It’s a post-Turkey Day edition of the weekly column documenting the weekly goings-on of Texas Longhorn football commits and their teams. This week, a dozen future Longhorns are thankful that they got to celebrate Thanksgiving knowing that they still had games left to play.
The teams of a half-dozen commits did not survive last week’s playoff action, a couple of whom were on the wrong side of big upsets. Nine commits have playoff games this weekend and will attempt to get one step closer to a state championship, while UT’s two Arizona commits, wide receiver Jake Smith and tight end Brayden Liebrock, have this week off before their teams play for state championships next weekend.
Texas received two new commitments since last week’s post, both of whom are still playing football. Defensive end Myron Warren’s team is the top seed in Louisiana’s 2A playoffs, and Juco DE Jacoby Jones finished his regular season a few weeks back, but his team has a postseason bowl game to finish off its 2018 campaign next week.
There will be some good playoff matchups to be found this week, and some teams better avoid looking ahead to the next round, lest they stumble and join some of their fellow commits who had disappointing early exits from the postseason last week, including two whose teams had not lost all season, one whose team fell to a team it had beat by three touchdowns earlier this year, and another whose team lost a home playoff game to a team that lost seven games in a row to begin its season.
Below I’ll recap all of last week’s playoff action involving UT commits and detail who and where they’ll be playing next. Game times listed are for their location’s time zone.
2020 QB Hudson Card (Lake Travis)
Last week: Completed 16 of 28 passes for 344 yards, 4 TDs and one INT, and had 11 carries for 55 yards and one TD in a 45-14 win over Smithson Valley in the bi-district round of the 6A Division I playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 2:00, vs. San Antonio Madison (at New Braunfels’ Cougar Stadium) in the area round of the 6A Division I playoffs.
Notes: Hudson Card threw four TD passes in the second half of last week’s first round playoff game against Smithson Valley, breaking open a game that Lake Travis had led 17-7 at halftime. The Cavaliers outscored Smithson Valley 28-7 in the 3rd and 4th quarters to win in a runaway. Card also ran for a 2nd quarter TD that put Lake Travis ahead 17-0 at the time.
Card’s five TDs in the game brought his season total to 42 in Lake Travis’s ten game. Lake Travis’s offensive attack was aided by the return of five-star senior receiver Garrett Wilson, who caught six passes for 147 yards and a TD against Smithson Valley after an injury forced him to miss almost all of the second half of Lake Travis’s regular season schedule.
Lake Travis is now 9-1 overall and moves on to the area round to play a San Antonio Madison team that has won nine straight games since opening its season with two losses and claimed the school’s first district title since 2012. Madison advanced with a 35-7 bi-district win over San Antonio Warren last week.
This will be the third straight season in which Lake Travis and Madison have met in the playoffs; the Cavaliers beat the Mavericks in the first round in 2016 and 2017 by a combined score of 105-21. They have two mutual opponents this season in Austin Bowie and Smithson Valley. Madison beat Smithson Valley 17-14 on September 14, and Lake Travis of course beat them 45-14 last week. Madison fell to Austin Bowie 49-22 on September 7, and Lake Travis beat Bowie 42-21 one week later.
Madison is led by senior QB Dante Heaggans, who committed to Illinois State a month ago and may play receiver at the next level. Heaggans has totaled over 1,100 yards both passing and rushing in both of his seasons as Madison’s starting QB, and this season he has had a hand in 32 total TDs. He has topped the 100-yard rushing mark in six games this season, and rushed for over 200 yards three times. Heaggans is a quick-footed athlete who is skilled at changing speeds in the open field and can accelerate to top speed in a hurry. Last spring he ran the 300 meter hurdles in a career-best time of 38.97 and he qualified for his area track meet in that event in each of his first three years of high school.
The winner of the Lake Travis-Madison game will play the winner between Laredo United and Weslaco.
QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)
Last week: Completed 18 of 27 passes for 267 yards and 4 TDs, and had 6 carries for 43 yards in a 48-7 win over Houston Northside in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 8:00, vs. Lindale (at Houston’s NRG Stadium) in the area round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.
Notes: If one only looked at the stats of last week’s playoff game between Port Neches-Groves and Houston Northside, it would be easy to think the game must have been a close one. PN-G only outgained Northside by 22 yards, the teams were fairly even on penalty yardage, and PN-G had a +2 in the turnover column, but the PN-G Indians won in a rout on the scoreboard, 48-7.
PN-G led 28-0 at halftime, then less than two minutes into the 3rd quarter Roschon Johnson’s fourth TD pass of the night gave his team a 35-0. That lead ballooned to 42-0 when PN-G intercepted Northside QB Ronald Holmes from deep inside his team’s territory and returned the pick for a 15-yard TD. PN-G intercepted Holmes twice in the night, and according to the Port Arthur News’s recap of the game, the Indians forced Northside to turn the ball over on downs three times in the red zone in the first half.
The game might have been a lot closer had Northside capitalized on some of its first half opportunities, but PN-G’s defense rose to the occasion multiple times and the Panthers scored their only TD of the night with 6:13 left in the 4th quarter, by which point PN-G had pulled their starters.
I mentioned in last week’s post that Northside’s sophomore QB Ronald Holmes would be a player to watch and could develop into a coveted recruit by the end of his high school career. He finished the game with 270 yards passing and 119 yards rushing, and he connected with fellow sophomore Devondre Moore for 9 catches and 189 yards. But their efforts went for naught on the scoreboard for three and a half quarters.
The Indians advanced to the area round and will face Lindale in the nightcap of a Friday triple-header of 5A Division II playoff games being played at NRG Stadium in Houston. Lindale advanced with a 52-38 win over Montgomery last week, the school’s first postseason win since 2011. Lindale has never advanced further than the second round of the football playoffs.
Lindale is 7-4 overall this season. Its Eagles have had a few close wins, three of which were by margins of five points or less, but their four losses were pretty decisive, with the margin in each of them being at least 19 points. The winner of this game will move on to the regional semifinals and play the winner of A&M Consolidated (10-1) and Fort Bend Marshall (11-0 and ranked fourth in Class 5A).
RB Derrian Brown (Buford, Georgia)
Last week: Had 14 carries for 81 yards and 2 TDs, and returned a punt for a TD in a 44-11 win over Kell in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAAA playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 7:00, vs. Bainbridge (at Buford) in the third round of the GHSA Class AAAAA playoffs.
Notes: With his second-ranked Buford Wolves taking on ninth-ranked Kell (ironically, one of just three high schools in Georgia - as of 2015 - with the Longhorn as its mascot), Derrian Brown reached the end zone three times and outscored the opponent by himself, while Buford’s defense had a dominating performance and kept Kell from scoring a TD until less than five minutes remained in the 4th quarter.
The game began inauspiciously for Buford, as its kickoff return unit was unable to secure the opening kickoff, and Kell took possession of the ball in the red zone. But Buford ended that threat with an interception, its first of three on the night. Buford led 10-0 after the 1st quarter, then in the 2nd Brown scored on a 26-yard TD and an 83-yard punt return, the latter of which gave Buford a 24-0 lead with 2:27 left in the first half. Brown added a 10-yard scoring run three minutes into the second half, which put Buford ahead 31-3, and Buford would later lead by as many as 41 points. Along with intercepting Kell’s quarterback three times, Buford’s defense also totaled seven sacks.
With the win, Buford advanced to the Class AAAAA quarterfinals and will host Bainbridge, a team that went 5-5 in the regular season and had four losses by margins of 17 points or more, but which has turned up its level of play in the postseason, knocking out eighth-ranked Jones County (40-13) and fourth-ranked Wayne County (26-19) in consecutive weeks.
Bainbridge was definitely not expected to still be in the playoffs at this point, and having upset two state-ranked opponents in a row its players may feel like they’re playing with house money going into a matchup with their class’s second-ranked squad. Despite its 7-5 record, Bainbridge is not without talent. Its defense includes senior defensive end Roman Harrison, a three-star Tennessee commit who has been credited with 7.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss this season, and probable future star Deyon Bouie, a freshman defensive back who was reportedly offered by Tennessee in the summer and who leads the team with five interceptions (three of which he snagged in his team’s first two playoff games).
The winner of Friday’s Buford-Bainbridge quarterfinal advances to the state semifinal round and will play the winner of sixth-ranked Stockbridge (11-1) and Carrollton (10-2).
WR De’Mariyon Houston (Oklahoma City Millwood)
Last week: Caught 3 passes for 122 yards and 2 TDs in a 27-26 loss to Vian in the second round of the OSSAA Class 2A playoffs.
Notes: Millwood’s 39-game winning streak and its dominance over Class 2A in Oklahoma came to an end last week in a 27-26 upset loss to tenth-ranked Vian, a school Millwood had beaten 44-0 in the playoffs a year ago.
De’Mariyon Houston tried to do his part to keep the winning streak going, catching first half TD passes that covered 74 and 13 yards as Millwood overcame an early 14-6 deficit and built a 26-14 halftime lead. But Vian’s defense kept Millwood from adding to its total in the second half.
According to The Oklahoman, Vian sacked Millwood QB Daniel Howard seven times and limited Millwood to three yards on the ground after halftime, and the Falcons’ senior running back Marcus Major, an Oklahoma commit who sat out their first round playoff game due to injury, did play in the Vian game but was forced out with an injury at some point in the 4th quarter. Millwood was also penalized an unconscionable 21 times for 172 yards and left points on the field by being stopped on three out of four 2-point conversion attempts.
Vian cut the deficit to 26-20 early in the 4th quarter. With just a few minutes remaining in regulation, Millwood recovered a fumble in Vian territory but was unable to score and make it a two-possession game. After a Millwood punt, Vian got the ball on their own 41-yard line with 1:47 left in the game, and aided by three Millwood penalties and a pair of reverse passes, the Wolverines moved to the doorstep of the end zone, and eventually scored on a one-yard run with just seven seconds left on the clock. After a successful PAT (a previous one in the 4th quarter had been blocked), Vian took a 27-26 lead.
The loss ended Millwood’s quest for a third straight 2A state title, which would have been the school’s eighth overall, and the Falcons finished their 2018 campaign 11-1.
WR Jake Smith (Notre Dame Prep - Scottsdale, Arizona)
Last week: Caught 7 passes for 49 yards and 2 TDs, had 3 carries for 14 yards, and scored on a two-point conversion run in a 21-14 win over Williams Field in the semifinals of the AIA Conference 5A playoffs.
Next game: Saturday, December 1 at 12:30, vs. Peoria Centennial (at Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium) in the Conference 5A state championship game.
Notes: Notre Dame Prep, the third seed in Arizona’s 5A playoff bracket, got all it could handle in last week’s state semifinals from second seed Williams Field, a team that had gone 11-1 against one of the state toughest schedules and had eight wins against teams that qualified for the playoffs.
After Williams Field scored the game’s first points on a TD run with 4:49 left in the 2nd quarter, Notre Dame Prep trailed for over a full quarter but did just enough to eke out a victory in the second half, taking its first lead in the final minute of the 3rd quarter and getting a goal-line stand in the game’s final seconds to prevent a game-tying or game-winning score from Williams Field.
Jake Smith got the Saints on the scoreboard with a 6-yard TD reception with 1:42 left in the 2nd quarter, finishing off a drive that he had kept alive a few plays earlier when he lined up to punt on 4th down in Saints territory but saw enough open space that he elected to try and run for a first down, a gambit that was successful.
Holding a 14-7 lead in the 4th quarter, Notre Dame Prep drove into the red zone, where a fumble by junior running back Dominick Mastro came perilously close to being recovered by Williams Field, but the Saints were able to retain possession, and on the next play Jake Smith reeled in a 18-yard TD pass to give his team a 21-7 lead.
Williams Field cut the score to 21-14 with five minutes left in regulation. After forcing a Notre Dame punt, Williams Field got the ball last and got as close as the one-yard line, but the Notre Dame defense stopped a running attempt for a short loss, and subsequent pass fell incomplete and the clock ran out (Williams Field’s coaches believed there should have been at least one second left on the clock).
The win preserved Notre Dame’s undefeated record for the season at 13-0. After an off week for Thanksgiving, the Saints will travel to Tempe for the 5A state championship game on December 1, where they will take on defending state champion and top seed Peoria Centennial. This will be a re-match of the 2017 5A state final, in which Centennial beat Notre Dame Prep 42-21.
No team in 2018 has scored as many points against Centennial, which is 13-0 and has outscored its foes 564-78. During one stretch of the season Centennial held nine out of ten opponents to single-digit point totals. Even in their current playoff run the Centennial Coyotes have outscored their three opponents 152-30.
Richard Taylor has been Centennial’s head football coach since the school opened in 1990, and he has built the Coyotes into one of the state’s most consistently strong programs, winning six state championships in the past 12 seasons, reaching the semifinal round of the playoffs in 14 out of 15 seasons, and now reaching the state championship game for a fifth straight season. In September, Taylor got his 300th career win as a head coach.
The 2018 Coyotes have been dominant on the field despite a lack of blue chip talent. The team’s only Division I commit is senior offensive lineman Carson Keltner, a two-star Air Force pledge, and its highest-rated prospect is three-star senior cornerback Kieran Clark, who has reported four FBS offers. Other players to watch include: junior athlete Jaydin Young, who averages nearly ten yards per carry, has been credited with 85 tackles and 3 interceptions, and has scored 16 total TDs; and senior RB Tawee Walker, a transfer from the Las Vegas area who rushed for over 1,700 yards and scored 22 TDs for his former team in 2017, and is Centennial’s leading rusher this fall with nearly 900 yards and a team-high 19 total TDs.
WR Marcus Washington (Trinity Catholic - St. Louis, Missouri)
Last week: Caught one pass for five yards and had an interception in a 27-17 win over Southern Boone in the state quarterfinals of the MSHSAA Class 3 playoffs.
This week: Saturday, November 24 at 1:00, vs. Maryville in the state semifinals of the MSHSAA Class 3 playoffs.
Notes: Last week’s quarterfinal contest between Trinity Catholic and Southern Boone was played on a very muddy field with temperatures in the low 40s. The on field conditions combined with the defense of eighth-ranked Southern Boone limited second-ranked Trinity Catholic to 27 points after the Titans went into the game averaging over 57 points during a ten-game winning streak.
The Titans completed just four passes on the night and Marcus Washington had only one catch, which went for five yards, but he had the game’s biggest defensive play. His Titans led 20-17 in the 4th quarter when Southern Boone had the ball, attempting to tie the score or take a late lead. Instead, Washington intercepted a pass and returned it to the Southern Boone seven-yard line with 3:59 left in regulation. A few plays later, Trinity Catholic’s senior QB Isaiah Williams, a four-star Illinois commit, scored on a 1-yard run to give the Titans a 10-point cushion.
The win was Trinity Catholic’s eleventh straight after opening the season with a pair of losses to highly-ranked teams from Georgia and Illinois. The Titans advanced to the Class 3 semifinal round, where this Saturday afternoon they will host fifth-ranked Maryville, which knocked off top-ranked Odessa in last week’s quarterfinal round, 29-6.
Maryville, like Trinity Catholic, is on a long winning streak following a season-opening loss to a tough opponent; in Maryville’s case that opponent was Blair Oaks, the top-ranked team in Class 2. Blair Oaks topped Maryville 38-35 on August 24, and in its subsequent 12-game winning streak Maryville has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 41 points and allowed no team to score more than 12 points.
Maryville (mascot: the Spoofhounds) is the defending Class 3 state champion, and since 2008 it has won four state titles and lost in the championship game two other times.
The winner of the semifinal game between Trinity Catholic and Maryville will advance to the Class 3 state championship game, and will be opposed by the winner of the other semifinal game between third-ranked Cardinal Ritter and sixth-ranked Mt. Vernon. The championship game will be played on December 1 at Faurot Field at the University of Missouri.
WR Jordan Whittington (Cuero)
Last week: Caught three passes for 75 yards and 2 TDs, had two carries for 101 yards and a TD, scored on a 2-point conversion reception, and made 5 tackles in a 66-12 win over Pearsall in the bi-district round of the 4A Division II playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 7:30, vs. Rio Hondo (at Corpus Christi’s Wildcat Stadium) in the area round of the 4A Division II playoffs.
Notes: Jordan Whittington had a hyper-efficient night in last Thursday’s blowout bi-district win by Cuero over Pearsall, gaining 176 yards from scrimmage and scoring 20 total points (on three TDs and a 2-point conversion catch) on just six offensive touches.
After Cuero intercepted Pearsall on its first offensive play, Whittington ran for a 71-yard TD on Cuero’s third play. Whittington later scored TDs on receptions that covered 46 and 15 yards. According to the Victoria Advocate’s recap of the game, Cuero scored only needed 14 offensive plays to score six TDs in the first half, as the Gobblers built a 45-0 lead at the break and led by as much as 66-0. They also had a pair of blocked punts that resulted in a touchdown and a safety.
The 10-1 Gobblers advanced to the area round, where they will play 9-1 Rio Hondo on Friday night in Corpus Christi. Rio Hondo finished 2nd in District 16-4A Division II and is in the playoffs for the 13th time out of 14 seasons. The Bobcats advanced to the area round by beating Ingleside 37-20 in the first round. Cuero and Rio Hondo have played each other in the postseason two previous times; Cuero beat the Bobcats 55-14 in the first round in 2014, and likewise eliminated them 21-8 in the second round in 2006.
Rio Hondo has a senior-laden offensive lineup that has been pretty productive with its spread attack. Senior QB Josiah Ortega has topped the 300-yard passing mark at least four times, senior RB Daniel Vazquez ran for 586 yards and six TDs in Rio Hondo’s last two district games and has some 1,500 rushing yards for the season, and senior Frank Hernandez had over 900 receiving yards and 15 TDs during the regular season.
The winner of this game will move on to the regional semifinals and play the winner of Llano and Corpus Christi West Oso.
TE Brayden Liebrock (Chandler, Arizona)
Last week: Caught 11 passes for 88 yards and 2 TDs and caught a 2-point conversion pass in a 36-35 overtime win over Highland in the semifinals of the AIA Conference 6A playoffs.
Next game: Saturday, December 1 at 4:30, vs. Gilbert Perry (at Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium) in the AIA Conference 6A state championship.
Notes: Both of UT’s commits from Arizona had nerve-wracking finishes to their games last week. Brayden Liebrock scored the first and last points for his Chandler team in its state semifinal game. The first was a 7-yard TD reception very early in the 1st quarter, and the last was a 2-point conversion grab in overtime that gave Chandler a one-point win and sent them to the state final for a third straight year.
Chandler trailed 13-7 at halftime, leaving points on the field in the first minute of the 2nd quarter when the Wolves were stopped on a 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line. Chandler eventually fought back to take a 21-20 lead early in the 4th quarter, and later Liebrock’s second TD catch pushed the Wolves’ lead to 28-20 with 8:16 left in regulation.
Highland would score a TD with 50 seconds left on the clock and was successful on a 2-point conversion try to tie the game at 28. Chandler still had a chance to win the game, but missed on a 43-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation, and the game went to overtime.
Highland scored on its second play to go ahead 35-28. On its turn of the first overtime period, Chandler got a rushing TD from Cal commit DeCarlos Brooks, then elected to go for a game-winning 2-point conversion. On the 2-point attempt, Liebrock lined up on the far right of an unbalanced line, two spots over from the center but still an eligible receiver because he was at the end of the players lined up on the line of scrimmage. At the snap, Chandler QB Jacob Conover faked a pitch to Brooks running to the left, before turning to his right and quickly hitting a wide-open Liebrock running to the right for the game-winning conversion. That play can be seen at about the 1:27 mark near the end of the video below (I’ve watched the play several times and I only count 10 men on the field for Chandler. Am I missing one somewhere?)
Chandler gained 626 total yards on the night, with 270 of them being the work of the aforementioned senior running back DeCarlos Brooks, who also scored three TDs. The win kept alive the Wolves’ quest for a 6A championship three-peat. To pull that off in the championship game next week they’ll have to beat Perry, which went into the 6A playoffs as the sixth seed, but reached the state final for a second straight year by beating third seed Desert Vista and second seed Pinnacle by a combined score of 94-34.
Chandler has never lost to Perry, and in fact beat the Pumas in both the regular season and the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons. Chandler beat Perry 45-34 when the teams played on September 28, and the Wolves will have to beat Perry in the playoffs for a third straight year to claim their third straight state title.
In the teams’ sectional game in September, Liebrock caught six passes for 104 yards and a TD, while DeCarlos Brooks had 43 carries for 246 yards and two TDs. Expect both of them to play a big role in Chandler’s offensive attack in the state championship re-match next week.
TE Jared Wiley (Temple)
Last week: Completed 22 of 45 passes for 328 yards and 3 TDs, and had 4 carries for 26 yards in a 45-38 loss to Mesquite Horn in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs.
Notes: On the morning of October 26, the Temple Wildcats were 7-0 and the Jaguars of Mesquite Horn were 0-7. Those two teams faced off in the first round of the playoffs last week, and it was the latter that came away with the win.
In a game that saw over 1,000 yards of total offense, four ties, and six lead changes, it was Horn that got the ball last with enough time on the clock to get the last score. Horn led 24-21 at halftime, and Temple tied the score on two occasions in the 3rd quarter, and the teams headed into the final frame knotted up at 31-31.
Mid-way through the 4th quarter, Horn scored on a short TD run to go ahead 38-31, but Temple’s junior running back Anthony Jackson answered with a 100-yard return for a TD on the ensuing kickoff, which again tied the game at 38 with 5:33 left in regulation.
Horn advanced into Temple territory on its next possession but the Wildcat defense eventually stopped the Jaguars for no gain on a 4th-and-1 run from the Temple 41-yard line. Temple then advanced as far as the Horn 39-yard line, but was backed up by a penalty, and two incomplete passes forced it to punt on 4th-and-14 from the Horn 43-yard line.
Starting their final possession at their own 8-yard line, Horn drove the length of the field in seven plays, getting a 24-yard run from senior QB Jermaine Givens on a 3rd-and-5 at their own 13, and scoring the game-winning points on a 37-yard TD pass from Givens to running back N’Kowsi Emory, which put Horn ahead 45-38 with just 11 seconds left. Temple was able to get the ball to their own 46-yard line and attempt a Hail Mary pass from there, but it fell incomplete.
Thus did a team that had one win to its name by Halloween end the season of a team that had no losses until the Friday before Veterans Day. Temple finished the season 8-3 overall. Jared Wiley tossed three TD passes and accounted for 354 total yards in his last game as a quarterback, but he could not match the production of his Horn counterpart Givens, a Lamar commit who passed for 293 yards, rushed for 211 more, and had four total TDs on the night.
OL Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge)
Team did not qualify for the 6A playoffs
2020 OL Logan Parr (San Antonio O’Connor)
Last week: Team lost to San Antonio Reagan 30-7 in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
Notes: O’Connor entered the playoffs undefeated and had not lost to a San Antonio area team since being knocked out of the 2016 playoffs by Converse Judson. But its 2018 campaign was decisively ended in the first round by a tough Reagan squad.
The game was scoreless at the end of the 1st quarter, but Reagan held a 24-0 lead at halftime. Reagan’s scoring drives in the quarter were set up by: a turnover on downs at the Reagan 41-yard line, an interception, and two unsuccessful fake punts on 4th down plays in O’Connor territory.
Reagan added a pair of field goals in the second half and led 30-0 with 11:12 left in the 4th quarter. O’Connor scored its only points on a TD pass with 8:28 left in regulation. O’Connor was penalized 11 times in the game and completed just 19 of 44 pass attempts.
O’Connor finished its season with a 10-1 overall record, and its first postseason loss to Reagan since 2011.
OL Javonne Shepherd (Houston North Forest)
Last week: Team lost to Splendora 47-19 in the bi-district round of the 4A Division I playoffs.
Notes: North Forest took an early 7-0 lead in its first round playoff game against Splendora, courtesy of a 10-yard TD reception by 2020 Texas A&M commit Demond Demas. Demas would add a 67-yard TD reception mid-way through the 2nd quarter, but between those scoring grabs Splendora put 27 points of its own on the scoreboard and would go into halftime with a 34-13 lead.
The North Forest offense produced no more points on the night, and the Bulldogs’ only other score came on a kick return late in the 4th quarter and merely cut the deficit to 47-19.
North Forest lost six of its first seven games but went into the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. Its first round game got off to a promising start, but ultimately its defense was overrun and the Bulldogs fell to a Splendora team that is now 10-1 and has achieved double-digit wins in a season for the first time in school history.
DE Jacoby Jones (Butler Community College - El Dorado, Kansas)
Next game: Sunday, December 2 at 2:00, vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in the Midwest Classic Bowl.
Notes: This is Jacoby Jones’s first appearance in these weekly posts, as he committed to Texas on Wednesday. Jones, who went to high school at McCluer North in St. Louis, Missouri, has been credited with 55 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 11 games played this season. His Butler team has a 7-4 overall record and finished third in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, and Jones was named to the all-conference first team at defensive end.
Butler will conclude its season a week from Sunday in the Midwest Classic Bowl against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which has a 8-3 overall record and finished second in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
DE Peter Mpagi (Richmond George Ranch)
George Ranch finished 4-6 and did not qualify for the Class 6A playoffs.
DE T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville)
Last week: Team beat Nacogdoches 57-7 in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 12:00, vs. Manvel (at Houston’s NRG Stadium) in the area round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs.
Notes: Huntsville suffered its only loss of the season so far in a 20-7 defeat to College Station on September 14. Since then, no team has scored more than 7 points against the Hornets, and they have outscored their last eight opponents 392-35.
Last week, Huntsville steamrolled Nacogdoches 57-7 to get the program’s first playoff win since 2009, and the 57 points scored broke the school’s record for scoring in a playoff game. The Hornets gained over 520 total yards on the night, scoring five first half TDs en route to building a 37-7 halftime lead.
Huntsville improved to 10-1 for the season, achieving double-digit wins for the first time since 1990, which was also the season in which the Hornets advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs. In order to do so this season, they will have to defeat perennial power Manvel on Friday afternoon at NRG Stadium.
Manvel is 9-2 this season, with a 49-47 loss to Crosby on September 7, and a 52-51 overtime loss to state-ranked Fort Bend Marshall on September 21. The Mavericks advanced to the second round with a 62-42 win over Barbers Hill last week. Manvel reached the 5A Division I state championship in 2017, but lost 53-49 to Highland Park in an instant classic finish. Manvel has reached at least the third round of the playoffs in eight straight seasons.
Manvel has averaged 58 points per game in 2018 and will have the most explosive offense Huntsville has faced this season. Senior QB Josh Coltrin has completed 67% of his passes and thrown for 25 TDs against just two interceptions, and the Mavericks’ ground game has been powered by senior RBs Ladarius Owens and Garrison Johnson, the latter a North Texas commit. Owens and Johnson have combined to gain over 2,200 yards from scrimmage and have scored 44 total touchdowns.
It has been over two years since the last time a team scored 30 or more points against Huntsville, while Manvel has scored 35 points or more in 19 straight games. The winner of the Huntsville-Manvel game will move on to the regional semifinals and face the winner of Marshall and Nederland.
DE Myron Warren (Many, Louisiana)
Last week: Team beat Rayville 53-32 in the second round of the LHSAA Class 2A playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 vs. Vidalia in the third round of the LHSAA Class 2A playoffs.
Notes: This is Myron Warren’s first appearance in these posts, as the three-star Louisiana defensive end committed to Texas on Monday. His senior season has yet to end, and his Many Tigers will play in the third round of Louisiana’s 2A playoffs this week.
For comparison, schools in Louisiana’s Class 2A have an enrollment equivalent to that of 3A schools in Texas. Many is 12-1 on the season, with its only loss a 20-7 defeat to 4A school North DeSoto on September 14. Many has outscored its 2018 opponents by an average of 35 points per game, and was ranked fifth in Class 2A in the final Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll.
Public and private schools have separate playoff brackets in Louisiana, and in the public school brackets the teams are seeded 1-32. Since six of the top ten ranked 2A teams are from private schools, Many actually entered the 2A playoffs as the #1 seed, as most of the 2A teams ranked ahead of them by the LSWA are instead in the all-private school Division III playoffs.
Many dispatched with #32 seed Ville Platte 76-0 in the first round, then eliminated #16 seed Rayville last week. This week they face #8 seed Vidalia. Vidalia is 9-3 this season and has nine wins for a second straight season after the program won just eight games total between 2011 and 2016.
The last time Many went into the playoffs as the top overall seed it won the 2A state championship in 2014. The Tigers reached the state semifinals in each of the past two seasons.
LB De’Gabriel Floyd (Westlake - Westlake Village, California)
Westlake lost to Los Alamitos on November 2 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
LB David Gbenda (Katy Cinco Ranch)
Cinco Ranch finished 3-7 and did not qualify for the Class 6A playoffs.
LB Marcus Tillman (Jones - Orlando, Florida)
Last week: Team lost to Cardinal Gibbons 30-27 in the regional semifinal round of the FHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
Notes: Marcus Tillman’s Jones team faced Cardinal Gibbons last week in a Class 5A second round playoff game. Jones was hoping to not only avenge a playoff defeat to Cardinal Gibbons in the 2017 playoffs, but also to advance to the third round for the first time in school history. Ultimately its season was ended by a pair of unsuccessful field goal attempts.
The game started out very primisingly for Jones, as junior running back Avarius Sparrow had two long TD runs to put the Fightin’ Tigers ahead 14-0 mid-way through the 1st quarter. Sparrow had 147 rushing yards in the 1st quarter, but gained just 24 in the rest of the game.
Jones led 14-10 late in the 2nd quarter and attempted a field goal that would have put them ahead 17-10, but Cardinal Gibbons blocked the kick and returned it for a 62-yard TD and took a 17-14 lead into the second half, and Jones never led again. Trailing 30-21 late in the 4th quarter, Jones scored a TD to cut the deficit to 30-27. Jones recovered the ensuing onside kick and almost advanced to the red zone, but a 36-yard field goal attempt was no good.
Jones finished its season 10-2 overall.
DB Chris Adimora (Mayfair - Lakewood, California)
Team lost to Oxnard Pacifica on November 10 in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs.
DB Marques Caldwell (Alvin)
Alvin finished 0-10 and did not qualify for the Class 6A playoffs.
DB Tyler Owens (Plano East)
Last week: Team lost to Sachse 35-25 in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
Notes: Plano East beat Sachse 29-7 on September 14, and the teams had a re-match in the first round of the playoffs last week. Things didn’t work out as well for the Panthers the second time around.
Plano East trailed 14-13 going into the 4th quarter, then the teams combined for 33 points in the final frame. Plano East’s senior QB Brandon Mallory, who had a hand in all four of the team’s touchdowns in the game and who finished his senior season with 43 total TDs, scored on a 38-yard run two minutes into the 4th quarter after having thrown a pick-six earlier in the quarter, and Sachse led 21-19 with 10:01 left in regulation.
Sachse expanded its lead to 28-19 on a four-play drive that ended with an 8-yard TD run with 8:47 left. On its ensuing possession, Plano East drove to the Sachse 42-yard line but ultimately turned the ball over on downs. Sachse, which attempted three times as many runs as passes in the game, kept the ball on the ground after taking possession, using seven runs to move 46 yards down the field and score a TD to take a 35-19 lead with 2:58 left.
Plano East scored with 1:26 left in regulation but an attempted two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Panthers with a 35-25 point deficit. Plano East ended its season with an overall record of 8-3 and had its best win total since 2006.
DB Kenyatta Watson (Grayson - Loganville, Georgia)
Last week: Made 4 tackles in a 37-17 win over Norcross in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAAAAA playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 7:30, vs. Lowndes in the third round of the GHSA Class AAAAAAA playoffs.
Notes: Third-ranked Grayson struggled early on against a 7-4 Norcross team in their second round playoff game last week, trailing 10-9 at halftime. In the second half, the Rams pulled away, scoring 3rd quarter TDs on a pick-six, fumble return, and a botched Norcross field goal attempt.
Grayson led 30-10 going into the 4th quarter. Norcross scored eight seconds into the 4th quarter to get within 30-17. Nine minutes later, Grayson scored again to put the game out of reach. The Rams improved to 10-2 for the season and advanced to the third round of the playoffs. The 17 points scored by Norcross was the most Grayson has allowed since its 26-14 loss to top-ranked Colquitt County on September 21.
Grayson will face 9-3 Lowndes in the third round, a team that lost 40-6 to Colquitt County in its regular season finale. Lowndes advanced to the third round with a 24-0 win last week over tenth-ranked Atlanta Westlake, a team Grayson beat 21-16 back on September 14.
The winner between Grayson and Lowndes will move on to the Class AAAAAAA state semifinals and play the winner between fourth-ranked Hillgrove and ninth-ranked Milton.
ATH Peyton Powell (Odessa Permian)
Last week: Completed 6 of 7 passes for 105 yards and one TD in a 42-0 win over El Paso Coronado in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 23 at 3:00, vs. Arlington Lamar (at Abilene’s Wildcat Stadium) in the area round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
Notes: Permian rolled to an easy win in the first round of the playoffs last week in its 26th all-time meeting with El Paso Coronado. The Panthers held Coronado to 100 total yards, while three Permian players threw TD passes and ten different players had at least one carry.
Permian led 35-0 at halftime and shut out Coronado to record the program’s first postseason shutout since 1994. In the second round they will take on 10-1 Arlington Lamar, which advanced with a 55-14 first round win over San Angelo Central. Permian played Lamar in the playoffs four times between 1977 and 1991, winning each time and never allowing Lamar to score more than 10 points.
The Panthers will have to work hard to duplicate those efforts on Friday afternoon, as Lamar has averaged 49 points per game this season and won its first nine games before losing 42-31 to fellow unbeaten team Arlington in its regular season finale. Lamar has reached double-digits in wins for just the second time since 2004.
Lamar’s junior QB Jack Dawson has thrown for 34 TDs and 6 interceptions this season, while senior running back Jordan Williams has averaged over nine yards per carry and has over 1,700 yards from scrimmage and 22 total touchdowns.
The Permian-Lamar winner will play either Lewisville or fifth-ranked Duncanville in the regional semifinals.