Bye Week Blues
Week 6 is always the week with the fewest games scheduled each and every week. Over 30 percent of the teams in UIL 11-man football took the week off, including 48 entire districts from 6A through 2A. The race to the playoffs will begin to ramp up in a big way this week with most of the state entering district play (minus a few four-team districts that will start on October 26). Look for playoff projections from Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to begin after the Week 8 games.
Katy Gets Pushed by Upstart Katy Tompkins
We knew unbeaten Katy Tompkins was a good team going into Thursday’s showdown with Katy at Legacy Stadium. But Katy in the past has laid absolute waste to good teams from Katy ISD. In fact Katy hadn’t played a game within 10 points of a fellow KISD opponent since a 17-12 win over Katy Seven Lakes in 2013. Despite the loss, the Falcons made a statement that they will be a team to contend with as they pushed the Tigers in a tough 35-30 defeat. It was a game of runs as Tompkins took a 10-7 lead late in the second quarter before Katy rattled off four straight touchdowns to take a 35-10 lead. Tompkins didn’t go away, though, and scored the game’s final three touchdowns to cut the lead to 35-30 before Katy recovered an onside kick with 1:27 left to seal the victory and earn their 68th straight district win. That performance elevated Tompkins into Region III title contender talk, regardless of what division they land in. The Falcons a year ago were Division II and advanced to the third round of the playoffs, but if Katy Seven Lakes misses out on the playoffs, that will push Tompkins into the Division I bracket. The biggest news coming out of the game was post-game when Katy QB Bronson McClellan posted on social media he was being suspended for two games after he was recorded making racially insensitive comments on social media.
District 15-6A Chaos
If you want a district that’s in full blown chaos mode, look no further than 15-6A where no team remains unbeaten. We currently have a three-way tie for first place with Klein Collins, Klein Oak and surprising Conroe all sitting at 3-1. Klein Oak forged the three-way tie via their win over Klein Collins this week and the Panthers own head-to-head wins over both Collins and Conroe. Surprising Klein Cain sits in fourth place at 2-1 after they handed The Woodlands their second straight loss, dropping the Highlanders to 2-2 in district play. Klein and Conroe Oak Ridge are still in shouting distance of a playoff spot at 1-2, but both teams can’t afford many more mistakes in a district that could be down to the wire in Week 11.
There’s no question the game of the week in District 3-5A Division I featured defending district champion Azle taking on unbeaten Crowley. Both teams came into the matchup at 3-0 in district play with Azle’s only blemish coming in a season-opening loss to Grapevine in which their star signal-caller left the game in the first quarter with an injury. For two quarters it appeared Crowley was going to roll to a key road win as behind Missouri commit RB Dominique Johnson’s four first half touchdown runs the Eagles led Azle 35-14 at halftime. Azle roared back in the second half with 31 straight points to take a 45-35 lead. Three different players scored rushing touchdowns in a 24-point third quarter. A pick-six in the fourth gave the Hornets a commanding 10-point lead. Crowley rallied with back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth to jump ahead, 47-45, before Nicky Quevado’s 43-yard field goal with six seconds left gave Azle the win in what turned out to be an absolute barn-burner between two teams who have the ability to win multiple playoff games.
Aledo Extends the Streak…Barely
Aledo was able to extend their state record district winning streak to 86 games on Friday night, but they got a big time scare from a scrappy Midlothian squad in a 34-28 overtime win. Midlothian, which employs a flexbone offense, took the game’s opening kickoff and marched nearly nine minutes for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Aledo’s big play offense matched Midlothian’s methodical approach each time, including a 39-yard touchdown reception from JoJo Earle from Jake Bishop to tie it at 21. Midlothian took a 28-21 lead late in the third on a Jeremy McCoy 3-yard TD run. That capped a 17-play, 8-plus minute drive. After an exchange of punts early in the fourth, Midlothian had a chance to put the game away after an interception, but the Panthers would turn the ball over on downs at the Aledo 27 yard-line with just over three minutes left. Aledo would capitalize with Money Parks hauling in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bishop with 1:11 left. Aledo’s defense would rise to the occasion in overtime as on the first play for Midlothian, the Panthers fumbled and Nathan Fingar returned the fumble 82-yards for the game winning touchdown keeping Aledo’s incredible streak alive and avoiding a homecoming loss at the same time.
Brazosport Stuns Sealy With Late Comeback
State ranked Sealy hadn’t lost a regular season game since November 2017 and for a while it looked like they would extend the run another week as the Tigers led upstart Brazosport 20-5 heading into the fourth quarter. The Exporters, led by first year head Mark Kanipes didn’t flinch and rallied as Daraell Preston scored on a short run to cut the Sealy lead to 20-12 with just over ten minutes remaining. BHS executed a perfect double pass for a touchdown later in the fourth to make it a 20-18 game, but the two-point conversion failed. The Exporters defense would answer the call and give the ball back to their offense with just over six minutes left and they’d march down for the game winning 33-yard field goal to take home a thrilling 21-20 win and put themselves right in the middle of the district title race in ultra-competitive District 13-4A Division I.
Carthage-Texarkana Pleasant Grove Recap
In one of the state’s most highly anticipated games of the weekend, Carthage, ranked second in the DCTF 4A-Division I poll went on the road and earned an impressive 35-14 win over Texarkana Pleasant Grove, the number one team in the DCTF 4A-Division II poll. It was a defensive struggle in the first half with the game tied at seven at halftime, but BYU commit Bruce Garrett put the Hawks up 14-7 early in the third quarter giving the home team some momentum. Carthage then reached into their back of tricks as Kelvontay Dixon took a handoff from QB Kai Horton and then threw it back to a wide open Horton for a twelve yard touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 and giving the Bulldogs plenty of momentum. The Bulldogs defense would put a halt to the dynamic Pleasant Grove offense and early in the fourth quarter Kel William’s 42-yard touchdown reception from Horton would put CHS up for good at 21-14. The Bulldogs would tack on two more touchdowns and leave Hawk Stadium with a massive win in their back pocket and plenty of momentum heading into district play next week.
8-4A Division II Again Shows Depth
Through two weeks of district play it’s clear that District 8-4A Division II is the deepest and most competitive district in Texas at the 4A-Division II level. Pretty much every game in this district has the makings of being competitive and it showed this week once again as Waco Connally needed a fourth quarter rally to improve to 2-0 with a 34-24 win over Lorena. The loss is especially damaging for Lorena who falls to 0-2 and now faces a must win game pretty much every week from here on out. Robinson, who was unbeaten and ranked in the state’s top ten fell to Salado 31-28 in a shocker in their district opener, Salado evened their record at 1-1 after just a week earlier they pushed Waco Connally to the limit. Fairfield was the most impressive team of the week as the Eagles moved to 2-0 with a 31-15 win over Madisonville who fell to 0-2, while Mexia at 1-0 was idle last week.
Jasper’s Bad Luck With Weather
No team has been hit with bad weather in Texas more than the Jasper Bulldogs, who have had THREE (yes, three) non-district games cancelled due to weather. The Bulldogs’ Week 1 game against Lumberton was a casualty of the weather and then they were able to earn wins in Week 2 and 3 against Bridge City and Little Cypress-Mauriceville. Jasper was slated to play Livingston in Week 4, but that game was rained out. Luckily for the Bulldogs, they were able to scramble and play a quickly scheduled contest against Diboll (that they lost). After earning a Week 5 win against LaMarque, the Bulldogs were again victims of Mother Nature as weather caused their final non-district game against West Orange-Stark to get cancelled. The good news for Coach Darrell Barbay’s squad is none of their next four games will get cancelled as they are all district contests.
Iraan’s Numbers Challenge
Just three years ago, Iraan was playing at AT&T Stadium for a state title, but the Braves program has fallen on hard times primarily due to some low numbers in the junior and senior classes with boys. The Braves are off to a tough 0-6 start after their 40-6 loss to Winters last week. They were only able to suit out 12 players last week. The coaching staff is determined to finish the season and Iraan is hoping to get a few players healthy. There was some talk of a possible drop to six-man for Iraan, but the Braves have good numbers in the freshman class and the junior high so if they can weather the storm this year, better days should be ahead.