McKinney (8-1, 5-1) vs Prosper (8-1, 6-0): After stumbling two weeks ago in a loss to Allen, McKinney bounced back last week with its most complete performance of the year going on the road and drilling Denton Guyer, 37-20.
USC commit RB Bryan Jackson had a monster night for the Lions with 161 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while QB Godspower Nwawuihe had 168 yards with a rushing and passing TD.
The Lions defense, which has been solid all year, played their best game of the season in holding a dynamic Guyer offense in check.
Prosper was able to keep its unbeaten streak alive, but just barely as the Eagles won an absolute war with Allen, 37-36. It was Prosper’s third straight win in the series.
QB Nathan TenBarge led the Eagles with 187 yards through the air and two touchdowns, while also rushing for one.
A McKinney win and the Lions earn a district title. They’ve already got the No. 1 seed in Division II, but a district title would be the capper for a sensational season. I like McKinney; the Lions have been playing lights out.
Stepp’s Pick: McKinney by 5
Bridgeland (8-1, 6-0) vs Cypress Springs (8-1, 5-1): A win for Bridgeland clinches the outright district title in 16-6A for the Bears, while Cy Springs, which has already clinched a playoff spot, is looking to get a share of the district title.
Bridgeland had no trouble last week rolling past Cy Lakes, 56-0. QB Jett Lewis threw four first half touchdown passes to four different receivers. The Bears led 35-0 at the half and spent the second half working on the run game and rotating backups in liberally.
Cy Springs kept its title hopes alive as it survived a big test from a desperate Cy Woods squad, needing a late field goal to win 30-28.
It was a tale of two halves in the win as Springs’ offense was cooking in the first half on the strength of a Harrison Mass touchdown pass and run. Both defenses dominated in the second half, with the Panthers getting the game winning field goal with just over three minutes left.
Cy Springs is a great story without question, and they’ve finally learned to win big games to make the playoffs, but the challenge this week is beating a playoff tested Bridgeland squad that has district title pedigree. That step up may be a bit too steep this week.
Stepp’s Pick: Bridgeland by 10
Humble Atascocita (8-1, 5-1) vs Humble Summer Creek (8-1, 5-1): It’s an all-Humble ISD affair with state ranked teams going at it for HISD bragging rights at Turner Stadium.
Atascocita’s hopes of making a statement against state power and perennial nemesis Galena Park North Shore fell flat last week as the Eagles were drilled 61-35.
QB Zion Brown was sensational in the losing effort throwing four touchdown passes and adding in an 84-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles defense was just shredded by North Shore.
The test is much different this week against a Summer Creek team that leans on a defense led by LSU commit Xavier Atkins.
Tulsa commit Lloyd Avant led the SCHS offense in their 33-12 win over C.E. King Saturday night. QB Blake Thomas ran for one score and had a touchdown pass to pace the Bulldogs.
Summer Creek’s defense is on an elite level and might be state title contender worthy. That unit is the key in this one. Even though this has no bearing on the playoffs, it means a ton to both teams. Summer Creek wins the unofficial title of best team in Humble ISD.
Stepp’s Pick: Humble Summer Creek by 3
San Antonio Harlan (9-0, 7-0) vs San Antonio Taft (6-3, 5-2): Unbeaten Harlan will look to cap off its unbeaten season with a win against playoff bound Taft in what is an intriguing 29-6A season finale.
Harlan is fresh off a bye week after taking down San Antonio Jay, 42-33, two weeks ago in a Saturday night battle of unbeatens.
RB G’Ivori Graham had a breakout evening for the Hawks ripping off 185 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the win, while QB Noah Garris added balance with 256 yards through the air.
Taft pushed Jay to the limit last week but fell the Mustangs, 28-21, cementing its status as the second seed on the Division I side.
QB Johnnie Lott was most of the offense for Taft last week as Raiders signal caller accounted for 265 yards of offense and a pair of rushing touchdowns in the losing effort.
Taft’s offense is a bit one-dimensional times, especially against good defensive teams. The Raiders defensive line, which is among the best in the Alamo City, will need to play their best game of the year to keep them in it against this balanced Harlan attack.
Stepp’s Pick: San Antonio Harlan by 10
Denton Ryan (6-2, 5-2) vs Justin Northwest (8-1, 6-1): Second place in District 3-5A Division I and the opportunity to host a bi-district playoff game next week is on the line at Northwest ISD Stadium.
Ryan has been a different team since its early season loss to The Colony and last week the Raiders bounced back nicely from that heartbreaking loss to Aledo with an efficient 28-6 win over Brewer.
Tre’vaughn Reynolds and Nemo Warmate combined for 209 yards and two touchdowns rushing, while Lorenzo Hill added 133 receiving yards and a score for Ryan.
Northwest took care of a solid Burleson Centennial squad 38-20 as RB Ife Durodoye ran wild for the Texans with 264 yards rushing and four TDs. Even more impressive was Northwest’s defense slowing the running game of Centennial down as the Spartans ran for just 207 yards on the night.
Northwest’s defense will need another big effort to get the home game as Ryan’s defense is rounding into form as well.
Stepp’s Pick: Denton Ryan by 8
Midlothian (8-1, 7-0) at Red Oak (9-0, 7-0): The 4-5A Division I title is on the line Thursday night as Midlothian visits unbeaten and state ranked Red Oak.
Midlothian has won eight straight after its mystifying season opening loss to Arlington Seguin.
The Panthers rolled to an easy 36-0 win over Killeen Ellison last week. RB Slater Callahan had a pair of touchdown runs, while Clemson commit Bryant Wesco hauled in a touchdown pass. Midlothian’s defense was stout as well holding Ellison to just 73 yards of total offense.
Red Oak needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to put away a feisty Granbury squad, 27-3. The Hawks got 274 passing yards and two touchdowns from QB Reggie Moody and WR Taz Williams had 125 receiving yards and a touchdown. Red Oak’s defense was stellar as well against Granbury’s run-heavy scheme as they held the Pirates to just 85 yards of offense.
Red Oak has found ways to win close games of late and it seems to have that team of destiny feel, but Midlothian’s stepped its game up in a major way. The Panthers are peaking at the right time and they go into Red Oak and grab a district title.
Stepp’s Pick: Midlothian by 3
Victoria East (6-3, 5-1) vs Victoria West (4-5, 4-2): Victoria will be alive this week as it’s East taking on West in the annual grudge match.
The Titans have a chance to host a first-round playoff game with a victory for first year head coach Charlie Reeve.
East stunned favored Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial, 14-10, behind a stout defensive performance that held one of the most dynamic offensive attacks in South Texas to just 289 yards and 10 points.
QB Kason Kolle tossed two touchdown passes and the Titans benefitted from some untimely Vets penalties to pull off the upset on the road.
Victoria West pushed unbeaten Corpus Christi Miller last week, but the Warriors fell just short in a 52-45 defeat. RB Kamauri Montgomery ran for three touchdowns, while QB Camden Repper tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score in the win.
This one will be determined by pace. West wants to get up and down the field with its explosive offense, while East wants to rely on its defense and physical play. As the weather cools off and we get close to the playoffs, that defense and physical play wins out.
Stepp’s Pick: Victoria East by 8
Lovejoy (8-1, 6-0) at Melissa (9-0, 6-0): The 7-5A Division II is on the line Thursday night in Melissa as two state ranked powers collide for playoff seeding and bragging rights.
Melissa started off the year like a house on fire, but recently it’s Lovejoy who has been the more dominant team.
LHS rolled past Greenville last week, 49-7. The Leopards have outscored 7-5A Division II opponents by a combined 283-21 the last five weeks.
Melissa soared past Princeton, 56-13, last week as the Cardinals were led by QB Trever Ham, who threw five touchdown passes. Three of those went to Karson Maynard as MHS rolled up a 35-7 halftime lead and then put the game away with a 21-point third quarter.
Both teams have developed reputations for big-time offense, but both teams are playing much better defense this year and both have dynamic defensive studs with Lovejoy LB Payton Pierce (Ohio State commit) and Melissa DL Nigel Smith (Oklahoma commit).
Defense is the key in this one and at home. The slight edge in this one is with the Cardinals.
Stepp’s Pick: Melissa by 4
Belton (8-1, 4-1) vs Waco University (7-2, 4-1): The wild and crazy 11-5A Division II race comes down to Belton and Waco University, the two teams who have clearly been the most consistent in district play to this point.
Seeding is definitely at play in this one as Belton could earn the outright district title and the one seed with a win, but a loss could send Belton tumbling down to third place and a road playoff game in bi-district.
Waco University is guaranteed to host a first-round playoff game. The only question for the Trojans will it be if it’ as the one seed or the two seed?
Belton survived a scare from upstart Killeen Chaparral Last week, 20-14. QB Reese Rumfield’s three touchdown passes were just enough to lift the Tigers.
Waco University has ripped off three straight wins since its upset loss to a suddenly hot Pflugerville squad a few weeks back. The Trojans made quick work of Pflugerville Connally, 41-23, last week. WR London Smith hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions, while RB LaDarrius Evans led the Trojans with 141 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Waco University hasn’t won eight games in a season since 2002 and it hasn’t won at least a share of a district title since 1996 when LaDainian Tomlinson was toting the rock for the Trojans, whose last outright district title was in 1956. All those streaks could be broken on Friday night.
University was a last second field goal away from taking Belton down a year ago. This year the Trojans get it done, sending south Waco into a tizzy.
Stepp’s Pick: Waco University by 5
Crowley (7-2, 4-2) vs North Crowley (9-0, 6-0) Stepp’s Pick: North Crowley by 27
Conroe Oak Ridge (7-2, 6-1) vs Willis (9-0, 7-0) Stepp’s Pick: Wills by 13
Katy (8-1, 7-0) vs Katy Taylor (5-4, 5-2) Stepp’s Pick: Katy by 17
Cedar Park Vista Ridge (6-3, 3-3) vs Round Rock (4-5, 4-2) Stepp’s Pick: Round Rock by 4
Laredo Alexander (6-3, 4-0) vs Laredo United (7-2, 4-0) Stepp’s Pick: Laredo United by 3
El Paso Bel Air (8-1, 3-1) vs El Paso Del Valle (8-1, 4-0) Stepp’s Pick: El Paso Del Valle by 10
Laredo Martin (4-5, 4-3) vs Laredo Nixon (6-3, 5-2) Stepp’s Pick: Laredo Nixon by 7
McAllen (7-2, 4-2) vs McAllen Memorial (6-3, 4-2) Stepp’s Pick: McAllen Memorial by 2
Huntsville (5-4, 4-1) at Richmond Randle (8-1, 4-1) Stepp’s Pick: Huntsville by 5
Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (7-2, 4-0) vs Gregory-Portland (8-1, 4-0) Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Flour Bluff by 6
Last Week Record: 14-6 70.0%
Season Record: 126-54 70.0%
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