Matt Stepp’s 10 thoughts from the Texas high school football Week 2
DCTF's High School Football Insider looks back on the last weekend on the gridiron.
With Duncanville’s 48-0 win Friday night over Arlington Sam Houston, head coach Reggie Samples tied the legendary Allen Wilson for the most wins by a black head football coach in UIL football. Samples, who now has 244 victories can break Coach Wilson’s record next week. The Panthers’ opponent is Dallas Skyline, ironically a place where Samples earned a large portion of his head coaching victories.
As first reported by the Beaumont Enterprise’s Danny Shapiro Friday afternoon, there will be many schedule modifications for District 22-5A in order to squeeze in a full eight-game district schedule in this nine team loop. District play was originally slated to begin next week, but with the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey, coaches and administrators chose not to. Instead, district play will begin on Wednesday (Yes, you read that right) September 20. Teams will then play Week 2 of district play on Tuesday, September 26. Week 3 of district play will be Monday, October 2 with the fourth week of district play being played Saturday, October 7. Teams will finally get back to a normal schedule during the fifth week of district play playing games. Of note, because Vidor only has 18 of its 52 eligible players in town, Port Arthur Memorial volunteered to switch its bye week with Vidor to allow Vidor extra time to get its kids back into town. Kudos to Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison and the PAISD administration for that classy gesture. There were a few teams who managed to squeeze a non-district game in this week as Port Neches-Groves, Nederland, Baytown Lee, Livingston and Lumberton all played scheduled non-district games.
El Paso Montwood’s Offense
Few offenses have started the season quite as hot as El Paso Montwood as the Rams are rolling off to a 2-0 start with impressive wins over Wolfforth Frenship and Midland. In Week 1, Montwood’s attack rolled up 70 points in its dominant win over the Tigers and this week Montwood and quarterback Andrew Fernandez took to the air jumping out to a 58-34 lead on Midland High after three quarters. Fernandez, who threw eight touchdown passes, didn’t play in the fourth quarter and things got dicey, but the Rams held on for the 58-53 victory to improve to 2-0. Montwood’s hot start certainly raised eyebrows out west and the Rams are considered among the early favorites in District 1-6A.
Going into the season, we all thought that Odessa Permian and San Angelo Central would be top teams in this district and fighting for the title in Week 10 In San Angelo. Thus far, both have lived up to the billing posting 2-0 records. Permian knocked off Austin Vandegrift and El Paso Franklin while Central took down Abilene and Trophy Club Nelson. Amarillo Tascosa rolled past a pair of overmatched opponents, but the Rebels took care of business and should get a test this week against a very athletic Lawton, OK MacArthur squad. The biggest surprises may be Midland Lee and Odessa High. Both teams who missed the playoffs last year, but are off to a combined 4-0 start. Midland Lee was totally dominant Friday and blasted Abilene High 49-14, while Odessa High stunned Amarillo High on Thursday, 28-21. The Bronchos are the early feel good story out west and they’ll have a chance next week to really make an impact as they take on powerful Class 5A Lubbock Coronado. Midland Lee this week hosts El Paso El Dorado, the Rebels will be a favorite in that one as they look to go to 3-0.
It was quite the weekend for the Arlington-Mansfield dominated district as Arlington Martin and Mansfield both came away with signature wins to start the year. Arlington Martin, after rolling past Dallas Skyline to open the year, made an even bigger statement this week with a convincing 50-33 win at home against Southlake Carroll. Mansfield avenged a pair of losses to Cedar Hill last year with a big 38-21 win over the Longhorns in a game that probably wasn’t that close as Mansfield led 31-7 in the fourth quarter. Arlington High also made some noise as the Colts rolled past Flower Mound Marcus to improve to 2-0. Those three look to be the clear favorites, with Bowie, Lamar likely fighting it out for the final playoff slot.
Corpus Christi Miller’s Surprise Start
Long known as a basketball school in Corpus Christi, the Miller Buccaneers under first year HC Justen Evans are looking to change that stigma. Through two weeks it appears the tide is turning for the Bucs who are off to a 2-0 start with a 26-13 win over Corpus Christi King on Thursday. The win for Miller of its CCISD rival is significant because it hadn’t beaten the Mustangs since 2002, it’s also the first time since 2002 Miller is off to a 2-0 start. Miller is idle next week before the team battles another CCISD rival on September 22 in Corpus Christi Moody.
Gainesville and Baker Cooking
One of Class 4A’s most improved teams may be the Gainesville Leopards coached by James Polk who is in his second year at the helm. Last year, he took over a team that had, at one point, lost seven consecutive games, and although GHS only went 1-9, its level of competitiveness was massively improved and the pieces were put in place for a turnaround. After losing a heartbreaker to open the season 35-33 to Pottsboro, Gainesville knocked off Iowa Park 45-41 to improve to 1-1. The biggest catalyst has been do-it-all ATH Calion Baker who had 303 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the opener. In this week’s win, Baker showed he can do it on the ground rushing for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the Leopards’ win.
Cuero’s Big Win
After its season opener was cancelled due to Harvey, 4A Division II state title favorite Cuero was ready to get its season started and what better way to do that than against the team’s local rival and fellow title contender in 3A Division I Yoakum? Led by a monster game from highly touted prospect Jordan Whittington, the Gobblers handled Yoakum with ease, 41-13. Cuero is the odds-on favorite to win Region IV and with that kind of a performance against a really good Yoakum team the Gobblers are still in that title contender discussion.
Two of the better private schools in the state tested their mettle last week in taking on small school powers from the DFW area. Both came away with big wins. Midland Christian took down 3A Division I power Brock 26-9 while Argyle Liberty Christian won a 10-9 slugfest against always dangerous Celina out of 4A Division II. Also of note, Dallas Bishop Lynch is off to a 2-0 start with nice wins over Texarkana Texas High and Irving High.
There were a couple of significant injuries we are keeping an eye on in the DFW area that could impact things in a big way. We start with Denton Guyer quarterback Luke Stillwell, who went out of the DeSoto game in the second series after leading Guyer on a touchdown drive. Stillwell suffered a knee injury and Guyer’s offense stumbled the rest of the way losing 42-13 to the defending state champions. Stillwell’s injury isn’t believed to be serious. I’d expect Guyer to call a JV QB up to close out the non-district slate and give Stillwell extra time to get healthy for district play. The more significant injury was late in Mansfield’s win over Cedar Hill as two-way star Cameron Jones for Mansfield was taken off in a stretcher and in an ambulance after a tackle on the Cedar Hill sideline. On Saturday, we learned Jones did get what amounts to a neck stinger and, thankfully, it’s nothing serious and he’s expected to be back in action for Mansfield in three weeks.
Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.