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Longhorn football commits in the playoffs, Nov. 10-12

18 future Longhorns will take the field for playoff games this week.

Austin Westlake defensive ends Colton Vasek (left) and Ethan Burke celebrate after their team’s win in the 2021 Class 6A Division II state championship. Burke is now a freshman at Texas and Vasek is a senior at Westlake and committed to Texas this week.

The 2022 postseason begins this week for the members of the Texas Longhorns’ recruiting classes of 2023 and 2024. The program’s commits from Texas, Louisiana, and Florida all played the last game of their regular season last week, while commits from California, Hawaii, and New Jersey all had byes last week before their first playoff game.

In all, 20 of the UT’s 24 total commits are currently preparing for the playoffs, while two others have been waylaid by injury, and the remaining two saw their teams eliminated from playoff contention last week. 18 commits have playoff games this week, while two others have a bye and will not play their first postseason game until next week.

Since the publication of last week’s column, Texas has lost a longtime 2023 commit while gaining a former Oklahoma pledge. Arlington Seguin defensive back Jamel Johnson decommitted from Texas on Monday, four days after playing the final game of his senior season. But the following day, Austin Westlake defensive end Colton Vasek flipped from Oklahoma to Texas. So this column will have one new name to update readers on.

Four of the team’s out-of-state commits play for teams that are strong contenders to win their division or league’s state championship, and it would take multiple upsets for none of them to end the 2022 season as a winner. Prospects for an in-state commit winning a state championship in December aren’t as overwhelming but they are fairly good, with three commits playing for teams that enter the playoffs ranked in the top three of their classification, albeit two of them are in the same classification and cannot both be champions.

One note on the different playoff brackets in Texas, for readers who are unaware. Classes from 2A through 5A are split into Divisions I and II (based on the enrollment of the schools) at the start of the season with districts organized with schools from one division or another, so it’s no mystery which playoff tournament each district’s four playoff teams will be entered into after the regular season. In Class 6A, there’s no preseason splitting of that kind, so after the regular season is played and each district’s four playoff representatives are determined, the two from each district with the higher enrollment are put in the 6A Division I playoff bracket, and the smaller two into Division II. This setup will occasionally make a mockery of the “big” and “small school division” concept, such as when Coppell, which has over 4,200 students and is the 13th-largest high school in the state, gets put into the Division II playoffs because it is joined in District 6-6A by four of the state’s 12 largest high schools and two from that group also made the playoffs this year. It can be an unstable arrangement, but it’s the one Texas has gone with since the UIL first split up its highest classification into separate playoff divisions starting with the 1990 season.

Several future Longhorns have spent the past few weeks playing against weak district opponents, but now that the playoffs have started it’s “win or go home” time, and the games will only get tougher from here. With this column now covering playoff results, there will be a split in which the sections at the top will preview games of commits who are still alive in the postseason, then at the bottom it will list the players whose seasons are now over.

The start times listed for each game are according to their local time zone.

Texas Longhorn commits in the playoffs

2023 QB Arch Manning — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman

Last week: Completed 7 of 15 passes for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 17-13 loss to LaPlace (Louisiana) St. Charles Catholic.
This week: Playoff bye

Arch Manning finished the regular season of his senior year without throwing an interception, but he wasn’t able to lead his team to a win in its regular season finale last week, as the Newman Greenies lost a closely-contested 17-13 game to St. Charles Catholic. The game decided the champion of district 10-2A, and I suspected going in that it would also decide which team got the top seed in the state’s Select Division III playoff bracket, as Isidore Newman was #1 and St. Charles Catholic was #2 in last week’s LHSAA power ratings for that division. But despite the loss, Newman will go into the playoffs with their bracket’s top seed, while St. Charles Catholic has the #2 seed.

Newman finished the regular season with a 7-2 record, with its two losses coming against Many (the #1 seed in the Non-Select Division III playoffs) and St. Charles Catholic. When looking at the end-of-season power ratings, Newman’s most impressive win was its come-from-behind 54-52 win over Benton (the #8 seed in the Non-Select Division I bracket) on September 16. Isidore Newman has never previously won a state championship in football.

The Select Division III bracket includes 24 teams (out of the 34 total teams in that division), and each of the top eight seeds will get a bye in the bi-district round. Isidore Newman will rest this week, and in next week’s regional round it will play the winner of this week’s game between #16 seed New Orleans Sophie B. Wright and #17 seed D’Arbonne Woods Charter.

2023 RB Cedric Baxter Jr. — Orlando (Florida) Edgewater

Last week: Team beat Orlando (Florida) Boone 21-14.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Jacksonville (Florida) First Coast

Edgewater completed a 10-0 regular season run with last week’s win over Boone. The Eagles will go into the Class 3M playoffs as the top-ranked team in their classification, and they got the top seed in the Region 1 bracket for 3M. In their first round game on Friday they will play their region’s 8th seed, First Coast. First Coast, which went 6-3 in the regular season, had the eighth-highest rating among the 3M teams in Region 1, and the 19th-highest rating out of the 64 total teams in Class 3M.

Cedric Baxter has missed most of his team’s last four games after suffering a pulled hamstring in Edgewater’s 14-6 win over Apopka on October 10 in a game that had been rescheduled for a Monday night after being postponed by Hurricane Ian and was played just four days after Edgewater’s previous game.

Edgewater’s region includes three other teams ranked among the top ten in Class 3M: third-ranked Orlando Jones, sixth-ranked Oviedo, and tenth-ranked Neptune Beach Fletcher.

2023 RB Tre Wisner — DeSoto
2023 WR Johntay Cook II — DeSoto

Last week: Tre Wisner had 10 carries for 37 yards, and caught 5 passes for 27 yards; and Johntay Cook caught 11 passes for 161 yards and 3 TDs in a 28-16 win over Mansfield.
This week: Thursday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Pflugerville Weiss (at DeSoto’s Eagle Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs

DeSoto won its regular season finale last week over Mansfield by a 28-16 final score. The two teams were already locked in to the 6A Division II playoff bracket, and the game between them decided which would get their district’s “winner” seed in that bracket.

Johntay Cook had another monster game, catching 11 passes and reaching the end zone three times. His three touchdowns came on a 13-yard catch midway through the 2nd quarter, a 56-yard catch with just 19 seconds remaining in the first half (which gave DeSoto a 21-10 halftime lead), and on a 15-yard reception in the final minute of the 3rd quarter that extended DeSoto’s lead to 28-10.

DeSoto is in the playoffs for a 27th consecutive season and will be going for its second state title. The last time the Eagles failed to advance beyond the first round was in 2005, and hoping to end that streak of second round appearances will be Pflugerville Weiss, the third-place team from District 12-6A. Weiss is a fairly new school that is now in its fifth season of varsity football, and it is making its third trip to the playoffs and its first as a 6A program.

Weiss is 5-5 overall, with losses to two of its district’s playoff representatives (Temple and Killeen Harker Heights), as well as to District 25-6A runner-up Round Rock, and District 12-5A Division II champion Austin LBJ. Weiss has also posted wins against 6A playoff teams Converse Judson and New Braunfels.

The winner of Thursday night’s DeSoto-Weiss game will move on to the area round and play the winner of Friday’s game between Wylie East and Rockwall-Heath.

2023 WR Ryan Niblett — Aldine Eisenhower

Last week: Team beat Spring 25-16.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, at New Caney (at Porter’s Randall Reed Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs

Eisenhower needed a win over Spring last week to avoid a potential three-way tie for third place in District 14-6A, and the Eagles got the victory to finish 5-5 for the regular season and in third place in their district. They will play in the Class 6A Division II playoff bracket and will attempt to reach the second round for the first time since 2015.

It will be an all-Eagles first round matchup on Friday night when Eisenhower travels to face New Caney, which went 10-0 in the regular season and goes into the playoffs as the 21st-ranked team in Class 6A. New Caney has become a perennial playoff team in recent years after spending most of its previous history as a football irrelevancy. In New Caney’s first 60 seasons of varsity football — 1955 to 2014 — it reached the playoffs just seven times and finished thirty other seasons with two or fewer wins. But the New Caney Eagles have now reached the postseason in eight straight years.

The winner between Eisenhower and New Caney will play either Tomball or Cypress Woods in the area round next week.

2023 TE Spencer Shannon — Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei

Last week: First round bye
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. San Juan Capistrano (California) JSerra Catholic in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

Mater Dei got a bye in last week’s first round of the CIF Southern Section’s Division I playoffs, one of the toughest playoff brackets to be found anywhere in the country. Nationally-ranked opponents likely await the Mater Dei Monarchs in the semifinal and championship rounds of their sectional playoffs. But to get there they’ll first have to win a rematch with a JSerra Catholic team they beat by a closer-than-expected score of 21-13 back on September 30. JSerra Catholic advanced to the quarterfinal round by winning its first round game last week against Santa Margarita 27-20. Mater Dei beat that same Santa Margarita team 52-7 two weeks earlier.

2023 OL Jaydon Chatman — Killeen Harker Heights

Last week: Team beat Bryan 49-14.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Mansfield (at Killeen’s Buckley Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs

Harker Heights completed an undefeated run through its District 12-6A opponents, beating Bryan last week 49-14 in its regular season finale. Both teams had already clinched playoff berths and the game did not effect either team’s playoff seeding.

The Harker Heights Knights are 9-1 overall and will open the 6A Division II playoffs by hosting Mansfield, the fourth-place team from District 11-6A. Mansfield is 7-3 overall, with its losses all coming against the three playoff teams from its district: 3rd-ranked Duncanville, 13th-ranked DeSoto, and 8-2 Waxahachie.

Harker Heights has reached the playoffs a number of times in recent years but it has not advanced beyond the first round since 2002. The Knights are set up well for potentially making a long run in this year’s postseason. Region 2 of the 6A Division II bracket is not one thick with powerhouses or ranked teams. The only two ranked teams in that region are 13th-ranked DeSoto and 21st-ranked New Caney, and Harker Heights will not have to face either of them unless they reach the fourth round (the regional final). Harker Heights is the only team on its side of the Region 2 bracket that has won more than seven games this season.

On paper, Harker Heights would seem a good bet to advance to the fourth round for the first time in school history, but Mansfield won’t be a first round pushover. The Mansfield Tigers are a quality team and will be looking to make some playoff noise of their own after qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2017. Their defensive line includes senior Kaleb James, an Arkansas commit who has been credited with 7 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, while the Mansfield secondary has senior Brenden Jordan, a Texas Tech commit. The winner between Harker Heights and Mansfield will play the winner of Friday’s game between Royse City and Garland Naaman Forest.

2023 OL Andre Cojoe — Mansfield Timberview

Last week: Team beat Dallas Bryan Adams 65-6.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Frisco Heritage (at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs

Timberview easily dispatched with Bryan Adams last week, winning 65-6 to complete the first undefeated regular season in program history. The Timberview Wolves will go into the playoffs as the 2nd-ranked team in Class 5A Division I.

In the first round they will face a 6-4 Frisco Heritage team that got the fourth-place seed in District 6-5A Division I. The Heritage Coyotes suffered only one lopsided defeat, and were ten points away from being 9-1 in the regular season. They lost by just one point to district champion Frisco Reedy, the 7th-ranked team in their classification.

The Region 2 field is the toughest in the 5A Division I playoffs, with 2nd-ranked Timberview being joined by top-ranked Longview, 4th-ranked Lancaster, and 7th-ranked Reedy, along with four other teams that had eight or more wins in the regular season.

The winner of Friday night’s Mansfield Timberview-Frisco Heritage matchup will move on to the area round and play the winner of Friday’s game between Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill and Forney.

2023 OL Trevor Goosby — Melissa

Last week: Team beat Lovejoy 36-35.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:30, vs. Hallsville (at Melissa’s Cardinal Field) in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs

Trevor Goosby had the most exciting final week of the regular season out of all of UT’s commits, as his Melissa team scored a last-minute touchdown to record a come-from-behind win over a state-ranked Lovejoy team to clinch their district’s championship in the school’s first year as a Class 5A program.

Lovejoy led 35-21 after its last touchdown of the game, scored with 3:07 left in the 3rd quarter. Melissa scored a touchdown in the first minute of the 4th quarter to get within seven points, and with 2:45 left in regulation its defense stopped Lovejoy on a 4th-and-1 play on their own 47-yard line to get the ball back. The ensuing Melissa drive featured a key conversion on a 4th-and-15 play, and ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left on the clock. The Cardinals went for two and converted to take their first lead of the game at 36-35, and then held on to keep Lovejoy from crossing midfield on the game’s final possession. That the Cardinals pulled out the win against a state-ranked opponent on the road is all the more remarkable given that they lost the turnover battle 4-0, but their defense stepped up and kept Lovejoy from scoring any points following those turnovers.

Melissa completed the regular season with an 8-2 overall record and on an eight-game winning streak after opening the 2022 campaign with losses to the current top-ranked teams in Class 5A Division II (Argyle) and Class 4A Division I (China Spring). With that finish, Melissa vaulted into the state rankings at #8 in Class 5A Division II to close the regular season.

They are joined in 5A Division II’s Region 2 bracket by 6th-ranked Midlothian Heritage and 8th-ranked South Oak Cliff, along with Texarkana Texas (8-2), Lovejoy (7-3), and Everman (8-2) teams that were all ranked earlier this year. Melissa is 11 years removed from its lone state championship in its school’s young history, the Class 2A Division I state title from 2011. The town and high school have grown considerably in the decade since then, and Melissa will play its first 5A playoff game on Friday against a 7-3 Hallsville team that finished fourth in District 8-5A Division II. Hallsville is in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and it compiled a record of 12-47 over its previous six seasons.

The winner between Melissa and Hallsville will move to the area round and play the winner of Friday’s game between Dallas Woodrow Wilson and Ennis.

2023 OL Connor Stroh — Frisco Wakeland

Last week: Team beat Frisco 31-6.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Birdville (at the Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex) in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs

Needing a win in their regular season finale to have any hope of reaching the postseason, the Wakeland Wolverines dominated their cross-town rival Frisco Raccoons, outgaining them 366-16 in a 31-6 victory. Wakeland finished in a three-way tie with Frisco and Frisco Heritage for third place in District 6-5A Division I, but through tie-breakers Wakeland ended up getting the district’s third-place slot in the playoffs.

This is Wakeland’s tenth straight season to qualify for the playoffs. The Wolverines reached the third round last season and also in 2016, but have had first round exits in their ten other previous playoff appearances. Their first round opponent, the Birdville Hawks, went 8-2 in the regular season and finished 2nd in District 5-5A Division I. Their two losses came against Class 6A program Garland and 5A Division I’s 2nd-ranked team Mansfield Timberview.

Birdville has had several good playoff runs in its recent history and advanced to the third round or further on five occasions between 2010 and 2019, but missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

The winner between Wakeland and Birdville will move on to the area round and face a tough matchup with the winner of Friday’s game between Port Arthur Memorial and McKinney North.

2023 DL Sydir Mitchell — Oradell (New Jersey) Bergen Catholic

Last week: Playoff bye
This week: Saturday, November 12 at 1:00, vs. Toms River (New Jersey) Donovan Catholic in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public A playoffs

Bergen Catholic is New Jersey’s defending Non-Public A state champion, and Sydir Mitchell and his Crusader teammates will go into this year’s playoffs as the #2 seed. After getting a bye in last week’s first round, they will host a quarterfinal match on Saturday afternoon with #7 seed Donovan Catholic, which won its first round game 27-20 over #10 seed Hudson Catholic.

Bergen Catholic and Donovan Catholic have played each other only once since 2004, when Bergen won 35-7 in last year’s playoffs. Bergen Catholic is 8-1 this season, with its only loss coming against Non-Public A’s top seed Don Bosco Prep on September 24 by a 31-7 score. Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep have met in the playoffs in every season going back to 2018 aside from the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and it seem likely that Non-Public A’s state championship will go through at least one of them again in 2022.

2023 DL Dylan Spencer — Houston C.E. King

Last week: Made 8 tackles (3 for loss) and had 1 sack in a 49-14 win over Beaumont West Brook.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Channelview (at Channelview’s Maddry Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs

Dylan Spencer had another disruptive game on and behind the line of scrimmage last week in King’s 49-14 win over West Brook. The King Panthers had already clinched a playoff spot before the game was played, and the result did not affect their playoff seeding.

This is King’s fifth straight season to reach the playoffs, and in the first round on Friday it will play the champion of District 22-6A, Channelview. Channelview went 8-2 in the regular season and was undefeated in its district games, though that 8-2 record may be deceiving. Both of Channelview’s losses came against teams that missed the playoffs, and only one of the Falcons’ eight wins came against a team that had a record better than 5-5. Their best win came against district foe Deer Park, which went 9-1 overall this season but likewise had one of the weakest schedules out of all the Region 3 teams in the Class 6A playoffs.

King went 6-4 in the regular season, and all of its losses came against quality teams that are in the 6A playoffs. The winner between King and Channelview will advance to the area round and play either League City Clear Falls or Pearland Dawson.

2023 EDGE Colton Vasek — Austin Westlake

Last week: Had 2 tackles (1 for loss) and 1 sack in a 70-10 win over Buda Johnson.
This week: Thursday, November 10 at 7:30, vs. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (at Austin’s Chaparral Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs

This is Colton Vasek’s first appearance in this column, as he flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to Texas on Tuesday of this week. Vasek is rated as the 26th overall prospect in Texas in the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He has been an impact player on the Westlake Chaparral defense for two seasons. Westlake has won three consecutive state championships and boasts a winning streak that has now stretched for 50 games, the third-longest winning streak for a high school program in Texas history.

Westlake completed another dominating regular season run last week with a 70-10 win. The Chaparrals led 57-0 at halftime. During the regular season of his senior year, Vasek was credited with 45 tackles and 11 sacks, and that was almost certainly while sitting out in the second half of a fair number of games (six of Westlake’s ten wins have been by 45 points or more). He is the son of Brian Vasek, a defensive end who came to the University of Texas from Smithville, Texas and was a four-year letterman from 1992 to 1995.

Vasek will be the latest of a long line of Westlake Chaparrals who have continued their football careers at Texas. With former Chaps Michael Taaffe and Ethan Burke both likely winning letters this season (they’ve appeared in nine and seven games, respectively), Westlake will soon move into sole possession of second place on the list of all-time UT football pipeline schools, and should remain in that spot for the foreseeable future.

Westlake has spent all of this season in the top two of the Class 6A rankings, and goes into the 6A Division I playoffs as the classification’s top-ranked team. Included in their ten wins this season was their fourth victory in five meetings with local rival Lake Travis, as well as a 29-10 win on October 14 over 6A’s current 11th-ranked team, Dripping Springs. Westlake was one of the larger schools in its district but is on the small side as far as 6A schools go. Of the 16 schools in Region 4 of the 6A Division I bracket, only four have an enrollment smaller than Westlake, and two schools in that region of the Division II bracket. But that’s something Westlake had no control over, and it has won state titles in both 6A Division I and Division II over the previous three seasons.

The Chaparrals will begin their quest for a fourth straight state title tonight when they host Cedar Ridge, a team that went 5-5 in the regular season and finished in a three-way tie for third place in District 25-6A. Four of Cedar Ridge’s five losses came against teams that are now in the 6A playoffs, and only one of those losses came by a margin of less than 20 points.

The winner between Westlake and Cedar Ridge will advance to the area round of the 6A Division I playoffs and face either San Antonio Reagan or New Braunfels.

2023 EDGE Billy Walton — Dallas South Oak Cliff
2023 CB Malik Muhammad — Dallas South Oak Cliff

Last week: Billy Walton had 6 tackles (3 for loss), 1 sack, and 1 interception; and Malik Muhammad had 3 tackles in a 36-10 win over Dallas Woodrow Wilson.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:30, vs. Mansfield Summit (at Dallas’ Kincaide Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs

South Oak Cliff completed an undefeated district slate, winning the championship of District 6-5A Division II via last week’s victory over Woodrow Wilson.

After going 21 consecutive quarters without allowing a point, South Oak Cliff lost the ball on a fumble deep in Woodrow Wilson territory on their second possession of the game, and it was returned 86 yards for a touchdown that gave Wilson a 7-0 lead with 1:55 left in the 1st quarter. Those were the first points scored against SOC since the 3rd quarter of its 31-28 win over top-ranked private school team Dallas Parish Episcopal on September 16.

SOC got on the board with a field goal and touchdown in the first three minutes of the 2nd quarter to take a 10-7 lead, but missed a pair of chances to add to that lead when their final possessions of the half ended with a missed field goal and an interception in Wilson territory.

SOC broke the game open in the second half, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions while intercepting three Wilson passes, and the Golden Bears led 36-10 following their last score with 2:58 left in regulation.

SOC has now reached the playoffs in 20 consecutive seasons. They had a breeze in district play, as usual, outscoring their six district foes 306-10. Their postseason opposition in Region 2 of the 5A Division II bracket won’t be so easy. In Friday’s first round they will play Mansfield Summit, which went 5-5 this season after dropping down from Class 5A Division I, but advanced to the state semifinals in each of the past two seasons. Summit had a sub-par season by its recent standard, but its team is better than any SOC has faced since September.

The winner between South Oak Cliff and Mansfield Summit will play in next week’s area round against either Lovejoy or Whitehouse.

2023 LB S’Maje Burrell — North Crowley

Last week: Had 1 carry for a 3-yard touchdown, scored on a two-point conversion run, and made 3 tackles in a 48-14 win over Crowley.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Keller Timber Creek (at Crowley ISD Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs

S’Maje Burrell got in on some offensive action in last week’s win over cross-town rival Crowley, as he scored on a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the 2nd quarter that put North Crowley ahead 18-0 at the time. North Crowley went for two after each of its four touchdowns scored in the first half, and was successful on each attempt. The Panthers led 34-0 at halftime, and extended that lead to 48-0 after scoring touchdowns on its first two drives of the 3rd quarter.

With the win, North Crowley completed the first undefeated regular season run in program history, and it finished the regular season as the 19th-ranked team in Class 6A. Because only one of the two schools in District 3-6A with an enrollment higher than North Crowley’s reached the playoffs, the Panthers will compete in the 6A Division I bracket. Out of the 16 Region 1 teams in the 6A Division I playoffs, North Crowley is the third-smallest by enrollment, and it is actually smaller than five of the Region 1 teams in the 6A Division II bracket.

North Crowley got a break when Southlake Carroll got slotted for the 6A Division II playoffs, but to advance out of Region 1 it will likely have to beat 10th-ranked Prosper and then either 15th-ranked Arlington Martin, 20th-ranked Allen, or 25th-ranked Lewisville. In Friday’s first round matchup the 10-0 Panthers will play 4-6 Keller Timber Creek, which sneaked into the playoffs after finishing the regular season in a three-way tie for fourth place in District 4-6A.

The winner between North Crowley and Timber Creek will be looking for a neutral site in west Texas, as it will play the El Paso Pebble Hills and Odessa Permian.

2023 LB Liona Lefau — Kahuku (Hawaii)

Last week: No game
This week: No game

Kahuku won the Open Division final of the Oahu Interscholastic Association two weeks ago and will next attempt to defend its HHSAA Division I-Open state title, but the Red Raiders will not play their first game in the state tournament until next week.

2024 CB Jaden Allen — Aledo

Last week: Intercepted a pass in a 47-6 win over Brewer.
This week: Thursday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Killeen Shoemaker (at Aledo’s Bearcat Stadium) in the bi-district round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs

Aledo blew out Brewer to complete another undefeated district run and extend their state record winning streak in district games to an incredible 111. The Bearcats have not lost a district contest since 2007, almost the entire lifetime of their current freshmen.

Now in 5A Division I after spending the past two seasons in 5A Division II, the Bearcats enter the playoffs as the 3rd-ranked team in Class 5A Division I and will compete against a Region 1 group that isn’t as stacked as the Region 2 field (see: this column’s notes on Andre Cojoe’s Mansfield Timberview team) and has just two other ranked teams: 5th-ranked Midlothian and 6th-ranked Amarillo Tascosa. But 10 of the 16 playoff teams in Region 1 have eight or more wins this season.

Aledo’s quest for its 11th state championship will begin tonight when it hosts an 8-2 Killeen Shoemaker team whose two losses this season were by a combined eight points, one of which was a 32-27 loss to 5th-ranked Midlothian. The winner between Aledo and Shoemaker will play in the area round against either Lubbock Cooper or El Paso Bel Air.

2024 CB Aeryn Hampton — Daingerfield

Last week: Team beat Big Sandy Harmony 48-21.
This week: Thursday, November 10 at 7:00, vs. Anderson-Shiro (at Jacksonville’s Tomato Bowl) in the bi-district round of the Class 3A Division II playoffs

Daingerfield won in a blowout over Harmony last week to win its district title and complete an undefeated district run. The Tigers were ranked as high as 2nd in Class 3A Division II early in the season, but fell out of the rankings after losses in consecutive weeks in September to Timpson (2A Division I’s top-ranked team) and Class 4A Division II program Center. Daingerfield has won six straight games since those two defeats, and tonight will look to extend its season by another week when it plays a 5-5 Anderson-Shiro team in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner will play either De Kalb or Edgewood next week. Region 3 in the 3A Division II bracket includes a pair of ranked teams: 3rd-ranked Newton and 6th-ranked West Rusk. With their placement in the bracket, Daingerfield will potentially have to beat both of them to escape their region and advance to the state semifinals in a few weeks.

2023 S Derek Williams — New Iberia (Louisiana) Westgate

Last week: Team beat Lafayette (Louisiana) Northside 42-12.
This week: Friday, November 11 at 7:00, vs. Belle Chasse in the bi-district round of the Non-Select Division I playoffs

After a late-season swoon that saw them lose three of their four games in October, the Westgate Tigers finished the regular season on a high note by beating Northside by 30 points last week.

In prior seasons of Louisiana’s somewhat confusing district and playoff format, public and private school teams would compete together in districts at different classification levels from 1A through 5A, but once the regular season ended the public school (non-select) teams would compete in seeded brackets for Classes 1A through 5A, while the private schools would have separate playoff tournaments for Divisions I through IV. With the 2022 season, the LHSAA kept the regular season 1A-5A classifications, but did away with the 1A-5A naming for its public school playoffs and now has “Non-Select” playoff brackets for Division I through IV.

Westgate won last season’s Class 4A state championship and spent the 2022 regular season in a 4A district, but for the playoffs it will compete in the Non-Select Division I bracket, which has schools from both 5A and 4A. The Non-Select Division I bracket includes 28 teams in a seeded five-round tournament. The teams in the tournament and their seeds are based on a power rating formula, the rankings are updated weekly during at least the later weeks of the regular season, and the top four teams in the rankings at the end of the regular season get a first round bye. Westgate was ranked as high as second in the Non-Select Division I ratings in late September, but fell in the weeks that followed after their poor October showing.

The Tigers have the 10th seed in the Non-Select Division I playoffs and will face 23rd seed Belle Chasse in the first round. Only three of the 28 teams in their bracket had a lower strength of schedule than Westgate, while Belle Chasse had the lowest schedule strength out of not just that division’s playoff teams, but out of all 43 teams in Non-Select Division I. Belle Chasse went 6-4 in the regular season and had no mutual opponents with Westgate, but it did face a team familiar to readers of this column. Arch Manning’s Isidore Newman team beat Belle Chasse 23-20 in a non-district contest on October 7.

The winner of Friday’s game between Westgate and Belle Chasse will play either (7) Slidell or (26) Hammond.

Texas Longhorn commits whose 2022 season is over

2024 WR Hunter Moddon — Houston Clear Lake

Last Week: Had 1 carry for 5 yards, caught 1 pass for 9 yards, and made 4 tackles in a 52-24 loss to Brazoswood.

Clear Lake and Brazoswood played last week in a battle for their district’s final playoff spot, and Clear Lake lost badly. Hunter Moddon’s junior season has ended, and when he returns to the field in 2023 as a senior he will be looking to get his school back into the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

2023 TE Will Randle — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman

Tore ACL during a game on Sept. 16 and will miss the rest of the season.

2023 OL Payton Kirkland — Orlando (Florida) Dr. Phillips

Last week: Team lost to Orlando (Florida) Jones 35-14.

Dr. Phillips was unable to upset Orlando Jones in its finale last week, and finished the 2022 season with a 4-6 overall record. In Florida’s current playoff format, the four district champions in each region qualify for playoff spots along with the top four highest-rated at-large teams from each region, as determined by a power rating formula. Had Dr. Phillips won last week it likely would have grabbed one of its region’s last playoff bids, as it finished with the ninth-highest power rating out of the Region 2 teams in Class 4M.

The Dr. Phillips Panthers had two double digit losses this season, and four others by margins of six points or less. A different result in any one of those six losses might have been enough to move them up one spot in the final FHSAA power ratings (the most consequential reversal would have been a win in place of their 11-0 loss on October 14 to Olympia, the team that finished one spot above them in Region 2’s power ratings and got the last playoff spot), but alas they missed out on the postseason in 2022.

2023 EDGE Derion Gullette — Teague

Injured - out for 2022 season

Historic Longhorn Notable of the Week: on hiatus

Over the past few months I’ve enjoyed bringing readers the stories of some lesser-known (to Generation Z anyway) or outright forgotten Longhorn football notables of the past. I’ll almost certainly have more to say and tell in the future about particular events and players from UT football’s nearly 130-year-old history, but for now that section of this column will take a break. If you’ve enjoyed that feature this season, let me know in the comments.

Listed below are the former Longhorns who have been featured in that section in this column’s previous posts this season.

Week one: Thomas Milik (1944)
Week two: Raymond Clayborn (1973-76)
Week three: Ox Emerson (1929-30)
Week four: Winston McMahon (1906)
Week five: James Ross “J.R.” Callahan (1943)
Week six: A.J. “Jam” Jones (1978-81)
Week seven: Marshall Morgan “Mark” McMahon (1898-1901)
Week eight: John Robert “J.R.” Swenson (1902)
Week nine: Lawrence Sampleton (1978-81)
Week ten: none (this feature took a bye week)
Week eleven: Howard Fest (1967)