By Greg Tepper // TexasFootball.com
Lots of things to get to on another exciting Friday night in Texas, so let's get right to my Five Thoughts.
1) On the TSN High School Scoreboard Show on the radio last night, Roger Emrich and I had Highland Park head coach Randy Allen on to talk about his historic 300th victory, which game with a 41-27 win over Richardson Pearce. He was humbled, as you can imagine: he is just the 11th man in history to win 300 Texas high school football games, joining the likes of G.A. Moore, Gordon Wood, Jim Streety, Ray Akins, Eddy Peach, Phil Danaher and other legends of the craft. But I think what I'll always remember about his 300th win is the very first play from scrimmage.
With the Scots with the ball near midfield, the handoff went to RB Preston Miller, who ran up to the line of scrimmage and...stopped. The offensive line...didn't block. In shot a Pearce defensive lineman, who made a nice tackle on Miller for no gain. The crowd went wild. The announcer went wild. "Tackle by No. 77, Davis Hartley!," he yelped over the public address system. I was confused. A gentleman next to me had to fill me in.
Davis Hartley has Down Syndrome. This was his first -- and only -- varsity play, as a senior on homecoming. Pearce coach Randy Robertson and coach Allen got together before the game and agreed on the play.
Think about that: on a night about him setting history, coach Allen managed to keep perspective enough to remember that this is all about kids. Coaches, I think we forget, are in this for the betterment of kids, and coach Allen has always kept that in mind while racking up 300 wins. It's not one or the other; it's winning and helping kids. And that's truly something to celebrate. Congratulations to coach Allen, and congratulations to the game's defensive MVP, Davis Hartley.
2- Real quick, we need to stay in the Metroplex to touch on an historic night Fort Worth. Fort Worth Southwest handed Fort Worth Arlington Heights its first loss of the year, a 66-21 win for FWSW. But the real story was WR Robbie Rhodes and QB Wesley Harris. Rhodes caught 10 passes for 390 yards and eight touchdowns last night. The 390 yards receiving is a single-game state record, breaking the 386-yard mark set back in 2009 by Richardson Pearce's Blake Jumonville. The eight receiving touchdowns is also a single-game state record, breaking the mark (6) held by Decatur's Brian Christian in 2004, Chillicothe's Randy Boone in 1984, and Grand Saline's Clay Warner in 1966. But not so fast! QB Wesley Harris managed to throw nine total touchdowns, which is also a single-game state record, breaking he mark of eight held by a handful of signal-callers, including Baytown Lee's Drew Tate and (just last week!) Ingleside's Tristen Barajas. What a night for Southwest; congrats to both Rhodes and Harris on entering the record books.
3- As far as the top 10 teams in each class, it was a largely ho-hum week. In fact, in the AP Top 10, no ranked team in any class lost. Everyone took care of business. Most notable among the top 10s: Longview and DeSoto continue their collision course with wins over Mesquite Horn and Tyler Lee, respectively; Smithson Valley's march toward yet another undefeated season with a big win over Alamo Heights; Pearland Dawson holding serve with a win over Galveston Ball to continue the collision course with Manvel for the district crown; Wimberley passing what might be its last big test before the playoffs with a sensational win over Fischer Canyon Lake; Gilmer needing a late field goal to stay undefeated against Carthage in a game that lived up to the hype; Albany drubbing district foe Olney, 62-7; and Price Carlisle proving that its 6-0 start was no fluke, drubbing Simms Bowie, 42-13.
4- Still need to be convinced that district play is an entirely different ballgame? There was no hotter team in the state than Midland Lee through non-district play. The Rebels had really nice wins over El Paso Montwood, Amarillo and Amarillo Tascosa, and were flying high at 5-0. Now? Two games into play in the Little Southwest Conference of 3-5A, the Rebels are 0-2 after last night's 49-34 loss to Abilene. The Lee defense, which had been so good in non-district, has been smoked lately. So favorites beware: non-district success can turn into district woes in a heartbeat.
5- My college football picks, from most confident to least confident: Louisiana-Lafayette over North Texas, Rice over Marshall, UTEP over Tulane, Oklahoma State over Texas, Kansas State over Texas Tech, SMU over Central Florida and Texas A&M over Baylor. But when you're watching the games today, take a cue from the newest member of Texas high school football coaching's most prestigious fraternity and remember: it's just a game.
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