The Cooldown: Week 1

Cover Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle.

Week one of the 2021 high school football season started off with a bang in the Houston area. Some teams impressed, some did what they were supposed to and some indicated a step back from 2020.

Here are recaps of a few of the best games in the area last weekend, other interesting news and notes, and a look-ahead to week two action.

The Woodlands survives back-and-forth bout with Langham Creek

The season kicked off on Thursday night and The Woodlands and Langham Creek made sure to not disappoint fans who have waited eight months to see some football.

The Highlanders ultimately prevailed 48-42, but neither team ever led by more than seven points. JoBarre Reed gave The Woodlands the go-ahead score on an electric 41-yard touchdown run before Evan Durbin iced the game a few minutes later, picking off Lobo quarterback Tanner Murray in the end zone.

Aside from that costly interception, Murray had a fantastic night with 277 yards through the air and three total touchdowns – two through the air and one on the ground. That was matched by The Woodlands first-year starter Mabrey Mettauer, who accounted for three passing and one rushing score, with 207 yards on 20-for-27 passing.

The running back play was equally as good. Reed racked up 109 yards in addition to his 41-yard game winning scamper, while Jayden Landry finished with 128 yards on the ground and another 86 yards as a receiver for Langham Creek.

Both teams looked great in the season opener and could look to make waves in their respective districts. The Woodlands will look to take back the district title from rival College Park while Langham Creek looks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Right now, I’d bet on both of those things happening.

Dickinson rallies to upset Manvel

Dickinson took a step back in 2020, finishing just 6-3 after back-to-back 10-2 seasons that saw the Gators win district 24-6A. But a year later, Dickinson looks to be back to its old ways after a strong opening night win against 5A No. 2 Manvel.

Despite going down 16-6 early, Dickinson utilized a strong game from quarterback Luke Martin to get the win. Martin accounted for four touchdowns, two apiece on the ground and through the air, including a 67-yard touchdown run. That effort was matched by Manvel running back De’Monte Seymore, who carried 22 times for 152 yards and four scores to lead the scoring effort for the Mavs.

This game saw plenty of wacky plays including a Manvel blocked field goal attempt returned for a touchdown by Dickinson as time expired in the first half. That 10-point swing essentially gave Dickinson the win. That was after Manvel blocked a Dickinson extra point after the Gators’ first touchdown of the night. Those blocked kicks could be why Manvel pushed a potential game-tying field goal wide right as time expired.

After the game, many touted it as a “massive upset” on Twitter. I’m not so sure that’s entirely the case given that Dickinson is a strong 6A program while Manvel is one of the best in 5A. An upset for sure, but these are both strong programs no doubt. Manvel should still be one of the top dogs in 5A, while Dickinson looks to reclaim the 24-6A district title – though they’ll have to go through Clear Falls, who looked great in an opening night 31-7 thrashing of Dawson – to accomplish that.

Spring opens with impressive win over Travis

After a tough playoff loss to DeSoto in round three last year, Spring looks to be back and better than ever to reload for another deep playoff run this season.

Of course, it helps when a team can return a quarterback the caliber of Bishop Davenport. The senior threw for 301 yards and two scores on 21-for-35 and added 85 yards and another score on the ground as Spring defeated Travis 38-17. Travis also scored on the final play of the game, so playing nearly 48 minutes and limiting a team like Travis to just 10 points is an impressive start for what should be a great Spring defense.

Senior wide receiver Travis Sims impressed as well, finishing with 132 yards on 10 catches. The next few weeks should be intriguing for the Lions, with home tilts against Klein Oak and Tomball Memorial to round out non-district play. Klein Oak routed Spring’s district-mate DeKaney 41-6 last week, while Memorial took down Nimitz 54-10. In any case, two good challenges are coming up for the Lions.

News and Notes

In this section each week, I’ll do some bullet points to highlight the other games that caught my eye but didn’t have time to discuss in detail like the games mentioned above.

  • North Shore beat Shadow Creek 33-10. The North Shore offense struggled a little bit and the Shadow Creek offense really struggled. The Sharks ran for less than 10 yards as a team and new QB Duke Butler threw four interceptions, including two pick-sixes. Overall, the Sharks offense amassed only 97 yards. It will be interesting to see what this season holds for each area powerhouse.
  • Klein Oak dominated DeKaney 41-6 and Oak quarterback PJ Hatter looked fantastic. Klein and Tomball Memorial also looked good in week one and 15-6A figures to be one of the more competitive districts once again.
  • Marshall is back to scoring a lot of points – 68-34 over Eisenhower – but the defense wasn’t as solid as we saw last season.
  • Cinco Ranch upset a defending district champion in College Park!!
  • Lamar Consolidated upset Foster after losing that same game last year by more than 50 points!!
  • Tomball took down Willis 40-27 in a great battle of quarterbacks. Both figure to make an impact on the back end of the playoff picture in their respective districts.
  • Ridge Point and Atascocita flexed big time in week one; RP with a 41-13 win over Pearland and Atascocita 48-7 over Klein Collins.

Team and Player of the Week

I’m splitting my first team of the week between two teams for the same reason, because I think each really deserves it. My team(s) of the week are Cinco Ranch and Lamar Consolidated!

Cinco Ranch went 1-17 over the last two years and 4-24 over the last three years. But for now, the Cougars can say they’re 1-0 after an impressive 35-14 win over College Park on the road. As for Lamar Consolidated, they went 0-10 last season and lost to Foster by 72 points. But to start 2021, the Mustangs can also say they’re 1-0 with a 21-14 win over the same Foster team that routed them a year ago. That deserves some major props. Congratulations to Cinco Ranch and Lamar Consolidated for such impressive wins to start the season!

My player of the week is Dickinson quarterback Luke Martin, for leading his team to victory against a top-two team in the state. Martin accounted for multiple scores and got it done through and air and on the ground. Dickinson has a chance to be special again after a down year in 2020, but Martin will need to be great for that to happen. So far, so good!

What to look forward to:

Here are the games I’m most excited for this week:

  • (TH) Klein Cain vs. Cy Creek
  • (TH) Dickinson vs. Ridge Point
  • (TH) Travis vs. Foster
  • (TH) Klein Oak vs. Spring
  • (F) Atascocita vs. Allen
  • (F) North Shore vs. Klein Collins
  • (F) Heights vs. Dawson
  • (F) The Woodlands vs. Lamar
  • (F) Morton Ranch vs. Paetow (intra-Katy ISD, but non-district 5A vs. 6A!)
  • (F) Westfield vs. Hightower
  • (F) Crosby vs. Manvel
  • (SAT) Cy Park vs. Cy-Fair
  • (SAT) Katy Taylor vs. George Ranch