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Texas football commits in action, Oct. 11-12

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This week, Tyler Owens will try to help his team shock the world, and Hudson Card leads Lake Travis against its arch-rival.

Texas Longhorns offensive tackle commit Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge).
@TylerJohnson_74

Last week provided some exciting games involving the Texas Longhorns’ 2019 recruiting class, and that was before they got to watch and react to UT’s dramatic win over Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown on Saturday afternoon.

Current quarterback and future tight end Jared Wiley threw a game-winning touchdown pass in triple-overtime against a nearby rival school, Roschon Johnson scored the winning points for his team with less than two minutes left in regulation, Demariyon Houston’s team needed a last-second goal-line stand to get a win in a re-match against their state championship opponent from last season, and Jake Smith scored five second half TDs and turned a halftime deficit into a comfortable win for his team by taking direct snaps out of a Wildcat look.

Will this week be able to top that one? That remains to be seen, but there are a handful of games on tap that could come down to the wire, and there are the some interesting subplots to others.

Hudson Card will lead his nationally-ranked Lake Travis squad against their arch-rival for the first time as a starting QB.

Roschon Johnson’s team will take on an undefeated and state-ranked school that they knocked out of the playoffs a year ago in a game in which Johnson accounted for ten (10!) total TDs.

Jared Wiley and the Temple offense will face one of the best defensive units on their schedule in an important district game.

T’Vondre Sweat’s Huntsville team has been on a tear in recent weeks and will look to knock off an opponent they haven’t beaten since 2009.

Kenyatta Watson’s team will face a familiar state-ranked opponent that ended their 20-game winning streak when the teams played a year ago.

And Tyler Owens and his Plano East teammates will attempt to shock the world on Friday night when they take on a nationally-ranked rival they haven’t beaten in 20 years.

I’ll have notes on all those games plus the schedules for each of the other commits. Re-capping those games should make for interesting reading in next week’s post. UT’s current commits hail from six different states, so as always, the game time I’ve listed for each commit’s game will be for their particular local time.

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2020 QB Hudson Card (Lake Travis)

Last week: Completed 11 of 12 passes for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns, and had 4 carries for 49 yards and one TD in a 64-7 win over Kyle Lehman.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, at Austin Westlake
Notes: For the second time in as many weeks, Hudson Card did not play a snap after halftime, and his night was done before the 2nd quarter was, as Lake Travis ran out to a 57-7 halftime lead over Kyle Lehman, which scored its only touchdown after recovering a muffed punt deep in Lake Travis territory. In the five times Lake Travis and Lehman have played in their history, Lake Travis has pitched three shutouts and won by a combined score of 295-21.

Lake Travis moved to 5-0 for the season and maintains its #2 ranking in Class 6A, according to this week’s AP poll, as well as its #8 spot in the USA Today Super 25 Expert rankings. The Cavaliers will next face what should be their toughest test before the playoffs when they travel to face Austin Westlake in this year’s edition of what has become one of Central Texas’s best rivalries. Both schools are veritable QB factories, with Lake Travis producing several Division I signal-callers over the past decade, and Westlake being the alma mater of current Longhorn QB Sam Ehlinger, as well as current NFL QBs Drew Brees and Nick Foles.

Westlake won last year’s matchup 21-14 to break what had been a ten-game win streak by Lake Travis in the series. Coincidentally, that game was played the night before Oklahoma - quarterbacked by Lake Travis alum Baker Mayfield - won the Red River Showdown 29-24 over a Texas team quarterbacked by Westlake alum Sam Ehlinger.

Westlake is 4-1 this season, with its only loss a 25-21 defeat on September 7 to Cypress Ranch, a team that is currently 6-0. Westlake has not allowed a point since that loss, beating its three successive foes by a combined 178-0.

QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)

Last week: Completed 8 of 18 passes for 117 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception, and had 24 carries for 198 yards and 4 TDs in a 38-32 win over Vidor.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, at Crosby
Notes: In last week’s district game against Vidor, Roschon Johnson rushed for the game-winning TD with 1:28 left in regulation. He had left Port Neches-Groves’s previous game in the 1st quarter due to an injury, and that was his first game action after suffering a sprained ankle three weeks earlier in a loss to Huntsville. So it’s very likely Johnson wasn’t playing at 100% against Vidor, but he accounted for five TDs on the night and scored the winning points on three-yard run that came four and a half minutes after Vidor had scored and made a two-point conversion to tie the game at 32 with 6:01 left in regulation.

Vidor didn’t complete a pass on the night but rushed for 328 yards as a team, though PN-G’s defense was able to get a game-winning defensive stop late. Crucially, in a game decided by six points, PN-G was successful on two-point conversions after the first four of its five TDs on the night, three of them on runs by Johnson and the other on a pass.

PN-G improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in district play, and will next face undefeated Crosby, which is 5-0 and has beaten some quality opponents this season. Crosby beat Vidor 42-36 in triple overtime two weeks ago and had a bye last week. Crosby is the 8th-ranked team in this week’s AP poll for Class 5A.

When PN-G and Crosby faced off in the first round of the 5A Division II playoffs a year ago, the former won in a 72-69 track meet, and Roschon Johnson accounted for 556 offensive yards (302 passing, 254 rushing) and 10 total TDs.

RB Derrian Brown (Buford, Georgia)

Last week: Had 14 carries for 76 yards and 2 TDs in a 55-6 win over Athens (Georgia) Cedar Shoals.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, at Loganville
Notes: Buford’s defense alone outscored Cedar Shoals in last week’s regional contest. Buford scored on a pick-six on the game’s second offensive play, and later added a TD on a fumble return on Cedar Shoals’s first possession of the second half.

Derrian Brown scored on a 1-yard TD run in the 1st quarter, and added another on a 8-yard run with 5:46 left in the 2nd quarter, which gave Buford a 41-0 lead at the time. Brown also lost a fumble early in the 3rd quarter deep in Cedar Shoals territory that stopped a would-be TD drive, but Buford’s defense recovered a fumble on the ensuing possession and returned it for a score to push their lead to 48-6.

Buford improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in regional play, and the Wolves remain in the #3 spot in the Georgia Sports Writers Association rankings for AAAAA. Buford’s next opponent is 3-4 Loganville, a team they beat in each of the two past two seasons by a combined score of 77-10.

WR De’Mariyon Houston (Oklahoma City Millwood)

Last week: Team defeated Washington 22-17.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, at Lexington
Notes: Last Friday’s Millwood-Washington tilt was a re-match of the 2017 2A state championship game, which Millwood won 42-7. Millwood got off to an awful start on Homecoming night against upset-minded Washington, falling behind 17-0 at halftime and being outgained 208-31 in the game’s first two quarters. Things didn’t start off much better in the second half, as Millwood’s first possession ended in a turnover on downs after a penalty negated a touchdown earlier in that drive, but Millwood’s defense shut out Washington in the second half while its offense scored 22 unanswered points, taking the lead with barely a minute left in regulation.

Washington made the ending dramatic though, as they advanced all the way to the Millwood goal line in the final seconds of the 4th quarter, but as The Oklahoman’s recap of the game reported, Washington’s QB “dropped the snap on the final play and as he picked the ball up, his knee hit the ground before he could leap across the goal-line.” [Misplaced comma in the original.]

The win moved Millwood’s record to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in district play, and gave the Falcons - the two-time defending Class 2A state champions - their 34th consecutive win. Should they complete this season undefeated they would go into the 2019 season with 42 consecutive wins, six shy of Waggoner’s state record for 11-man football teams (two different 8-man football schools in Oklahoma have had 90 game win streaks).

The next step in continuing that streak is winning a Friday night district matchup with 4-2 Lexington, whose two losses this season both came against teams from higher classifications. Millwood and Lexington have not faced each other since they were district opponents in 2011. Millwood won the six most recent games between the two schools (all between 2004 and 2011) while not allowing Lexington to score more than 7 points in any of them.

WR Jake Smith (Notre Dame Prep - Scottsdale, Arizona)

Last week: Had 14 carries for 86 yards and 4 TDs, caught one pass for a 49-yard TD, completed one pass for 26 yards, made 2 tackles, was goot on one PAT attempt, and punted three times for an average of 35.7 yards in a 51-35 win over Scottsdale Horizon.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, at Phoenix North Canyon
Notes: Jake Smith and his Notre Dame Prep Saints teammates had a tough time putting away a Horizon team that came into last week’s contest on a three-game winning streak in which it had averaged 55 points. In the first half, Horizon’s defense covered Jake Smith like a Tom Herman-coached underdog covering a Las Vegas point spread, holding him without a catch, and Notre Dame Prep trailed 20-15 at halftime.

In the second half the Saints unleashed “the Wild-Jake”, as 360SportsAZ dubbed it. Taking direct snaps out of what’s commonly referred to as the “wildcat”, Jake Smith rushed for four TDs and was on the receiving end of a TD pass from QB Jake Farrell off of a reverse. Smith finished the game with 86 rushing yards on 14 carries, while junior RB Dominick Mastro had 20 carries for 161 yards. Notre Dame Prep outscored Horizon 36-15 in the second half to take the lead and pull away. Along with scoring five TDs (bringing his season total to 31) and filling punting duties, Smith also kicked an extra point, which appears to be the first of his career. This columnist hasn’t received word on whether Smith also filled up the Gatorade cooler before the game or cleaned up the team bus after it got back to campus, but neither seems implausible.

Notre Dame Prep remains perfect for the season at 8-0 overall and 4-0 in Northeast Valley section play. The Saints are ranked 4th in Class 5A and should get a relative late-season breather, as they face 2-6 Phoenix North Canyon on Friday and have a bye next week. North Canyon lost 65-13 two weeks ago to the Scottsdale Horizon team Notre Dame Prep just beat, and in early September North Canyon lost by 46 points to a Cactus Shadows team that Notre Dame beat by 44 points two weeks later.

WR Jordan Whittington (Cuero)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, at Bandera
Notes: Jordan Whittington has yet to play in a game this season due to lingering injuries from the spring. According to a tweet by Mike Forman of the Victoria Advocate, Whittington suited up for Cuero as far back as their September 21 game against Gonzales, so he may now be close to making a return to the field, at least compared to Week One when he was reportedly in street clothes.

In his absence the Cuero Gobblers are 4-1 overall and ranked 4th in 4A Division II by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. They had a bye last week and will play their first district game on Friday against 1-3 Bandera, which is likewise coming off its bye week.

Cuero and Bandera are 140 miles apart and have not played each other in football since 2007. Cuero was placed in a fairly far-flung district in the last realignment; their nearest district foe is 70 miles away and the Gobblers will travel at least 90 miles (both ways) for each of their three district road games this season.

TE Brayden Liebrock (Chandler, Arizona)

Last week: Caught 5 passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs in a 56-7 win over Brophy College Prep.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, vs. Chandler Basha
Notes: Brayden Liebrock (who surely enjoyed seeing senior Longhorn tight end Andrew Beck catch seven passes over the past two weeks) broke the century mark in receiving yardage for a second straight game in last Friday’s win over Brophy College Prep, after not even reaching 60 yards in any of Chandler’s first five games. His two touchdown catches doubled his season total to 4.

Liebrock’s TD receptions came on a 23-yard catch on a wheel route near the right sideline where he lined up in the slot, and on a six-yard reception where he lined up attached on the right side of the line and cut across to the left side of the field on what looked like a run-pass option play and was left wide open in the end zone.

The Chandler Wolves improved to 6-1 for the season and 2-0 in 6A Premier section play. They are ranked atop Class 6A and on Friday night will face 9th-ranked Chandler Basha, which is also 6-1 on the season. Chandler has won nine straight games against Basha over the course of six seasons (the Wolves have beaten them in both the regular season and playoffs in three of those years) and has scored 41 or more points each time.

TE Jared Wiley (Temple)

Last week: Completed 20 of 39 passes for 366 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs, and had 6 carries for 38 yards in a 58-55 triple-overtime win over Belton.
This week: Thursday, October 11 at 7:00, at Killeen
Notes: As Temple’s starting QB, Jared Wiley had by far his most pass attempts of the season in last week’s dramatic win over rival Belton. He connected with junior wide receiver Quentin Johnson (who was offered by TCU this week) for three TDs, the first of which opened the game’s scoring in the 1st quarter, and the last of which won the game for the Wildcats in the third overtime period.

Temple and Belton combined for 1,070 offensive yards, though they were also penalized a combined 27 times for 226 yards (17 penalties for 166 yards were assessed to Temple). Temple led 42-28 following Johnston’s second TD reception with nine minutes left in the 4th quarter, but Belton scored twice before the end of regulation to tie the game with just seconds left. The teams traded TDs in the first overtime, then field goals in the second, with Temple sophomore Aaron Wagaman nailing a 40-yarder on Temple’s possession, and Belton junior Logan Smith (who had missed two field goal attempts earlier in the game) kicking a clutch 51-yarder on Belton’s possession to force a third overtime.

In that third overtime, Smith kicked a 39-yard field goal to give Belton a brief 56-53 lead, but Jared Wiley and Quentin Johnston ended the game by hooking up for a 25-yard TD pass on Temple’s first play of its possession.

Temple is now 5-0 overall and 3-0 in district play. Tonight Temple will face a Killeen team that is 4-2 overall and 3-1 in district play. Earlier this week, Temple head coach Scott Stewart praised Killeen as having “one of the best defensive fronts around”. That front includes senior defensive end RaQuan Thompson, a Tulsa commit, and junior defensive end Amir Ward, who has already been credited with 16 tackles for loss this season. Killeen’s defense also includes two linebackers and a safety who earned first team all-district honors in 2017. Through six games Killeen is allowing opponents to score just 12.5 points per game.

OL Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, vs. The Woodlands College Park
Notes: Oak Ridge is 1-2 in district play and coming off its bye week. Its opponent this week, College Park, is 2-2 in district play and last week won 28-0 over Klein Forest, who Oak Ridge defeated 49-14 the previous week.

Oak Ridge is 8-4 in its all-time matchups with College Park (whose campus is just 4 miles away) and has won the last two such games (by a combined score of 63-14) and five of the last six. The Oak Ridge-College Park rivalry has had some close games but very rarely have they been high-scoring affairs; in only three of their 12 games has either team scored more than 28 points.

OL Javonne Shepherd (Houston North Forest)

Last week: Team lost to Navasota 28-14.
This week: Thursday, October 11 at 7:00, at Houston Furr
Notes: Last Friday, North Forest lost its third straight game and dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in district play. The five losses is already the most the Bulldogs have had in a season since 2011, when they finished 4-6. They came into this season on a six-season streak of reaching the playoffs, a streak that will be in serious trouble if they lose more than one of their final four games.

Tonight North Forest plays a 3-2 Houston Furr team that had a bye last week and lost 41-8 to Navasota the previous week. North Forest beat Furr the only two previous times the schools played, in 2010-11. Furr played its first varsity football season in 1961, and despite reaching the playoffs only nine times in 57 seasons, winning just two district championships, and having only four seasons with as many as seven wins, the school has had remarkable periods of coaching stability, with just eight head coaches in its history and only two that held that position for fewer than five seasons.

DE Peter Mpagi (Richmond George Ranch)

Last week: Team lost to Alief Hastings 35-20.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, vs. Alief Taylor
Notes: In last week’s district contest against Alief Hastings, George Ranch led 20-14 midway through the 2nd quarter, but Hastings scored 21 unanswered points the rest of the way to drop George Ranch’s overall record to 2-3 and their district record at 1-1.

Hastings gained 511 total yards in the game, and its senior QB Javon Williams, who was last year’s Offensive MVP of District 23-6A, had a hand in all five of his team’s touchdowns. He passed for 385 yards and 3 TDs and added a team-high 93 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.

Peter Mpagi and the George Ranch Longhorns will attempt to get back on track Friday night against Alief Taylor. Taylor has reached the playoffs in nine straight seasons but is 1-4 at the mid-way point of the 2018 season, and one more loss would match the most the Lions have had in a season in the past decade. Not since 2007 has Alief Taylor been outscored by more than 16 points over the course of a full season, but five games into its 2018 campaign it has a point differential of -131. Taylor’s only win this season was a 20-14 victory over Brazoswood last Friday, one week after George Ranch beat that same Brazoswood team 44-7.

DE T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville)

Last week: Team beat Cleveland 84-0.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, vs. Montgomery
Notes: That 84-0 win by Huntsville over Cleveland last week is likely the most lopsided score I’ve ever had to type in the four years I’ve been doing these weekly posts following the seasons of UT commits.

Huntsville’s defense allowed just 22 yards and a single first down in the win, while nine different players scored TDs on offense. Cleveland’s lack of any offensive momentum and some bad punts frequently gave Huntsville a short field at the start of its possessions, thus the Hornets scored 11 offensive TDs while gaining only 450 total yards.

Scoring points probably won’t be quite so easy on Friday night against 1-4 Montgomery, but I expect the Hornets will win that one comfortably. Huntsville will be seeking to end a four-game losing streak against Montgomery that dates back to 2010. Montgomery lost 39-6 last week to an A&M Consolidated team that Huntsville beat 27-7 two weeks ago. Huntsville is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in district play, and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football ranks them 5th among 5A Division II schools.

LB De’Gabriel Floyd (Westlake - Westlake Village, California)

Last week: Team beat St. Bonaventure 39-7.
This week: Bye
Notes: In its Marmonte League game against St. Bonaventure last week, Westlake trailed 7-3 late in the 1st quarter, but got several big defensive stops throughout the rest of the game and returned two turnovers for TDs in a 39-7 runaway victory.

Westlake head coach Tim Kirksey called St. Bonaventure’s senior QB Kai Rojas “probably the most talented kid we’ve seen on film”, and Rojas backed up that assertion with a 70-yard TD run late in the 1st quarter that gave his team a 7-3 lead. Rojas finished the game with 174 rushing yards on 18 carries, but he was also intercepted three times (at least two of them in Westlake territory) and had a fumble returned for an 88-yard TD. (Rojas averaged 20 points per game for St. Bonaventure’s basketball team last winter in leading them to the CIF Division 4AA championship game, and this fall he has scored TDs passing, rushing, receiving, on a punt return, and on a pick-six.)

Westlake led 25-7 after returning an interception 69 yards for a TD with under a minute left in the 2nd quarter. St. Bonaventure advanced into Westlake territory multiple times but those possessions always ended in a turnover on downs, an interception, or a fumble.

Westlake is 6-2 overall and 1-1 in Marmonte League play, and will have a bye this week before playing Newbury Park (the alma mater of Texas Longhorn freshman QB Cameron Rising) on October 19. The Warriors are ranked 9th in this week’s poll for the CIF Southern Section Division 2.

LB David Gbenda (Katy Cinco Ranch)

Last week: Made 11 tackles and one tackle for loss, and had 2 carries for 6 yards and a TD in a 44-17 win over Katy Morton Ranch.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:30, at Katy Taylor
Notes: Last week against district foe Katy Morton Ranch, David Gbenda - playing his first game as a declared Longhorn commit - scored Cinco Ranch’s first offensive TD on a one-yard run with 1:42 left in the 3rd quarter. Despite it being the first TD for Cinco Ranch’s offense, it gave the team a 24-3 lead, as the Cougars had previously scored on a 1st quarter kickoff return and a 3rd quarter pick-six.

Cinco Ranch only outgained Morton Ranch by nine total yards and had one less first down, but three of its six TDs were scored by its defensive or special teams units. Gbenda led the team with 11 total tackles. The win was Cinco Ranch’s second straight after a very uncharacteristic 0-4 start to its season, and gave the Cougars a 2-0 start to district play.

A win on Friday night against Katy Taylor would greatly improve Cinco Ranch’s chances of advancing to the playoffs for a 13th straight season. Cinco Ranch beat Taylor 44-0 when the teams played in 2017, and the Cougars have won nine of the last ten matchups between the two Katy ISD rivals. Maxpreps’s game records generally only go back to 2004, but based on those it has been at least 15 years since the last time Taylor scored more than 20 points against Cinco Ranch.

Taylor’s lineup includes 2019 OL Andrew Coker (a TCU commit), 2019 DE Braedon Mowry (a Texas A&M commit), and five-star 2021 OL recruits Hayden Conner and Bryce Foster.

LB Marcus Tillman (Jones - Orlando, Florida)

Last week: Team defeated West Orange 41-31.
This week: Thursday, October 11 at 7:00, vs. Tampa Carrollwood Day
Notes: Jones had a solid showing in last week’s non-district game against Class 8A program West Orange, winning 41-31. Jones went into the game as 5A’s sixth-ranked team, and West Orange had won 30-29 the previous week over the team responsible for Jones’s only loss of the season: Wekiva, which had been ranked as the #1 team in 8A at one point this season.

West Orange scored first less than three minutes into the 1st quarter to take a 7-0 lead, but in the rest of its possessions in the first half the Warriors punted twice, had a turnover on downs, and lost three fumbles, and Jones led 12-7 at the half.

Jones played far from a great game defensively, allowing West Orange’s QB to pass for 357 yards and 3 TDs, but they got some timely turnovers and defensive stops on 3rd and 4th downs as the game went along. Jones led 27-23 when they stopped a West Orange drive on downs after it had advanced into Jones territory mid-way through the 4th quarter, then scored on a 68-yard TD one play later to expand its lead to 34-23. Jones would score again a few minutes later to make the score 41-23, and West Orange’s final TD of the game came with less than a minute left in regulation and only cut the deficit to 10 points.

Jones is 5-1 for the season and maintains its ranking as the #6 team in Class 5A. The Fightin’ Tigers are 1-0 in district play and will have another non-district game tonight before playing their last two district opponents in the following weeks. Their schedule up to now has been entirely filled with teams from either Class 8A or 5A, but this week’s opponent, Carrollwood Day of Tampa, is from Class 2A. Carrollwood Day is 4-2 overall and has not played a game this year that didn’t end in a blowout; all of its first six games were decided by 23 or more points, and four of them had a margin of 35 or more points. One of its two losses was a 34-7 defeat on September 14 to Seffner Christian, the current #1 team in Class 2A.

DB Chris Adimora (Mayfair - Lakewood, California)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, vs. Norwalk
Notes: Chris Adimora’s Mayfair team had its bye last week and is 5-2 overall as they start Suburban League play this Friday against Norwalk. Norwalk finished 7-4 in 2017 and qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division 9 playoffs, but its team is 0-7 this season and has been outscored by 35 points per game.

This is another rivalry game for Mayfair, as its campus is just over four miles from Norwalk’s and the teams are members of the Suburban League and have played annually for many years. Mayfair has won the last three matchups between the schools and is currently ranked sixth among the Division 6 schools in the CIF Southern Section.

DB Marques Caldwell (Alvin)

Last week: Team lost to Houston Clear Lake 63-14.
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, at League City Clear Creek
Notes: Alvin was hoping for its first win of the season last week in its district game against Clear Lake, and the Yellowjackets got on the scoreboard first for a 7-0 1st quarter lead, but Clear Lake scored the game’s next 63 points to give Alvin a third straight blowout loss. The Yellowjackets have been outscored 206-28 in their past three games.

Alvin may not have a clear path to a win this season, but their next four opponents are all schools with “Clear” in their names, starting with Clear Creek on Friday. Clear Creek is 3-3 overall and 1-1 in district play. Alvin and Clear Creek have one common opponent this season in Katy Tompkins, who beat Alvin 70-7 on September 14 and beat Clear Creek 38-7 the following week. Clear Creek beat Alvin 27-21 in 2017 and has won seven of the last nine games between the two.

DB Tyler Owens (Plano East)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, October 12 at 7:00, at Allen
Notes: Tyler Owens and his Plano East teammates have rolled to a 5-0 start to their season and got an impressive win over previously unbeaten Prosper in their latest game, a result that reportedly prompted Plano East fans to chant, “We want Allen!”, in reference to their next opponent. I noted last week that such confidence was “akin to that of Ray Jackson talking smack to Chong Li in Bloodsport.”

Plano East has not beaten Allen since 1998, which was the last season Allen missed the playoffs. Allen has won five state championships in the past ten seasons, which is five times the number of playoff wins Plano East had in that same period. The teams did have a pair of close games in that stretch, though: Allen beat Plano East by seven points in 2016, and by only 3 points in 2011. But in their six most recent matchups Allen’s average margin of victory has been just under 32 points.

Allen has lost just three games since the start of the 2012 season, and its Eagles have had a stranglehold on the #1 ranking in Class 6A this season and are 4th nationally in this week’s USA Today Super 25 Expert rankings. Plano East has the best team it has fielded in quite some time, but a win over Allen would be the biggest upset the state has seen in recent memory.

Plano East’s offense is led by senior QB Brandon Mallory, who has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards, 15 TDs (already matching his season total from 2017) and 3 INTs through five games. East’s three leading receivers from a year ago are battle-tested seniors now, and the trio of Braylon Henderson, Jaelen Anderson, and Josh Allison have combined for 65 catches, 1,212 yards (18.6 yards/catch) and 12 TDs.

To have any hope of an upset, Tyler Owens and the Plano East defense will have to slow down Allen’s senior QB Grant Tisdale (an Ole Miss commit who has completed 72% of his passes for 13 TDs and just one INT) and five-star senior WR and Oklahoma commit Theo Weese, and sophomore WR Bryson Green, the team’s second-leading receiver who already has a half-dozen D1 offers. Allen’s offensive line includes Oklahoma commit EJ Ndoma-Ogar, SMU commit Tai Brooks, and Certaidrian Brooks, who has at least seven FBS offers.

DB Kenyatta Watson (Grayson - Loganville, Georgia)

Last week: Made one tackle and intercepted a pass in a 59-3 win over Shiloh.
This week: Thursday, October 11 at 7:30, vs. Lawrenceville (Georgia) Archer
Notes: Tonight’s Grayson-Archer game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Kenyatta Watson and Grayson’s defense allowed only a 1st quarter field goal last week in their win over Shiloh. The Rams led 35-3 at halftime and much of the second half was played with a running clock.

Watson’s interception - his first of the season - ended Shiloh’s first possession of the second half, and the game was really never in doubt. Grayson improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in regional play after their win over Shiloh. The Rams are ranked 4th in 7A, and just barely behind them by one spot is this week’s opponent: #5 Archer. Archer lost by two points to a quality team in its season-opener, but has since beaten five straight opponents by a combined score of 218-55. Four weeks ago Archer won by a 48-24 score over Buford, the team of Longhorns running back commit Derrian Brown, so Watson has likely had some conversations with his future teammate this week about tonight’s opponent.

Not that Grayson doesn’t already have some familiarity with Archer, having played them in each of the past eight seasons. When the teams met at this time last season, Grayson was ranked #1 and riding a 20-game win streak, but #3 Archer won in a defensive struggle, 6-3. Grayson has won three of the last four meetings between the teams, and three of those four games were decided by four points or less.

Watson will only be the second highest-rated defensive back on the field tonight, as Archer’s secondary includes five-star Clemson cornerback commit Andrew Booth. Among the wide receivers Watson and the Grayson secondary will be tasked to defend is senior Braylen Weems, who has four reported P5 level offers and has scored 10 TDs through Archer’s first six games.