Stepp's Ten Thoughts from Week 2 of the TXHSFB Season

Photo by Gary Sanderson

El Paso Eastwood and Plano unite
It was a game that had the attention of the state for reasons far beyond the football, some of them tragic and some downright tone-deaf. However, at the end of the day, after a cancellation and a rescheduling 24 hours later, El Paso Eastwood and Plano played an entertaining game at the Ford Center. For many of the faithful who made the nine-hour drive east from El Paso to DFW, it was the experience of a lifetime.

The fact that Eastwood fell to 0-2 in a 43-28 loss to Plano was secondary. What’s important is a lot of healing and a lot of kindness was shown by the Plano Wildcat community to the Eastwood community that has dealt with multiple tragedies in the past month. The Troopers got to play in one of the state’s most unique venues and were personally greeted by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when they arrived in Frisco. Those gestures to our fellow man will resonate far beyond wins and losses on the field.

PSJA Southwest’s hot start
One of the Rio Grande Valley’s fledgling high school programs in PSJA Southwest. The Javelinas have played varsity football since 2012 and, for the most part, have struggled. Only once since the program’s beginnings has Southwest posted a winning record, but on Thursday night Mike Evans’ squad went to a 2-0 record for the first time in school history as it opened District 16-5A Division-I play with a 28-14 victory over Donna. The district race is lengthy in the 10-team district, so there’s still a long way to go but a win next week and Javelina fans can start to at least begin looking at playoff scenarios.

Three more state champs go down
For the second straight week to start the season, we had three defending state champions lose in non-district in the 11-man ranks. We start in Class 4A-Division I where Waco LaVega lost its first home game since 2014, fell to Argyle 49-35. The Pirates took on Argyle twice last year with Argyle winning the Week 2 game and LaVega winning the regional final matchup. For Waco LaVega fans, they are hoping history repeats itself if these two meet up again in the playoffs, which has a decent chance of happening. Staying in Class 4A, but dropping to Division II, a very young Cuero team took one on the chin losing 40-21 to the DeWitt County rivals Yoakum from Class 3A. In 2A-Division II, Mart’s offense simply couldn’t find its footing in a surprising 20-3 loss to 2A-Division I Holland. The Panthers are staring a very tough start in the face as they still have non-district games against powerful Franklin and Refugio on the horizon.

Converse Judson rolls in Hammer Bowl
Converse Judson head coach Rodney Williams currently holds the interim head coaching tag, so in essence, he’s coaching for his job and thus far the returns for the Rockets and their head coach are quite positive.

Judson improved to 2-0 on the season with an impressive 52-14 rout of JISD rival San Antonio Wagner in its annual Hammer Bowl matchup. QB Mike Chandler was incredibly efficient throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 13 of his 17 pass attempts. The Rocket defense was the story, holding what was the state’s highest-scoring offense a year ago to just two scores in the second half when the game was well in hand.

McKinney North and Justin Northwest cut the brakes
In one of the state’s wildest games Friday night, McKinney North knocked off Justin Northwest, 68-65, to improve to 2-0 on the season. The two teams combined for 1,443 yards; 770 for Justin Northwest and 673 for North and an incredible 59 first downs. The game had a total of 17 touchdowns and probably will be the cause for a long weekend for both defensive coordinators.

Justin Northwest quarterback Austin Ahmad topped 500 yards passing and threw for seven touchdowns, six of those going to receiver Zavion Taylor. McKinney North QB Dillon Markiewicz threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns, while RB Emanuel Fincher ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Hippos getting it done with defense
Last year Hutto and Liberty Hill played one of the Austin area’s most exciting games with the Hippos winning an overtime thriller 52-51. Both teams lost a lot of offensive talent from that game a year ago, but it was Hutto’s defense that through two weeks that has proven to be an elite unit as the Hippos shut down the Liberty Hill Slot-T offense in a 42-14 win.

The Panthers who routinely top 400 yards rushing in games were held to a paltry 162 yards for the night and Hutto sophomore QB Grayson Doggett showed once again why the coaching staff was so high on him heading into the season. Hutto with back-to-back impressive wins is letting the Austin area know that this is a program that appears ready to challenge in Region III once again.

Newton looking scary once again
The demise of the Newton Eagles that many in Class 3A-Division II were hoping for is not coming to pass thus far in 2019 as the Eagles under Drew Johnston are flying high at 2-0. The Eagles opened the season with a resounding 76-0 win over Kirbyville, but there were still some questions heading into their matchup Friday night with Silsbee a 4A-Divison II state semifinalist in 2018. Consider those questions answered as the Eagles made quite the statement blasting the Tigers, 52-21. The Eagles’ defensive line dominated the Silsbee offense and the offense was balanced with Kevin Watson and Dominique Seastrunk leading the way.

Crawford big win over Clifton
It appears the Crawford Pirates are ready to contend in 2A-Division I Region II after Delbert Kelm’s squad knocked off 3A-Division II Clifton, 16-12, to improve to 2-0 on the season. Tate Abel’s four-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes left in the game lifted Crawford to the big upset, breaking Clifton’s 17-game regular season winning streak.

Kenedy breaks 28-game losing streak
The Kenedy Lions last earned a win on September 9, 2016, but first-year head coach Shawn Alvarez’s squad doesn’t have to wait any longer as the Lions not only won on Friday night, but did it with an emphatic 49-6 win over Louise to even their record at 1-1 and earn Coach Alvarez his first win as a head coach. The Lions will look to make it two in a row next week as they travel to Pettus to take on the 0-2 Eagles.

Carnage in 2A-Division II Top 5
It was a tough week in the Class 2A-Division II if you were ranked in the Top 5 as three of five top five teams went down in Week 2. We already mentioned Mart and its 20-3 loss to a very good Holland team out of 2A-Division I. No. 2 Falls City took it on the chin in its matchup with arch-rival Poth, known locally as the Polish Bowl. The Beavers fell to the Pirates 41-8. Finally, No. 4 Stratford fell to another strong 2A-Division I squad in Stinnett West Texas in a close one 32-27.

 

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