Previously: 6A Region I
Today’s spotlight: Class 6A Region II
If you want to pick a region to watch come playoff time, my suggestion would be Class 6A Region II. What a collection of talented teams from DFW, East Texas, Houston and Austin that has been molded together to form what should be a fireworks factory in every round of the playoffs! The big story is Allen moving over after a lengthy stay in Region I. The Eagles are defending state champions and have won an incredible six consecutive regional titles. The Central Texas district is now a nine team mega-district with several 5A programs making the jump and they also make the move from Region I to Region II. Last year’s Division II runner-up Waco Midway is the headliner, but don’t overlook traditional powerhouse Temple. District rivals and regional finalists Round Rock Cedar Ridge and Pflugerville Hendrickson highlight the crop from the CenTex area, while 15-6A is a meat grinder of the highest order with Klein ISD and Conroe ISD being merged into a district. Big questions surround The Woodlands and Klein Collins, both of whom head into 2018 with new coaches.
Make no mistake, the defending state champions are once again loaded for a big run. Despite losing a fantastic group of seniors the Eagles just reload with depth that no team in the state and no public school in the country can match. QB Grant Tisdale (3,170 total yards, 43 TDs) and WR Theo Wease (14 receiving TDs) are the obvious headliners, but there’s always a crop of new faces ready to step in and make an impact at key positions like running back and on the offensive line. The defense will be fast and physical led by LB Marcus Thomas and DL Jayden Jernigan. Allen will be young in the secondary but the Eagles as always have talented playmakers who should step in and get the job done.
Despite injuries at multiple key positions, the Lobos led by sophomore QB Haynes King and an opportunistic defense advanced all the way to the state semi-finals a year ago. Expectations are much higher in Gregg County this year as a strong junior class anchors what should be a contender in Division II. King set a school record for touchdown passes a year ago and by the time he’s done, will own every passing record in school history. He’s going to have a young group of receivers but getting back bruising RB Jesse Anderson will make his job much easier. Anderson missed almost all of his junior season with an injury and his ability to get tough yards will make Longview’s offense even more lethal, as he’ll team up with scat-back Keilyn Williams to give LHS a thunder and lightning combo. Most of the defense graduated and that will be a major concern for the coaching staff as the spring approaches.
The Mustangs looked like a real contender for a state title a year ago but were stunned by Lufkin in the third round of the playoffs. The Mustangs will reload with another talented group led by District MVP QB Terrance Gipson who is one of the Houston area’s most lethal playmakers. The Mustangs have three all-district offensive linemen returning and a dynamic tailback in Rayshawn James. That running game will be key as the Mustangs work in some young receivers. The defense lost a lot of talent most notably Texas signee Keondre Coburn, but past pedigree means something here and we fully expect head coach Matt Meekins’ squad to restack the deck with a fast and physical (but youthful) defense in 2018.
Houston Langham Creek
The Lobos broke through with an 11-2 run all the way to the Regional Finals, but much like in the regular season, the playoffs were the same song as district rival and eventual state champion Cy-Fair was too much to overcome. Only three starters return, but one is absolutely a difference maker as QB Chris Heron is back after dazzling as a junior. The LCHS signal caller accounted for 3,222 yards of offense and 38 touchdowns in 2017 and his encore could be even better. Langham Creek’s defense, which in past years had been maligned as a team weakness, certainly proved that theory wrong in 2017 and with six starters back led by S Corien Azema (2 INT’s; 4 defensive TDs) and LB DJ Harris (138 tackles, 4 INTs), they could be even better in 2018. If Langham Creek’s young offense can find some options to keep defenses from totally keying on Herron, this could be a real dangerous bunch come playoff time.