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Texas football commits in action, Sept. 28

A few UT commits have byes this week, but three will play ranked opponents tonight.

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2019 safety Tyler Owens (Plano East), who committed to Texas earlier this week.

Last week saw heavy rains sweep across the state of Texas, delaying some games and resulting in many getting moved up a day to Thursday. The forecast is much more clear today, and this will be the first time this fall that all Texas Longhorn football commits will have their teams play on the same day, aside from those that have a bye. No Thursday or Saturday games are on this week’s schedule; it’s Friday Night Lights for everybody!

For the second straight week, the Longhorns’ #fUTure19 class gained a commit, as Plano East safety Tyler Owens brings the class up to 17 members. Things worked out pretty well the last two times Texas gained a commitment from a Plano East football athlete (offensive lineman Justin Blalock in the class of 2002, and linebacker Keenan Robinson in the class of 2007). No pressure, Mr. Owens!

Here’s the full schedule for tonight’s game for UT’s commits, and as always, the game times listed are the local times for those particular game sites.


2020 QB Hudson Card (Lake Travis)

Last week: Completed 15 of 20 passes for 166 yards and 4 TDs, and had 3 carries for 37 yards and 1 TD in a 51-13 win over Austin Akins.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, at Austin High
Notes: Hudson Card had another efficient game in only about one half of playing time and he accounted for as many total touchdowns as incomplete passes in Lake Travis’s 51-13 win over Akins. Lake Travis scored on every first half possession, and Akins’s only score of the half was answered with a 93-yard kickoff return TD by Ohio State wide receiver commit Garrett Wilson, who also had two receiving TDs. Lake Travis led 51-7 at halftime.

The Cavaliers are 3-0 for the season and 1-0 in district play. Hudson Card has officially tossed 11 TD passes and has yet to be intercepted. For the second straight week Lake Travis will play an opponent that is coming off a drubbing at the hands of Austin Westlake. Akins lost to Westlake 67-0 the week before their 38-point defeat to Lake Travis, and this week’s opponent, Austin High, lost to Westlake last week by a score of 57-0. The four most recent Lake Travis-Austin games (played from 2012 to 2015) all ended in Cavalier wins and had a combined score of 197-25.

Austin’s offense includes 2019 tight end Ben Koch, an Army commit who has 24 receptions for 283 yards and a team-leading 5 TDs through the Maroons’ first four games.

QB Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, at Baytown Lee
Notes: Roschon Johnson suffered a sprained ankle in PN-G’s loss to Huntsville three weeks ago and sat out the team’s most recent game two weeks ago, a 31-21 loss to Tomball. PN-G is coming off its bye week and Johnson may return to the lineup for Friday’s district-opener against Baytown Lee. Lee began the 2013 season with a 2-1 record, then proceeded to win only two more games between that point and the end of the 2017(!) season.

The Lee Ganders are 2-1 in 2018 and have a record above .500 for the first time in five years. That likely won’t last long, especially if Johnson is ready to play tonight, as expected. PN-G has beaten Lee in each of the past four seasons by an average margin of 38.5 points.

RB Derrian Brown (Buford, Georgia)

Last week: Had 30 carries for 150 yards and one TD in a 48-24 loss to Lawrenceville (Georgia) Archer.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, vs. Gainesville (Georgia) Johnson
Notes: Derrian Brown and his Buford Wolves teammates went into last week as the #2 Class 5A team in Georgia, and in their final non-region game they took on Archer, ranked 5th in 7A and a team that had outscored its last three opponents by a combined 130-17.

Buford hung tough with its larger opponent last Friday, as the Wolves led Archer 17-13 at halftime and held a 24-20 lead following a TD run with 5:54 left in the 3rd quarter. But Archer outscored them 28-0 over the game’s final 17 minutes to take the lead and gradually pull away. Per Gwinnett Prep Sports, Brown got off to a slow start in his first game as a Longhorn commit, gaining just 26 yards on his first dozen carries, but he had more success later. Late in the first half Brown scored on a 10-yard run to give Buford a 17-13 lead with 0:40 left before halftime. Mid-way through the 3rd quarter he broke off a 50-yard run on 3rd-and-14 that helped set up the TD that gave Buford what would be its final lead of the game. He has rushed for 150 or more yards in each of Buford’s first five games of the 2018 season.

Buford fell to 3-2 on the season, but despite last week’s loss the Wolves dropped just one spot to #3 in this week’s Georgia Sports Writers Association poll for Class 5A. They will play their first Region 8 (Georgia equivalent of district) game this week against a resurgent Johnson team that entered the current season on a 24-game losing streak but has a 4-1 record through five games. The Johnson Knights went 6-44 over their previous five seasons (2013-2017), and 2018 is already their most successful season in terms of wins since 2012. Buford beat Johnson in both of the past two seasons by a combined score of 118-0.

WR De’Mariyon Houston (Oklahoma City Millwood)

Last week: Team defeated Oklahoma City Crooked Oak 62-0.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Norman Community Christian
Notes: I have not found a published recap from last week’s Millwood-Crooked Oak game, but the score indicates that it was a blowout and went to a running clock for most, if not all, of the second half. Since winning 30-20 in its season-opener over Oklahoma City Heritage Hall (the current #2 team in Class 3A), Millwood has beaten its three subsequent opponents by a combined score of 156-7.

Millwood’s next opponent is Norman Community Christian, a team it apparently has never faced, and against whom I suspect they can name their score on Friday night. Community Christian is a private school that previously competed against other private or home school teams in the Oklahoma Christian Schools Athletic Association (since renamed the Heartland Christian Athletic Association) and still played 8-man football as recently as the 2011 season. The school moved to 11-man football competition starting with the 2012 season and joined the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (that state’s equivalent to the UIL) starting with the 2014-15 school year. The Royals were winless in 2017 but are 3-1 so far in 2018.

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

Last week: Caught six passes for 160 yards and 4 TDs, had 4 carries for 18 yards and one TD, and scored on a pair of two-point conversion runs in a 58-14 win over Cactus Shadows.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Tempe McClintock
Notes: After last week’s performance against Cactus Shadows, Jake Smith is averaging 25 points per game by himself. Through the first six games of his senior season he has scored 24 total TDs and three times on two-point conversion attempts, good for 150 total points.

Against Cactus Shadows, Smith reached the end zone on five of his ten offensive touches and gained 178 yards from scrimmage. He’s good at football. He received his jersey earlier this week for January’s Under Armor All-American game in a ceremony at his school.

Notre Dame Prep is 6-0 for the season and 2-0 in Northwest Valley section play. The Arizona Republic ranks Notre Dame fifth in Class 5A this week. None of its four remaining regular season opponents are currently ranked, so it may not get much of a challenge until the playoffs begin in November. On Friday the Saints will host 3-3 McClintock, a team coming off a 24-0 loss to Desert Mountain, who Notre Dame defeated 34-28 two weeks ago. The teams last played each other in 2012, a game Notre Dame won 42-7.

WR Jordan Whittington (Cuero)

Last week: Did not play in a 48-15 win over Gonzales
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, at Wharton
Notes: Whittingham still has yet to play his first game of the 2018 season, due to injuries that have plagued him since the spring. In his absence last week, Cuero scored on its first six possessions and won in dominating fashion over Gonzales on Homecoming night. Senior running back Keiran Grant, an Army commit, was named Homecoming King and rushed for 130 yards and 3 TDs in helping Cuero improve to 3-1 for the season.

Because they’re in a six-team district, Cuero has an unusually long five-game non-district schedule, and the Gobblers will play the last of those five games on Friday against 2-2 Wharton. The two schools have one common opponent this year: El Campo, who Wharton beat 27-21 last week, and who Cuero defeated 34-20 the week before that.

Cuero and Wharton have had an interesting recent history in football. The schools played each other four times between 2004 and 2013, with each game being decided by a single point. In the four games they’ve played since then, each result had a larger final margin than the one before, with Cuero winning 33-20 in 2014, Wharton returning the favor by a score of 35-13 in 2015, and Cuero winning the last two matchups by scores of 34-7 (2016) and 68-8 (2017).

In three career games against Wharton, Jordan Whittington has compiled 431 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns, and it was against Wharton that he scored his very first varsity touhdown as a freshman in 2015. No word on whether he will make his first appearance of the season on Friday but it wouldn’t be surprising if he sat this game out, even if he were reasonably healthy. After playing Wharton on Friday, Cuero has a bye next week before playing its first district game on October 12.

TE Brayden Liebrock (Chandler, Arizona)

Last week: Caught 4 passes for 50 yards in a 48-13 win over Desert Ridge.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Gilbert (Arizona) Perry
Notes: After totaling 9 receptions for 63 yards in Chandler’s first three games of the season, Brayden Liebrock has caught 10 passes for 109 yards and one TD in his last two games. Coming off a bye week, Chandler had no problem dispatching Desert Ridge last week, forcing three turnovers and limiting Desert Ridge to 190 offensive yards en route to a 48-13 win.

Chandler plays its first Premier Section game on Friday against 5-1 Perry, a team that has averaged 53 points and 558 total yards per game so far this season, and has scored 66 or more points in each of its last three games. Chandler is the top-ranked team in 6A (Arizona’s highest classification), according to the Arizona Republic, while Perry is ranked 3rd, with its only loss being a 59-33 defeat in its first game of the season against current 6A #2 Phoenix Pinnacle.

TE Jared Wiley (Temple)

Last week: Completed 7 of 15 passes for 132 yards and 2 TDs in a 42-6 win over Killeen Shoemaker.
This week: Bye
Notes: There was some rain that fell in Killeen during Temple’s 42-6 win over Shoemaker last week, and Jared Wiley had a season-low with 15 pass attempts in parts of three quarters of playing time, but each completed pass netted an average gain of nearly 19 yards, and two of his seven completions resulted in touchdowns. The 42 points scored by Temple was a season-low, and unlike in its past two games its starters were still on the field at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, as they held merely a 28-0 lead at halftime, but they gave way to their reserves after adding two more touchdowns to their total. Temple’s defense (along with several dropped passes) kept Shoemaker off the scoreboard until it scored a TD with 4:26 left in regulation.

Temple is 4-0 for the season, its first year to be aligned in the UIL’s highest classification (6A) since the 2013-14 school year (the year before the creation of Class 6A). The Wildcats were listed in the rankings of at least one AP voter in this week’s Class 6A poll but not enough to be ranked in the top ten, while Dave Campbell’s Texas Football (which ranks the top 25 teams in 6A) has Temple at #14.

The Wildcats have a bye this week and will next play nearby rival Belton on October 5th.

OL Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge)

Last week: Team lost 37-16 to Klein Collins.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Klein Forest
Notes: After being blown out 52-0 by The Woodlands on September 14, the Oak Ridge War Eagles tried to get their record back to .500 last week against a highly-regarded Klein Collins team. Oak Ridge led 10-6 at halftime, but Collins scored the game’s next 24 points and pulled away in the second half. Collins took its first lead at 16-10 with 4:51 left in the 3rd quarter, and by the time Oak Ridge scored again with 8:31 left in regulation, it only pulled them to within 30-16. Texas A&M running back commit Isaiah Spiller had 154 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns for Collins.

Oak Ridge is 1-3 for the season and has started district play in a 0-2 hole. This week the War Eagles will face the 1-2 Klein Forest Golden Eagles, a team coming off its bye week and which lost 28-10 to Klein Collins in its last game. Oak Ridge has beaten Forest in each of the last four seasons by an average margin of 21 points. Forest been a very mediocre team of late and has won just 11 games since the start of the 2012 season.

OL Javonne Shepherd (Houston North Forest)

Last week: Team lost to Freeport Brazosport 54-19.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Houston Wheatley
Notes: There’s been very little drama on the field during North Forest’s season thus far. After losing by one point in its season-opener, each of its next three games were decided by 35 points or more, most recently its 54-19 loss to Brazosport last week. Off the field there has been some recent drama.

There were reports on various UT sites and message boards last week that Javonne Shepherd had been suspended or otherwise dismissed from his team, and he almost certainly did not play in last week’s game. On Wednesday, Super K at The Football Brainiacs reported, “Javonne Shepherd let me know that he is back with his team at North Forest and is expected to play in the next game.” I have no more insight into the situation than that, so that’s as much as I want to say about it.

North Forest’s next game will be its first in District 12-4A Division I play and comes against a 2-1 Houston Wheatley team that owns a 51-point win over 5A Division II school Houston Sharpstown, but also a 15-point loss to 3A Division II school Van Vleck, which has barely 13 the enrollment of Wheatley. North Forest and Wheatley were also district opponents in the previous two seasons, and North Forest won both of their contests by a combined score of 108-33.

DE Peter Mpagi (Richmond George Ranch)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at Clute Brazoswood
Notes: George Ranch had its bye last week and will play its first district game on Friday against a winless Brazoswood team. The schools were also district opponents in the previous two seasons, and George Ranch won both matchups with Brazoswood by a combined score of 72-13.

Brazoswood has had some periods of sustained football success in its history (most notably a 4A state title in 1974) mixed in with some long playoff droughts, and the program has not reached the postseason since 2012 or won a playoff game since 2009. If nothing else, it has been among the most stable football programs in the state, with just five head coaches since its first varsity season in 1970 (this writer’s alma mater has had 15 head coaches during that same period). Dean DeAtley, currently in his 18th season at the helm, is now the longest-tenured head football coach in the school’s history.

DE T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville)

Last week: Bye
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, at College Station A&M Consolidated
Notes: Huntsville is 2-1 and coming off of its bye week. After having lost to defending 5A Division II state champion College Station two weeks ago, the Hornets will next play another state-ranked foe and College Station ISD’s other high school: A&M Consolidated.

Consol, as the school is often called for short, is 3-0 and ranked 8th in this week’s AP poll for Class 5A. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, which gives separate rankings for Class 5A’s two divisions, ranks Consol 3rd and Huntsville 9th in 5A Division II. The Consol Tigers outscored their first three opponents (two of which were 6A schools) by a combined score of 110-16. Huntsville and Consol were previously district foes in the 2014-2015 seasons and played a pair of close games; Consol won both of them by a combined margin of four points.

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

Last week: Team lost to Simi Valley Grace Brethren 24-6.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, vs. Calabasas
Notes: De’Gabriel Floyd’s Westlake team was held to six points and struggled to get the Grace Brethren offense off the field in last week’s 24-6 loss. It was reportedly Westlake’s lowest-scoring game since a 2011 shutout loss.

Grace Brethren led 10-0 late in the 2nd quarter, and Westlake came very close to scoring a 57-yard Hail Mary TD on the final play of the first half when one of its receivers caught a deflected pass, but he was tripped up by a Grace Brethren defensive back and stopped at the one-yard line. After receiving the second half kickoff, Grace Brethren ate over seven minutes off the clock on a 14-play drive that was capped off by a 10-yard TD run to give them a 17-0 lead. Westlake’s side of the scoreboard remained at zero until a TD pass with 2:21 left in regulation, but they trailed 24-6 by that point.

The loss spoiled Westlake’s previously undefeated record, and dropped the Warriors from #3 to #7 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll. They begin Marmonte League play this week with a game versus 4-1 Calabasas, this week’s 4th-ranked team in Division 2 of the CIF Southern Section. Westlake and Calabasas are only about 14 miles apart and have been semi-regular opponents for each other in recent years. Westlake won at least eight straight games against Calabasas before losing to them in both of the past two seasons by a combined margin of 98-30.

LB Marcus Tillman (Jones - Orlando, Florida)

Last week: Team defeated Ocala Forest 60-0.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, at Orlando Bishop Moore
Notes: Jones led 41-0 in the 1st quarter of last week’s win over Forest, and 48-0 at halftime.

Jones is 3-1 and moved up one spot this week to #6 in the AP poll for Class 5A. This week the Fightin’ Tigers will play Bishop Moore in their first district contest of the season. Jones in in a four-team district and has a somewhat odd upcoming schedule that will see its remaining two district games sandwiched between non-district games. Jones defeated Bishop Moore 37-7 when the teams played a year ago, breaking a three-game losing streak against that school that had begun in 2009. Bishop Moore finished 8-3 last season and reached the second round of the 5A playoffs before losing 56-27 to eventual state champion American Heritage.

DB Chris Adimora (Mayfair - Lakewood, California)

Last week: Caught a TD pass in a 35-22 win over Gahr.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:00, at La Canada (California) St. Francis
Notes: Adimora caught another TD pass - at least his fourth of the season - in last week’s win over Gahr. His score provided Mayfair its first points of the game almost midway through the 1st quarter to give Mayfair an early 7-0 lead.

Mayfair improved to 5-1 and is the fifth-ranked Division 6 team in the CIF’s Southern Section. This week the Monsoons will face 3-2 St. Francis, a Division 2 team. Mayfair and St. Francis have not faced each other since 2014, when their current seniors were in 8th grade. If Adimora needs a scouting report on St. Francis he could call up his fellow Longhorn commit De’Gabriel Floyd, whose Westlake team beat St. Francis three weeks ago 35-21.

DB Marques Caldwell (Alvin)

Last week: Team lost to Katy Mayde Creek 73-7.
This week: Bye
Notes: Ouch! For a second straight week, Alvin lost a non-district game in laughably lopsided fashion to an opponent from Katy ISD, falling 73-7 to Mayde Creek. Alvin has been outscored 143-14 in its last two games.

Alvin is now 0-4 for the first time since the 2008 season, when the Yellowjackets lost their first five games and finished with a 2-7 record. Their bye week thus comes at a great time, which may allow them to lick their wounds (or repair their nest?) and be prepared for district play, which for them begins next week.

DB Tyler Owens (Plano East)

Last week: Team defeated McKinney Boyd 42-21.
This week: Friday, September 28 at 7:30, vs. Prosper
Notes: Owens committed to Texas earlier this week, becoming the fourth defensive back commit and 17th member overall in the #fUTure19 class.

Owens’s Plano East team has started off the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2015 season, though it should be noted that those four wins came against teams that currently sport a combined record of 4-13. The Dallas Morning News published an article this week on Plano East and its hot start.

Plano East beat McKinney Boyd last week in its first district game of the season, and this week will face fellow undefeated squad Prosper, a team it has almost certainly never played before. Plano East is and for several years has been one of the four largest high schools in the state, with over 5,300 students as of the most recent U.I.L. realignment.

Prosper, by contrast, is in its first year in Class 6A and serves a rapidly-growing community 35 miles north of Dallas that has more than doubled in population since the 2010 census. Prosper won the Class 3A Division I state championship in 2008 and still competed at that level (now 4A) as recently as the 2011-12 school year. At the time of the U.I.L.’s 2016 realignment Prosper High School’s enrollment had grown to 2,110, making it one of the ten largest schools in 5A. By the time of the 2018 realignment two years later, Prosper’s listed enrollment had ballooned to 2,975.

DB Kenyatta Watson (Grayson - Loganville, Georgia)

Last week: Made 2 tackles in a 26-14 loss to Colquitt County.
This week: Bye
Notes: Last week’s Colquitt County-Grayson game was a matchup between Georgia’s #1 and #3 teams in 7A. Grayson led 14-10 at halftime and did not allow an offensive touchdown in the first half, but Colquitt County scored 16 unanswered points in the second half to come away with the win, despite missing its top offensive lineman due to injury.

The loss dropped Grayson’s record to 3-2 for the season, and the Rams fell one spot to #4 in this week’s Georgia Sports Writers Association poll for Class 7A. They will have a bye this week before beginning Region 8 play next week.