Matt Stepp’s 10 thoughts from the Texas high school football bi-district round


4-5A sweeps the Panhandle again

For the second straight year the teams from Lubbock (plus Abilene Cooper) had their way with the 5A programs from the Texas panhandle sweeping the bi-district matchups. The most disappointing loss was 3-5A champion Dumas, who dominated all year finishing 9-1, but fell to a Lubbock Cooper squad who finished fourth in 4-5A, 28-27. Ironically, 3-5A’s third place team Canyon Randall gave unbeaten 4-5A champion Lubbock Coronado all it wanted for three quarters in a 51-35 loss. The other two games ended up being somewhat non-competitive as Abilene Cooper beat Plainview 64-14 and Lubbock Monterey beat Amarillo 54-31.

Hondo does it again

A year ago, the Hondo Owls limped into the playoffs with a 1-9 record, but weren’t fazed and stunned the state by defeating 9-1 Devine in the biggest first round upset (record wise) in state history. For an encore, the Owls repeated that feat on Friday as at 2-8 under first-year head coach Brett Ratliff Hondo knocked off unbeaten Pearsall, 26-18, to advance to the area playoffs for the second straight season.


Long field goal keeps Vela unbeaten

Unheralded Brownsville Hanna wasn’t given much of a chance to hang with 10-0 Edinburg Vela on Friday night, but the Eagles had other ideas. In fact, Hanna rallied from an early deficit to take a 32-31 lead and held it with 24 seconds left in the game. Edinburg Vela brought out senior kicker Austin Garza and with all that pressure of the Sabercats’ season being on the line, came out and drilled a 54-yard field goal with room to spare to lift Edinburg Vela to a 34-32 win. It was a heartbreaking loss for Brownsville Hanna who can take some consolation in earning a great deal of respect on Friday night.

Photo by Russell Wilburn

Insanity with PNG-Crosby

Port Neches-Groves defeated Crosby by three points in one of the state’s best bi-district games on Friday night, but that was about the only thing normal about this game. PNG won an absolute shootout over the Cougars 72-69 in a game that had just staggering offensive stats. The teams combined for 1,443 yards, 141 points and 61 first downs. In a losing effort, Crosby’s Craig Williams ran for 353 yards and four touchdowns, while Port Neches-Groves junior QB Roschon Johnson tallied 556 yards of offense and 10 (yes, 10) total touchdowns. It was a perfect storm of two ridiculous offenses at the top of their games and two defensive units that have struggled recently. PNG will have to improve on that side of the ball if it wants to contend in a tough Region III.

Vernon stuns Glen Rose

Although it’s going to be overshadowed by a couple of other big upsets that will be discussed later, kudos to Vernon at 5-5 who came out and took it to 9-1 Glen Rose Friday night with a 42-28 win. It was the Lion running game that led the way as Brett McCallon and Chad Thomas combined for 341 yards on the ground and four total touchdowns. Vernon will go for the big upset two weeks in a row as this week when it takes on 9-2 Sweetwater, last year’s 4A Division II state runner up.

Playoffs in New Mexico

For the second week in a row, the Land of Enchantment will host a Texas High School Football playoff game. This past week at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, Seminole knocked off Dalhart, while this week on Friday at the Wool Bowl in Roswell, El Paso Del Valle will take on undefeated Lubbock Coronado in a high powered 5A matchup. I’m actually surprised New Mexico isn’t used more as a neutral site, especially for games that feature El Paso vs. Lubbock area teams. Often times Midland-Odessa has been used as a neutral site, but honestly its much, much closer to Lubbock than El Paso. Places like Roswell, Artesia, Hobbs and Alamogordo are all much closer to being true neutral venues.

Rockwall’s upset

With some surprising results in the small school ranks, we had really lacked that “wow” big-school upset heading into Saturday. Well we got that and then some as 5-5 Rockwall (although much better than its record indicated) was a heavy underdog at The Woodlands who played for a state title a year ago. That task didn’t faze head coach Rodney Webb’s squad who pulled out all the stops on special teams and played stellar defense in a stunning 23-7 win over The Woodlands. Rockwall is a dangerous team because it is using the “no respect” card as fuel for the fire and have the talent to play with anyone in the state. Next up is a date with 11-0 Sachse on Saturday in Allen.

San Marcos’ big rally

Folks have to be so excited about head coach Mark Soto’s squad as not only did the Rattlers earn a huge playoff win at home, but they did it while rallying from deficits of 29-0, 36-14 at halftime and 43-22 in the second half for a heart stopping 64-50 win over Round Rock Westwood. The San Marcos offense rolled up over 750 yards of offense as Prudy Calderon had 428 yards of offense and four touchdowns, while Jamon Johnson ran for 285 yards and three touchdowns in addition to an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Next week looms the biggest test yet as San Marcos takes on unbeaten Spring Westfield.

Photo by Jay Stevens

Katy Taylor’s defense makes a stand

It’s been a year of tumult at Katy Taylor as in late September head coach Trey Hermann was removed from his position and reassigned within the district. Then later in the year, defensive star and Texas AM commit DE Max Wright was sidelined for the rest of the year with an injury. The Mustangs managed to earn the fourth-place spot out of District 19-6A, but weren’t given much of a chance against high-powered Fort Bend Bush Friday night. They delivered in the clutch, however, holding Bush to 163 yards of offense and forcing five turnovers in a 14-0 win.

Dallas Kimball turns the tables

The non-district schedule for Dallas Kimball was nothing short of a disaster as the Knights went 0-4 and gave up over 60 points in each game. Included in that rough start was a 61-7 loss to Dallas Wilson to open the season. On Friday when head coach Henry Cofer’s squad got a rematch, they were massive underdogs. However, the Knights came in with confidence and no intimidation and stunned Dallas Wilson, 35-14, to advance to the area round with a 4-7 record. Coach Cofer’s squad had an incredible 75-point turnaround from Week 1 to Week 12.


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