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Longhorn football commits in action, Oct. 22-23

Going into the final three weeks of the Texas high school football regular season, every UT commit is in the playoff hunt.

2022 Texas Longhorn commits Eoghan Kerry (left) and Anthony Jones pose together after their teams played each other on September 10, 2021.
Mike Roach (@MikeRoach247)

Last weekend was a very good one for Texas Longhorn football program’s commits in the 2022 recruiting class, even though it didn’t go so well for those commits’ future college team. All 16 Longhorn pledges who had games last week helped their teams to a win.

Three weeks remain in the regular season for Texas high schools, while some of the Longhorns’ out-of-state recruits will close out their regular season either tonight or next week. As things stand now, there’s a strong chance that every commit will see his team make the postseason, something that hasn’t happened in any of the previous seasons for which I’ve done these weekly posts.

In this week’s top game involving a Longhorn commit, Mater Dei (California) linebacker Eoghan Kerry will take the field in a matchup between two national top-ten teams tonight. The most notable of in-state games involving a UT recruit will be tonight’s game between 5A Division II teams Frisco and Lovejoy, who are both unbeaten and state-ranked. Frisco offensive lineman Cole Hutson will try to power his school to another win and a notable accomplishment it has never achieved before (see below).

This week’s post features by far the most detailed notes I’ve put together so far this season. So read on to see where and against who each commit is playing, and to find out what their current standing is as far as their playoff chances. With the Longhorns having a bye week, there’s a very good chance that a number of these games will be witnessed by members of the UT coaching staff.

As always, the start times listed for each game are according to Central Time.

2022 QB Maalik Murphy — Gardena (California) Junipero Serra

Friday, October 22 at 9:00, vs. Sherman Oaks (California) Notre Dame

Note: Junipero Serra shut out Cathedral 20-0 last week, and the team improved its record to 4-3. In two games since returning from a shoulder injury suffered in early September, Maalik Murphy has completed 17 of 20 passes for 211 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. He played in just six games as a junior in the COVID-delayed 2020-21 season, and after six games in the 2021 season, here’s how those two seasons compare.

2020: 90 completions on 163 pass attempts (55.2%), 1,261 yards, 9 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
2021: 76 completions on 123 pass attempts (61.8%), 1,133 yards, 7 touchdowns, 4 interceptions

Serra is 2-0 against its Mission League opponents, with games remaining against 0-3 Notre Dame and 2-1 Bishop Amat. California for many years had a playoff system for its various high school sections, leagues, and divisions that could best be described as byzantine. Rather than attempt to explain it here, I’ll just share this recent Los Angeles Times article that describes the changes in the playoff format for the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) Southern Section, which Junipero Serra is part of.

2022 RB Jamarion Miller — Tyler Legacy

Friday, October 22 at 7:30, vs. North Mesquite

Note: Jamarion Miller had 12 carries for 70 yards and 1 TD, and added two receptions for 68 yards and two more TDs in Legacy’s come-from-behind 49-27 win over Mesquite Horn last week. Legacy trailed 20-14 at halftime, and was behind 27-21 seven minutes into the 3rd quarter, but the Legacy Raiders scored 28 unanswered points to finish the game. Watch the highlight video below to see him make a really impressive contested catch for one of his two scores (play starts at about the 0:18 mark).

Legacy is 4-3 overall and 2-1 in district play. The Raiders face 1-6 North Mesquite tonight and still have Mesquite (3-1 in district) and district leader Rockwall-Heath (Class 6A’s seventh-ranked team) left to go. A win over North Mesquite on Friday should clinch a playoff spot for Legacy.

2022 WR Brenen Thompson — Spearman

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, vs. Dimmitt

Note: Spearman won its first district game last week with a blowout 47-12 victory over winless Amarillo Highland Park. The Spearman Lynx are 1-2 in district play and will next face a Dimmitt team that has been blown out by every district opponent it has faced. Dimmitt has been outscored 250-20 in its four district contests. Spearman should easily move to 2-2 in district play and will have to win at least one of its final two games against Friona and Tulia (which are both 2-1 in district and a combined 11-3 overall this season) in order to reach the postseason. A playoff berth would extend the Lynx current school-record streak of 11 consecutive seasons reaching the postseason.

Brenen Thompson has not played in over a month due to injury, and it is unknown when he will make his return, if indeed he does before the end of the season.

2022 WR Armani Winfield — Lewisville

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, vs. Coppell

Note: Last week, Armani Winfield caught 9 passes for 96 yards and scored a rushing touchdown on a direct snap in Lewisville’s 44-15 win over Plano. With the win, the Lewisville Fighting Farmers remained unbeaten at 7-0 for the season. Last week’s win gave the team its fourth straight season with at least seven wins, a streak that followed a long stretch in which Lewisville finished with a record above .500 just once between 2002 and 2017.

Lewisville is ranked 20th in Class 6A this week, and tonight it will face 3-4 Coppell, a team it has beaten three straight times, including a 39-14 win last year. A win over Coppell would ensure Lewisville a playoff bid, and with the three Plano ISD schools currently in the cellar of District 6-6A, Lewisville should get one of the district’s two spots in the 6A Division I playoff bracket, regardless of its placement in the top four of the district’s standings. After playing Coppell, Lewisville closes its regular season schedule with games against Flower Mound Marcus (3-1 in district) and Hebron (4-0), the only schools that have a chance to wrest the district title away from the Farmers.

2022 OL Cole Hutson — Frisco

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, at Lovejoy

Note: Frisco remained unbeaten with a 28-14 win last week over a game Denison squad. Denison got 186 yards from scrimmage from its senior running back Jadarian Price, a Notre Dame commit, and the Yellow Jackets outgained the Frisco Raccoons 364-305, but Frisco got the advantage on the scoreboard, where it mattered most.

Frisco is 7-0 this season and ranked eighth in Class 5A Division II, and the one team legitimately standing in its way of an undefeated regular season awaits tonight: third-ranked Lovejoy. The Lovejoy Leopards are likewise 7-0 and have beaten every opponent on their schedule so far by at least 30 points. On average they are outscoring their foes by 47 points per game. Lovejoy is currently in its 14th season of varsity football and it has missed the playoffs only once in its history.

In 2020, Lovejoy won its first 13 games (including a 38-28 district win over Frisco) and advanced into the fourth round of the playoffs before losing to eventual 5A Division II state champion Aledo, 52-48.

After Lovejoy, Frisco will close out its district schedule against middle-of-the-pack foes Frisco Rock Hill and Frisco Memorial. A win in any of their final three regular season games will give the Frisco Raccoons a fourth straight season with at least eight wins, a streak the school has never accomplished previously.

2022 OL Connor Robertson — Austin Westlake

Friday, October 22, vs. Austin Akins

Note: Westlake demolished Buda Hays last week, 77-0. It was the third straight shutout for the Westlake Chaparrals, who most recently gave up points in their 63-6 win over Del Valle on September 24.

Westlake will play its homecoming game tonight against Austin Akins, which is two weeks removed from losing to Del Valle 76-21. Let’s just skip any unnecessary analysis and go with the assumption that Westlake will be 8-0 at this point next week and will still be the #1 team in Class 6A.

Westlake is the third-largest school among the playoff contenders in District 26-6A and will be in the Class 6A Division II playoff bracket in a few weeks unless 6-1 Austin Bowie somehow misses the playoffs.

2022 DL Aaron Bryant — Southaven (Mississippi)

Friday, October 22 at 6:00, vs. Olive Branch (Mississippi) Lewisburg

Note: Southaven beat Olive Branch 32-0 last week behind a dominating defensive performance. The Southaven Chargers held Olive Branch to 42 yards of total offense. It was the sixth time in Southaven’s eight games this season that at least one of the teams involved failed to score in the double digits. Only twice this season has a Southaven game featured more than 32 combined points scored.

The Chargers are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in league play, and they are currently tied with 3-1 Horn Lake for third place in Class 6A Region 1. The top four teams in each region make the playoffs, and Southaven will mathematically punch its ticket if it beats 1-6 Lewisburg tonight.

2022 DL Justice Finkley — Trussville (Alabama) Hewitt-Trussville

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, at Birmingham (Alabama) Oak Mountain

Note: Justice Finkley was credited with 8 total tackles last week in Hewitt-Trussville’s 35-28 win over Gadsden City. The win improved Hewitt-Trussville’s record to 7-2 overall and 4-2 against region opponents, which currently ties the Huskies for third place in Class 7A Region 3 and ensures they will be in the playoffs.

The Huskies’ final game of the regular season is tonight against seventh-ranked Oak Mountain, and the winner of that game will get Region 3’s #3 seed in the playoffs. Hewitt-Trussville’s only two losses of this season have come against Thompson and Hoover, the top two teams in Class 7A, and winners of a combined seven state championships in the past nine seasons. Regardless of whether they win or lose on Friday night, the Huskies will potentially face either Thompson or Hoover in the second round of the playoffs.

2022 DL Kristopher Ross — Galena Park North Shore

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, vs. Houston C.E. King

Note: North Shore won its fifth consecutive game last week, topping Summer Creek 45-16. The Mustangs are now 7-1 overall and 4-0 in district play. With two games remaining in their district schedule, they have clinched a spot in the playoffs and will be in the Class 6A Division I bracket. Tonight’s opponent, King, is 6-1 overall and 2-1 in district, and is tied for third place in District 21-6A. Its only loss came at the hands of fifth-ranked Humble Atascocita last week, 42-21.

North Shore is ranked eighth in Class 6A this week, and it will close out its regular season schedule next week against Atascocita. Barring an upset loss by North Shore to King this week, that North Shore-Atascocita game will decide the district championship, as well as which of those two teams gets the district’s top seed in the 6A Division I bracket.

2022 DL Zac Swanson — Phoenix (Arizona) Brophy Prep

Friday, October 22 at 9:00, vs. Phoenix (Arizona) Pinnacle

Note: Brophy Prep won a back-and-forth affair over Scottsdale Chaparral last week, 28-27. Zac Swanson was credited with 6 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a blocked kick. That blocked kick came on an attempted PAT after Chaparral had scored a TD to take a 27-21 lead with 4:22 left in regulation. Brophy Prep answered with a game-winning scoring drive to make the final score 28-27.

The Brophy Prep Broncos are 4-2 overall and 1-0 against 6A Desert Valley opponents. They have four games remaining, and every team in the Desert Valley section has at least two losses this season.

If you followed these posts in 2019 during Bijan Robinson’s senior season at Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Arizona, you would have read about the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) introducing an “Open Division” playoff for the first time that year. Arizona’s high schools are split into conferences, from 1A to 6A. A power ranking formula used during the regular season rates the teams in comparison with others in their conference, and also against all teams statewide. The eight highest-rated teams overall at the end of the regular season, regardless of classification, will compete in the Open Division playoff, while the top 16 teams in the respective conferences that do not qualify for the open division will play in a seeded playoff bracket for their conference’s state championship.

Brophy Prep is currently the #7 team in Conference 6A, and is #13 in the Open Division rankings. They would likely only reach the Open Division by winning all of their four remaining games. Tonight’s opponent is 3-3 Pinnacle, which is rated #10 in Conference 6A.

2022 DE J’Mond Tapp — Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Ascension Catholic

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, vs. St. Gabriel (Louisiana) East Iberville

Note: Ascension Catholic beat Baton Rouge St. Michael 28-24 last week to improve its season record to 4-1.

Ascension Catholic is ranked 6th in Class 1A and has three district games remaining, all against teams with losing records this season. Its next opponent, East Iberville, is 0-6 this season after going 7-2 a year ago.

2022 DE/LB Derrick Brown — Texarkana Texas

Friday, October 22 at 7:30, vs. Jacksonville

Note: The Texas Tigers shut out Pine Tree 38-0 last week to remain unbeaten at 6-0. The Tigers lead District 9-5A Division II with a 4-0 mark in district play, and their three remaining opponents have a combined overall record of 3-18 this season. At this point it would be a big surprise if they didn’t go into the playoffs undefeated.

Texas High is ranked seventh in Class 5A Division II this week, and with a win tonight against Jacksonville (1-6 overall, 1-3 in district) it would mathematically clinch a playoff spot.

2022 LB Eoghan Kerry — Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei

Saturday, October 23 at 10:00, vs. Anaheim (California) Servite

Note: The Mater Dei Monarchs easily beat Santa Margarita 56-3 last week to remain unbeaten. Eoghan Kerry was credited with two total tackles in the game.

Mater Dei retains its season-long hold on the top spot in the USA Today Super 25 rankings this week. Its next opponent is the #7 team on that list, Servite, a team that is 8-0 and has five seniors committed to Power 5 schools. Servite beat the same Santa Margarita team that Mater Dei just played by a score of 48-21 two weeks ago.

2022 DB Bryan Allen — Aledo

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, at Waco University

Note: Aledo outgained Mansfield Timberview by 182 yards last week, but had a tougher-than-expected time putting away a Wolves team that hasn’t played up to its usual standard 2021. The teams were tied 14-14 at halftime, and the Aledo Bearcats trailed 21-20 going into the 4th quarter, but they scored 15 unanswered points in the final frame to win 35-21. Bryan Allen was credited with three total tackles and a forced fumble in the win.

Aledo is 7-0 for the season and 4-0 in district play, and it retains the top spot in this week’s 5A Division II state rankings. Tonight the Bearcats travel to Waco to face winless University High, which has been outscored by an average of 42 points per game in 2021. It would be a bigger shock than Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson if University got its first win of the season against Aledo.

Aledo will clinch a playoff spot with a win.

2022 DB Austin Jordan — Denton Ryan

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, at Frisco Heritage

Note: Denton Ryan is 6-1 for the season and coming off its bye week. With a 5-0 record in district play, the Raiders are tied with Frisco Lone Star for the lead in District 5-5A Division I. A win tonight against Frisco Heritage (3-5 overall, 1-5 in district) would ensure the Raiders a playoff spot and guarantee that they finish no worse than 2nd place in the district.

Ryan is the top-ranked team in Class 5A Division I, and in two weeks it will close out the regular season with a likely bout for the district title against seventh-ranked Lone Star.

2022 DB Ronald Lewis — New Orleans (Louisiana) Warren Easton

Saturday, October 23 at 7:00, vs. New Orleans (Louisiana) Eleanor McMain

Note: Last week, Warren Easton scored a 23-12 win over previously unbeaten Carver Collegiate Academy, at the time the eighth-ranked team in 4A. Easton improved to 3-2 with the win and also improved its ranking in Class 4A from fifth to fourth.

Easton is 1-0 in district play, and its three remaining opponents have a combined overall record of 2-12 this season. This week’s foe is 0-6 Eleanor McMain, which is now a full year removed from its most recent win. Easton has beaten McMain eight straight times, including a 39-0 win in the 2020 season.

2022 ATH Anthony Jones — Henderson (Nevada) Liberty

Friday, October 22 at 8:00, at Las Vegas (Nevada) Desert Pines

Note: Liberty is 7-1 this season and had a bye last week. Anthony Jones took advantage of the bye and came to Austin for the UT-Oklahoma State game.

The Liberty Patriots have a 3-0 record against their 5A Southern - Mountain league opponents, and have just one game remaining in the regular season. A win tonight over Desert Pines would give Liberty the championship of their league or section, and their first playoff game will be next week. Desert Pines is 6-2 overall this season, with both of its losses coming against teams Liberty has beaten by 28 points or more.

2022 K Will Stone — Austin Regents School

Friday, October 22 at 7:00, vs. Brownsville St. Joseph Academy

Note: Regents is Texas Football’s top-ranked private school and has a 7-0 record after beating Boerne Geneva 38-14 last week. Regents is 4-0 against its district opponents, and the next five teams in the standings are either 3-1 or 2-2. With a win over 2-2 St. Joseph Academy tonight, Regents could clinch a playoff spot, depending on the results elsewhere in the district. Or, in one wild scenario, Regents could suffer an upset loss and there could be five teams tied for second place with district records of 3-2 after this weekend.

What’s more likely is Regents takes care of business at home on Friday, then beats John Paul II in Corpus Christi next week to clinch their district championship.

2022 LS Lance St. Louis — Gilbert (Arizona) Williams Field

Friday, October22 at 9:00, vs. Tempe (Arizona) Corona del Sol

Note: Williams FIeld beat Queen Creek Casteel 24-14 last week and is now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in sectional play. The Black Hawks have four games remaining on their regular season schedule, and since they don’t play separate non-section and section stretches of their schedule, their two remaining sectional games are sandwiched between matchups with non-section opponents.

Williams Field is rated #12 among the 38 teams in Conference 6A in the AZPreps365 power rankings, and this week’s opponent, #29 Corona del Sol, is the lowest-rated of their four remaining opponents.

Other commits not playing this week

2022 RB Jaydon Blue (Klein Cain)

Cain opted out of playing in the 2021 season. Unless there is a change with his status I will not be posting Klein Cain’s weekly schedule.

2022 DL Jaray Bledsoe (Marlin)

After previously attending Bremond High School, Bledsoe transferred in the summer of 2021 to Marlin High School, which is 17 miles away. He was subsequently ruled ineligible for the 2021 football season, and in late August the U.I.L. denied his eligibility appeal. Unless there is a change in Bledsoe’s eligibility status, I will not be posting updates on Marlin’s season.

2022 LB Trevell Johnson (Arlington Martin)

After dealing with a hip issue for several months, Johnson attempted to play in week one, but afterwards elected to have a surgery that will cause him to miss his senior season. I will not be posting weekly updates on Martin’s games unless one of Johnson’s teammates commits to Texas.