On the same weekend that the Texas Longhorns struggled to get the ball over the goal line against top-ranked Alabama, the team’s offensive recruits had no such trouble. Eight of UT’s nine offensive skill position commits scored touchdowns in their games last week, and defensive end commit Billy Walton added to the scoring with a safety just a few hours after T’Vondre Sweat just missed out on one (according to Big 12 game officials).
It was a good weekend overall for the current crop of Longhorn commits. Arch Manning had a statistical line more in line from what one would expect from a highly-ranked QB prospect, Cedric Baxter had another productive night, Jonah Wilson had a monster game at wide receiver, and Trevor Goosby and Jaden Allen both helped their teams to their first win of the season.
Ten of the team’s 25 current commits have yet to lose a game in the young 2022 season. Some upsets will have to happen for that to remain the case next week, as Liona Lefau’s team will travel to California to play the top-ranked team in the country, and Jaydon Chatman’s team will travel over 300 miles to play an undefeated Odessa Permian team.
With the Texas high school football season going into its fourth week, some schools have already begun district play, while virtually all others will do so either this week or next. That’s when the games start to count for postseason qualification, and when good teams should start hitting their stride to be ready for a playoff run starting in just under two months.
So read on for a recap of last week’s games involving UT’s commits, and some notes on this week’s games, then stay for a history lesson on the first Alabaman to win a letter with the Longhorn football program, a man who was the first Longhorn to do something that is today considered elementary in football but which was originally a very risky play: a forward pass.
The start times for the games listed below are according to their local time zones.
2023 QB Arch Manning — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman
2023 TE Will Randle — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman
Last week: Manning completed 19 of 22 passes for 221 yards and 4 touchdowns, and also ran for a touchdown; and Randle caught a TD pass in a 42-20 win over Reserve (Louisiana) Riverside Academy.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Benton (Louisiana)
Arch Manning had a very good game last week, throwing catchable balls on nearly every pass attempt in his team’s 42-20 win over Riverside Academy. According Nola.com’s recap of the game, two of his three incomplete passes were dropped by his receivers. He found his current and future teammate Will Randle for one of his four touchdown passes, and he also ran for one for good measure.
Newman led Riverside Academy 14-6 going into the 3rd quarter, then used a second half surge to extend its lead to 42-13 with 3:42 left in regulation. Riverside was led on offense by senior running back Elijah Davis, a Louisiana-Lafayette commit who gained 315 yards from scrimmage on 40 offensive touches.
Isidore Newman competes in Louisiana’s Class 2A, while Riverside Academy is in 1A. The Newman Greenies will make a big leap in competition level this Friday when they play a non-district game against Class 5A Benton, which lost 46-35 last week in an inter-state matchup with Texarkana Texas High.
2023 RB Cedric Baxter Jr. — Orlando (Florida) Edgewater
Last week: Had 21 carries for 116 yards and 2 TDs, and caught 2 passes for 27 yards in a 26-14 win over Winter Garden (Florida) West Orange.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Orlando (Florida) Jones
Cedric Baxter saw his streak of 200-yard rushing games end at two, but he still had a productive night last Friday with 143 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns on 23 offensive touches, as his Edgewater team improved to 3-0 with a 26-14 win over West Orange.
Edgewater will play its first district game of the season on Friday against Orlando (Florida) Jones, which had a bye last week and lost 44-21 in its previous game to Duncanville (Texas).
Jones is the alma mater of former Longhorn linebacker Marcus Tillman, who entered the transfer portal last December and is now at Navarro College in Corsicana. Edgewater won a 52-49 shootout over Jones last season in a game in which Cedric Baxter had a whopping 40 carries for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Jones went on to reach the semifinals of Florida’s Class 5A playoffs before losing 20-13 to eventual state runner-up Pensacola Pine Forest.
2023 RB Tre Wisner — DeSoto
2023 WR Johntay Cook II — DeSoto
Last week: Wisner had 7 carries for 23 yards and a TD, and caught one pass for 49 yards; and Cook caught 3 passes for 40 yards and a TD, and had 2 carries for 9 yards in a 42-23 win over South Oak Cliff.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:30, at Dallas Skyline
DeSoto got a convincing win over South Oak Cliff last week in a game that the box score would indicate was messy. The two teams were assessed a combined 26 penalties for 247 yards.
South Oak Cliff had struggled mightily on offense in its first two games, but after receiving the opening kickoff the Golden Bears drove deep into DeSoto territory before an interception was returned 98 yards for DeSoto’s first score. DeSoto didn’t set the world on fire itself on offense in the first half and went into the 3rd quarter leading 14-2. But the Eagles scored touchdowns on four of their first six possessions of the second half to pull away and win 42-23.
Tre Wisner scored on a one-yard run on DeSoto’s opening drive of the 3rd quarter to put the Eagles ahead 21-3. Johntay Cook had a 27-yard TD reception with 8:16 left in the 4th quarter to put his team ahead 35-16.
DeSoto is 2-1 for the season and is ranked 13th in Class 6A. The Eagles will begin district play this week against Dallas Skyline, a former Dallas-Fort Worth area powerhouse that has fallen on comparatively hard times of late. Skyline won 14 games as recently as the 2014 season, but has won just one of its past 13 games. The Raiders went 1-9 in 2021, only the second season in program history in which they won less than two games.
Johntay Cook’s highlights vs. SOC
2024 WR Hunter Moddon — Houston Clear Lake
Last Week: Had 2 carries for 73 yards and a TD in a 35-13 win over South Houston.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Channelview
Clear Lake improved to 2-1 with its win over South Houston last week. Hunter Moddon wasn’t credited with any receptions, but he took a 74-yard jet sweep to the house in the win.
The Falcons play their final non-district game this week against Channelview, then have a bye before their first district game on September 30.
2023 WR Ryan Niblett — Aldine Eisenhower
Last week: Team lost to Tomball Memorial 45-41.
This week: bye
Eisenhower dropped to 0-3 for the season with its high-scoring loss to Tomball Memorial last week. The team will have a bye this week before beginning district play on September 22 against Jonah Wilson’s Spring Dekaney team.
Eisenhower’s MaxPreps page has yet to post any team stats for the season, but Ryan Niblett’s Hudl page shared a highlight clip of a 40-yard touchdown run against Tomball Memorial.
2023 WR Jonah Wilson — Spring Dekaney
Last week: Had 14 catches for 232 yards and 2 TDs in a 45-35 loss to Humble.
This week: Bye
Jonah Wilson had a huge night last week, catching 14 passes against Humble and gaining 232 yards, but it wasn’t enough to deliver a win, as Dekaney fell to 1-2 for the season.
Through the first three games of his senior season, Wilson has 28 catches for 513 yards and 5 touchdowns. His yardage total is already a career high for a single season! He and his Dekaney Wildcats teammates have a bye this week before beginning district play next week against Aldine Eisenhower in a game that should feature plenty of fireworks at receiver with future Longhorns Jonah Wilson and Ryan Niblett competing on opposite ends of the field.
2023 TE Spencer Shannon — Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei
Last week: Team beat La Mirada 35-0.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Mililani (Hawaii)
Mater Dei improved to 4-0 with an easy win over La Mirada last week. Spencer Shannon has evidently been employed exclusively as an attached blocker and has yet to record a catch this season.
The Mater Dei Monarchs are MaxPreps’s second-ranked team in the nation this week, and on Friday they will host a Mililani team that the same outlet ranks as the top team in Hawaii.
2023 OL Jaydon Chatman — Killeen Harker Heights
Last week: Team beat Round Rock Cedar Ridge 27-20.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Odessa Permian
Harker Heights moved to 3-0 after beating Cedar Ridge last week. The Knights went 9-2 a year ago and are off to a very nice start in 2022. Harker Heights played its first varsity football season in 2000, and won six games or more in each of its first six seasons (2000-05). But after 2005 the Knights did not finish with a record above .500 in consecutive seasons again until the 2020 and 2021 seasons, in which they went 7-4 and 9-2.
On Friday, they will make a long 325 miles trip out west for a non-district game against Odessa Permian, which is also 3-0 and is a week removed from a 13-12 win Amarillo Tascosa. Tascosa had been ranked fifth in Class 5A Division I going into that game.
Between Jaydon Chatman and Permian’s Harris Sewell, the Harker Heights-Permian game will feature two of the top 35 prospects in the state of Texas for the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. Sewell was a longtime Texas target but committed to Clemson in June.
2023 OL Andre Cojoe — Mansfield Timberview
Last week: Team beat Dallas W.T. White 70-17.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Carrollton R.L. Turner
Timberview won its district opener last week by 53 points over a lowly W.T. White squad. The Wolves are the second-ranked team in Class 5A Division I this week, and will probably show more of the same firepower on Friday against R.L. Turner, which fell 56-3 in its district opener last week against Birdville.
2023 OL Trevor Goosby — Melissa
Last week: Team beat Royse City 48-24.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:30, vs. Crandall
Melissa was moved from Class 4A Division I to 5A Division II with the most recent UIL realignment. The Cardinals lost in their first two games of this season to the teams currently ranked first in 5A Division II (Argyle) and second in 4A Division I (China Spring), then got their first win as a 5A program by an impressive 48-24 score last week over a Class 6A Royse City team that had outscored its first two opponents 105-20.
Now that they have their first win of 2022 under their belt, the Cardinals can turn their attention to their district slate, and their first district game will be Friday against 3-0 Crandall.
2023 OL Payton Kirkland — Orlando (Florida) Dr. Phillips
Last week: Team lost to Apopka 7-6.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Windermere (Florida)
Dr. Phillips lost a one-point game last week and is now 0-3 for the season. The Panthers’ three losses have come by a combined margin of nine points.
They’ll look for their first win of 2022 on Friday when they begin district play against a 1-2 Windermere team. Dr. Phillips has beaten Windermere in three consecutive seasons by a combined score of 154-16.
2023 OL Connor Stroh — Frisco Wakeland
Last week: Team lost to Frisco Heritage 19-13.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Frisco Reedy
Wakeland fell to 1-2 for the season after losing its first district game last week to Frisco Heritage. The game was largely a defensive struggle, with Wakeland consistently driving into Heritage territory but coming up empty most of the time. Wakeland had an interception returned for a Heritage touchdown, and turned the ball over on downs in Heritage territory three other times.
Heritage took a 19-7 lead early in the 4th quarter after the game had been tied 7-7 at halftime. Wakeland scored a touchdown with 6:23 left in regulation to cut the deficit to 19-13, but Heritage held the ball for the remainder of the game to preserve their lead.
Wakeland will next face a hot Reedy team that is 3-0 and coming off a 13-7 win over Frisco Lone Star, which was the second-ranked team in 5A Division I going into last week. Reedy entered the state rankings this week and is now ranked eighth in 5A Division I.
2023 DL Sydir Mitchell — Oradell (New Jersey) Bergen Catholic
Last week: Made two total tackles (one for loss) in a 21-6 win over Morristown (New Jersey) Delbarton.
This week: Saturday, September 17 at 1:00, vs. West Orange (New Jersey) Seton Hall Prep
Bergen Catholic remained undefeated at 3-0 following its win over Delbarton last week. The Crusaders are the 14th-ranked team in the country, according to MaxPreps.
They will play their first league matchup on Saturday against 2-0 Seton Hall Prep, which beat Delbarton 32-27 in its season opener on August 27, and had a bye last week.
2023 DL Dylan Spencer — Houston C.E. King
Last week: Made five tackles and forced a fumble in a 45-7 win over Pearland.
This week: Bye
C.E. King dominated Pearland in its final non-district game of the season, winning 45-7. King is 2-1 for the season, and will have a bye this week before beginning district play on September 23.
2023 EDGE Derion Gullette — Teague
Injured - out for 2022 season
2023 EDGE Billy Walton — Dallas South Oak Cliff
2023 CB Malik Muhammad — Dallas South Oak Cliff
Last week: Walton had 9 tackles, 3 sacks, and a safety; and Muhammad had 4 tackles and 3 passes defensed in a 42-23 loss to DeSoto
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:30, at Dallas Parish Episcopal
South Oak Cliff, the defending Class 5A Division II state champion, fell to 0-3 for the season after its loss last Saturday against DeSoto, now the 13th-ranked team in Class 6A. SOC’s offense had more life than it showed in its first three games, and its defense held the Eagles to 14 first half points and recorded a safety, but DeSoto pulled away in the second half.
SOC will play its last non-district game on Friday against the state’s top-ranked private school, Dallas Parish Episcopal. Parish Episcopal is 3-0 and has scored wins over UIL Class 5A programs Aledo and Austin LBJ.
2023 LB S’Maje Burrell — North Crowley
Last week: Team beat Lovejoy 28-20.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Fort Worth Paschal
North Crowley continued its hot start to the 2022 season, improving to 3-0 with a win over Lovejoy, which entered last week as the third-ranked team in Class 5A Division II.
The North Crowley Panthers will open district play on Friday against the Paschal Panthers, a long-moribund program that has likewise started the season 3-0. Paschal’s three wins already matches its most in a season since 2013, when it went 5-5. That was the only season of the current century in which Paschal has won more than three games in a season.
The Dallas Morning News now ranks the North Crowley Panthers 19th among the Dallas area’s 6A teams, which likely marks the first time they’ve been ranked even among area teams in several years.
2023 LB Liona Lefau — Kahuku (Hawaii)
Last week: Team beat Ewa Beach (Hawaii) Campbell 16-6.
This week: Saturday, September 17 at 7:30, at Bellflower (California) St. John Bosco
Kahuku remained undefeated at 4-0 after their 16-6 win over Campbell last week. The Red Raiders have now won 14 consecutive games dating back to the 2020 season, but extending that streak this week will be a very tough task, as they will travel to California to play a Saturday night game against MaxPreps’s top-ranked team in the nation, St. John Bosco.
2024 CB Jaden Allen — Aledo
Last week: Made 2 tackles and recovered a fumble in a 49-20 win over Justin Northwest.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Azle
Aledo won its first district game last week over Northwest, and also garnered its first win of the 2022 season overall. The Bearcats, who most recently suffered more than one regular season loss way back in 2007, dropped their first two games of their 2022 campaign at the hands of the top-ranked private school team (Dallas Parish Episcopal) and Class 6A’s sixth-ranked team (Denton Guyer). Aledo had not been 0-2 at any point within Jaden Allen’s lifetime until this month.
With the win, Aledo re-entered the state rankings for Class 5A Division I at #7 this week, and they will host Azle on Friday. Azle is 0-3 and is pretty used to losing to state-ranked teams by now, having already suffered lopsided defeats against the teams currently ranked fourth and eighth in Class 5A Division I (Denton Ryan and Frisco Reedy), and eighth in 5A Division II (Grapevine).
2024 CB Aeryn Hampton — Daingerfield
Last week: Team lost to Timpson 54-28.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:30, vs. Center
Daingerfield was blasted last week by Timpson, the state’s top-ranked team in Class 2A Division I. Timpson is now 29-2 since the start of the 2020 season, and its only losses in that time have come in the playoffs against Shiner, the Class 2A Division I state champions in each of the last two years.
Daingerfield was ranked second in Class 3A Division II going into that game, but after its lopsided loss it dropped all the way to tenth in its classification. The Tigers have one more non-district game before their bye week, and on Friday they will host Center, a Class 4A Division II team that is 2-1 for the season and lost its game last week by a 71-42 score against Louisiana 4A team North DeSoto.
Center and Daingerfield have one common opponent so far this year; Center opened its season with a 44-42 win over Tatum, and Daingerfield beat Tatum 48-35 the following week.
2023 S Jamel Johnson — Arlington Seguin
Last week: Team beat Aubrey 29-14.
This week: Thursday, September 15 at 7:00, at Mansfield Summit
Arlington Seguin held Class 4A Division II opponent Aubrey to 215 total yards (only 68 in the second half) in garnering its first win of the season last week.
The Cougars open district 5-5A Division II play tonight against Mansfield Summit. Summit advanced to the semifinal round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs in each of the past two seasons, then dropped to 5A Division II with February’s UIL realignment. Summit played three Class 6A teams for its non-district schedule, and began this season 0-2 after getting drilled by fellow Mansfield ISD teams Lake Ridge and Mansfield High by a combined score of 107-34, then got its first win last week by a 20-14 score over Crowley.
2023 S Derek Williams — New Iberia (Louisiana) Westgate
Last week: Team beat Lake Charles (Louisiana) College Prep 20-12.
This week: Friday, September 16 at 7:00, at Shreveport (Louisiana) Evangel Christian Academy
Westgate improved to 2-0 with its win last week over Lake Charles College Prep, the sixth-ranked team in Louisiana’s Class 3A. Westgate has not posted stats to its MaxPreps page, but Williams reportedly ran for a long touchdown late in the game to break a 12-12 tie, then scored the ensuing two-point conversion to put his team ahead 20-12.
Westgate received six of eight first-place votes in this week’s Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll for Class 4A, and will travel to face Shreveport Evangel Christian on Friday.
Notably, Evangel Christian has produced five Texas Longhorn football lettermen, and is the only out-of-state school that has been attended by more than four future Longhorns, a fact I pointed out previously in my ranking of the states that have produced the most Longhorns.
Historic Longhorn Notable of the Week: Winston McMahon
With the Texas Longhorns having just lost a thriller to the Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday, this week seems a good time for a profile of the first Longhorn from Alabama: Winston McMahon. He was a quality athlete and a multi-sport letterman at two different colleges, though he was a regular on the UT varsity football squad for less than a full season. He was pretty far from being a program legend even within his lifetime, but his name is forever stamped in the annals of Longhorn football because he is credited with tossing the first legal forward pass in the program’s history.
James Winston McMahon was born in 1884 and was a native of Sumter County, Alabama, which is on the western edge of the state on the border with Mississippi. He apparently lived in that county for all of his pre-college years and was most commonly known by his middle name. An 1898 news blurb stated that he was a student at “Sumterville High School”, which apparently hasn’t existed for over a century and whose story might now be lost to history. Other sources state that he received his high school education at the Livingston Male Academy or Livingston Military Academy, which appear to have been one school in the Sumter County seat that operated under those two names at different points during the 1890s.
McMahon attended the University of Alabama, and was a member of its football and baseball teams. His obituary in the Texas Bar Journal stated that he lettered in both sports at Alabama, but the school’s current all-time lettermen lists for those sports do not include his name.
He graduated from Alabama with a B.A. in 1903, at the age of 19. He remained at the school for another year as a graduate student, then left his home state in the summer of 1904 and moved to Waco, Texas to study law under Eugene Williams, himself a native of Sumter County, Alabama and a friend of McMahon’s grandfather. Williams had moved to Texas in 1876 and was a judge in Waco for many years.
On Williams’s recommendation, McMahon enrolled at the University of Texas as a law student, and contemporary news articles suggest he was a UT student as early as the fall of 1904. He apparently participated in football practices in 1905, but was not allowed to play in that season because he had played for Alabama’s team too recently.
He finally became a regular player with UT in 1906, playing primarily at the quarterback position and occasionally at halfback. He was of average size for a football player of his time, standing 5’8” and weighing 156 pounds while playing for a Longhorn team whose heaviest player — 28-year-old left guard and team captain Lucian Parrish, who was later elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives — was 187 pounds.
McMahon saw his first action against Vanderbilt in the season’s fourth game. The Vandy game was the first of three-game road trip that saw Texas play against Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Oklahoma within the span of just seven days in late October and early November. Texas was drubbed by Vanderbilt 45-0, but won every other game that season to finish 9-1. McMahon’s kicking on field goals and PATs helped give Texas a 10-9 win over Oklahoma on November 2, and the following week he was a star in the team’s 28-0 win over the Haskell Institute.
Haskell was a boarding school for Native American students in Lawrence, Kansas, and it fielded very competitive football teams for several years. (The school still exists today, and has been known as the Haskell Indian Nations University since 1993.) Texas played Haskell in football eleven times between 1902 and 1919, going 6-5 overall against its teams. Haskell won the first four matchups in that series and kept Texas off the scoreboard in those games, but Texas returned the favor for the first time with its 28-0 win on November 9, 1906.
It was during that win over the Haskell Indians that Winston McMahon connected with Bowie Duncan for what is recorded as the first completed forward pass in the team’s history. He also scored a number of points on kicks (field goals were worth four points from 1904 to 1908), and the Cactus yearbook would later praise his performance in the Haskell game as being one of the best ever by a UT quarterback.
The forward pass had been legalized by rule changes first put in place that year, though the new rules made the forward pass a fairly hazardous proposition. If a forward pass was attempted and the ball fell incomplete without being touched by an offensive player, the ball was given to the defense at the spot where it hit the ground. If the ball was touched by any player after being passed but was not caught and landed in bounds, it was a live ball that either team could recover. And a pass that sailed out of bounds resulted in the defense taking possession where the ball had crossed the sideline.
Had those rules still been in effect when Darrell Royal became the Longhorns’ head coach a half-century later, the team would have attempted passes even more sparingly, because the ratio of good vs. bad things that could happen when a team attempted a pass was even more stark in 1906 than in Royal’s era.
Bowie Duncan, an end who would serve as the Longhorn team captain in 1907, was the original UT receiving threat. After his TD catch against Haskell he caught touchdown passes in UT’s wins over Daniel Baker College and Texas A&M in 1906. Notably, forward passes had to be caught outside of the end zone and then run across the goal line for a score; a pass caught in the end zone was a touchback at the time.
On the 50th anniversary of UT’s 1906 season, McMahon and Duncan (who were both still living in 1956) were recognized as the team’s original pass-catch combination, though some news articles that year erroneously stated that it was Duncan’s touchdown catch against A&M that was the first completed forward pass (or first touchdown catch) in team history. A scholarship that bore their names — the Winston McMahon-Bowie Duncan Scholarship — was established at some point and was annually awarded to a UT football player into at least the late 1970s.
Along with playing with the Longhorn football team, McMahon also won a pair of letters in baseball (1906-07), and he graduated from Texas with a bachelor of laws degree in 1907.
He moved to San Antonio to begin his legal career, relocated to Houston a few years later, and was a resident of the latter city for the rest of his life. He remained involved in athletics for a time, and in 1913 was tabbed as the football coach at Houston High School, but he had to relinquish that post before the start of the season due to his workload as an assistant city attorney.
In 1914 he was named Houston’s City Attorney, and held that post for three years. When he got married in 1915, the best man at his wedding was Woodall Rodgers, a fellow Houston attorney and Alabama native who would later move to Dallas and hold office at that city’s mayor from 1939 to 1947. He is the namesake of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas.
McMahon returned to private practice after leaving office as City Attorney in 1917, and in the following year he was appointed a United States Commissioner. The vast majority of news stories he was named in over the next decade and a half involved criminal defendants being arraigned before him on violations of liquor laws, as he was a Commissioner for the entirety of the Prohibition era, holding that position from 1918 to 1932. He returned to private practice after leaving that post, and continued practicing law until he was well into his 80s.
In 1948 he was one of 40 early Alabama football players who formed the Thin Red Line A Club, which was made up of former Alabama varsity football players who had participated in the earliest games of their school’s rivalry against Auburn between 1898 and 1907. That series was discontinued after 1907 and the schools did not play each other again until 1948, which prompted the formation of the Thin Red Line A Club. The club met annually for dinner on the evening before each season’s Alabama-Auburn game. By the time of the 1960 edition of the Iron Bowl, only twenty members of the club were still living. Winston McMahon was almost certainly one of the group’s last survivors at the time of his death on March 8, 1972, which came a month after his 88th birthday.