Matt Stepp’s 10 thoughts from the Texas high school football Week 4
DCTF'S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL INSIDER LOOKS BACK ON THE LAST WEEKEND ON THE GRIDIRON.
After telling everyone not to panic about Cibolo Steele, it might be at least time to start taking a look at that button after the Knights fell to 1-3 after Friday’s 43-20 loss to Smithson Valley. Steele again started strong jumping out to a 14-6 lead, but allowed 30 consecutive points in the defeat. The loss broke a 41-game district win streak for the Knights. Their last loss in district play was October 2009 when Johnny Manziel led Kerrville-Tivy past Steele. It’s also the first time Steele has lost three straight games since 2006 which was its first varsity season. To add insult to injury, next week Steele takes on the state’s No. 1 team in Converse Judson, who is salivating at the chance to finally get a crack at a vulnerable Steele bunch. Next week will be a real crossroads for first year head coach David Saenz. If Steele can take down Judson, a lot of the angst about the slow start disappears, but a loss and falling to 1-4 will only increase the heat.
Fort Worth ISD success
Congrats to Fort Worth North Side and head coach Joseph Turner. With their 32-0 win over neighborhood rival Diamond Hill, they improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1972. Turner, a former TCU running back was hired three years ago and has given the program a new energy and purpose. Across town in far south Fort Worth, a renaissance of sorts is underway with a familiar face leading the way. Wyatt (who was idle last week), led by head coach Zach Criss, is 3-0 for the first time since 1987. Wouldn’t you know it that North Side and Wyatt play next week to open district 8-5A play? Talk about great timing!
District 26-5A craziness
I think we are pretty confident that Dripping Springs and Alamo Heights are the top two teams in this district, but the race for the final two slots should be quite exciting and some new faces could be contenders. Medina Valley made the early statement knocking off Boerne Champion, 21-14, to open district play Friday night. Seguin, under second-year head coach Travis Bush, handled the Lockhart Slot-T offense, 31-27, last week. Those wins for Medina Valley and Seguin are massive as both teams look to take playoff spots from third and fourth place favorites Champion and Kerrville Tivy. This will be a district to watch as the season progresses.
Big night for Mansfield ISD in 10-5A
Most in the DFW area considers District 10-5A to be the toughest district in the area regardless of classification and after one week, Mansfield ISD certainly has made its presence known going 4-0. The week started as expected with Timberview handling cellar-dweller Red Oak on Thursday, 49-0. But Friday night brought about some massive results. Mansfield Legacy put up 50 in the first half as it hammered Midlothian, 57-22. The real eye-opening results involved Lake Ridge and Summit. Mansfield Lake Ridge in a showdown with fellow Top 25 team Lancaster earned a massive 24-20 victory over the Tigers to take an early step towards a possible district title. The big upset was Mansfield Summit knocking off heavily favored Waxahachie, 42-31. After a rough year in 2016, it appears second-year head coach Channon Hall has turned the Jaguars into a playoff contender.
Lee Fedora/Randy Jackson effect
Two of the state’s better head coaches are making some impacts at new locations in 2017. Lee Fedora, after a year off in 2016 has taken over at his alma mater College Station A&M Consolidated, and the Tigers are off to a very impressive 4-0 start. Fedora didn’t have much of a rebuild as he took over a Consolidated squad that has been a playoff regular, but it appears that the Tigers are back to being a real contender along with cross town rival College Station High. While at North Forney, first-year head coach Randy Jackson had a total rebuild on his hands, and as he’s done in some of his other stops, Jackson is quickly turning things around. The Falcons are off to a 4-0 start and have already equaled their win total from last year after a wild 70-65 win over Wylie East on Friday night. The real test to see how far NFHS has come is a showdown next week against defending 5A Division I state champion Highland Park.
East Texas stumbles in 11-6A
It was a tough night for the large schools in the Piney Woods as Longview, John Tyler and Tyler Lee all dropped district openers Friday night. Tyler Lee was the least surprising result as the Red Raiders were unbeaten but all their wins came against 5A programs. Tyler Lee was at home in a game that could have gone either way, but fell to Rockwall-Heath 24-14. The two other results were just as surprising as Longview went to Mesquite and turned the ball over five times in the first half falling behind Mesquite Horn 45-13 at halftime. The Lobos played better in the second half, but the deficit was too large as they suffered their first loss of the year to Horn 52-34. Tyler John Tyler was a slight underdog going on the road to Rockwall, but the Lion offense simply was unable to get going and they were routed by a 1-2 Rockwall squad 48-7. It will be interesting to see how these three respond to early district setbacks as the district season progresses.
Mason makes a big statement
Most of the talk in Class 2A Division I has centered on Refugio and Mart being on a collision course to meet in Arlington. We might need to add the Punchers to the conversation after they obliterated a good Iraan squad that played for a state title last year to the tune of 58-7. That win ended Iraan’s 39-game regular season winning streak and extended Mason’s home winning streak to 31 games. Although Refugio is still the favorite in Region IV, Mason is emerging as a definite contender.
High point totals put up this week
There were some big point numbers put up this week as several offenses got things going in a massive way. Ennis was the highest point total as the Lions blasted Dallas Kimball to the tune of 82-7, and Grandview put up an incredible 51 points in the first quarter as the Zebras hammered Scurry-Rosser 79-0. Longview Spring Hill improved to 4-0 as the Panthers rolled past Emory Rains 77-26. There were some two-way high-scoring games as well. We already mentioned North Forney’s 70-65 win over Wylie East, but down on the coast, Sinton knocked off Beeville Jones 66-56 and in Greater Houston, Klein went to 2-0 with a high scoring 61-43 win over Fort Bend Travis.
Nocona’s fast start
Nocona is a mess guys. They actually ALLOWED points this week, what in the world is going on there? Seriously, the Indians are off to a fantastic start at 4-0, including three straight shutouts to open the season. NHS allowed 26 points Friday, but it managed to put up 70 in an impressive 70-26 rout of Chico. In four games, Nocona has outscored opponents 239-26, so it is definitely a team to keep an eye on.
For three quarters, it looked like Gilmer was going to walk away with a massive win over their nemesis Carthage. The Buckeyes controlled the explosive Carthage attack, especially University of Texas commit running back Keontay Ingram. Leading 28-13 late in the third, Gilmer was ready to deliver a knockout punch. But defensive back Mekhi Colbert got his second interception of the game and that sparked a 35-point outburst in the game’s final 13 minutes to give Carthage a 48-28 win. Colbert’s INT set up a one-yard touchdown run by Ingram and after the two-point conversion Gilmer led 28-21. There was a roughing the passer penalty on Gilmer on the try and Carthage kicked off near midfield. The Bulldogs rolled the dice and it paid off as CHS recovered the hard squib kick. Colbert scored four plays later on a six-yard run and Carthage all of a sudden tied the game at 28 early in the fourth. The very next series, Patrick Williams returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown and Carthage had its first lead since early second quarter at 35-28. After a special teams gaffe by Gilmer forced the Buckeyes to start on their own one, the Carthage D stripped a Gilmer wide receiver fighting for yards and Jacorey Ware scooped the loose ball up running twelve yards for a touchdown and a stunned Gilmer crowd sat in silence as Carthage led 42-28. Carthage added one more score as Ingram added a 19-yard touchdown run for the final margin at 48-28. The key in the turnaround was the Carthage defense which scored a pair of touchdowns and held Gilmer to just 47 yards of offense in the second half. It appeared Carthage’s biggest adjustment was being able to get pressure with three rushers and sitting eight in coverage. In the first half, Gilmer’s offense was able to get rid of the ball quickly before the Carthage rush could get to quarterback Poppy Brown. Carthage’s adjustment caused Brown to have to hold the ball longer and allowed time for its playmakers in the secondary to make plays on 50/50 passes.
Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.