5A/4A Review: Weekend to remember
State quarterfinals were a dazzling display of talent and depth as favorites move on.
Raise your hand if you stayed up late to watch the DeSoto-Carroll game replayed on Fox Sports Southwest. I suspect I'm going to see a lot of hands here.
And justifiably so. The Eagles-Dragons showdown lived up to the billing as one of the biggest games in Metroplex history, and the incredible finish you'll read about below is going to be talked about for a long, long time around these parts. But there were other games played in the 5A/4A ranks this weekend, and all of them were worth recapping — even if the score got a little lopsided in a few.
Recaps below. Enjoy!
5A – Division I
DeSoto 49, Southlake Carroll 45
Well, I swung and missed in almost every facet on my game prediction here (Carroll, 16-13), but at least we were rewarded with a miraculous showing by both teams in what has to be considered one of the better games in Metroplex history. Too much happened in just 48 minutes to recap everything, so let’s start in the second half, when Carroll emerged from the break with a 24-21 lead that could have been a lot bigger if not for DeSoto’s 15-0 run late in the second quarter. The third quarter picked up where the second left off — scoring, and bunches of it. Southlake got a touchdown run out of QB Kenny Hill (he finished with five on the day on 40 carries), and then the two teams traded scores all the way through the end of the quarter. DeSoto RB Dontre Wilson’s 76 yard catch-and-run with 34 seconds left sent Carroll to the fourth quarter protecting a narrow 45-42 lead. Carroll started the quarter with the ball, looking to pick up a score and put things out of reach, but failed to convert on a fourth down at the DeSoto 44-yard line. That’s when the momentum shifted — DeSoto scored minutes later when QB Desmon White hit Rickey Daniels for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Eagles in front, 49-45. Carroll took over and quickly drove into DeSoto territory, but fumbled the ball away. DeSoto gave it right back when it failed to convert a fourth down, and the stage was set for the dramatic finish. Carroll started its last drive at its own 29-yard line with little time remaining, driving all the way to the DeSoto 3-yard line with 12 seconds left. On first down, Hill was stuffed at the one. Carroll called a timeout. On second down, Hill was stuffed at the one. Carroll called its last timeout. On third down … Hill was stuffed at the one, and time expired. That, folks, is as dramatic an ending as you’ll ever see.
Allen 37, Dallas Skyline 17
It’s pretty tough to live up to the standards that Carroll and DeSoto set, but Allen put on a pretty good performance against one of the toughest teams in Texas on Saturday. The offensive key, as it so often has been this year, was QB Kyler Murray — he opened the scoring with a 9-yard TD pass to Troy Knudsen, ran for a 24-yard score in the second quarter, and ran for a 6-yard score in the third. On the day, he finished with 129 passing yards and a score and 122 rushing yards and two scores, hitting seven different receivers in the process. But the defense was sharp, too; even though it gave up more than 400 yards of offense, it forced four turnovers (two picks, two fumbles), a missed field goal and five punts. How much better will you do than that against such a tough offense? The killers were the turnovers; the first INT came at the Allen 20-yard line (ouch), and both fumbles came on kickoff returns at the start of the third quarter, and they led directly to 10 points that put Allen up 27-7. You’re not going to beat this team once you fall behind by 20.
Houston Lamar 28, GP North Shore 7
This was a significant upset, but you have to admit that Lamar toppled the Mustangs with the exact same formula it’s used against everyone else all season long — defense and offensive balance. The former was very sharp; only 209 yards allowed, less than four yards per carry allowed, three turnovers forced (two of five fumbles lost), just 69 passing yards, four punts forced, etc. The list goes on. It was just really, really good. The offense took care of its business, too — QB Darrell Colbert threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Shelby Walker midway through the first quarter, and then he threw for a second in the third. His 42-yard rushing TD midway through the fourth quarter put North Shore in a 28-0 hole, and with the way the Mustang offense was going at that point, it was essentially the ball game. North Shore got a short touchdown run with less than five minutes to play, but Lamar was the better team and, most importantly, it didn’t turn the ball over. That’s how it became the first Houston ISD team in a state semifinal since 2001. And yes, that was Houston Madison, led by Vince Young.
SA O'Connor 52, SA Madison 49
What an exhausting back-and-forth affair this was! Truth told, it didn’t start that way; after Madison RB Marquis Warford started the game off with a short TD run for a 7-0 Maverick lead, O’Connor turned on the jets with 28 straight points (aided by a recovered onside kick) that looked to have slain the Madison giant before halftime. So down 28-7 with a little more than two minutes to go before the break, Madison pulled itself back in it — a 43-yard TD pass to Byron Daniels, then a forced fumble by Warford (playing safety), and a Warford rushing touchdown with 47 seconds left to make it, shockingly, 28-21 at the break. Warford scored twice more in the third quarter (once on a 78-yard run), but O’Connor kept pace with two Zach Galindo touchdown passes, and we went to the fourth at 42-35. Warford scored yet again to open the fourth (he finished 256 yards and five scores), but Galindo answered with his fifth touchdown pass of the game at the 4:33 mark, and then O’Connor did the unthinkable — it kicked and recovered a gutsy onside attempt, which became a 37-yard field goal with 2:05 let to play. That gave the Panthers a critical 11-point lead. Madison took possession and scored yet again on another Daniels TD catch, but the Mavericks weren’t as lucky on the onside kicks. Their resulting attempt hit a player before it went ten yards, and O’Connor kneeled the clock out.
5A – Division II
Cedar Hill 49, Hewitt Midway 34
This was a tough game to be a defensive player in, but Cedar Hill’s Jonathan Buffin stepped up to the plate midway through the second quarter when he scooped up a B.J. Kelly fumble and returned it 84 yards for a massive Cedar Hill score, a touchdown that put the Longhorns up 28-14 and kept Midway at arm’s length all day. To the Panthers’ credit, they responded quickly, and Kelly’s one-yard TD run on the next drive made it a seven-point game again. But to Cedar Hill’s credit, it worked even faster — with less than two minutes to go before halftime, the Longhorns drove right down the field and punched in a TD from a yard out (QB Damion Hobbs) with four seconds left for a momentum-stealing 35-21 lead. Midway inched closer coming out of the break, getting another score from Kelly to make it 35-28, but then Cedar Hill gave us the drive of the game (and maybe the whole weekend) — a 14-play, 79-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock and showcased an incredible three converted fourth-and-ones, all completed on Hobbs runs. Still, Midway wouldn’t roll over; Kelly scored again early in the fourth from close range to make it 42-34, but both teams traded punts afterwards, and Cedar Hill slammed the door shut when RB Larry Hill snapped off a 45-yard TD run with 1:37 left to play. Both teams showed a lot of guts in this one.
Austin Westlake 42, Plano West 35
Region’s I and II sure weren’t hurting for good games, were they? But just like last week, Westlake made hay in this one with turnovers — the Chaps picked off four Plano West passes, the last of which killed the Wolves’ final drive at the Westlake 40-yard line with little time remaining. That last pick was doubly painful, considering Plano West had just scored and recovered an onside kick to set up the final drive. Interceptions are never a good thing for an offense, but the Wolves’ were particularly potent; the first came at the Westlake 16-yard line, likely taking points off the board. The second came at the Plano West 24-yard line, which Westlake turned into a rushing touchdown a few plays later. The third came at the Westlake 21-yard line (on fourth down in the fourth quarter), which likely took points off the board. The fourth obviously ended the game. But give the Chaps’ offense some love, too; the balance was great (23 rushing attempts, 20 passing attempts), and even though the yards weren’t coming in bunches in the run game, Westlake stuck with it; five of Westlake’s six touchdowns came on runs of four yards or less. Alex Chavez ran for two scores and Keith Carter ran for three.
Katy 70, Cy Ranch 21
What else is there to say about this Katy group? This one was a blowout from the get-go, as Katy jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the 6:55 mark of the first quarter and a 49-0 lead at the break. Adam Taylor ran for four touchdowns in the first half, including two 50-yarders. The Tigers’ defense was magnificent; it forced four turnovers and eight punts, and Cy Ranch finished with just six first downs all day. Ranch scored three times in the second half, but the game was 56-0 at that point. Taylor broke the school single-season record for touchdown runs (36 now), and DB Quinn Atwood picked off three passes. Cy Ranch had a heck of a year in its first-ever playoff run, but as of right now, the question I find myself asking is if I can think of another 5A champ that could run with this group right now. I’ve seen a lot of good ones, but I think that would be a pretty short list.
Cibolo Steele 28, SA Brandeis 12
So as Katy won in typical Katy fashion up in Region III, so did Steele stick to its script down in Region IV — defense, defense, defense, with a dominating run game mixed in for good measure. The defense: Brandeis’ only touchdown of the game came with just 2:42 left and Steele nursing a 28-6 lead, and the 7-yard run was one of the few bright points in a 174-yard day for the offense as a whole. Steele held the Broncos to just 2.24 yards per rush and only 109 yards passing. The ground game: Steele ran for 336 yards at a 7.81 yard per carry clip, never turned the ball over, punter just twice, only had to throw the ball nine times, and got two rushing touchdowns apiece out of Jordan Sterns (who does so many things for this team) and Justin Stockton, who also finished with 202 yards on 12 carries. Stockton landed two body blows in the middle stages of the game — a 51-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a back-breaking 75-yard strike in the third. Now we have a monster matchup next week: Steele vs. Katy, down at Waco’s Floyd Casey Stadium at 2:00 PM Saturday. Bring your hard hats.
4A – Division I
Denton Guyer 52, Birdville 42
I was worried that Birdville might not be able to keep pace in this one, and it looked like I was going to be right at the end of the first quarter — Guyer led 21-7 and QB Jerrod Heard already had two touchdown runs. Heck, RB D.J. Breedlove pretty much led off the game with an 84-yard scoring run. But after that, Birdville dug deep, matching high-powered Guyer blow for blow through the third quarter to hit the final frame at 38-21. Birdville got a 35-yard TD run from Xavier Turner on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point ball game, but then things got really spicy. Guyer put together a four minute drive, capped by a TD, to make it 45-28 with 7:53 left to play. Ball game, right? Not so fast — Birdville’s response took just two plays, the latter of which was a Samuel Northey 58-yard TD pass to Barrett Shaw (7:36). Guyer, not to be outdone, answered back in just three plays, capped by Richard Whitaker’s 44-yard rushing touchdown (7:08). That, folks, was three offensive touchdowns in less than a minute. Birdville scored a few minutes later to draw back within 10, but Guyer ran the final four minutes out to win it and advance to its fourth state semifinal in five years.
John Tyler 38, Frisco Centennial 24
It wasn’t always pretty for Cujo in this one, but John Tyler got the job done against a tough Centennial team. The first half was tight, as the two teams went to the break tied at 14, partially because of a missed field goal from Tyler and partially because of a costly Centennial fumble at the Tyler 21-yard line. The second half started off all wrong for Tyler, too, as QB Greg Ward threw just his second INT of the season, and Centennial turned it into a long 42-yard field goal for its first lead of the game (17-14). After that, though, Cujo kicked it into high gear — Ward hit WR Fred Ross for a 46-yard touchdown, and the defense followed it up with a big interception. Ward struck again three plays later, darting through the defense for a 40-yard touchdown run of his own. Centennial scored near the end of the third quarter to draw within four, 28-24, but the final frame belonged to John Tyler — DE Tyus Bowser, in at QB, rushed for a yard on the first play of the final frame and followed it up with a 13-yard TD pass to Fred Ross. The defense took it away from there: it forced two interceptions and two turnovers on downs over the final 12 minutes to put the game away for good.
Georgetown 38, Nederland 6
Nederland stunned Texas by beating Pearland Dawson back in round three, but the pleasure was all Georgetown’s this time out, as the Eagle defense spun together another marvelous performance — 246 yards allowed, 2.6 yards per carry allowed, two interceptions, and, most importantly, a shutout until the final two minutes of the game. This, folks, is a really, really good defense. Both sides’ defenses actually stepped up in the first quarter, pitching shutouts until Georgetown K Austin Stevens nailed a 30-yard field goal early in the second. A few minutes later, Brandon Boone returned an interception 65 yards for the first touchdown of the game (10-0). When Jake Hubenak hit Randy Knightner for a 10-yard scoring strike at the 3:31 mark, things looked bleak for a Nederland offense that wasn’t very explosive. Three Georgetown scores in a four-minute period in the third quarter put the nail in coffin and sent the Eagles to the state semifinals.
Rouse 34, Flour Bluff 0
We really didn’t have many blowouts in the state quarters this weekend, but we did get back-to-back snoozers in the right side of the 4A-DI bracket. Rouse hit Flour Bluff hard defensively in this one, holding the Hornets to just 167 yards of offense and less than three yards per carry. The defense did a great job harassing QB Kolton Mims, who suffered through a rough day — four interceptions and just 12 rushing yards on 16 carries. Once Rouse took him out of the game, the rest of the Flour Bluff offense just never could get anything going. Give credit to the Rouse offense, though; typically a run-based unit, the Raiders got a career day out of QB Justin Pelt, who completed six of eight passes for a whopping 174 yards and four touchdowns. The backbreaker probably came in the third quarter, when Pelt hit Wesley Lewis for a 52-yard touchdown that put Flour Bluff down 27-0.
4A – Division II
WF Rider 33, Wolfforth Frenship 7
Rider is into the state semifinals for the first time in school history, and the defense deserves all the credit — Frenship, who was knocked out by Rider last year, too — was hassled into three turnovers in the second half alone, and it managed just three first downs to go with them. The Tigers’ only score came in the first half, courtesy of RB D’Maujeric Tucker, who ran for more than 300 yards a week ago against Waco but finished this one with just 159 yards. That’s still a great day, but it was matched by Rider’s Carlos Fleeks, who rang up 131 yards and two scores of his own. In short, Rider controlled the line of scrimmage, kept Tucker in check, ran the ball well and kept Frenship at arm’s length. That about as good as you can play football.
Lancaster 21, Mesquite Poteet 13
I kept feeling like I was reading this score wrong this weekend — with all the offense on the field between these two, how were we stuck at just 34 combined points? Well, it’s because both teams’ defenses came to play, and because both teams missed a lot of opportunities. Poteet filled the stat sheet in the latter category. Here’s the Pirates’ drive chart:
Drive One: Interception
Drive Two: Turnover on downs at the Lancaster 2-yard line
Drive Three: Field goal
Drive Four: Missed field goal
Drive Five: Touchdown
Drive Six: Field goal (after killer penalty in redzone)
Drive Seven: Punt
Drive Eight: Tackled at the Lancaster 4-yard line as time expired
But give credit where credit is due, and the Lancaster defense, like it’s done time and time again this year, stepped up big time in the clutch. On a day where the offense ended almost half of its drives in punts, that defense bent like heck without breaking. QB Demarcus Ayers, who finished with nearly 200 yards of total offense, and ATH Nick Harvey, who rushed for two huge touchdowns (including the insurance score with 1:17 left to play) did just enough offensively. The Tiger defense took care of the rest.
Manor 26, FB Marshall 20
Upset central! Speedy Marshall came up a pinch short in this one, but in the early goings it looked like the Buffs were going to be walking away winners. Manor jumped out in front early in the first when QB Chris Johnson snuck in from nine yards out for a 7-0 lead, but Marshall got hot through the second and third quarters — QB J.W. Ketchum threw and ran for a touchdown and set up two field goals to build a 20-13 buffer as we headed to the fourth quarter. But Manor kicked a field goal right before the start of the final frame, and that kick started a game-ending 13-0 run (topped by a 32-yard field goal with 2:17 to play) that left Marshall down by a touchdown with precious time remaining. The Buffs pushed all the way down to the Manor 15 as the seconds ticked away, but the comeback win was not to be. Marshall’s defense missed a number of key tackles, but Manor was the better team that night, and now it sees fellow Centex squad Cedar Park in the state semifinals.
Cedar Park 32, SA Brennan 7
Our last game on the 5A/4A slate was a blowout, too — it’s unusual that out of the five blowouts we saw this weekend, three of them came courtesy of districts that still have two teams alive in the state semifinals: 5-4A and 25-4A. Odd. Anyways, Cedar Park came to play in this one, limiting Brennan — a run-based team if there ever was one — into a paltry 1.87 yards per carry. That’s on 38 carries, too. Perhaps most impressively, Cedar Park did all that despite turning the ball over three times — the one thing I suggested could be its undoing when I previewed this game last week. But the potent duo of WR Ethan Fry and QB Nate Grimm was strong again, as the duo hooked up for touchdowns in the second and third quarter to provide all the offense the Timberwolves would need to get by.
Travis Stewart is the managing editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.