We have finally reached the final week of the regular season, typically one of the most important weeks of the regular season, and this one figures to be a wet one.
With at least a 60 percent chance of rain for Friday and Saturday at the time of this writing, some teams are opting to move to Thursday. Ironically, Houston doesn’t have it as bad as much of the I-35 corridor, with San Antonio up to DFW under a slight risk of severe weather. DFW will get more rain than most of us, and nearly every team up there has moved to Thursday.
That should give teams a little extra time to prepare for the playoffs. It also puts more pressure on those in “win-and-you’re-in” situations. Check out of week 10 recap and week 11 look-ahead as the regular season comes to a close.
Memorial puts the clamps on Stratford
Led by quarterback Nash Rankin, Stratford has had a dominant offense all season… at least it did until last week.
The Spartans had scored at least 30 points in every game this season entering their showdown with Memorial, who pitched a great defensive performance for a 23-13 win. Memorial was able to do this by controlling time-of-possession, aided by picking off Rankin twice. Chase Goodwin finished with 175 yards, a touchdown and an INT on 15-of-28 through the air. His favorite target was Kyle Siblik, who hauled in 11 of Goodwin’s 15 completions for 143 yards and the lone touchdown pass.
The usually dominant Rankin still had a pretty good night, throwing for 252 yards and a score, but the two interceptions hurt the Spartans. Memorial enters the final week of the season having locked up second place. The Mustangs could lose to Cy-Fair (their game this week determines the district title) but will still hold the tiebreaker over Stratford, who faces a tough test against Jersey Village.
With Cy-Fair, Memorial, Stratford and Jersey Village as the playoff teams, 17-6A represents one of the deeper districts in Houston. They’ll match up with the usually weaker 18-6A, before drawing Katy ISD in round two, something I’m looking forward to the chance to watch.
Foster dismantles Magnolia with explosive offense
Man, 10-5A-I has been an adventure this year, hasn’t it?
Every team in the district has at least one district loss. Fulshear is the only school that has one loss; Angleton has two losses but just one district loss. Foster, at one point, was projected to play for a state title by DCTF. The Falcons finish the year with 8-1 Fulshear and a loss could put them out of the playoffs due to a loss to Magnolia West. It appears that is the case because Manvel should beat Terry.
I’m not sure what the order of anything will be, but I believe Fulshear and Angleton are in no matter what, Manvel is in with a win over Terry (which is highly likely) and might be in even with a loss. Magnolia West needs a win AND a Foster loss; Foster is in with a win OR a Magnolia West loss. Mag West plays at Friendswood and *should* win. That means Foster versus Fulshear has massive implications.
But enough scenario talk, how did we get here? For the most part these teams have won the games they’re supposed to win, which has made it a five-horse race for four playoff spots. Last week was no different, with Foster roping Magnolia, 56-21.
JT Fayard was phenomenal, completing 16-of-21 passes for 300 yards and three scores. He spread the ball around well, with Dylan Apponey catching three balls for 102 yards and a score, with Jalen Austin catching four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Mason Lidisky caught the other Fayard touchdown pass.
If that wasn’t enough offense for you, Ashton Ojiaku racked up 210 yards and four touchdowns on just 16 carries. It was an efficient night of offense for Foster to say the least. They will need to be at their best against Fulshear if the Falcons are to secure a playoff spot.
North Shore survives a scare from Atascocita
With quarterback Kaleb Bailey out for the year, it will be senior wide receiver David Amador trying to guide the Mustangs to a second-straight state title from under center. If the game against Atascocita is any indication, he might just be able to do it. How many state champions of years’ past could have gotten it done without its starting quarterback?
Amador totaled zero receiving yards – obviously – but showed he’s a triple-threat talent nonetheless. Amador finished an efficient 8-of-11 passing or 109 yards and a touchdown; that touchdown being the go-ahead score late in the game on a 63-yard strike over the middle to Terrence Guillory. Amador also racked up 117 yards on just 15 carries.
Atascocita is a top-10 team in the state, and North Shore was able to hang on for a tough road win with a wide receiver playing quarterback. That tells me the Mustangs might be primed to defend that title, but anything can happen in the playoffs. It wouldn’t be surprising to see another North Shore-Atascocita rematch in the state quarterfinals. I believe it would be the third time in four years if it happens.
News and Notes
Here, I’ll do some bullet points to recap the games we didn’t have time to discuss but caught my eye from last week.
- Klein Collins shut out previous district leader Tomball, 35-0
- Clear Falls rallied for a 28-14 win over Clear Lake, clinching a playoff berth
- Alvin took down Alief Hastings, 34-21
- Nimitz won a close one against Spring, 42-35
- Summer Creek squeaked past CE King, 24-21
- Klein upset Klein Forest, 27-14
- New Caney overcame a slow start to beat College Park, 27-17
- Dawson bounced back with a close win over Elsik, 23-16
- South Houston upset Dobie, 28-0
- Pearland pulled away from Strake Jesuit, 24-14
- The Woodlands used an explosive second half to pull away from Willis, 42-28
- Angleton pulled off a last-second win over Magnolia West, 22-21
- Crosby won a shootout with La Porte, 49-42
Player of the Week
In the last four years, Cy Springs is a combined 4-36. The Panthers are in the midst of their best season in quite some time at 4-5, which likely result in 4-6 after a showdown with Bridgeland, and narrowly missing the playoffs. They beat Cy Falls, which will be a playoff team. Things are trending in the right direction, but the playoff hopes were officially dashed, losing 34-13 at the hands of Cy Woods last week.
The Cy Woods offense dismantled Cy Springs, with my player-of-the-week, quarterback Aiden Horton, finishing with 161 yards and a touchdown on an efficient 13-of-18 passing. Horton added 25 yards and another score on the ground. Also notable, Myles West ran for 106 yards on 18 carries.
The Wildcats have a solid foundation coming back next season, with Horton, Bryant Thomas, Ty Cogdill and Logan Johnson all returning. But first, this group will have a chance to make some playoff noise; a win against 0-9 Cy Park this week would give Cy Woods a 7-3 regular season finish, meaning the Wildcats would win 7+ games for the first time since an 8-4 season in 2019.
What to look forward to
Here are the best games coming up in the regular season finale. Some games have been rescheduled already and weather may ruin others, so I’ll leave out the dates on these.
- Conroe battles Oak Ridge in what is a messy 3-teams for 2-spots situation
- Klein looks to keep momentum going against Klein Collins
- Foster has a do-or-die game against Fulshear
- Clear Lake takes on Brazoswood in a win-and-you’re-in game; loser goes home
- Jersey Village and Stratford fight for playoff positioning
- Nimitz battles Dekaney with seeding implications on the line
- South Houston looks to keep momentum going against Deer Park
- Travis looks to end the season on a high note against Bush
- Klein Forest looks to bounce back against Klein Oak
- Paetow looks to stay in the playoff race against Tompkins
- Klein Cain and Tomball battle for a second place district finish
- Summer Creek looks to keep it rolling against Atascocita; both nearly beat North Shore
- Alvin looks for a big win against Dawson
- Willis faces Oak Ridge in a do-or-die game
- Magnolia West needs a win against Friendswood to stay in the playoff race; same for Manvel versus Terry – don’t get me started on the potential tie breakers
- Randle is in the playoffs with a win versus Huntsville
- Bay City takes on Stafford
- Cy Falls battles Cy Ranch for playoff seeding