The Follow-Through: What did we learn from the bi-district round of the Texas high school football playoffs?

Pampa (Photo by Carter Pirtle)

With a regular season’s worth of data at our fingers, you’d figure we’d have a good idea about what the Bi-District playoff round would hold. In many cases that proved to be true. In others…well, let’s just agree that on any given night, anyone can win.

Not In Our Wildest Dreams

Smithville ends 54-year drought with upset of Sweeny

What our Greg Tepper thought: Sweeny was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Sweeny was a 3-point favorite

What our computer thought: Sweeny was a 5-point favorite

What happened: Smithville 34, Sweeny 28

Smithville jumped out to a 21-7 lead and held on to end an eight-game playoff losing streak that dates back to 1965. Though not a monumental upset – our experts foresaw a one-score game – the Tigers no doubt celebrated as though they’d shaken off 54 years of frustration. Quarterback Lane Otto threw a pair of touchdown passes to Tardrick Fowler and Cameron Juarez added a pair of touchdown runs for the Tigers.

Foster knocks off unbeaten New Caney

What our Greg Tepper thought: New Caney was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: New Caney was a 6-point favorite

What our computer thought: New Caney was a 1-point favorite

What happened: Richmond Foster 31, 5A D1 No. 10 New Caney 21

After jumping into the rankings in week 11, completing a perfect regular season with a 37-0 win over New Caney Porter, the Eagles suffer the ignominy of finishing with the most frustrating record in high school football – 10-1. Richmond Foster watched a 14-0 lead disappear, trailed 21-17 and rallied for the 31-21 win. New Caney’s Zion Childress gave the Eagles a brief lead when he ran 95 yards for a touchdown, but Foster answered with its own big play, a 75-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Stubblefield (243 yards, 2 TDs) to  Cody Jackson for the go-ahead touchdown. Foster’s defense stood tall in the fourth quarter to lock down the upset.

Canyon Randall upsets Justin Northwest

What our Greg Tepper thought: Justin Northwest was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Justin Northwest was a 17-point favorite

What our computer thought: Justin Northwest was 9-point favorite

What happened: Canyon Randall 24, Justin Northwest 17

Canyon Randall, which lost seven regular season games, scored a huge win for fourth-place finishers everywhere by knocking off Justin Northwest Friday night. The Raiders struck early and held off a second-half rally from the Texans. Patrick Pera scored two touchdowns to stake Randall to leads of 17-0 and 24-7, but it took a fourth-down stop in the closing seconds at their own 29-yard line to secure the upset.

Top 25 matchups go the way of the favorites

Westlake’s Defense Sets Tone in Win over Steele

What our Greg Tepper thought: Westlake was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Westlake was a 6-point favorite

What our computer thought: Westlake was a 16-point favorite

What happened: 6A No. 12 Westlake 30, 6A No. 23 Cibolo Steele 7

Bi-district matchups of ranked teams can be a rare treat for football fans, but Westlake made sure there would be little drama at Chaparral Stadium. Receiver-turned-running back Jackson Coker found success between the tackles, rushing for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and Westlake’s defense turned in another stellar performance. The Chaps allowed fewer than 10 points for the fourth straight week and the ninth time this season. With a multitude of ranked teams in the 6A, Division 1 bracket, the defensive-minded Chaps are serious contenders in 6A Division 2.

Tompkins Out-Duels Fort Bend Travis in D1 Showdown

What our Greg Tepper thought: Katy Tompkins was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Katy Tompkins was an 11-point favorite

What our computer thought: Katy Tompkins was an 8-point favorite

What happened: 6A No. 19 Katy Tompkins 35, 6A No. 24 Fort Bend Travis 28

Jalen Milroe threw three touchdown passes and added a touchdown run to push Tompkins to a 35-14 fourth-quarter lead, then watched unbeaten Fort Bend Travis stage a furious rally behind Eric Rodriguez, who ran for a 12-yard touchdown and hit Jarrell Farr for a 50-yard score to close the gap to 35-28.

Best of the Rest

Lancaster Hits Ground Running in Bi-District Win Over The Colony

What our Greg Tepper thought: Lancaster was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Lancaster was an 8-point favorite

What our computer thought: Lancaster was an 11-point favorite

What happened: 5A D1 No. 8 Lancaster 44, The Colony 29

Tre Bradford rushed for 248 yards to lead Lancaster past The Colony in a high-scoring 5A D1 bi-district showdown. His 37-yard run late in the third quarter ended a 14-0 surge that saw The Colony close to within 23-21. Glenn Rice Jr. added a 55-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Tigers’ defense forced four turnovers and recorded a safety as well.

Pampa Doubles Up Gainesville

What our Greg Tepper thought: Pampa was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Gainesville was a 7-point favorite

What our computer thought: Pampa was a 9-point favorite

What happened: Pampa 56, Gainesville 28

We’re not sure if Pampa coach Greg Poynor took issue with Stepp’s upset prediction, but the Harvesters left little doubt Friday, sprinting out to a 35-0 lead and cruising past Gainesville 56-28. Joey Hill’s 91-yard catch-and-run touchdown proved the biggest play. Tucker Bridwell passed for 427 yards and five touchdowns. Hill caught eight passes for 210 yards and four of the scores. Draike Sparks caught three touchdown passes for Gainesville, including an 87-yarder.

Hamshire-Fannett Wins Rallies for Shootout Win Against Favored Center

What our Greg Tepper thought: Hamshire-Fannett was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Center was a 10-point favorite

What our computer thought: Center was a 2-point favorite

What happened: Hamshire-Fannett 50, Center 42

Take a bow-tie bow, Tepper, for trusting Hamshire-Fannett with the upset. Marcus Morris scored twice and the defense intercepted Center’s Jake Hanson twice in the final minute as the Longhorns rallied from a 42-36 deficit. Morris, who passed for 311 yards and rushed for 235, ran six yards for the go-ahead score with 48 seconds left, then added the insurance score on a 68-yard run after Tahji Edwards intercepted Center’s Jake Hanson.

Rogers Holds Off Buffalo

What our Greg Tepper thought: Rogers was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Rogers was a 14-point favorite

What our computer thought: Rogers was a 9-point favorite

What happened: 3A D2 No. 9 Rogers 36, Buffalo 33

We expected Rogers to win a bit more comfortably than a 36-33 win over Buffalo, but a win’s a win. Rogers built a 22-7 lead, watched as Buffalo closed the gap to 22-20 and then got a pair of touchdowns from Joshua Minor to hold on for the 36-33 win.

Wheeler Escapes Archer City’s High-Scoring Upset Bid

What our Greg Tepper thought: Wheeler was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Wheeler was a 12-point favorite

What our computer thought: Wheeler was a 20-point favorite

What happened: 2A D2 No. 10 Wheeler 54, Archer City 47

For a half, Wheeler looked every bit the part of a heavy favorite, opening up a 40-18 lead. But Archer City never got the memo that the game was done and dusted. Ty Bates passed for 456 yards and four touchdowns as Archer City mounted a second-half surge. Wheeler’s Hesston Marshall made sure the comeback fell short. Wheeler’s star rushed for 475 yards and five touchdowns and added a pair of touchdown passes for good measure.

Grandview Sends Statement That Title Defense is On

What our Greg Tepper thought: Grandview was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Grandview was a 13-point favorite

What our computer thought: Grandview was a 4-point favorite

What happened: 3A D1 No. 2 Grandview 42, Rockdale 7

Grandview (2018) and Rockdale (2017) met as the last two 3A, Division I champions. After one playoff game, Grandview looks very much like a team interested in defending its title. The Zebras forced seven turnovers, two of which resulted in touchdowns and got three touchdown passes from Dane Jentsch. Rockdale hung tough early. Following Austin Boyd’s early pick-six, Rockdale’s Cam’Ron Valdez scored to tie things at 7-7. But the Zebras ran away from there.

Huntsville Ends Marshall’s 7-Game Win Streak

What our Greg Tepper thought: Huntsville was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Marshall was a 5-point favorite

What our computer thought: Huntsville was a 4-point favorite

What happened: Huntsville 35, Marshall 12

The close game our experts called for never materialized as Huntsville used a stellar defensive performance to end Marshall’s 7-game win streak. Huntsville also knocked Marshall out of the playoffs in the bi-district round in 2018. Marshall scored first but trailed 7-6 at the half and 14-12 after Demarcus Williams’ 51-yard touchdown catch with 3:13 left in the third. A penalty pushed the two-point conversion back five yards, and the Mavericks couldn’t convert. Huntsville’s Cameron Myers scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to send Huntsville into the Area playoffs.

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