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Texas football commits in action, Nov. 7-9

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It’s the final week of the Texas high school football regular season, and the teams of most UT commits have secured playoff spots.

Sherman safety Gage Smith prays with West Mesquite running back and Texas commit Ty Jordan (left) following their teams’ Nov. 1 game in a picture that was widely circulated on social media.
Takka Jordan (@Takka_Jordan)

This will be the final week in the regular season for Texas high school football, and the playoffs are set to begin next week. Out of the 26 recruits from the 2020 and 2021 classes currently committed to the Texas Longhorns, 21 play for teams that are assured of playing in the postseason, 2 more will be in the playoffs with a win, and 2 need to win and get some help from other district opponents losing. Remarkably, only one commit’s team has already been eliminated from playoff consideration going into the Week 11 schedule.

In the five years I’ve been doing these weekly posts at BON during the high school football season I cannot remember an instance in which such a high percentage of UT’s commits went into the last week of the regular season knowing it was not a given that they’d be turning in their equipment the following week.

I’ll have the breakdown on each commit’s postseason standing, and in a few cases it is already known who their team’s first round opponent will be. The postseason aspirations of 2021 offensive lineman Hayden Conner’s Katy Taylor team could come down to a point differential tiebreaker, and 2020 running back Ty Jordan’s West Mesquite team will only reach the playoffs with some help from fellow commit Kitan Crawford and his Tyler John Tyler team on Friday. I’ll have full details on those scenarios below.

Some teams whose playoff positioning will not be at stake this week will be playing their regular season finale at home and will have pre-game ceremonies to recognize their seniors, and that will be a very meaningful moment for some athletes mentioned below.

Included in that list is newly-minted Longhorn commit Dajon Harrison of Hutto, who announced his commitment to UT on Tuesday night and will play both his first game as a Texas commit and his final home game as a Hutto Hippo on Friday night.

In Dallas, two Longhorn commits will face off when Prince Dorbah’s Highland Park team hosts Jaden Hullaby’s Mansfield Timberview team in a game that will decide their district’s top playoff seedings. Depending on this week’s results, the first round of the playoffs next week could feature another game with opposing UT commits.

The program’s two out-of-state commits, running back Bijan Robinson (Salpointe Catholic - Tucson, Arizona) and defensive end Van Fillinger (Corner Canyon - Draper, Utah) are both in their state’s playoffs; Robinson’s team will play its first round game next week, while Fillinger’s squad is already in the quarterfinals and will play on Friday.

As I’ve documented in years past, in every Texas high school football season since 1996 at least one state championship-winning team has had a future Texas Longhorn on its roster, and there’s a very good chance that streak continues in 2019, as two commits play for teams ranked in the top ten in Class 6A, and five teams ranked in 5A Division I have Longhorn pledges. And aside from those there are uncommitted recruits with Texas offers from the 2021 class who play for highly-ranked teams from 6A to 4A.

So sit back and enjoy some analysis, playoff prognostication, SAT words, and 80s pop-rock references. As always, the game times listed are for their location’s local time zone.

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2020 QB Hudson Card (Lake Travis) - injured
2021 TE Lake McRee (Lake Travis) - injured, out for season

Last week: Team beat Buda Hays 59-27
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, at Austin Anderson
Notes: For a second straight week it was “No Hudson Card, no problem” for the Lake Travis Cavaliers, as junior QB Nate Yarnell led them to an easy win over Buda Hays last week to clinch the championship of District 25-6A.

Lake Travis will finish out the regular season on Friday night against Anderson, which is 6-3 overall and 4-3 in district play, and last week was beaten 49-7 by Austin Westlake. Anderson is currently tied with Bowie (who it lost to earlier in the season) for 4th place in the district and needs an upset win over Lake Travis to have any hope of reaching the postseason. Lake Travis beat Anderson 56-14 last season.

Lake Travis is 8-1 overall and 7-0 in district play, and is currently ranked #12 in Class 6A. The Cavaliers will have their district’s top seed in the 6A Division I playoff bracket. Their first round opponent has yet to be determined but Smithson Valley will be District 26-6A’s runner-up seed in the 6A Division I bracket with either a win over New Braunfels on Friday or a Cibolo Steele win over San Antonio East Central. East Central would be Lake Travis’s first round foe if it beats Steele and Smithson Valley loses to New Braunfels.

Based on the original 4-6 week time period that Hudson Card was expected to miss when his foot injury was reported three weeks ago, the very earliest he could return will likely be the first or second round of the playoffs, though the Cavaliers could probably stroll through the first three rounds with Yarnell under center without much of a problem.

2020 QB Ja’Quinden Jackson (Duncanville)

Last week: Completed 8 of 10 passes for 96 yards and 2 TDs, and had 4 carries for 143 yards, 1 TD, and 1 lost fumble in a 59-0 win over Richardson.
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00, vs. Dallas Molina
Notes: Jackson only played in the first half, as Duncanville’s first six scoring drives took 4 plays or less and the Panthers led 42-0 at halftime.

Jackson’s first carry of the night went for a 47-yard TD that opened the game’s scoring just under one minute into the 1st quarter. His three subsequent carries went for 17 yards (with a lost fumble at the end), 19 yards, and 60 yards. The latter two set up short TD runs on the following play.

The trio of Jackson and senior running backs Camaron Gray and Trysten Smith (a Central Arkansas commit) had 22 combined carries for 425 yards and 5 TDs, while Duncanville’s defense held Richardson to 90 total yards. Duncanville’s average starting field position on its first half possessions was right at midfield, which is not how you beat the #3 team in the nation.

The Panthers are 9-0 overall and 6-0 in district play and have clinched the championship of District 8-6A. They maintain their hold on the #1 ranking in Class 6A and will conclude their regular season schedule at home tonight against 1-8 Molina, which has been outscored in district by a combined score of 309-17. I expect Jackson and the rest of the Panther starters will barely play in this game and that there will be a lot of snaps for seniors who play in backup roles.

Duncanville will be in the Class 6A Division I playoff bracket and its first round opponent next week will be South Grand Prairie, which goes into the final week of the regular season with a 4-5 overall record.

2021 QB Jalen Milroe (Katy Tompkins)

Last week: Completed 7 or 9 passes for 81 yards and 1 TD, and had 6 carries for 14 yards and 1 TD in a 58-0 win over Katy Cinco Ranch.
This week: Bye
Notes: Jalen Milroe and his Tompkins teammates finished off their regular season last week with an easy 58-0 victory over winless Cinco Ranch. The Tompkins Falcons have a bye for the final week of the regular season and will go into the 6A Division I playoffs sporting a 9-1 overall record and as the runner-up out of District 19-6A. The penultimate regular season rankings have Tompkins as the #20 team in Class 6A.

Tompkins outscored its regular season opponents by an average of just under 34 points per game, and its only loss came at the hands of district champion Katy, the #2 team in 6A. Milroe finished the regular season of his junior year having completed two-thirds of his passes for 1,991 yards and 23 TDs against just 2 INTs, and he added 48 carries for 267 yards and 5 TDs on the ground.

Regardless of the outcome in this week’s games Tompkins will open the playoffs against Fort Bend Travis, which is 9-0 and has already clinched the championship of District 20-6A. Next week’s bi-district playoff game will be the first-ever meeting between Tompkins and Travis, whose campuses are just 10 miles apart.

2020 RB Ty Jordan (West Mesquite)

Last week: Had 8 carries for 36 yards, and caught 3 catches for 10 yards in a 56-27 loss to Sherman.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, at Texarkana Texas
Notes: Ty Jordan had his second straight quiet offensive performance last week against Sherman, gaining 46 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches. His longest carry of the night gained 9 yards and came in the 4th quarter with his team trailing by 29 points.

The game was tied 14-14 at the end of the 1st quarter, but Sherman scored the game’s next 35 points and lead 49-14 with 4:31 left in the 3rd quarter. West Mesquite scored twice in the final minutes of the 3rd quarter to cut the deficit to 21, but got no closer than that. In West Mesquite’s last two games Jordan has had 28 offensive touches and gained just 71 yards.

It’s been a tough stretch for Jordan, whose mother has been battling cancer since December of last year and recently lost her job “due to [her] constant demand for medical treatment and frequent hospital stays.” A GoFundMe has been set up to help support Tiffany Jordan, and post-game pictures from last week showing Sherman senior safety Gage Smith kneeling and praying with Ty Jordan (who he had played with on a select 7-on-7 team) were widely shared on social media after Jordan’s aunt posted them to her Facebook and Twitter pages.

The loss to Sherman dropped the Wranglers to 2-7 for the season, and with a 2-3 record in district play they are tied with Sherman and Texarkana Texas for fourth place in District 7-5A Division I. West Mesquite can still make the playoffs but will need help. First, it must beat Texas High on Friday night, then Ty Jordan will need fellow Longhorn commit Kitan Crawford and his teammates at Tyler John Tyler to do the Wranglers a solid and beat Sherman that same night. Those two game results would leave West Mesquite alone in 4th place in the district and give it the final playoff spot, though awaiting the Wranglers in the first round of the playoffs would be the team of another Longhorn commit, Jerrin Thompson’s Lufkin Panthers, the #5 team in 5A Division I.

Texas High is 5-4 this season and can reach the playoffs simply by beating West Mesquite. The Tigers missed the postseason in 2018 for the first time since 2000, and if West Mesquite beats them on Friday it will be the first time Texas has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1992-96. West Mesquite beat Texarkana Texas 49-21 last season.

2020 RB Bijan Robinson (Salpointe Catholic - Tucson, Arizona)

Last week: Had 5 carries for 87 yards in a 76-0 win over Vista Grande.
This week: no game, Open Division playoffs begin on Nov. 15
Notes: Robinson had season-lows in offensive touches, rushing yards and total TDs in last week’s blowout win over Vista Grande in his team’s regular season finale. But there was no need to feed him the ball much with the playoffs coming next and with Salpointe Catholic far outclassing their opponent. The Lancers led Vista Grande 49-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.

Robinson finished the regular season with 89 carries for 1,974 yards (22.2 yards/carry) and 36 TDs, 7 receptions for 165 yards and 2 TDs, and also a kickoff return TD. Against Vista Grande last week he scored one rushing TD, and it was the first game this season in which he did not reach the end zone at least four times.

He now has 111 total TDs in his career, putting him one shy of tying the state record held by Casey Jahn. As mentioned in previous posts, Jahn is also Arizona’s record-holder for career rushing yardage with 7,544. For a player of Robinson’s caliber and his demonstrated propensity for picking up loads of yards in limited carries and without playing a full four quarters, breaking that record is still within the realm of possibility, but the math makes that achievement more difficult now than it looked a few weeks ago; he’ll have to lead Salpointe Catholic to the Open Division championship while averaging 257 rushing yards per game, and getting to the Open Division final won’t be easy.

Salpointe Catholic finished the regular season 9-0 and as the second highest-rated team in Conference 4A behind six-time defending state champion Saguaro. The top eight teams from Conferences 6A through 4A will play for an Open Division title this season, and after being #2 in the Open Division ratings for much of the season Salpointe dropped to #4 in the end-of-season ratings. When the Open Division playoffs begin next week, the Lancers will face #5 seed Phoenix Pinnacle, the second highest-rated team in 6A, which went 8-2 in the regular season and whose only loss to an in-state opponent was a 28-21 loss to Scottsdale Chaparral, which nabbed the #8 seed in the Open Division.

2021 WR Quaydarius Davis (Dallas Skyline)

Last week: Had 3 catches for 74 yards and 1 TD in a 52-14 win over Richardson Berkner.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, at Richardson Pearce
Notes: After not recording a catch in Skyline’s blowout win over Dallas Molina two weeks ago, Quaydarius Davis had 3 receptions and a touchdown last week against Berkner.

Despite the final score being a 52-14 rout, the game was close in the first half and Skyline didn’t really put the game out of reach until the 4th quarter. Skyline led 14-0 going into the 2nd quarter, then answered Berkner’s first TD with another of its own to make the score 21-7 with 5:12 left in the 2nd quarter. Berkner cut the deficit to 21-14 with 3:14 left in the first half, then recovered the ensuing onside kick and had designs on evening the score before halftime, with its team due to receive the second half kickoff. Berkner got as close as Skyline’s 5-yard line but attempted a pass instead of a field goal on a 4th-and-2 play and turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass.

Taking over at their own 5, Skyline went three and out and left time on the clock with 2 incomplete passes, then punted the ball back to Berkner, which then fumbled the ball right back on the next play to give Skyline the ball at their own 44-yard line with mere seconds left on the clock. On the final play of the 2nd quarter Skyline QB Darryl Richardson tossed a screen pass to Davis on the left boundary side, who followed his blockers and avoided a pair of potential tacklers and ran untouched for a 56-yard TD as the 2nd quarter clock expired, giving Skyline a 28-14 halftime lead.

Skyline added 21 points in the second half, while Berkner’s subsequent possessions ended with four punts, an interception, and a missed field goal.

The win clinched Skyline’s 25th playoff berth in the span of 26 seasons. The Raiders are 6-3 overall and 5-1 in district play, and will conclude their regular season on Friday night against Pearce. Regardless of the outcome they will be District 8-6A’s runner-up seed in the 6A Division I playoff bracket and will face DeSoto in the first round next week.

2020 WR Dajon Harrison (Hutto)

Last week: Caught 4 passes for 39 yards, had 2 carries for 15 yards, and was credited with 3 tackles in a 42-20 win over Manor.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, vs. Leander Rouse
Notes: This is Dajon Harrison’s debut mention in these posts, as he announced his commitment to Texas on Tuesday. He could conceivably end up playing cornerback in college and one would be more than justified labeling him as an “athlete” recruit, but for now I’ll list him with the receiver commits. Last week he produced 54 offensive yards on 6 touches in a district win for Hutto over Manor and erstwhile Longhorn commit Princely Umanmielen.

The Hutto Hippos are 7-1 this season and 4-1 in district play, putting them alone in second place in District 11-5A Division I. They are ranked #10 in 5A Division I, and the only blemish on their record was a 20-16 loss three weeks ago to district foe and sixth-ranked Cedar Park. Hutto will play the last of its nine regular season games (a September game against Houston Lamar was canceled due to flooding) on Friday night against 1-8 Leander Rouse.

Rouse was formerly one of the top teams in the greater Austin area and advanced four rounds or further into the playoffs in 2012 and 2013, but the Raiders have finished with a winning record just once since then and are 8-22 since the start of the 2017 season. Hutto has won all three of its previous matchups with Rouse, including a 40-0 win last season.

Hutto should handle Rouse easily, but regardless of the outcome it will have the district’s runner-up seed in the 5A Division I playoffs and its opponent in next week’s bi-district round will be the loser of Friday night’s game between Seguin and Austin LBJ.

2020 WR Quentin Johnston (Temple)

Last week: Had 2 catches for 64 yards in a 52-28 loss to Waco Midway.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, vs. Copperas Cove
Notes: Temple committed 6 turnovers last week against Midway and dug itself into a 31-0 first half hole it was unable to climb out of.

Trailing 10-0 in the 1st quarter, Temple drove deep into Midway territory, but a fumble by senior running back Anthony Jackson was returned 89 yards for a Midway TD, and instead of a manageable 10-7 score the deficit became 17-0. The Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard late in the 2nd quarter but went into halftime trailing 31-7, and in the second half Midway matched Temple point-for-point to nix any idea of a comeback.

The loss left Temple at 7-2 for the season and tied with Midway with a 6-1 district record. Temple will finish the regular season Friday night against 3-6 Copperas Cove, which will miss the playoffs for only the third time in 21 seasons. Temple and Midway will be District 12-6A’s representatives in the 6A Division II playoff bracket, and unless Temple beats Copperas Cove and Midway is upset by 3-6 Belton (which needs a win to have a hope of making the playoffs) on Friday night, the Wildcats will draw a first round matchup with #4 Longview, the defending 6A Division II state champion.

2020 WR Troy Omeire (Fort Bend Austin)

Last week: Caught 3 passes for 54 yards and had 12 carries for 68 yards and 1 TD in a 21-14 win over Fort Bend Bush.
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 6:30, at Fort Bend Elkins
Notes: Troy Omeire played a big role in keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive in a 21-14 win over Bush last week. Austin led 14-0 four minutes into the 2nd quarter, but Bush scored to cut the deficit to 14-7 a minute later, and late in the 3rd quarter a pick-six by Bush tied the score at 14. Austin would get the ball last, and Omeire scored on a 1-yard TD run with 5 seconds left in regulation to put his team ahead 21-14 and give the Bulldogs a last-minute win.

Austin is now 3-6 overall and 3-3 in district play, tying it with Bush for fourth place in District 20-6A. Austin finishes the regular season tonight against 7-2 Elkins, which is alone in third place with a 4-2 league record. Austin will make the postseason either with a win or with losses by both Bush (to 9-0 Fort Bend Travis) and Kempner (to 1-8 Clements). Austin would not reach the playoffs in any other scenario. If Austin and Bush both lose while Kempner wins, those three teams would all be tied for fourth place at 3-4 in district, and I believe Bush would be the team that gets the final playoff spot by virtue of the point differential tiebreaker.

If Austin reaches the postseason it will be just the school’s fifth all-time playoff appearance in 24 varsity football seasons, and its first since 2013.

2021 OL Hayden Conner (Katy Taylor)

Last week: Bye
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 6:00, at Katy
Notes: Taylor is coming off its bye, and going into the final week of the season the Mustangs are 5-4 overall and 3-2 in district play, tying them with Mayde Creek for third place in District 19-6A. They will conclude the regular season tonight with a game against the state’s #2 team, Katy.

Taylor will make the playoffs with either an upset win over Katy or a win by Mayde Creek over Morton Ranch. If Taylor loses and Morton Ranch beats Mayde Creek, those three teams would be in a three-way tie for third with matching 3-3 district records, and the district’s final two playoff spots would come down to point differentials between them.

Earlier in the season Taylor lost to Mayde Creek by 4 points and beat Morton Ranch by 3, so if the season ends in a three-way tie for third place I believe Taylor would get into the playoffs as long as Morton Ranch beats Mayde Creek either by 1 or 2 points, or by 6 or more points. I think a 3-5 point win by Morton Ranch would result in that team and Mayde Creek getting playoff berths and Taylor being left out, though the Katy Times suggests that a Morton Ranch win by 3 points or less would give it and Mayde Creek the final two spots, while a Morton Ranch win by 4 or more would send it and Taylor to the postseason.

If Taylor does make the playoffs it will be the Mustangs’ fourth straight postseason appearance, which would set a new school record. They would be one of their district’s two representatives in the 6A Division II bracket. Their best bet is qualifying via a Mayde Creek win over Morton Ranch, because Taylor’s last 10 matchups with Katy have all been losses and had a cumulative score of 429-55.

2020 OL Jaylen Garth (Port Neches-Groves) - injured, out for season

Last week: Team lost to Mt. Belvieu Barbers Hill 40-35.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, at Nederland
Notes: Port Neches-Groves is 6-3 this season and 4-2 in district play following their narrow loss last week to Barbers Hill, the #10 team in 5A Division II. The Indians are tied with Nederland for third place in District 12-5A Division II. Both teams have clinched playoff berths and will play for third place in the district on Friday night. Depending on Friday night’s result, PN-G’s first round playoff game will be against either 5A Division II’s #2 team, Manvel, or #5 Fort Bend Marshall. In other words, it would be a surprise if their season was not over in two weeks.

2020 OL Andrej Karic (Southlake Carroll)

Last week: Team beat Northwest Eaton 56-17.
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00, at Keller Timber Creek
Notes: Carroll scored the first 42 points of last week’s game against Eaton and led 49-10 at halftime. The Dragons are 9-0 for the season and ranked #6 in Class 6A. They have clinched the championship of District 5-6A and will be their district’s top seed in the 6A Division I bracket.

The district’s four playoff spots have all been decided already, and the only drama for the final week will be finding out who Carroll’s first round playoff opponent will be. Lewisville and Flower Mound are tied for 3rd place in District 6-6A and Carroll will play one of them, pending this week’s results.

Carroll’s regular season run should come to a rather perfunctory end tonight when the Dragons travel to play Timber Creek, a team that is 3-6 this season and against which they have won all three previous matchups by a combined score of 199-26.

2020 OL Jake Majors (Prosper)

Last week: Team lost to Allen 35-7.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, vs. Plano
Notes: Last week against Allen, the #3 team in Class 6A, Prosper fell behind 21-0 at halftime and 35-0 before the end of the 3rd quarter, and it was consistently unable to finish off drives for most of the game. Prosper’s first eight possessions resulted in 5 punts, a lost fumble, a turnover on downs following an incomplete pass on 4th-and-7 from the Allen 9-yard line, and the end of the 2nd quarter.

Prosper scored its only points on a 16-yard TD pass with 8:40 left in the 4th quarter. Prosper is now 7-2 for the season and 4-2 in district play, tying it with Dallas Jesuit for second place in District 9-6A. Prosper and Jesuit will be the district’s two representatives in the 6A Division II bracket, and Prosper will have the runner-up seed unless it finishes the season with a win over Plano on Friday while Jesuit suffers an upset loss to 1-8 Plano West.

Prosper beat Plano 43-35 in 2018.

2020 OL Logan Parr (San Antonio O’Connor)

Last week: Team beat San Antonio Brennan 42-28.
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00, vs. San Antonio Stevens
Notes: O’Connor and Brennan had tight games in 2017 and 2018, and last week’s game between them looked for three quarters like it would feature another close finish. The teams were tied 7-7 at halftime, then they erupted to score five combined TDs in the final eight minutes of the 3rd quarter, and O’Connor went into the 4th leading 28-21.

O’Connor added to its lead by returning a blocked punt for a TD just over a minute into the final frame, then later added another TD with 6:14 left in regulation to make the score 42-21. The Panthers went on to win 42-28.

O’Connor is 7-2 for the season, and with a 7-1 district record the Panthers are alone in second place in District 28-6A. They will play their regular season finale tonight against Stevens, which is currently alone in fourth place in the district and should get the district’s final playoff spot regardless of the outcome of this week’s games. O’Connor has won five straight games against Stevens, with the most recent three having a cumulative score of 116-17.

O’Connor is in the playoffs for a 17th straight season and will get the district’s top seed in the 6A Division I bracket, and in the first round of the playoffs they will face either San Antonio Johnson or San Antonio Reagan (my guess would be the latter).

2020 DT Vernon Broughton (Cypress Ridge)

Last week: Team lost to Cy-Fair 37-0.
This week: Saturday, November 9 at 1:00, at Cypress Falls
Notes: Vernon Broughton is, remarkably, the only one of Texas’s 26 total commits whose team has been eliminated from playoff contention and who knows he’ll be turning in his equipment after this weekend. Going into last week’s games Cypress Ridge had the longest of long shots to nab one of its district’s final playoff spots, but that dream ended with a 37-0 loss last week to Cy-Fair, the #8 team in Class 6A.

Cy-Fair led 27-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, added a field goal in the 2nd, and had a pick-six in the 3rd. According to the Houston Chronicle’s box score, the Cypress Ridge Rams were held to 81 total yards, punted 7 times, committed 2 turnovers and were penalized 11 times for 113 yards. When facing a top-ten team in the state it’s never a winning recipe to have more penalty yards than total offensive yards.

Cypress Ridge fell to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in district play, and Broughton and his fellow seniors will suit up for their school one last time on Saturday afternoon against Cypress Falls, which is 8-1 and will likely finish as the runner-up in District 17-6A. Cypress Ridge beat Cypress Falls a season ago by a score of 33-15.

2020 DE Van Fillinger (Corner Canyon - Draper, Utah)

Last week: Had 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss in a 53-21 win over Saratoga Springs Westlake in the second round of the UHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 4:00, vs. Syracuse in the quarterfinal round of the UHSAA Class 6A playoffs
Notes: Corner Canyon got the #1 seed in Utah’s 6A playoffs, and after a bye in the first round the Chargers took care of business in last week’s second round, handily beating #17 seed Westlake for the second time in five weeks. Corner Canyon rolled up 585 total yards on the night, and junior running back Austin Bell rushed for 118 yards and 5 TDs on just 10 carries. Corner Canyon led 39-6 at halftime.

The Chargers have now won 23 straight games since the start of the 2018 season and advanced to this week’s quarterfinal round, in which they will host #8 seed Syracuse, a school Corner Canyon has never previously faced. Syracuse is 9-2 overall this season, with losses coming in August against Farmington, the #3 team in Class 5A, and in September against Fremont, the #14 seed in the 6A bracket. Syracuse advanced to the quarterfinals with a 27-14 win in last week’s second round over Pleasant Grove, a 6A state semifinalist a year ago.

The winner between Corner Canyon and Syracuse will move on to the semifinals and face either #5 seed Kearns or #20 seed Lone Peak.

2020 LB Prince Dorbah (Highland Park)

Last week: Team beat Lancaster 42-35 in overtime.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, vs. Mansfield Timberview
Notes: Highland Park needed overtime but was able to pull out a 42-35 win over Lancaster in a battle of state-ranked teams playing for the top spot in District 6-5A Division I. The victory gave Highland Park’s longtime head coach Randy Allen his 400th career win.

Highland Park scored on a 75-yard TD pass on the game’s first offensive play, but had some stumbles afterward. The Scots fumbled the next two times they possessed the ball, giving Lancaster the ball in the red zone both times, but the damage was minimized when those possessions both ended in missed field goals. After the second of those missed Lancaster field goals, Highland Park drove 80 yards in 5 plays for a TD to take a 14-0 lead with 4:49 left in the 1st quarter.

Lancaster had a turnover on downs in the red zone on its next possession, but bounced back and scored on its subsequent drive to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 7:13 left in the first half. Highland Park led 21-14 at halftime, then scored twice in the first nine minutes of the 3rd quarter after forcing a Lancaster fumble and a three-and-out, putting the Scots ahead 35-14 with 3:16 left in the 3rd quarter.

But Lancaster didn’t give up, as the Tigers scored 21 unanswered points before the end of regulation, while Highland Park’s subsequent drives after taking a 21-point lead resulted in two interceptions, a turnover on downs after reaching the red zone, and a punting miscue that gave Lancaster the ball 23 yards from the end zone. Lancaster tied the game 35-35 with 2:12 left in the 4th quarter, and though Highland Park got as close as the Lancaster 13-yard line on its ensuing possession, senior QB Chandler Morris was intercepted to end that threat, and the game then went into overtime.

Highland Park scored on a rushing TD by Morris on the first possession of the overtime period, then won the game when Lancaster threw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-8 from the 23-yard line. Highland Park is 8-1 for the season and maintains its hold on the #4 spot in the 5A Division I rankings, while Lancaster dropped from #7 to #9.

Prince Dorbah and the Highland Park Scots will close out the regular season against Mansfield Timberview and Longhorn commit Jaden Hullaby. Timberview is 6-3 overall and its only district loss was a 33-10 defeat to Lancaster two weeks ago. Highland Park beat Timberview 42-7 a year ago.

Highland Park will win the district title outright with a win over Timberview and will get its district’s top seed in the 5A Division I bracket. If the Scots are upset by Timberview and Lancaster takes care of business against Woodrow Wilson, that would leave the three teams tied for first place in the district, and a point differential tiebreaker would be used to determine its top three playoff seeds.

2021 LB Derrick Harris (New Caney)

Last week: Credited with 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hurry, and 1 pass defensed in a 44-7 win over Goose Creek Memorial.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, vs. New Caney Porter
Notes: New Caney maintained its unbeaten record with an easy 44-7 win over Goose Creek Memorial last week. The Eagles are 9-0 and one of just seven unbeaten teams remaining in Class 5A Division I, and one of three unbeaten teams that are not currently ranked. The win over Goose Creek Memorial set up this week’s game with archrival Porter as one that will decide the champion of District 9-5A Division I.

The two New Caney ISD high schools play in a game billed as The Battle Line on 59, and though New Caney has won all nine previous matchups the hype for this year’s game couldn’t be higher. The New Caney Eagles are unbeaten and the Porter Spartans are 8-1, but not so long ago both programs were thought of as pushovers. New Caney won ten games total during the decade of the 1980s, and more recently went ten straight seasons in which it won four or fewer games from 2005 to 2014. Porter played its first varsity season in 2010 and had a record of 10-50 in its first six years, before making its first playoff appearance in 2016.

Before 2015 New Caney had never in its prior 60 seasons had consecutive years with 7 or more wins; since the start of the 2015 season the Eagles have produced a record of 43-12, and this year’s team established a new program record by qualifying for the playoffs for a fifth straight season. The 2018 edition of the Battle Line on 59 went into double overtime before New Caney emerged a 34-28 winner.

Over in District 10-5A Division I Richmond Foster and Fort Bend Hightower will play a game tonight that will decide the 3rd and 4th place teams in that district. The loser of that game will play the winner of New Caney-Porter in the first round of the playoffs, and vice versa for the winner.

2020 DB Xavion Alford (Alvin Shadow Creek) - injured

Last week: Team beat Fort Bend Hightower 53-9.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, vs. Rosenberg Terry
Notes: Shadow Creek clinched the championship of District 10-5A Division I with its 53-9 win over Hightower last week. The Sharks scored the game’s first 24 points and led 38-3 at halftime. Their defense forced three turnovers and limited Hightower to 153 total yards and 5 first downs.

Shadow Creek is now 9-0 and ranked #2 in 5A Division I. They have wrapped up their district’s top seed in the playoffs and nothing will be at stake in Friday night’s game against Terry other than pride and Senior Night recognition. Terry went 2-8 in 2018 and is 2-7 this season, meaning the Rangers will finish below .500 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992-93. Shadow Creek beat Terry 21-6 in 2018.

Shadow Creek, New Caney and Hutto are all in Region III of 5A Division I, so there’s a good chance there will be at least one and possibly two playoff matches in that region involving multiple UT commits.

Mike Roach of Horns247 and others have reported that Alford suffered a knee injury early this season and will likely miss the rest of this season to rehab from his injury and be in top shape when he enrolls early next year.

2020 DB Kitan Crawford (Tyler John Tyler)

Last week: Had 11 carries for 90 yards and 2 TDs, caught 2 passes for 18 yards, made one tackle, recovered a fumble, and broke up two passes in a 37-14 loss to Mesquite Poteet.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:00, at Sherman
Notes: Mesquite Poteet scored 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to break open a game that it had led 17-14 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Kitan Crawford scored John Tyler’s only two TDs on runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. In the Lions’ last three games Crawford had accumulated 55 carries for 575 yards and 8 TDs, but the team is now 3-6 overall and 3-2 in district play, leaving them alone in third place in District 7-5A Division I, and they have mathematically clinched a postseason bid.

Sherman, Texarkana Texas, and West Mesquite are all tied in fourth place with 2-3 district records. If John Tyler loses against Sherman on Friday the result will be a three-way tie for third place between John Tyler, Sherman and the winner of Friday’s Texas-West Mesquite game, and John Tyler would be one of the two teams that advances in either one of those three-way ties.

Even with a win on Friday the John Tyler Lions will finish with their worst regular season record since 2007, when they went 1-9. John Tyler beat Sherman 45-13 in the last week of the 2018 regular season.

2020 DB Jerrin Thompson (Lufkin)

Last week: Team beat Conroe Caney Creek 58-0.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, vs. Waller
Notes: Lufkin improved to 8-1 and 6-0 in district following its 58-0 blowout win over Caney Creek last week. The Panthers have clinched the outright championship of District 8-5A Division I, as three teams tied for second place are all 4-2 in district. The Panthers will have Senior Night in their regular season finale on Friday night, which will be against 0-8 Waller. Lufkin beat Waller 38-7 a year ago.

Jerrin Thompson and Lufkin are ranked #5 in 5A Division I will have their district’s top playoff seed, and in the bi-district round next week will play whichever team gets the fourth place seed from District 7, a group of potentials that includes two teams with fellow Longhorn commits: John Tyler and West Mesquite.

2021 ATH Billy Bowman (Denton Ryan)
2021 ATH Ja’Tavion Sanders (Denton Ryan)

Last week: Bowman caught 2 passes for 18 yards and 2 TDs and returned a punt for a TD, and Sanders caught 2 passes for 39 yards in a 61-13 win over Grapevine.
This week: Thursday, November 7 at 7:00, at Birdville
Notes: As they’ve frequently done this season, the Ryan Raiders blitzkrieged Grapevine, scoring 45 first half points and leading by as much as 52 points early in the 3rd quarter. It was the seventh time in nine games this season that Ryan has scored 42 or more points in the first half.

The Raiders are 9-0 and still ranked #3 in 5A Division I. Tonight they will play for the championship of District 4-5A Division I against Birdville, which is 7-2 overall and 6-0 in district play. Birdville’s two losses came against a pair of 6A teams in the first three weeks of the season and were by a combined margin of 5 points. The Hawks have outscored their six district opponents by an average of nearly 33 points.

Ryan’s first round playoff opponent will be either Granbury, Boswell, or Saginaw, pending this week’s results. Ryan beat Birdville 49-28 in their regular season finale in 2018, then won a playoff rematch with the Hawks in the Region I final by a score of 28-0.

2021 ATH Juan Davis (Everman)

Last week: Had 4 carries for 36 yards and 2 TDs, and caught 1 pass for 48 yards in a 65-7 win over Waco University.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, at Joshua
Notes: Everman manhandled University last week to keep its postseason dreams alive. According to the game’s box score on MaxPreps, Everman attempted just one pass (which was caught for a 48-yard gain by Juan Davis) while running 30 times for over 270 yards.

Everman goes into the final week of the regular season with a district record of 3-4 and an overall mark of 3-6. The Bulldogs are tied with Cleburne for fourth place in District 5-5A Division II and will play their last regular season game against 1-8 Joshua, a longtime Johnson County doormat that has finished with a winning record just once in the span of 34 seasons. Everman beat Joshua 30-11 last season.

Everman lots its head-to-head matchup with Cleburne two weeks ago, so it needs both a win over Joshua and for Burleson to beat Cleburne in order to clinch a playoff bid. Any other result and the Bulldogs will miss the postseason, and they’re already assured of their worst regular season record since going 3-7 in 1998.

2020 ATH Jaden Hullaby (Mansfield Timberview)

Last week: Completed 5 of 7 passes for 104 yards and 1 TD, and had 3 carries for 92 yards and 2 TDs in a 55-0 win over Dallas Bryan Adams.
This week: Friday, November 8 at 7:30, at Highland Park
Notes: Last week, Timberview’s running game cut like a knife through the Bryan Adams defense to the tune of 371 rushing yards on 34 carries. Jaden Hullaby was “long gone” on a 73-yard TD run that opened the game’s scoring less than three minutes into the 1st quarter, and Timberview’s offensive line could justifiably have taunted the Bryan Adams defense with, “Can’t stop this thing we started!”

[Note: Bryan Adams High School was named after a Dallas ISD figure and not the Canadian rocker, who turned 60 this week. If you’ve read this far into the post, thank you!]

Timberview led Bryan Adams 27-0 at halftime and 48-0 going into the 4th quarter, and its defense limited Adams to just 16 total yards. I was legitimately hoping the final score would allow me to shoehorn a “Summer of ‘69” reference, but Timberview scored only 55 in the end. On the negative side, the Wolves were penalized 15 times for 142 yards, which won’t help their cause if they repeat that effort in their next game.

Timberview finishes the regular season on Friday night at district leader and fourth-ranked Highland Park, and if the Wolves can spring an upset win it would leave those two teams plus Lancaster in a three-way tie for first place in District 6-5A Division I. If Timberview loses it would get the district’s third place seed and their first playoff opponent would be the 2nd place team from District 5-5A Division I. Timberview lost to Highland Park 42-7 in the teams’ 2018 regular season finale, then lost again 52-0 when they had a playoff re-match three weeks later.