two seasons Newcastle had finished with with 1-9 records. With Coach Brickman at the helm and new QB Casey Thompson under center this fall, the Newcastle Racers finished 3-7. That may seem like a modest improvement, but consider that the 2017 Racers not only had one more win than in their previous two seasons combined, they also scored 42 more points than their 2015 and 2016 squads did! Meanwhile, Thompson’s former school, Southmoore, finished 0-10 and scored just 83 total points this season. In 2016, Thompson’s last season at Southmoore, their team finished 6-5 and scored 37 points per game.

If Newcastle’s football program was the biggest beneficiary of Casey Thompson’s transfer, wide receiver Jacob Morris was the second-biggest. As a junior at Southmoore, Morris competed for snaps and catches with three senior receivers and caught 15 passes (fifth-most on the team) for 145 yards (sixth on the team) and no TDs (his only points that season came on one carry for a two-point conversion). As a senior at Newcastle, he became Thompson’s favorite target and produced stats that made him the state of Oklahoma’s - and possibly the nation’s - most prolific pass-catcher. Morris caught 111 passes for 2,003 yards and 22 TDs this fall. According to MaxPreps, his catches and receiving yards both rank first nationally, while his 22 TDs ties him for fifth among all players whose stats have been reported to that site.

RB Keaontay Ingram (Carthage)

Last week: Rushed for four TDs in a 49-31 win over Palestine

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:30, vs. Tyler Chapel Hill

Notes: The ETSN recap of last week’s Carthage-Palestine tilt didn’t mention Ingram’s full stats, but said his four TD runs covered 4, 36, 25, and 6 yards. The first three of those came in the first half, as Carthage built an overwhelming 42-10 lead at halftime. The second half was played with a running clock, and three Palestine TDs after halftime made the final score look a bit more respectable.

With the win, Carthage improved to 9-0 for the season and 5-0 in district play, clinching the outright championship of District 9-4A Division I. The Bulldogs maintained their season-long strangle-hold on the #1 spot in the AP’s Class 4A rankings, receiving 20 of 24 first-place votes in this week’s poll. They will conclude their regular season on Friday night against district cellar-dweller Chapel Hill (0-5). Chapel Hill is winless in district play despite averaging nearly 32 points per game in those contests (they have also allowed just over 42 points per game).

When the playoffs begin next week, Carthage’s bi-district round opponent will be the 4th place team out of District 10-4A Division I, which has yet to be determined but will be one out of Bridge City, Cleveland, or Huffman Hargrave, the three of which go into Week 11 with identical 1-3 district records.

WR Brennan Eagles (Alief Taylor)

Last week: Team defeated Pearland Dawson, 34-21.

This Week: Thursday, November 9 at 7:00, at Richmond George Ranch

Notes: Brennan Eagles did not appear in the box score for last week’s Taylor-Dawson game and likely missed the game due to injury. A Houston Chronicle article from last week noted that he sat out Taylor’s previous game due to some unspecified injury, and it appears that he has not played in a game since Taylor’s October 6 loss to Pearland.

Needing a win over district leader Pearland Dawson last week to keep their postseason hopes alive, the Eagles-less Taylor Lions gained 416 yards, forced two Dawson turnovers and scored their first TD on an 85-yard kickoff return and defeated Dawson 34-21. Dawson was limited to 153 total yards and just 7 first downs, and only one of their three touchdowns was scored on offense; their first two scores both came on returned interceptions.

The teams were tied at 14 in the 2nd quarter, then Taylor scored on two field goals and a 18-yard TD reception from junior receiver Shea Whiting (who I’m guessing is the son of the same-named Alief Elsik alum who was a four-year basketball letterman at Louisiana-Lafayette) in the final four minutes of the first half to take a 27-14 lead. Defense largely ruled the second half, as both teams scored just one touchdown apiece.

With the win Taylor improved to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in district play, and it set up this Thursday night’s matchup with George Ranch (3-2) as a win-or-go-home battle for the final playoff spot from District 23-6A. If Taylor wins, it will be the district’s 2nd seed in the 6A Division II playoff bracket. Who they might face from District 24-6A in a potential bi-district game won’t be determined until after Friday night’s games.

George Ranch is the second-newest of the five high schools in the Lamar Consolidated ISD, and has the district’s youngest varsity football program, with the Longhorns currently playing their sixth season. After going 41-3 in its final three seasons at the 5A level (2013-2015) and winning the 2015 5A Division I state championship, George Ranch was reclassified to Class 6A and hasn’t had anything approaching the dominance it had previously. They finished 6-5 last season and are currently sitting at 5-3 and need a win on Friday to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the program’s first varsity season.

I haven’t found a concrete explanation anywhere for what kind of injury Eagles has that has kept him off the field for a month, and I don’t know his status for tonight’s regular season finale.

WR Rondale Moore (Trinity - Louisville, Kentucky)

Last week: Caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a TD, rushed for an 11-yard TD, and scored on a 79-yard punt return in a 70-0 win over Seneca in the first round of Kentucky’s 6A playoffs.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:30, vs. Campbell County

Notes: Trinity got the defense of its 2016 6A state title off to a thoroughly dominating start, holding a pitiful Seneca team to just 8 offensive yards en route to their fifth straight shutout win, and sixth shutout of the season. It was Trinity’s fourth shutout win over Seneca in the span of three seasons, games it won by a combined score of 212-0.

Trinity has now won 26 straight games dating back to the beginning of the 2016 season. Its last defeat was a 20-19 loss in the third round of the 2015 playoffs to rival Louisville Male, that year’s eventual 6A state champion.

In round two they will host Campbell County (7-4), who advanced by beating Louisville Eastern 19-14 in its first round game last Friday. Eastern is the only common opponent Trinity and Campbell County have had this year. Trinity defeated Eastern 45-0 on October 6 in a game Rondale Moore sat out with an injury. Trinity retained the #9 spot in this week’s USA Today Super 25 expert rankings.

WR Al’Vonte Woodard (Houston Lamar)

Last week: Caught 4 passes for 60 yards and a TD in a 42-0 win over Houston Bellaire.

This week: Thursday, November 9 at 7:00, vs. Houston Westbury

Notes: Lamar pitched its third shutout in four weeks in last Saturday’s win over Bellaire, and has won six straight games since its season-opening 23-14 loss to Klein Collins on September 14.

In the win over Bellaire, Al’Vonte Woodard caught a TD in his second consecutive game for the first time this season. He led all Lamar receivers with 4 receptions and 60 yards. Lamar leads the District 18-6A standings at 5-0, has clinched at least a share of the district title, and will be the district’s #1 seed in the 6A Division I bracket. Their bi-district round opponent from District 17-6A won’t be determined until after this week’s game’s are played.

Lamar will conclude its regular season schedule Thursday against Westbury (3-4 overall, 2-3 in district), a team coming off a bye and which lost 14-12 to Bellaire in its last game two weeks ago.

TE Malcolm Epps (Spring Dekaney)

Last week: Caught 3 passes for 33 yards and a TD in a 66-0 win over Aldine.

This week: Thursday, November 9 at 7:00, at Aldine MacArthur

Notes: Epps caught his fourth touchdown pass of the season last week against Aldine, which leaves him one short of his career high of five TD receptions, which he grabbed in his sophomore season.

Dekaney made short work of a hapless Aldine High squad that has not won a game in just over two years. The Wildcats forced three Aldine turnovers, returned a kickoff for a touchdown, scored eight offensive TDs, and never punted.

The win brought Dekaney’s district record to 3-3, which ties them with Aldine Davis and Aldine Nimitz for third place in District 16-6A. Davis and Nimitz play district leaders Spring Westfield and Spring, respectively, on Friday, so Dekaney probably only needs to beat MacArthur tonight to secure a playoff berth, but there is one scenario that would result in five teams tied for third place with 3-4 district records, which would be a headache to untangle.

If Dekaney wins tonight, they’ll be assured a spot in the 6A Division II bracket, though whether they’ll get the district’s #1 or #2 seed in that bracket would depend on whether Nimitz or Davis comes away with the 4th playoff spot. The playoff teams from District 15-6A have already been set, so if Dekaney makes the playoffs they’ll face either Klein Collins or Houston Stratford in the bi-district round.

OL Rafiti Ghirmai (Frisco Wakeland)

Last week: Team defeated Frisco Heritage, 38-14.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, at Frisco (at The Ford Center at The Star)

Notes: A week ago, Wakeland outgained Heritage 535-187, forced two turnovers, and scored the game’s last 21 points after Heritage pulled to within 17-14 with 9:48 left in the 2nd quarter. That was a must-win game for Wakeland, as there was no scenario that could have gotten them into the playoffs had they lost to Heritage.

Wakeland is 3-3 in district play and tied with Centennial, Heritage, and Independence for third place in District 13-5A. Wakeland finishes the regular season on Friday with a game against winless Frisco High, which is in last place in the district but has only been outscored by an average margin of about 14 points. Centennial and Heritage will play each other Friday night, and Independence finishes with district leader Lone Star (Class 5A’s ninth-ranked team). Wakeland has head-to-head wins over Heritage and Independence, which will get them into the playoffs should those three all lose on Friday and finish with 3-4 district records.

OL Reese Moore (Seminole)

Last week: Caught 3 passes for 64 yards and a TD in a 41-7 win over Fort Stockton.

This week: Bye

Notes: Reese Moore was Seminole’s leading receiver for the second straight week, catching three of his team’s five completed passes and gaining almost half of the team’s 131 yards through the air.

Last week Seminole jumped out to a 21-0 lead over Fort Stockton in the 1st quarter, which expanded to a 34-7 lead by halftime. Reese Moore’s TD catch was 27-yard reception with 3:13 left in the 3rd quarter, and it ended up being the game’s final touchdown. As has become habit for the Seminole Indians this season, they had a strong running game (258 yards on 47 carries) and a stifling defense, limiting Fort Stockton to 110 total yards and allowing them to convert just 6 first downs.

The win was Seminole’s ninth straight after losing their season-opener20-17 to 5A program Lubbock. With the victory, the Indians completed an undefeated run through District 2-4A Division II, giving them their first outright district title since 2011.

Seminole has completed its regular season schedule and will get a bye this week before beginning what it hopes will be a long playoff run next week. The Indians will get their district’s top seed in the playoffs and will play the fourth-place team from the five-team District 1-4A Division II. The Indians were not ranked in this week’s AP poll for Class 4A, but TexasFootball.com currently ranks them #7 among Class 4A Division II teams, with #4 Graham being the only team in their region ranked ahead of them. If they reach the Region I final of the 4A Division II bracket they’ll most likely face Graham or one of their formidable district-mates, Monahans and Sweetwater.

DT Keondre Coburn (Spring Westfield)

Last week: Team defeated Aldine Eisenhower 31-3.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Aldine Davis

Notes: Last week’s Westfield-Eisenhower game was actually a close affair on the scoreboard for a long time, and only became a rout in the 4th quarter. The game was scoreless for nearly all of the first half, before Westfield scored on a 37-yard TD pass with 0:50 left in the 2nd quarter. The Mustangs then scored 10 points in the 3rd quarter to go ahead 17-0 heading into the final frame. Eisenhower scored its only points of the game on a 31-yard field goal with 8:17 left in the 4th quarter to cut the deficit to 17-3, but Westfield scored twice more in the game’s final 4:20 to put the game way out of reach.

Westfield’s defense limited Eisenhower to 46 total yards and just 4 first downs, so as with TCU’s defense last Saturday against Texas, they probably had little fear of Eisenhower mounting a comeback even when the score remained close for two and a half quarters.

Westfield remained undefeated at 8-0 (6-0 in district) and in first place in District 16-6A. The Mustangs have outscored their first six district foes 253-21. They own a head-to-head win over second place Spring (5-1 in district), so they will have the district’s top seed in whichever playoff bracket they end up in. Westfield and Spring have clinched playoff spots, with the district’s final two spots to be determined this week. If Aldine Davis gets one of the final spots, Westfield would be in the Division II bracket, but since that would only happen if Davis upsets Westfield on Friday, a win by Westfield probably puts them in Division I. I say “probably” because, as mentioned in my notes on Malcolm Epps, there’s a chance that this week could end with five teams tied with 3-4 district records.

Westfield finished just outside of the top ten in this week’s AP rankings for Class 6A, and were the top school among the “others receiving votes”. They are more highly rated by TexasFootball.com, though, which ranks them #5 among Class 6A teams this week.

LB Ayodele Adeoye (IMG Academy - Bradenton, Florida)

Last week: Made three tackles in a 32-21 win over Hoover (Alabama).

This week: Saturday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

Notes: Facing Hoover, one of Alabama’s top programs of the past decade, IMG controlled the first half and went into the break with a 23-0 lead. Hoover scored its first points on a short TD reception by George Pickens (a 2019 Auburn commit) in the 3rd quarter, but IMG answered with a long kickoff return that set them up at the four-yard line, and the score was 30-7 in short order.

With the win IMG remained unbeaten at 7-0, and the Ascenders retained the #2 spot in the USA Today Super 25 expert rankings. The school will conclude its 2017 schedule on Saturday with a home game against Virginia private school Bishop Sullivan, whose team is 5-4 for the season but has played a tough schedule that included two teams currently in the top 13 of the USA Today Super 25 rankings. Bishop Sullivan plays a “freelance” schedule, and its nine opponents have included teams from five states plus Canada. Its roster includes five-star LB Teradja Mitchell (an Ohio State commit), four-star athlete Armani Chatman (a Virginia Tech commit), three-star QB Tyler DeSue (a Maryland commit), three-star DE Dante Burke (a Temple commit), and at least three junior athletes who reportedly hold D1 offers.

LB Byron Hobbs (Fort Worth Eastern Hills)

Last week: Caught 3 passes for 48 yards in a 38-18 loss to Grapevine.

This week: Saturday, November 1 at 1:00, vs. Fort Worth Carter-Riverside

Notes: Eastern Hills has not posted its defensive stats from last week’s loss to Grapevine, but Hobbs showed up on the offensive side of the box score, catching three passes.

Eastern Hills had already been eliminated from playoff contention going into the game so the Highlanders were only playing for pride. Led by Texas Tech QB commit Alan Bowman, Grapevine’s offense scored all the points it would need in the 1st quarter. The Mustangs scored on four of their five possessions in the opening frame, with their one non-scoring possession ending with a lost fumble at the Eastern Hills 4-yard line.

Grapevine led 24-6 going into the 2nd quarter, forced a turnover on downs on both of Eastern Hills’s possessions of that quarter, and scored once more to go ahead 31-6 at the break. Eastern Hills scored twice in the 3rd quarter to cut the deficit to 31-18, and after a missed Grapevine field goal they took over to start the 4th quarter and drove all the way to the Grapevine 1-yard line with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but were stopped on 4th-and-goal. Grapevine ran 13 plays and punted on its subsequent drive, and the ball was downed at Eastern Hills’ 2-yard line. Two plays later, the Highlanders lost a fumble that Grapevine recovered in the end zone to push their lead to 38-18, which concluded the scoring for the game.

The loss dropped Eastern Hills to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in district, tying them for sixth place in the eight-team District 8-5A. Hobbs and his Highlander teammates will finish their season Saturday afternoon against 1-8 Carter-Riverside, a team that has been outscored 401-46 this season. The Carter-Riverside Eagles have historically been the definition of a mediocre program; they have had five playoff appearances in their history (since 1936), but only one of those has happened since the end of the Eisenhower administration. But this has been a bad season even by their standards. 2017 will be their lowest-scoring season in a decade, and if Eastern Hills beats them they’ll be 1-9 and finish with fewer than two wins for the first time since 2003.

DB B.J. Foster (Angleton)

Last week: Did not play in a 34-7 win over Richmond Foster.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:30, vs. Port Lavaca Calhoun

Notes: B.J. Foster sat out last week’s matchup with Richmond Foster and Angleton’s offense wasn’t quite up to its explosive standards, but the Wildcats still came away with a convincing win over a solid team that advanced five rounds into the playoffs in 2016 and was state-ranked early this season. (Note: references to “Foster” in the game notes will refer to Foster High, not B.J. Foster, unless otherwise noted).

The teams’ offensive production was not significantly different (213 total yards for Angleton vs. 195 yards for Foster), but Foster fumbled the ball six times (losing two of them) and committed three turnovers, which resulted in 17 Angleton points. Angleton led 14-0 about mid-way through the 1st quarter. A 14-yard TD run by Foster cut the deficit to 14-7 with 2:33 left in the opening quarter, but Angleton answered with a 87-yard kickoff return TD, and they would go on to score the game’s final 20 points.

It was Angleton’s first win over Foster in five years, according to the Houston Chronicle’s recap of the game. B.J. Foster sustained an unspecified injury in Angleton’s Week 9 win over Victoria West and had to sit out last week’s game, and likely won’t return until the playoffs.

Losing a player as talented as B.J. Foster from a team’s lineup will necessarily take a very explosive element away from their offensive attack, but Angleton head coach Ryan Roark pointed out after the game that Foster missed five games during his sophomore year and eight games in his junior season, so his teammates are used to not always having to lean on him to make plays.

Angleton moved up to #5 in this week’s Class 5A rankings, and the Wildcats have outscored their opposition this season 413-28. They will conclude their regular season schedule on Friday against a Port Lavaca Calhoun team that is coming off a 76-21 win over Victoria East but has already been eliminated from playoff contention. Angleton will be the top seed from District 27-5A in the 5A Division I playoff bracket when the postseason begins next week. Who they will face in the first round has yet to be determined. The top two teams from District 28-5A (San Antonio schools Memorial and Sam Houston) are also its two smallest and will thus both be in the Division II bracket, and behind them are four teams in a tie for third place going into the season’s last week.

Region IV is by far the weakest region in Class 5A, and some of its best teams (including 4th-ranked Corpus Christi Calallen and likely undefeated Austin McCallum) are going to end up in the Division II playoff bracket. The way things are shaping up, Angleton might not face a stiff test until the fourth round (regional championship), which would very likely present them with either a re-match with Richmond Foster or a tilt with 8th-ranked Dripping Springs, the team that knocked Angleton out of last year’s playoffs by the exceedingly unusual football score of 12-11.

DB Jalen Green (Houston Heights)

Last week: Did not play in a 44-9 win over Houston Chavez.

This week: Bye

Notes: Heights played its last regular season game last week and will get a bye before the playoffs begin next week. Against Chavez, Heights didn’t have Jalen Green, who will likely be out until the first or second week of the playoffs after breaking his collarbone a few weeks ago, but they got big plays from senior wide receiver Jacoby Hopkins.

Hopkins, a three-star recruit with multiple D1 offers, made the most of his limited offensive touches, rushing for a 76-yard TD in the 1st quarter on his only carry of the game, returning the second half’s opening kickoff 91 yards to the house, passing for a 5-yard TD less than three minutes later on his one pass attempt of the game, and gaining 41 yards on his only reception of the game.

Heights led Chavez 28-9 at halftime, and Hopkins’s exploits helped expand the lead to 41-9 just three minutes into the 3rd quarter. Heights has wrapped up a playoff spot and I believe will be District 18-6A’s second seed in the 6A Division II bracket. Who they will face in the bi-district round next week hasn’t been settled yet, but it will most likely one of the top two teams from District 17-6A: Langham Creek or Houston Cy-Fair, who are both 8-0 for the season and will play each other on Saturday.

DB D’Shawn Jamison (Houston Lamar)

Last week: Returned a kickoff for a 77-yard touchdown, made 4 tackles (1 for loss), and had one pass defended in a 42-0 win over Houston Bellaire.

This week: Thursday, November 9 at 7:00, vs. Houston Westbury

Notes: D’Shawn Jamison returned the opening kickoff of last week’s Lamar-Bellaire game for a 77-yard TD, and it would be the only points Lamar needed, though the Texans didn’t stop there by a long shot. After a turnover, Lamar scored again to go ahead 14-0 just one minute into the game. They led 28-0 after one quarter and 35-0 at halftime. Lamar’s defense forced two turnovers and limited Bellaire to 3 first downs and 61 total yards, and nine Bellaire Cardinal drives ended in punts.

The game-opening kickoff return TD was Jamison’s second kickoff return score of the season, and his fourth TD of the season. He returned a punt for a TD two weeks ago and had a pick-six in Lamar’s season-opening loss to Klein Collins.

Lamar has clinched the championship of District 18-6A, and finishes its district and regular season slate tonight versus a Westbury team that has been eliminated from playoff contention. Lamar is assured the district’s top seed in the 6A Division I playoff bracket, but their bi-district round opponent won’t be determined until after this week’s games. Lamar beat Westbury 51-7 when the teams played in 2016.

DB DeMarvion Overshown (Arp)

Last week: Team defeated Harleton, 31-14.

This week: Bye

Notes: Arp needed a win over Harleton to assure that they wouldn’t miss the playoffs one year after advancing to within one round of the 3A Division II state championship, and they got the win and their playoff berth with a 31-14 victory.

I have not found any stats or a detailed recap of the game published anywhere. The win evened Arp’s district record at 3-3, putting them comfortably in fourth place in District 9-3A Division II, behind three teams at the top tied at 4-1, and ahead of three teams tied at 1-4. The Tigers have a bye in the final week of the regular season.

Arp began the season 1-4 before finishing by winning three of their last four games. For turning their season around in the second half of district play and clinching a playoff berth, the Tigers will be rewarded with a first round matchup against the champion of District 10-3A Division II, Newton.

Newton is 8-0 for the season and ranked 4th in this week’s AP poll for Class 3A. The Eagles have made mincemeat of their first four district opponents by a combined score of 256-8, which amounts to an average score of 64-2. Newton will play its final regular season game Friday night against their district’s last-place team, Frankston.

When the playoffs begin next week, Newton will be looking for revenge against the last team to beat them. The Arp-Newton bi-district round game will be a re-match of the Region III final in last year’s 3A Division II playoffs, in which Arp edged previously unbeaten Newton 13-6.

DB Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele)

Last week: Made seven tackles and intercepted a pass in a 31-14 win over San Antonio Wagner.

This week: Thursday, November 9 at 7:30, at Schertz Clemens

Notes: As with DeMarvion Overshown’s Arp team, Caden Sterns and his Cibolo Steele teammates followed up a long 2016 playoff run by starting the 2017 season 1-4, but they have since rebounded to win four straight games and clinch a playoff spot.

In last week’s win over Wagner, Steele took a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter on two rushing TDs by Rice commit Brendan Brady, and later a third Brady TD with 3:08 left in the 2nd quarter put Steele ahead 24-6. Neither team scored in the 3rd quarter, and the contest was effectively iced when senior wide receiver Onyx Smith, a Bowling Green commit, caught a 32-yard TD pass from freshman QB Wyatt Begeal with 8:45 left in the 4th quarter to pad Steele’s lead to 31-6.

Steele sits in 4th place in District 27-6A and will be the district’s #2 seed in the 6A Division II bracket when the playoffs begin next week. Steele is 5-4 for the season but only one of their wins has come against a team with a winning record, while the four teams they’ve lost to have a combined record of 32-4 going into the final week of the regular season. Tonight’s game against rival Schertz Clemens (8-1) likely won’t affect either team’s playoff seeding but it will give the Knights a chance to prove they can beat a solid team and that they aren’t the same team that lost four straight games (albiet against very good opponents) for the first time in the program’s history in the first half of their season.

Sterns and the rest of Steele’s secondary will be tested by four-star receiver Tommy Bush, a 6’5” speedster who has six total touchdowns this season and has held a Texas offer since June. On the other side, Steele’s freshman signal-caller Begeal will be challenged by Clemens’s senior defensive back Jaques Tyler, who has six interceptions for the season, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Clemens is one of three teams (Converse Judson and Smithson Valley are the other two) tied for first in the district at 5-1. Clemens beat Smithson Valley 16-10 on October 20, and suffered their only loss of the season a week later to Judson, 31-14.

K Cameron Dicker (Lake Travis)

Last week: Made a 20-yard field goal and was good on 5 of 6 PAT attempts in a 51-7 win over Cedar Park Vista Ridge.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:30, at Austin Vandegrift

Notes: Cameron Dicker made his first five PAT attempts in last week’s win by Lake Travis over Vista Ridge, but was not successful on his sixth and final attempt. It was his first missed extra point try in nearly a year, and only the second of his high school career (he has made 205 of his 207 attempts; how many high school kickers, or kickers at any level, get that kind of sample size over a three-year period?). He made up for that miss by nailing a 20-yard field goal attempt on his next kick.

He also had five of his seven kickoffs result in touchbacks. Lake Travis blitzed Vista Ridge to the tune of 41 first half points, which allowed their starters to mostly rest in the second half. The win clinched a playoff spot for Lake Travis, which now boasts a 7-2 overall record and is 4-1 in district play. They will finish the regular season Friday night with a game against Vandegrift that will decide the runner-up of District 25-6A. Regardless of that game’s outcome, Lake Travis will get the district’s #1 seed in the 6A Division I bracket. Their bi-district round opponent will be San Antonio Madison, which currently has a 4-5 record and is tied for third place in District 26-6A.

2019 Texas Longhorn football commit

QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)

Last week: Completed 22 of 29 passes for 284 yards and 4 TDs, and rushed 6 times for 21 yards and one TD in a 48-0 win over Beaumont Ozen.

This week: Friday, November 10 at 7:00, at Nederland

Notes: Port Neches-Groves led 7-0 at the end of the 1st quarter last week against Ozen, then Roschon Johnson had a hand in four touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the first half (3 passing, 1 rushing) to give PN-G a 34-0 halftime lead. He connected with senior receiver Cameron Stansbury on a 62-yard pass for his fourth scoring toss of the night early in the 4th quarter.

Johnson has accounted for at least four touchdowns in each of PN-G’s eight games so far this season. The Indians are 8-0 and have a 7-0 record in district play. With last week’s win they clinched the championship of District 22-5A. They play their last game of the regular season on Friday against 6-2 Nederland, whose only two losses of the season came by a combined ten points to Port Arthur Memorial and Beaumont Central.

PN-G and PAM are assured of postseason bids. The district’s final two playoff spots haven’t been decided yet, but regardless of what happens in this week’s games, PN-G will get the district’s #1 seed in the 5A Division II bracket, and will face either New Caney or Barbers Hill in the first round next week.