Two weeks remain in the Texas high school football regular season and some Texas Longhorn commits are still fighting for playoff spots, while five out of state members of the #fUTure19 class have concluded their regular season and will play their first or second playoff game this week.
By my count, 15 of the program’s current 22 commits (20 seniors and two juniors) are assured of reaching the postseason, and two others will clinch bids with wins this week. Two commits have no chance of making the playoffs, and three others will be playing for their playoff lives this week and next while hoping to get some help with other district opponents losing.
Highlights and lowlights from last week’s games include Hudson Card accounting for seven total TDs after a humbling loss to Austin Westlake three weeks ago, Roschon Johnson putting up big numbers in leading his team to another win, only to see his team’s district force them to forfeit an earlier win; Jake Smith returning a kickoff for a score and forcing a turnover on defense, De’Gabriel Floyd scoring a defensive TD that gave his team an early lead in a game against a nationally-ranked opponent, Marques Caldwell’s team smashing its school record for points allowed in a season, and Marcus Tillman helping his team’s defense shut out its opponent for a fourth straight week.
Every commit played last week, save an injured Marques Caldwell, so I’ve got notes on the goings-on of each commit’s team, along with who they’ll play this week and what their playoff picture looks like.
The Longhorns received two new commitments since last week’s post, which means these posts will start to seem more overlong than a Michael Cimino director’s cut until teams start to be eliminated from the postseason in the coming weeks and there are progressively fewer games to recap and preview.
As always, the game times listed are for their location’s local time.
2020 QB Hudson Card (Lake Travis)
Last week: Completed 20 of 22 passes for 275 yards and 6 TDs, and had 7 carries for 67 yards and one TD in a 55-23 win over Del Valle.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, at Buda Hays
Notes: After getting a bye week to recover from the 44-14 stomping they received from arch-rival Austin Westlake on October 12, the Lake Travis Cavaliers were back in high gear last Friday in a district matchup with Del Valle. Hudson Card accounted for a season-high seven total touchdowns, did not turn the ball over after being picked off twice in his previous game, and had only a pair of incomplete passes as Lake Travis built a 35-9 halftime lead and led by as much as 55-9 in the 4th quarter.
The win improved Lake Travis to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in district play. Despite that lofty record, the Cavaliers have not mathematically clinched a playoff spot. Five teams are still alive for District 25-6A’s four playoff spots, and Lake Travis needs to win only one of its final two games to clinch one of them, though it could also be left out of the postseason in a highly unlikely scenario in which both it and Westlake lose their final two games.
This much we know: if Lake Travis makes playoffs it will be in the 6A Division I bracket, as it has the highest enrollment figure of the five schools still alive in the playoff chase in that district. If Lake Travis wins out it will have the district’s top seed in the Division I bracket and its most likely bi-district round opponent at this point appears to be Smithson Valley.
On Friday the Cavaliers will play Buda Hays in what could essentially be the district’s 2nd place game. Hays is 7-1 overall this season and already has its highest win total in five years, and its 5-1 district record ties it with Lake Travis for second in the district. Both teams have Westlake to thank for their only loss; Westlake demolished Hays 70-14 last week and beat Lake Travis 44-14 two weeks before that.
Should Lake Travis build an early lead on Hays the game could become a runaway, as Hays plays a run-heavy flexbone offense and has called many more runs than passes this season, an offense that is typically ill-suited to mounting comebacks from significant deficits.
The last time Hays beat Lake Travis was a 35-14 victory in the first round of the 2006 playoffs, one of just three times Lake Travis has ever lost a first round playoff game. After that first round exit, Lake Travis went on to win five straight state titles from 2007 to 2011. Lake Travis dropped one spot in the rankings to #10 in this week’s AP poll for Class 6A.
QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)
Last week: Completed 16 of 27 passes for 242 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs, and had 20 carries for 118 yards and one TD in a 47-19 win over Santa Fe.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, at Mt. Belvieu Barbers Hill
Notes: Roschon Johnson had a hand in seven TDs last week, though two of them were for the opponent, as Santa Fe returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. One of those pick-sixes came late in the 1st quarter and kept the game relatively close, as Port Neches-Groves led 21-13 following a TD of its own in the final seconds of the opening quarter. But the game opened up in the 2nd, as a Johnson TD pass and a fumble recovered in the end zone by the PN-G defense gave the Indians two TDs in quick succession, and their halftime lead was 41-13.
The 47-19 final score gave PN-G its fifth straight win on the field following a pair of early-season losses in games that Johnson missed either all or part of due to injury. The win initially improved PN-G’s record to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in district play, but on Monday morning it was reported that officials from the district’s schools had voted 3-2 to force PN-G to forfeit its October 12 win over Crosby, after coaches from Barbers Hill who were in the press box scouting that game reported seeing PN-G coaches in the press box with an iPad, a violation of UIL rules, though PN-G’s head coach denied that his assistants used it or any other device to “send videos, photos, or text messages to the sideline during any point during the game”, according to 12News, Beaumont’s ABC affiliate.
PN-G may still appeal that decision, but for now the Indians are officially 5-3 and 4-1 in district, and rather than having already clinched a playoff berth they must win at least one of their final two games. On Friday night PN-G travels to Barbers Hill (6-2 overall, 4-1 in district) for a game that will, at the very least, play a big role in the seeding of the district’s playoff entrants, and there could understandably be some bitterness on PN-G’s part for Barbers Hill’s role in taking out of PN-G’s column a win they felt they earned on the field.
Barbers Hill is in its third season under head coach Tom Westerberg, who won four state championships in twelve seasons as head coach at Allen before resigning after the 2015 season to take the head coaching position at Barbers Hill. This season the Eagles had a pair of three-game winning streaks following each of their only two losses; the first a season-opening 43-13 loss to a Magnolia team that is now 4-4 (but is 14 points away from being 7-1), and the second a 27-21 loss on October 5 to district co-leader Nederland. If that pattern is to hold, the Eagles are due for another loss this week to PN-G.
If the Indians win on Friday they should clinch no worst than a second-place finish in their district, and it would set up next week’s showdown against 8-0 Nederland as one with the district title on the line. Should PN-G win out and claim their district’s championship, its most likely first round opponent would be Houston Northside.
RB Derrian Brown (Buford, Georgia)
Last week: Rushed for two TDs in a 61-0 win over Walnut Grove.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, vs. Athens (Georgia) Clarke Central
Notes: Gwinnett Prep Sports’s recap of last week’s Buford-Walnut Grove game did not list its final stats but stated that Derrian Brown went over the century mark in rushing yards in the first half. Brown had 1st quarter TD runs of 14 and 13 yards, helping the Wolves to a 27-0 lead going into the 2nd quarter. The lead expanded to 48-0 at halftime, and the second half was almost certainly played with a running clock.
With the win, Buford improved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in region games. The Wolves lead AAAAA Region 8 and will clinch their region title with a win on Friday against 3-1 Clarke Central. Clarke Central’s only regional loss was a 17-7 defeat on September 28 to a Cedar Shoals team that Buford beat 55-6 the following week. So 2nd-ranked Buford will be a heavy favorite on Friday night.
Buford has barely broken a sweat since its 48-24 loss to state-ranked AAAAAAAA (7A) team Archer on September 21, beating its four regional opponents by a combined score of 208-6. Once the playoffs begin, Buford could face a ranked opponent as early as the second round, but its first round opponent will be another weak foe, most likely a Miller Grove team that is currently 2-7.
WR De’Mariyon Houston (Oklahoma City Millwood)
Last week: Team beat Little Axe 62-14.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, at Stratford
Notes: I have not found a detailed recap of this game, but the final score indicates that it went rather easily for Millwood, which is now 9-0 overall and 6-0 in district. The Falcons have clinched their district title with one game left on the schedule, which will be Friday night at 5-4 Stratford. Only pride is on the line, as Stratford is 2-4 in district and eliminated from playoff contention, while Millwood just wants to get into the playoffs with its team healthy.
On Friday of next week, the Falcons will officially begin the defense of their 2A state championship with a first round date at home against 4-5 Dickson, which has already sewn up the fourth-place slot in District 8-2A.
WR Jake Smith (Notre Dame Prep - Scottsdale, Arizona)
Last week: Had 8 carries for 49 yards and one TD, returned a kickoff for a TD, made 4 tackles and one sack, and forced a fumble in a 47-35 win over Phoenix Paradise Valley.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, vs. Gilbert in the first round of the AIA Conference 5A playoffs
Notes: Notre Dame Prep completed an undefeated regular season run last Friday with its 47-35 win over an upset-minded Paradise Valley team that needed a win to sneak into the playoffs.
Notre Dame Prep trailed 14-13 at the half, but outscored Paradise Valley 20-0 in the 3rd quarter to take control of the game. Jake Smith was not credited with any receptions and had just eight carries, according to the game’s MaxPreps stats, but he did return a kickoff for a TD and had a sack and forced fumble on defense. He finished the regular season with 836 yards receiving, 709 yards rushing, 34 total touchdowns, and 16 tackles.
As noted in last week’s post, Arizona’s playoff system is a 16-team seeded bracket in which each section champion gets an automatic bid and the rest of the spots are filled by at-large teams based on a ranking formula. Notre Dame Prep was the Northeast Valley section champion and is the #3 seed in the Conference 5A playoff bracket. The Saints will open their playoff run on Friday night against #14 seed Gilbert, a team that went 4-6 overall and 1-4 in its section but got into the playoffs probably based on its schedule strength, as it had the second-highest “average opponent rating” out of all 43 teams in 5A. Seven of Gilbert’s ten opponents qualified for the playoffs, though against those foes it went 1-6, including a six-point loss to #2 seed Williams Field and a seven-point loss to #15 seed Maricopa, but also a 47-0 loss to Notre Dame Prep on August 31. This is Gilbert’s first playoff appearance since 2010.
Notre Dame Prep only played three eventual playoff teams in the regular season and has the third-lowest “average opponent rating” out of the sixteen 5A playoff teams.
WR Marcus Washington (Trinity Catholic - St. Louis, Missouri)
Last week: Team beat Sumner/Northwest Academy of Law 88-0 in the District round of the Missouri Class 3 playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, vs. McCluer South-Berkeley in the District Semifinal round of the MSHSAA Class 3 playoffs
Notes: Marcus Washington committed to Texas last Friday and this is his first appearance in these weekly posts. Trinity Catholic’s stats from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - which appear to be incomplete - credit Washington with 24 catches for 405 yards and 5 TDs, as well as 6 carries for 57 yards and one TD, 14 total tackles, and one interception.
His Trinity Catholic team has won eight straight games after dropping its first two games of the season to highly-ranked opponents. The Titans lost their season-opener 42-14 to Georgia’s current top-ranked AAAAAAA (7A) team Colquitt County, and they fell 32-26 in overtime the following week to East St. Louis, which finished its regular season as Illinois’s second-ranked team in 7A (that state’s second-highest classification). After those two early season setbacks, they won their next eight games by a combined score of 468-33.
Trinity finished the regular season as Missouri’s second-ranked team in Class 3 (Class 6 is its highest classification). Trinity played its first playoff game (the “District” round) last week and made quick work of Sumner/Northwest Academy of Law 88-0. Due to Missouri’s unique playoff format in which literally everybody makes the playoffs, the first round or two tends to have a lot of very lopsided outcomes in games. Thus a 1-8 Sumner team that had been outscored by 26 points per game during the regular season and would have no business being in the playoffs in almost any other state, got to be Trinity’s first round victim.
The Titans’ second round opponent shouldn’t be the cupcake Sumner was, as McCluer South-Berkeley beat that same Sumner team 40-0 on August 31 and is 7-3 overall this season. McCluer went into the playoffs as the Suburban Central - North district champion, and in its first round playoff game it beat Orchard Farm 28-17, avenging one of its three regular season losses in the process (Orchard Farm beat McCluer 37-26 on September 7).
Trinity will hope to avoid the result of its last two meetings with McCluer, which it lost in 2012 and 2013 by a combined score of 148-6. The Titans will also look to atone for their disappointing playoff performances of the past two seasons. A year ago, Trinity reached the third round of the Class 2 playoffs before losing 48-46 to a Lutheran North team that went on to lose by one point to eventual state champion Lamar. And in 2016, Trinity reached the Class 2 state championship but lost 26-18 to Lamar. Lamar has won seven consecutive Class 2 state titles and owned the nation’s longest current win streak at 57 games before losing in its regular season finale on October 19, but Trinity will avoid them in the playoffs this season by virtue of playing in Class 3.
WR Jordan Whittington (Cuero)
Last week: Had a punt return for a TD in a 70-0 win over Austin Eastside Memorial.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, vs. Geronimo Navarro
Notes: The Maxpreps stats for Cuero’s win last week over Eastside Memorial don’t credit Jordan Whittington with any offensive touches and indicate that Cuero only ran 16 offensive plays and scored on seven of them, which seems like it can’t be right. I’m fairly certain Whittington also had a catch or two in this game based on accounts I’ve heard, but it hardly matters, Cuero could have replaced him and lined up an orange cone in the slot and they would have still rolled over Eastside Memorial.
Cuero remains perfect in District 13-4A Division II play at 3-0 and is 7-1 overall. On Friday night the Gobblers face Geronimo Navarro (6-1 overall, 3-0 in district) in a game that could decide the district’s champion. Cuero is ranked fifth in Class 4A in this week’s AP poll, while Dave Campbell’s Texas Football ranks Cuero third and Navarro fifth among Class 4A’s Division II teams.
This may be the first year that Cuero and Navarro - whose campuses are 70 miles apart - have shared a district, but the two teams have become quite familiar with each other, as they have met in the playoffs in each of the past five seasons! Cuero has won four of those five matchups, with Navarro’s lone win coming in the fourth round (state quarterfinals) of the 2016 4A Division II playoffs. Cuero returned the favor last year by beating Navarro in the third round (regional semifinals), before losing one week later to Wimberley, the team it will face next week.
TE Brayden Liebrock (Chandler, Arizona)
Last week: Caught 4 passes for 28 yards and one TD in a 49-7 win over Chandler Hamilton.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, vs. Anthem (Arizona) Boulder Creek in the first round of the AIA Conference 6A playoffs
Notes: Chandler finished its regular season schedule on a nine-game winning streak, beating cross-town rival Hamilton last week by a score of 49-7 and denying it a playoff spot in the process, as Hamilton finished its season rated 17th in 6A and missed out on the final spot in the 16-team playoff bracket. Liebrock caught a TD pass in the win to give him a career-high six for the season, and he finished the regular season with a team-high 41 catches for 498 yards.
Chandler will begin the defense of its state championship as the top seed in the Conference 6A playoff bracket, and it will host its first round opponent Boulder Creek on Friday night. Boulder Creek went 4-6 overall in the regular season and was 2-3 in section play, finishing in a three-way tie for third place in the Desert Valley section, but its rating was high enough to snag the final playoff spot in the conference. The last time Chandler and Boulder Creek played was under similar circumstances, with #1 seed Chandler beating #16 seed Boulder Creek 35-14 in the first round of the Division I playoffs in 2015.
The only common opponent for Chandler and Boulder Creek this year is sixth seed Perry, who Boulder Creek lost to 66-32 at home on September 21, and who Chandler beat on the road 45-34 the following week. Following their win over Perry, the Chandler Wolves finished the regular season by beating their four opponents in the month of October by a score of 229-28. Chandler is ranked 19th in this week’s USA Today Super 25 Expert rankings
TE Jared Wiley (Temple)
Last week: Team beat Waco 52-0.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, vs. Waco Midway
Notes: Temple ran out to a 38-0 halftime lead over Waco in another easy win for the Wildcats last week. According to local reports, Jared Wiley passed for either 151 or 189 yards in the first half, and threw a TD pass to junior wide receiver Quentin Johnston. Temple did most of its damage on the ground, rushing for over 400 yards as a team.
Temple is 8-0 for the season and 6-0 in district play, tying the Wildcats for first place in District 12-6A with Waco Midway, their opponent on Friday night. That game should decide the champion of the district and could have an effect on the district’s ultimate playoff seeding. Temple, Midway, and Belton have clinched three of the district’s playoff spots, and three teams are still vying for the fourth. Regardless of what happens in the final two weeks of district play, Belton will be in the 6A Division I bracket and Temple will be in Division II. Midway will join them in Division II unless Copperas Cove gets the final playoff spot. If any team other than Copperas Cove gets the district’s final playoff spot, then Friday night’s game between Temple and Midway will have been not only a battle for the district championship but a game where the loser (most likely) was set up with a first round playoff matchup against 6A’s fourth-ranked team, Longview.
Midway has been one of the top programs in central Texas over the past decade, reaching the playoffs in ten straight seasons and advancing three rounds or further seven times in that span, including a pair of state championship game appearances. The Midway Panthers have not lost a district game since 2013, a winning streak that currently stands at 32 games. They reached the 6A Division II state final in 2017, but lost 51-35 to Cy-Fair. It took them a few weeks to find their footing this season, as they opened the season with a 37-7 loss to Euless Trinity, had a game canceled due to heavy rain, then had to squeak out a 13-10 win over Killeen in their district opener. But the Panthers have been dominant since then, winning their last five games by an average margin of 37 points and scoring 52 or more points each week.
They will likely be the toughest team Temple has faced so far this year, and they’re standing in the way of Temple completing its first undefeated regular season campaign since 1983. If the Wildcats win out they’ll not only be 10-0 but it will have double-digit wins for a fifth straight season, only the second such streak in school history after their six-season run from 1976 to 1981.
OL Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge)
Last week: Credited with 8 pancake blocks in a 34-7 win over Klein Cain.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 6:00, at Klein
Notes: Oak Ridge got a needed win last week over first-year varsity program Klein Cain, but because of other results that night it is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Oak Ridge held Cain to 218 total yards, and Cain’s only TD came in the 1st quarter after recovering a fumble deep in Oak Ridge territory. Twelve different players had offensive touches for Oak Ridge, which averaged nearly 10 yards per pass attempt and over six yards per carry.
Oak Ridge is now 3-5 overall and 2-4 in district play, leaving the War Eagles alone in sixth place in District 15-6A. If they win out over Klein (4-2 in district) and Conroe (1-5 in district) they could tie Klein, which is currently in fourth place. But Klein plays College Park (3-3 in district) in the final week of the regular season. And since College Park has already beaten Oak Ridge, there is no path to Oak Ridge finishing ahead of both them and Klein.
Oak Ridge last played Klein in a 2005 district game, which was won by Klein 38-3.
2020 OL Logan Parr (San Antonio O’Connor)
Last week: Team beat San Antonio Clark 42-14.
This week: Saturday, November 3 at 7:00, at San Antonio Brennan (at Gustafson Stadium)
Notes: This is Logan Parr’s first appearance in this weekly series. Parr committed to Texas on Sunday, becoming the second member of the program’s 2020 class.
He plays for one of San Antonio’s top programs and lines up at left tackle on an O’Connor offensive line that includes 2019 TCU commit Brannon Brown. (For those unaware, his school is named after Sandra Day O’Connor, as it is Northside ISD’s custom to name its high schools in honor of current or former Supreme Court justices.)
Last week O’Connor improved its record to 8-0 this season with a 42-14 win over San Antonio Clark, a team they beat for the ninth straight time. O’Connor has not lost a district game since its regular season finale in 2015 against San Antonio Brennan, which happens to be its opponent this Saturday night. The game will likely decide the champion of District 28-6A, but won’t affect O’Connor’s playoff seeding, as three of the district’s playoff spots been clinched and O’Connor is already assured of having its top seed in the 6A Division I bracket.
Though undefeated, the O’Connor Panthers have had a few close calls this season. They beat longtime area powerhouse Cibolo Steele 21-14 to start the season, endured a hard-fought 14-7 district win over San Antonio Warren on September 13, and made a field goal with four seconds left to pull off a 30-28 comeback win over probable playoff team San Antonio Brandeis on October 12.
Brennan should present another tough challenge for the Panthers on Saturday night. After starting the season with a pair of losses, Brennan has reeled off six straight wins and is alone in second place in the district. Brennan’s offense includes the district’s top receiver and perhaps the area’s most underrated 2019 prospect in Jordan Smith, a big-play threat who has averaged nearly 21 yards per catch in his three-year varsity career. Last year’s O’Connor-Brennan game was a dramatic offensive shootout that O’Connor won 44-41 in overtime.
OL Javonne Shepherd (Houston North Forest)
Last week: Team beat Houston Worthing 34-14.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, at Stafford
Notes: Javonne Shepherd’s North Forest team broke a four-game losing streak last week with its win over Worthing, which kept its playoff hopes alive and moved its record to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in district. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth place in District 12-4A Division I, and will need to win both of their last two games to have any hope of making the playoffs.
On Friday night they play Stafford (3-5 overall, 2-2 in district), which can clinch a playoff berth with a win. There are two scenarios that end with North Forest making the playoffs and both require it to win out. In one scenario North Forest finishes in a three-way tie with Furr and Stafford for third place in the district, in which case it would have to beat Stafford by at least 7 points on Friday to ensure that it would advance in a potential points-differential tie-breaker between those three teams. In the other scenario, North Forest wins out and finishes in a four-way tie for second place with Furr, Stafford and Wheatley, in which case North Forest would advance over Stafford by virtue of its head-to-head win on Friday.
DE Peter Mpagi (Richmond George Ranch)
Last week: Team beat Alief Elsik 35-6.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, at Houston Strake Jesuit
Notes: George Ranch beat district cellar-dweller Elsik last week to stay in playoff contention. The Longhorns are 4-4 overall and 3-2 in district, tying them with Pearland Dawson for third place in District 23-6A.
They control their own playoff destiny but their road into the postseason will be a tough one, as they finish their district slate against the district’s top two teams, unbeaten Pearland (Texas Football’s current #17 team in 6A) and Houston Strake Jesuit. The Longhorns will very likely sew up a playoff spot with a win in either of those two games, but losing both would make things dicey.
Were George Ranch to drop both of its final two games and finish 3-4 in district it would need Alief Hastings (which is currently 2-3) to collapse and lose both of its final games. So George Ranch’s fate is potentially dependent on how Hastings finishes the season, as any scenario that ends with George Ranch in a three-way tie for fourth place with either Taylor and Hastings or Taylor and Pearland Dawson is a scenario that ends with George Ranch staying home for the playoffs.
There is also a rather hilarious (and unlikely) scenario in which five teams tie for second place in the district, all with 4-3 district records and all having a 2-2 record against the other four. In that crazy plot, the district’s final three playoff spots would likely be decided by a point-differential tie-breaker, one in which George Ranch would only get into the playoffs if: 1. George Ranch and Taylor both beat Strake Jesuit by 21 or more points in the final two weeks, and 2. Hastings beats Dawson by less than seven or more than 14 points. (Yes, I looked at those teams’ upcoming schedules and worked those scenarios out on pen and paper; this is the kind of thought I put into these posts for you folks! And you don’t even have to pay for it!)
So priority #1 for George Ranch is beating Strake Jesuit on Friday night. Strake Jesuit is 7-1 overall in its first season under head coach Klay Kubiak, the son of former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Its only loss of the season was a 57-42 defeat against Pearland on October 19. George Ranch and Strake Jesuit have never previously played each other.
DE T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville)
Last week: Team beat Katy Paetow 48-0.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, at Montgomery Lake Creek
Notes: Playing first-year varsity program Paetow, Huntsville’s defense was dominant, allowing just 39 total yards. While on offense, the Hornets scored early and often, finishing six of their first seven drives with TDs.
Huntsville has allowed just 14 points in its five district games. The Hornets are in the driver’s seat of District 10-5A Division II and will clinch the district title with a win on Friday night. After spanking new program Paetow last week, the Hornets face their second straight first-year varsity team in Montgomery Lake Creek. Lake Creek is 2-6 in its inaugural campaign, and though the Lions have won a pair of district games (albeit against the district’s bottom two teams) they have also lost to three teams Huntsville has beaten this season, and this could easily be the Hornets sixth straight game to allow seven or fewer points.
Texas Football ranks Huntsville fifth among 5A Division II schools.
LB De’Gabriel Floyd (Westlake - Westlake Village, California)
Last week: Returned a fumble for a TD in a 13-7 loss to Oaks Christian.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, at Los Alamitos (at Cerritos College) in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs
Notes: De’Gabriel Floyd’s Westlake team gave unbeaten and nationally-ranked Oaks Christian all it could handle last week, but fell short in a game that was most characterized by turnovers. Floyd returned a fumbled snap for a TD with 6:44 left in the 1st quarter to give Westlake an early 7-0 lead it would hold for over three quarters. Westlake’s defense had five takeaways in the game, but its offense committed some costly turnovers of its own.
Oaks Christian tied the game at 7-7 about mid-way through the 4th quarter. On a later Westlake possession, Oaks Christian defensive end Jack Lenthall got a pick-six to give his team its first lead at 13-7 with just over two minutes left in regulation, and Westlake was not able to respond on its final drive. Lenthall also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered one in the game, and his twin brother Nate had an interception of his own.
Westlake finished the regular season with a 7-3 overall record and received an at-large bid to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. The Warriors will play their first round game against Los Alamitos on Friday night at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Los Alamitos has an overall record of 8-1-1, with the tie being an October 12 game against league opponent Corona del Mar that was tied at 7-7 when lightning forced it to be delayed and ultimately canceled, and its only loss being a season-opening 38-35 defeat at the hands of Vista Murrieta, which was the seventh-ranked Division 1 team in the CIF Southern Section in the season’s final poll.
In the final poll ranking the Division 2 teams in the CIF Southern Section (taken before last week’s games), Los Alamitos was #6 and Westlake #7.
LB David Gbenda (Katy Cinco Ranch)
Last week: Had seven tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and two carries for -17 yards in a 70-17 loss to Katy.
This week: Saturday, November 3 at 11:00, vs. Katy Tompkins
Notes: Cinco Ranch fell behind Katy 42-0 at halftime in its district game last week, and all 17 points it scored were in the second half. The loss dropped the Cougars to 2-6 overall and 2-2 in district, leaving them tied for fourth place in District 19-6A with Katy Seven Lakes, and a half-game behind third place Katy Taylor, which has a bye this week then plays its final game against district leader Katy next week.
This week, Cinco Ranch plays Tompkins, which is currently 8-1 overall and 4-1 in district, with its only loss of the season a 66-13 shellacking at the hands of Katy. The 8-1 record is impressive, but it has had some close games along the way. The Tompkins Falcons beat Katy Taylor 27-24 on a last-second field goal last week, needed overtime to beat Morton Ranch (0-4 in district) the week before that, and pulled off a 15-10 win over Seven Lakes on September 28 in a game in which they were penalized 11 times, punted seven times, and gained just 130 offensive yards. So it’s fair to say Tompkins should be considered quite beatable.
Unfortunately, Cinco Ranch is in a position where a win over Tompkins this week won’t ensure a playoff spot. If it splits the last two games by falling to Tompkins this Saturday then beating Katy Seven Lakes in the final week of district play, that could leave Cinco Ranch, Seven Lakes, and Taylor in a three-way tie for third place and each with one win and one loss against the other two. Should that happen, point differentials would decide which two of those three teams get the district’s final two playoff spots. In that scenario, Cinco Ranch would get one of those spots as long as they beat Seven Lakes by at least 12 points in their game next week. If they lose to Seven Lakes next week they’ll be out of the playoffs, regardless of any other game results this week.
LB Marcus Tillman (Jones - Orlando, Florida)
Last week: Team beat Tavares 60-0.
This week: Team beat Orlando Evans 48-0 on Tuesday night.
Notes: Jones played an unusual Tuesday night game this week against cross-town rival Evans in a rescheduled contest that was supposed to be played on September 13, but was postponed due to heavy rain. Despite playing just four days after its previous game, Jones dominated Evans from the start and led 41-0 less than five minutes into the 2nd quarter.
Its district game last Friday against Tavares was similarly lopsided, with Jones scoring TDs on a fumble return and two punt returns in the first half and leading 47-0 at halftime. With Jones’s wins over Tavares last week and over Jones on Tuesday, the Fightin’ Tigers finished the regular season on a nine-game win streak and have shut out their last four opponents. Jones easily won the championship of District 13-5A, outscoring its three opponents 161-14. Jones was ranked sixth in this week’s AP poll for Class 5A, which was taken before its win over Evans.
In Florida, district champions get an automatic playoff berth and the rest of each region’s eight playoff spots are filled by at-large teams based on a power ranking formula. In the most recent FHSAA class rankings, Jones had the second-best power ranking average among the Region 4 schools in Class 5A. The playoffs begin next week and Jones does not yet know its first round opponent, but it will have stiff competition just to get out of its region, as Region 4 includes Class 5A’s #3-5 teams in the current AP poll, along with #6 Jones. The class’s top two ranked teams are both in Region 1, and Jones would not have to face either until the state championship game.
DB Chris Adimora (Mayfair - Lakewood, California)
Last week: Team beat Bellflower 21-7.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, vs. Chino Hills (California) Ayala in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs
Notes: Mayfair won its third straight game and ran the table on its Suburban League opponents by virtue of its 21-7 win over Bellflower last week. Mayfair went 8-2 overall in the regular season.
The Monsoons begin their run in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs on Friday night against an Ayala team that began the season 5-0 but has dropped three of its last five games. Ayala had the second-toughest strength of schedule out of the sixteen teams in the Southern Section Division 6 playoffs.
Ayala and Mayfair are 33 miles apart and have not played each other in at least the past 14 years. In the last poll of the Southern Section’s Division 6 teams (taken before last week’s games), Mayfair was #6 and Ayala #9.
DB Marques Caldwell (Alvin)
Last week: Team lost to Clear Springs 49-6.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, vs. Friendswood Clear Brook
Notes: Caldwell is probably done for the season after suffering a torn labrum a few weeks ago. His Alvin Yellowjackets are a miserable 0-8 after losing to Clear Springs last week, and in four district games they’ve been outscored 229-41. The 433 points they’ve allowed is already the most in school history for a full season by 56 points, and they have two games left.
On Friday, Alvin plays 2-6 Clear Brook, whose only district win was a 41-30 victory over a Clear Falls team that beat Alvin 48-7 two weeks ago.
DB Tyler Owens (Plano East)
Last week: Team beat McKinney 45-42 in double overtime.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:00, at Plano West
Notes: After two straight district losses, Plano East got back on track with a turnover-plagued 45-42 overtime win last week over McKinney. The game was a back-and-forth contest in which both teams squandered multiple chances to take control in the opening quarters, and the outcome could have been different had any of a handful of plays gone differently.
McKinney took the opening kickoff and scored in six plays to take a 7-0 lead. Plano East fumbled on its second offensive play to give McKinney the ball (after a penalty) a the Plano East 38-yard line. McKinney advanced to the Plano East 12-yard line with a chance to go ahead by two TDs, but its QB was sacked and fumbled the ball, and Plano East returned it for a 71-yard TD to tie the game at 7-7. The teams both scored on their next possessions and McKinney led 14-13 with 10:04 left in the 2nd quarter. McKinney had a chance to expand its lead when it had a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but another fumble was returned by Plano East for a 90-yard TD. McKinney was forced to punt on its subsequent drive and Plano East drove and scored as the first half clock hit zeroes, and the Panthers led 27-14 at halftime.
Plano East had a chance to really take control in the 3rd quarter, but it fumbled the second half kickoff and gave McKinney the ball in the red zone, and the Lions scored three plays later to cut the deficit to 27-21. Plano East had two punts and another lost fumble on its next three possessions, while McKinney scored twice more to take the lead back at 35-27 with 7:24 left in regulation. Plano East responded with a nine-play drive that ended with a 49-yard TD pass and successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 35 with 3:05 left on the clock. Neither team was able to cross midfield in the final three minutes of the quarter and the game proceeded to overtime.
Both teams scored TDs in the first overtime. In the second overtime period, Plano East sacked McKinney’s QB for a 13-yard loss, and an eventual 4th-and-21 pass from the Plano East 36-yard line fell incomplete. Plano East kicked a 39-yard field goal on its turn to win the game.
Plano East improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in district play, tying it with Plano for third place in District 9-6A. Plano East’s final two games are against the district’s bottom two teams, Dallas Jesuit and Plano West. The Panthers will make the playoffs if they win both games, or if they win on Friday and both McKinney and McKinney Boyd lose. The two McKinney schools are 2-3 in district and Plano East has head-to-head wins over both of them.
If Plano East qualifies for the playoffs it will have the district’s #2 seed in the 6A Division I bracket, and at this point it appears its most likely first round opponent will be the winner of next week’s game between Garland ISD rivals Sachse and Rowlett.
DB Kenyatta Watson (Grayson - Loganville, Georgia)
Last week: Team beat Rockdale County 49-3.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, at Snellville (Georgia) South Gwinnett
Notes: Grayson won its fifth straight game last week in a runaway 49-3 victory over Region 8 foe Rockdale County. Grayson is 5-0 in region play and will aim to run the table when it takes on South Gwinnett (4-5 overall, 2-2 in region) on Friday night. South Gwinnett is coming off a 35-7 loss to Archer, the eighth-ranked team in AAAAAAA (7A) and one Grayson beat 41-14 three weeks ago.
Grayson is 7-2 overall this season and is currently ranked third in its classification. As I noted in last week’s post, the Georgia playoff bracket is favorable to Grayson, as it would potentially avoid facing any team currently ranked in the top 5 until it’s four rounds into the playoffs, and it would not run into any of the other top-four teams unless it reached the state championship.
ATH Peyton Powell (Odessa Permian)
Last week: Completed 4 of 11 passes for 91 yards and one TD in a 34-7 win over Midland.
This week: Friday, November 2 at 7:30, vs. Wolfforth Frenship
Notes: Peyton Powell didn’t have to do a lot other than hand the ball off in Permian’s district win over Midland last week. He tossed a 37-yard TD pass mid-way through the 2nd quarter, which gave Permian a 21-0 lead, but on his other passes he was just 3-of-10 for 54 yards, and he did not record a carry on the night. Permian’s senior running back Ed Williams, on the other hand, had 25 carries for 239 yards and scored two TDs, which put Permian ahead 14-0 before the game was three and a half minutes old. Permian’s defense forced five turnovers and intercepted Midland QB Suddin Sapien (a UTSA commit) four times.
Permian is 6-2 overall and alone in first place in District 2-6A at 3-0. The Panthers have clinched a playoff spot, and though they still have a district title to play for in their final two games, my math says they’re already assured of having the district’s top seed in the 6A Division I bracket.
On Friday night Permian will host the district’s current last-place team, Frenship, which is winless in district play at 0-3 and 3-5 overall. Frenship is coming off a 56-10 loss last week to Odessa, a team that Permian beat 42-10 three weeks ago. Permian beat Frenship 66-14 when the teams played last year, though prior to that Frenship had won the three most recent games in the series.