Big School Mega Preview: Regional Semifinals!

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Euless Trinity (11-1) vs Allen (10-2), 2 p.m. Saturday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium: It’s always a big deal when Trinity and Allen hook up and last year’s classic at Choctaw Stadium, introduced Trinity RB Ollie Gordon to the state as one of the best RB’s in the state, who will emerge as a new star in this one? Both teams started out slow last week, but picked things up in the second half to pull away for double-digit wins. Allen fell behind early 21-7 but rallied back for a 49-24 win over Lake Highlands. The Eagles got monster production from QB Mike Hawkins who threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns and RB Jaylen Jenkins who ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns and added sixty receiving yards and a touchdown. Trinity for the second straight game was able to overcome a sluggish first half as they trailed 17-7 to Odessa Permian, but they were able to escape Abilene with a 28-17 victory. Ollie Gordon as usual led the way for the Trojans with 254 yards rushing and two touchdowns and the Trinity defense came up big in the second half with a second half shutout and the Trojans also had a huge fumble return for a touchdown that shifted momentum their way in the third quarter. This will be a shootout, but Allen this year may be peaking at the right time. Stepp’s Pick: Allen by 7

Duncanville (10-1) vs Spring (11-1), 7 p.m. Saturday at Frisco’s Ford Center: It’s a high-powered matchup between one of the best teams in DFW and one of Houston’s best in 6A-Division I. Duncanville has been an absolute sledge-hammer in the playoffs through two rounds as last week they dismantled Mesquite 52-2. The Panthers defense was the story was they allowed just 82 yards of offense in the win and the offense led by Toledo commit RB Malachi Medlock was able to fully capitalize on the consistent short fields, the defense gave them. Medlock ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns, while QB Solomon James threw for 199 yards and a touchdown. Spring has been led all year by Utah State commit QB Bishop Davenport and a high-octane passing game, but last week the Lions got the ground game going in a 56-53 shootout win over Klein Cain. RB Joey Fussell, Jr accounted for 273 total yards and six touchdowns for Spring in the victory. This for me looks like a bad matchup for Spring, I’m not sure the Lions can hold up in the trenches on either side of the ball against Duncanville. Stepp’s Pick: Duncanville by 17

DeSoto (10-2) vs Spring Westfield (12-0), 4 p.m. Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome: San Antonio will be the site of this Dallas vs Houston showdown as the DeSoto Eagles take on Spring Westfield in a fascinating cross-regional matchup. DeSoto got pushed last week by Rockwall, but a strong fourth quarter enabled the Eagles to pull away for a 49-28 victory. RB Chris Henley, Jr ran for four touchdowns and the DeSoto defense got two interceptions each from DB’s Devyn Bobby and Caimon Mathis. Westfield had their way Friday night with Klein Oak, cruising to a 34-14 win. QB Cardell Williams threw for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while the Mustangs defense held an explosive Klein Oak offense to just 221 yards of offense. There’s going to be a ton of talent on the field in this one, both teams are loaded and play a similar style of football, it sounds cliché but this one will come down to who executes better and who limits mistakes. Leaning to the team that’s unbeaten in this one, Westfield wins what will be an absolute slobber knocker. Stepp’s Pick: Spring Westfield by 3

Katy Tompkins (11-1) vs Galena Park North Shore (11-1), 1 p.m. Friday at Galena Park’s Galena Park ISD Stadium: It’s the new vs the old Friday afternoon as one of Houston’s newest 6A powers in Katy Tompkins heads east on I-10 to visit the established powerhouse in Galena Park North Shore. Tompkins took out unbeaten Jersey Village 42-14 a week ago in what may have been the Falcons most impressive effort of the season. The Falcons secondary was the difference as they picked off six passes on the night and QB Cole Francis tossed two touchdown passes to lead the way for the THS offense. After trailing 6-0 early against Clear Springs, North Shore turned on the jets and knocked off Clear Springs with relative ease in a 41-13 win. Xavier Owens ran for two scores and Christopher Barnes returned the opening kickoff of the second half to spark North Shore. North Shore’s defense has been the calling card all season long and there’s no reason to think that won’t change this week. The Mustangs won’t be flashy, but they’ll be brutally effective. Stepp’s Pick: Galena Park North Shore by 15

Cedar Hill (8-4) vs Cypress Bridgeland (10-2), 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco’s Waco ISD Stadium: The Longhorns of Cedar Hill take on the Bears of Bridgeland in this regional semifinal game of 6A Division-II. Both teams have battled through the playoffs with close wins in each round. This one will be no different. Cedar Hill got by Tyler Legacy, a team they beat last year by a score of 45-0, only gets a 21-7 win. But this is a starkly different Longhorns team from last year. Their focus is more on the defensive side of the football. The Cedar Hill defense forced a interception and a fumble while getting key stops on Legacy drives. This allowed quarterback Cedric Harden Jr to run for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgeland also had their defense shine in their win over the Woodlands College Park 35-28. Defensive back Graham Gillespie had three interceptions in the five total takeaways the Bears defense had. Quarterback Conner Weigman was the catalyst on offense passing for 206 yards and two touchdowns while running for 96 yards and another touchdown.While Cedar Hill has experience with game-breaking quarterbacks, they might have a problem with Weigman and the Bears. Bridgeland should take this one but look for Cedar Hill to be a tough out, especially with their defense, but questions about the Longhorns offense loom large. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Bridgeland by 6

Manvel (10-2) vs Fort Bend Hightower (10-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Sugar Land’s Hall Stadium: 5A-Division I Region III favorites Manvel face off against Fort Bend Hightower in the regional semi-finals. Manvel is looking to avenge their loss earlier in the year to Hightower. The Mavericks look prepared to do just that after beating a strong Weiss squad 41-31. Manvel kept feeding their senior running back De’Monte Seymore with 38 carries for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Seymore wasn’t the only one moving the chains as quarterback Kaeden Smith had 152 yards passing with a touchdown and interception. Hightower has been tested as well after edging out the win in the bi-district round, the Hurricanes flew by Georgetown 45-29 after a big first quarter. Running back Jeremy Payne had two scores to quickly get the Hurricanes up by 14.  Then a fumble returned for a touchdown sealed things for Hightower. The 16-12 upset by Hightower shocked many. But don’t expect it to happen a second time. It is hard to upset a good team twice. Seymore looks like he has it rolling and if he gets slowed down, Manvel has a bevy of backs to take his place. DCTF Intern Joshua Price’s Pick: Manvel by 10

Corpus Christi Flour Bluff (10-2) vs Gregory-Portland (9-3), 8 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome: It’s a battle of teams in Corpus Christi, but they are playing up the road on I-37 in San Antonio in what expects to be an absolutely electric atmosphere at the Alamodome. Both teams come into this one playing their best football of the season and both are fresh off dominant wins last week. Flour Bluff drilled Eagle Pass Winn 47-7 as QB Nash Villegas accounted for five touchdowns and 312 yards of offense as the Hornets raced out to a 44-0 halftime lead and cruised in the second half. It was a similar story for Gregory-Portland who drilled San Antonio Southwest Legacy 55-13. First-year head coach Brent Davis has the Wildcats peaking at the right time as QB Brandon Redden threw for 373 yards and six touchdowns to lead a huge effort from the G-P offense. These two are evenly matched on paper and its tough to beat a good team twice in one year, so we’ll take Flour Bluff in what might be a considered a minor upset. Stepp’s Pick: Corpus Christi Flour Bluff by 2

Lubbock Cooper (11-1) vs Grapevine (10-2), 4:30 p.m. Friday at Abilene’s Anthony Field: It’s a contrast of styles Friday afternoon in Abilene as defensive oriented Lubbock Cooper will look to slow down the high-powered offense of the Grapevine Mustangs. Lubbock Cooper blasted El Paso Parkland last week 51-14 as Kalen Stripling and Judge Thomasson combined for 244 yards rushing and five touchdowns to lead the Cooper offense which has started to really hit their stride in the post-season. Grapevine’s offense was cooking early and often last week in a 71-34 blowout win over Clint Horizon. QB Colt Mercer completed 15 of 16 passes for 298 yards and five touchdowns, while RB Caleb Texada ran for 210 yards and a touchdown as well. Lubbock Cooper won a close one over Grapevine in this round a year ago and it could be more of the same this week as that Cooper defensive front is just flat out nasty. Stepp’s Pick: Lubbock Cooper by 11

Aledo (12-0) vs South Oak Cliff (10-1), 2 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium: Can anyone stop the freight train that is Aledo at the moment? After showing signs of vulnerability earlier in the year, Aledo is peaking at the right time after they dismantled Frisco Liberty 57-14. RB’s Ryan Williams and Sammy Steffe combined for 248 yards rushing and six touchdowns, the Bearcats simply dominated up front on both sides of the ball. SOC presents a unique challenge as the Golden Bears defense may be equipped to give Aledo a major test. South Oak Cliff avenged back-to-back playoff losses to Frisco with a 35-24 win last week. SOC is loaded with major skill talent across the board and a veteran coaching staff that is underrated as tacticians. The big key with this SOC team is the QB spot, the Bears have an elite signal caller in Kevin Henry-Jennings who is committed to Missouri State, his intellect and ability to make plays gives the SOC offense a new dimension. That being said, it’s the Ric Flair principle at play, “to be the man, you got to beat the man.” Until someone does that, Aledo gets the benefit of the doubt. Stepp’s Pick: Aledo by 8

Alamo Heights (12-0) vs Marble Falls (9-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Dripping Springs’ Tiger Stadium: Alamo Heights and their stingy defense will face a big test this week against the vaunted Slot-T offense of Marble Falls. Alamo Heights had no trouble last week in an easy 55-28 win over Austin McCallum, as James Sobey and Logan Pittman proved to be a lethal duo for the Mules who raced out to a 42-0 hafltime lead before putting most of the backups in for the second half. Marble Falls took down district champion Mission Veterans Memorial 35-13 a week ago as the Mustangs raced out to a 21-0 lead with their Slot-T offense and never looked back. RB’s Robert Adame and Jake Becker who combined for over 300 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Alamo Heights has been led by their outstanding defense all year and that unit is what will pace them in this one once again. The Mules slow the Slot-T down and improve to 13-0 this week. Stepp’s Pick: Alamo Heights by 14

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