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

Aledo (Photo by John Hamilton)

Another dramatic playoff weekend pares us down to the Final 4 in each classification with the notable exception of 1A, which has already set its championship games. Before we take a look at a few of the games our experts got right, wrong or right on the money, let’s look at their picks on the whole, since they picked at a minimum every 11-man game.

Managing Editor Greg Tepper picked the correct winner in 33 of the 44 games (75 percent). Insider Matt Stepp correctly picked 30 of the 40 11-man games. Our fearless computer picked the correct winner in 33 of 43 games (we threw out Wellington vs Hamlin, which the computer deemed too close to call). Not too shabby.

Before we move ahead to our state semifinal predictions, here’s a last look at how we did in some of the key games this weekend.

Fool Me Once….But Not Twice

Fort Bend Marshall avenges district loss to Manvel

What our Greg Tepper thought: Manvel was the favorite

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

What our computer thought: Marshall was a 3-point favorite

What happened: Fort Bend Marshall 40, Manvel 10

While our computer thought Marshall would win a big rematch, no one saw the blowout that transpired. Malik Hornsby dominated Manvel’s defense, passing for 264 yards and rushing for another 135, and Devon Achane did what he’s done all post-season, rushing for 132 yards and four more touchdowns. Manvel won the first meeting, a tense 38-34 game in late September.

Wimberley’s defense stuffs Navarro’s slot rushing attack

 What our Greg Tepper thought: Geronimo Navarro was the favorite

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

What our computer thought: Geronimo Navarro was a 6-point favorite

What happened: Wimberley 42, Geronimo Navarro 12

In a complete reversal from an Oct. 25 meeting that saw Navarro throttle Wimberley 42-14, the Texans held Navarro 130 yards below its season rushing average of 411 yards. Cooper McCollum amassed five touchdown passes on just 18 completions, and a goal line stand prevented Navarro from cutting into a 21-6 deficit in the third quarter.

 Waco La Vega repeats history by knocking Argyle out of playoffs again

What our Greg Tepper thought: Argyle was the favorite

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

What our computer thought: La Vega was a 4-point favorite

What happened: Waco La Vega 44, Argyle 20

Computers have long memories, apparently. For the second straight year, Waco La Vega and Argyle met in both the regular season and playoffs, and once again La Vega won the game that counted most. La Vega scored early and often. Argyle’s night got off on the wrong foot: a punt hit a lineman in the back and bounced through the end zone for a safety. Landry Kinne, Jar’Quae Walton and Elisha Cummings combined to rush for 354 of their team’s 396 yards.

Not You Again

Card’s return helps Lake Travis knock Judson out of playoffs for third straight year

What our Greg Tepper thought: Lake Travis was the favorite

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

What our computer thought: Converse Judson was a 1-point favorite

What happened: Lake Travis 48, Converse Judson 35

Out since injuring his foot on Oct. 11, Hudson Card stepped back behind center and, after shaking off some rust, directed a third-quarter explosion that saw Lake Travis score four touchdowns en route to a 48-35 win. Card passed for 342 yards and three scores, but Weston Stephens lent plenty of support, rushing for 195 of his career-high 227 yards after halftime and adding 84 receiving yards to boot. Judson, which has now seen its last three seasons end against the Cavaliers, led 14-3 after the opening quarter.

Didn’t Expect That

Valley View springs upset of unbeaten San Saba

What our Greg Tepper thought: San Saba was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: San Saba was a 15-point favorite

What our computer thought: San Saba was a 19-point favorite

What happened: Valley View 14, San Saba 12

Our experts all agreed that San Saba, unbeaten, No. 3 and untested, would continue its run to the 2A, Division I title game. Valley View had other ideas. A turnover and a long kickoff return set Valley View up for 16- and 13-yard scoring drives, and the defense blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:27 left to preserve the upset. Clint Epperson had a 72-yard kickoff return and a 77-yard run that enabled Valley View to run out the clock.

Guyer muscles its way past Tascosa’s flex-bone attack

What our Greg Tepper thought: Denton Guyer was the favorite

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

What our computer thought: Denton Guyer was a 12-point favorite

What happened: Denton Guyer 48, Amarillo Tascosa 7

Most defenders don’t call facing the unique challenge of the Flexbone offense fun, but if you have the type of success that Denton Guyer’s Dotun Olanipekun had – six tackles for loss – you can call it whatever you’d like. Behind Olanipekun, Tascosa never got its offense going. Joseph Plunk, who’d rushed for at least 100 yards in every game, managed just 33. Guyer, on the other hand, had no such trouble. Eli Stowers needed just 8 completions to amass 233 yards and four touchdowns, and Kaedric Cobbs gained 118 yards on 10 carries. Guyer gained 475 yards on just 38 offensive plays.

Aledo needs overtime to survive Ennis

What our Greg Tepper thought: Aledo was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Aledo was a 19-point favorite

What our computer thought: Aledo was a 19--point favorite

What happened: Aledo 43, Ennis 36 (overtime)

Our experts thought Friday would be another short walk on the path to Arlington, but Ennis had other ideas. Early on, Aledo was on the verge of a comfortable win, taking a 12-point lead on three different occasions. Ennis rallied each time, including an early two-point conversion that would later loom large. After Collin Drake hit Skylan Simmons for a touchdown to close within 36-35 with 1:05 left, Ennis coach Sam Harrell decided to kick the tying extra point because he’d already used his best two-point play. The kick worked, sending the game to overtime, where Jake Bishop’s 17-yard scrambling touchdown kept Aledo alive.

Stepping out on a limb

Refugio breathes easy with big win over unbeaten Holland

What our Greg Tepper thought: Refugio was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Holland was a 4-point favorite

What our computer thought: Refugio was a 10-point favorite

What happened: Refugio 49, Holland 12

If the Bobcats had any lingering effects of celebrating last week’s walk-off, comeback win over Shiner, they didn’t show. Much to Stepp’s dismay, Refugio hit the ground running, opening up a 28-0 lead and never slowing down. Austin Ochoa had his hands in all four touchdowns, running for two and hitting Antwaan Gross for the other two. Gross finished his night with three touchdown catches and two interceptions.

Frisco Lone Star, Mims enjoy record night against Lancaster

What our Greg Tepper thought: Frisco Lone Star was the favorite

What our Matt Stepp thought: Lancaster was a 2-point favorite

What our computer thought: Frisco Lone Star was a 7-point favorite

What happened: Frisco Lone Star 38, Lancaster 20

Stepp banked on Lancaster’s defensive line to pressure Lone Star quarterback Garret Rangel early and limit the time he had to find Marvin Mims. The pressure never materialized. Neither did the upset. Rangel passed for 315 yards and four scores, 214 of them to Mims – including an 84-yarder on the second play of the game -- as the receiver broke the state’s single-season receiving yardage record. Mins has 2,502 yards receiving.

Staying on track

Post outscores Hawley to reach state semifinals

What our Greg Tepper thought: Post was the favorite

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

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

What happened: Post 52, Hawley 42

It’s as if last season’s 4-7 campaign never happened. Third-ranked Post outscored seventh-ranked Hawley to win a school record 14th game and take another step closer to a first state title. A late gamble produced the clinching score, an 18-yard, fourth-down strike from Slayden Pittman to Taytem Thetford. Post rallied from a 30-21 third-quarter deficit by outscoring Hawley 24-6 during a 7-minute stretch that spanned the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth. Pittman completed all six of his passes, three of which went for touchdowns.

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