High School Recap: Week 9
DCTF's Greg Tepper relives another wild week of high school football across Texas.
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THIS WEEK: Leander Rouse at Austin Vandegrift
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It’s Monday, and we just finished up a fantastic weekend of high school football across the state of Texas. Why not relive it? DCTF’s Greg Tepper recaps the biggest games and biggest storylines from a fantastic weekend across Texas.
(Editor's note: I'm working on all of the playoff scenarios for every district in the state. I should have 5A and 4A up today, and 3A, 2A, 1A and six-man up tomorrow. Thanks! -GT)
As far as the Top 25 is concerned, there were a few teams that scored big wins – like Galena Park North Shore locking up the District 21-5A title with a 38-0 drubbing of La Porte, Houston Lamar surviving its last big test with a 28-21 win over Bellaire, and Coppell making a statement in District 5-5A with a 28-3 victory over Denton Ryan – but really, there are two games that stand out. First: Lake Travis’ gutsy comeback victory over rival Westlake. Any questions about the Cavs have been answered this season: the defense has been terrific, QB Dominic De Lira has truly blossomed, and RB Shaun Nixon (who had the game-winning TD run late in the fourth) has been as advertised. Of course, with the playoffs around the corner, that’s when the true tests will come. The other win: Manvel’s drubbing of previously unbeaten Pearland. It would be easy to say, “Well, Pearland was obviously just a paper lion.” And to a certain extent, I think it’s true: the Oilers had not been tested prior to Manvel, and perhaps that inexperience against top-tier opposition hurt them. But that would be selling short Manvel, a team that needs to be considered a true state title contender. QB Deriq King may be the quietest superstar in the state, and the defense led by DE Koda Martin and DB Gary Haynes is very, very formidable. Manvel is the real deal.
Lake Travis or Manvel, each of which locked up district titles. Take your pick.
Team to Watch
Mission Sharyland. We’ve been touting that the Rattlers are the Valley’s best team all season, and they haven’t done anything to dissuade us from that notion. This week, they beat Edinburg North – arguably the team with the best argument to Sharyland – and the Rattlers proved their mettle.
It was a relatively quiet week in the Top 25, as they went 24-1 overall. The only loss: a bit of a shocker as The Colony fell in a thriller to Frisco Centennial. Other than that, it was business as usual – Ennis passed a big test by getting past Lancaster, Aledo laid a lick on previously unbeaten Granbury, Wichita Falls Rider won a shootout over an upstart Denton Squad, and Elgin continued it improbable run in the Hill Country by crushing Bastrop. Oh, and then there’s…
How about San Antonio Brennan? The Bears finished their second straight unbeaten regular season, which is pretty impressive. And then you remember that Brennan started playing football in 2010 – an 0-10 season, mind you – and you realize what an incredible job coach Stephen Basore is doing down there. Another incredible regular season, and they enter as one of the big favorites to take home a 4A title.
Team to Watch
Canyon cracks into our Top 25 this week, and it’s a long time coming – the Eagles have been absolutely fantastic behind QB Blake Weaver and a surprisingly good defense. The win over Amarillo was impressive; knocking off a sneaky Palo Duro squad and finishing 10-0 would be ending with an exclamation point.
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when we said that the top 20 was looking pretty well solidified? Yeah, that’s pretty much still the case after this week. Gilmer and Kilgore rolled, setting up a larger-than-life showdown between the two at which our TV show, Fox Football Friday Powered by DCTF will be (7-11pm, Fox Sports Southwest). Fellow unbeatens Argyle, Graham, Port Isabel, La Grange, Gainesville, Shallowater and Athens remained undefeated. Silsbee survived a scare from Hardin-Jefferson, and El Campo scored a big win over district rival Sealy. There was movement at the bottom of the rankings – Melissa was dropped by Princeton (a week after Anna dropped Princeton), and Sweetwater with a pretty surprising upset of what had been a hot Monahans squad – but overall, a quiet week in 3A.
ow about Port Isabel? It was a night of milestones in Port Isabel on Friday night. For one, the Tarpons’ 45-14 win over Rio Hondo clinched the District 32-3A championship. For two, it was coach Monty Stumbaugh’s 100th career win. For three, the Tarpons finished the regular season with 10-0 record for the first time since 1994. Quite a night for PI, and the best could be yet to come.
Team to Watch
What to make of Palestine? On one hand, they’re 7-2 and have looked impressive at times. On the other hand, in basically their two truly tough road games – at Tyler Chapel Hill and at Athens – they’ve come up short. What does that mean as the Wildcats head toward the playoffs?
Uh, yeah, I’m not sure the 2A rankings are going to be doing a lot of changing here in the next few weeks. The teams in our Top 10s once again went a combined 19-0, with only one game – Eastland’s win over Comanche – being decided by fewer than 10 points. Domination at the top is the name of the game.
Domination is boring, which is why we probably haven’t talked enough about East Bernard as we should have. The Brahmas have remained on top of our 2A Division II rankings all season, and we’ve never really considered taking them out. And why would we? They’ve given up just 54 points all year while scoring an even 500; the closest game they’ve played was a 36-point win over Van Vleck; and they’re the defending champs, in case you forgot. Now, how has the schedule been? OK, not great. But there’s no reason to think East Bernard can’t repeat.
Team to Watch
They’re not in our Top 10, but Daingerfield is really dangerous. Perhaps the best three-loss team in the state. They’ll be a nightmare matchup for everyone they face in the playoffs.
Well, Division II was pretty ho-hum – the Top 10 in our 1A Division II went 10-0 and won their games by a combined score of 533-38. You read that right. Meanwhile, Division I was most certainly with some interest. First: Anson – with archrival Stamford looming in Week 10 in what the Anson coaches told me is the biggest game in program history – nearly blew it against Forsan before pulling out a 21-20 win in overtime. Meanwhile, Mason served notice that the Punchers are not to be trifled with, as they dominated previously unbeaten Brackettville.
I mentioned Mason, right? That was a tough Brackettville team – a team that had beaten very solid Sabinal, La Pryor and D’Hanis squads – and the Punchers straight-up dominated them. As long as the defense continues to play as well as it has all season, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
Team to Watch
They’re not in the DII Top 10, and there’s a chance they don’t get there (barring someone losing ahead of them) but Gruver is going to finish unbeaten. The defense has been exceptional, as it was in their 20-7 win over Vega. They need to find some offense eventually in the playoffs, but we’ve seen defense-first teams go very, very far in the postseason.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.