The Cooldown: Week 11

Cover Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle.

Week 11 brought just about everything you could’ve asked for. District championships were on the line for small schools, class 5A had some great matchups and we saw an historic upset in 6A. As is the routine every week on this program, I’ll recap the three best games from last week and provide a look-ahead to week 12.

Katy loses a district game for the first time since...

The last time Katy lost a district game, we were a few days removed from President Obama’s victory over John McCain to gain the rights to succeed Texas native George W. Bush as president.

Since then we’ve seen Obama win reelection against Mitt Romney; President Trump defeat Hillary Clinton and now President-elect Joe Biden defeat Trump. All of that happened between district losses for Katy. But after 12 years and 4,380 days, Tompkins said… enough.

Jalen Milroe had another masterful night for the Falcons, finishing with 209 yards and three scores on an efficient 17-for-23 passing. Joshua McMillan hauled in the lions share of that production, catching eight balls for 146 yards and all three of Milroe’s touchdowns. In many cases, Tompkins was set up in the red zone by Marquis Shoulders, who had a great night despite not scoring. Shoulders finished with 92 yards on 16 carries, including a long run of 36 yards that helped put points on the board.

For Katy, Caleb Koger was thoroughly out-dueled. The sophomore finished completing half of his 14 passes for 81 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Seth Davis was shut down at running back after a great start to the season, but senior Jalen Davis took over – going for 238 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries. The senior Davis’ performance wasn’t enough to overcome the Falcons as Katy fell, 24-19.

The Tigers nearly mounted a comeback for the ages as well. With Tompkins up 24-13 a few minutes into the fourth, Koger led his team down the field and hit on a long touchdown pass to pull within five points after a failed two-point conversion. Tompkins then started on its own five after a muffed punt; Katy got the necessary stops and used its timeouts to get the ball back with a chance at a game-winning drive, but a Koger interception killed the rally.

Katy is a young team with many players thrust into action that may not have been expecting it this season. The loss of senior quarterback Bronson McClelland and senior back Brandon Campbell pushed young players into the spotlight with little – or least abnormal – preparation due to limited spring and summer workouts due to COVID-19. The Tigers have some promising pieces moving forward to contend with and the youngins’ are getting good experience.

For Tompkins, there isn’t a whole lot of surprise. The Falcons are who we thought they would be: one of the best teams in Houston. Now as they’ve just about locked up the first district champion from Katy ISD not named Katy since… (I don’t even know? Sometime before 2008?) the Falcons will be expected to make a deep playoff run; that’s no easy task in such a talented area.

Manvel rallies for big win against Hightower

The game of the week in 5A was No. 6 Manvel visiting an always-explosive Hightower squad.

The Gabriel Larry to Jalen Walthall connection was up and running for the Mavs once again. Larry finished with 397 yards and three touchdowns against one interception on 12-for-18 passing; Walthall caught six of those 12 completions for 215 yards and two scores. Ty Harris led the Mavs ground game with 87 yards and a touchdown of his own.

It was a foot-race in the first half with Hightower scoring 28 second quarter points to tie things at 35 heading to the locker rooms. The Hurricanes scored the only points on the third quarter by hitting a solitary field goal; three points in one quarter after a combined 70 points in the first two. Manvel got the best of Hightower in the fourth, scoring 14 unanswered points to win the game 49-38.

Hightower’s stats in maxpreps seem a little off because touchdown and turnover stats aren’t entered, but I’ll report them anyway. JaKolby Longino threw for 122 yards and added another 125 on the ground while Charles Shelling topped that 164 rushing yards. Kaleb Johnson was the leading receiver with 51 yards as Longino did a good job spreading the ball around.

Because 10-5A Division I is doing the whole zone thing, I’m not sure how this district shakes out since not every team plays each other. I still haven’t figured out how the “zone” thing works. But I do know Manvel’s showdown with No. 5 Foster next week is going to be a great game – it’ll be for the district championship. Hightower will pick up a win against Milby to finish 2-2 in district play which I think (??) gets them into the playoffs? Not sure, but we’ll figure it out in the coming weeks!

El Campo claims district title with win over Needville

Gotta give the small schools some love, and El Campo deserves it!

The No. 6 Ricebirds boast an 8-1 record with the one loss coming to No. 3 Port Lavaca Calhoun early in the season. With Needville feeling high-and-mighty after a rivalry win against Bay City that saw the Blue Jays put up 56 points, El Campo flexed its way to a 40-21 win on Friday to give Needville its first loss in nearly two months.

El Campo just absolutely bludgeoned Needville on the ground. Rueben Owens ran for more than double Needville’s rushing total with just 10 carries going for 214 yards and three scores. Johntre Davis tacked on 90 more rushing yards, more than the Blue Jays grand total of 85 rushing yards as a team. With all that success on the ground, Cullen Braden threw the ball just six times for 45 yards. Braden had more yards on the ground (67) than he did through the air. Of course if you watch El Campo football on a regular basis, this comes as no surprise.

Needville tried to keep pace through the air as Trevor Baker threw for 168 yards and a touchdown and an interception on 17-for-31. Walker Warncke ran for 70 yards and two scores on 13 carries, but simply couldn’t match up with what was on the other side of the field.

Needville finishes as the runner up in 12-4A Division I and both schools will now prepare for the playoffs. El Campo will take on Yates while Needville gets Furr. Huffman-Hargrave poses the biggest threat to both in Region III while No. 2 Lampasas, No. 3 Calhoun and Austin LBJ will battle in Region IV. One of those three will likely stand between the Region III winner and a trip to Arlington.

Other Notable Games

Here are the other games from week 10 that were interesting that I did not recap here. The only note I want to make here is that… there are seven teams in district 15-6A. All I know is that Klein Forest isn’t making the playoffs; literally nothing else would surprise me. There are legitimately six teams that could finish in absolutely any order. Just as I know 15-6A to be!

  • Cy Woods picked up a key district win, 42-28 over Cy Park
  • Tomball stunned 15-6A district leader Klein Oak 17-16
  • Baytown Lee survived a shootout with Ball, 48-44
  • Grand Oaks won its first district game in school history, 19-18 over Conroe
  • The Woodlands foiled Oak Ridge’s momentum with a 31-21 win
  • Like Baytown Lee, Stratford also survived a 48-44 shootout, beating Cy Creek
  • Dobie stayed in control of 22-6A with a 41-21 win against Deer Park
  • Ridge Point picked up a big district win, 38-20 against George Ranch
  • Mayde Creek survived a 41-35 thriller against Morton Ranch
  • Friendswood picked up a much-needed 19-7 win against La Porte
  • Bay City continued its losing skid with a 30-19 loss to Stafford

What to Watch for: Week 12

As usual, games denoted by asterisks at the top of the list are Thursday night games, ones at the bottom denoted by asterisks are Saturday games.

  • *The Woodlands takes on upstart Grand Oaks, who will look for a statement win
  • *Cy Falls and Langham Creek face off “this-town-ain’t-big-enough-for-the-two-of-us” style, as each contends for a playoff spot
  • *Katy faces another big test against a good Katy Taylor squad
  • Pearland and Shadow Creek battle in matchup of area powerhouses
  • Dickinson and Clear Springs face off with the 24-6A crown on the line
  • Oak Ridge looks to get back on track against Willis
  • Atascocita faces a talented C.E. King squad in 21-6A action
  • Lamar puts its long district win streak on the line against a solid Heights team
  • Mayde Creek has a must-win game for its playoff hopes against Seven Lakes
  • Klein Collins faces Klein in an important game for seeding in the ever-confusing 15-6A
  • Westfield faces DeKaney as the two battle for second place in 14-6A
  • Foster and Manvel battle for the 10-5A DI crown in what is likely the game of the week in the Greater Houston Area
  • Magnolia and Magnolia West face off in a bitter rivalry game
  • *Cy Creek and Memorial battle for playoff positioning in 17-6A
  • *Cy Ranch will look to hold on second place in 16-6A against Cy Park
  • *Elkins’ matchup with George Ranch will be important for playoff seeding
  • *… as will Klein Oak’s showdown with Klein Cain
  • *Paetow vs Angleton should be a good one as well