The playoffs are here, the Holiday season is nearly in full swing, the best time of the year is officially here! So, who moved on to round two? What matchups this week are the best? Who impressed last week? Let’s dive in.
Randle wins its first ever playoff game
Some pundits picked Marshall to win this game. One even picked Marshall to win state. While coach James Williams and his staff at Marshall will always command respect, the regular season results didn’t indicate that this Marshall team stacked up against the Buffs of the past few years. A first round matchup with a young Randle program, brimming with talent nonetheless, didn’t bode well.
The young pups – should I say Lions? – showed out. Freshman running back Landen Callis-Williams ran 20 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Skrabanek capitalized on his opportunities against a stellar Marshall defense by throwing for 91 yards, a touchdown and an INT on 7-of-15. Jaydon Osborn caught the Skrabanek touchdown pass, his only grab going for 49 yards and the score.
Again, I did say stellar Marshall defense. Randle gained only 269 yards with more than half of that coming from Callis-Williams. It’s the first playoff win in the young program history for Randle, and the win puts Randle at 14-7 all-time: 4-6 last season and 10-1 this year. It is an especially big win for coach Brian Randle; the school is named after his father. Randle previously was head coach at Alief Taylor and Mayde Creek, making this one of his first opportunities at a deep playoff run. Topping James Williams and Marshall is as big of a statement as it gets.
For Marshall, this first round playoff loss shouldn’t be a huge setback. The Buffs will lose some key senior talent, but also had tons of playmakers who were underclassmen. Quarterback Kaeden Johnson and running back Peyton Long were two of the Buffs’ best offensive players, both are sophomores. The defense was also full of talent in the underclassman ranks.
There could be some symmetry from 2021-22 as well. The Buffs were upset by Barbers Hill in the first round in 2021 before making a run to the regional finals last season, losing to start runners-up Port Neches-Groves, 29-21. Losing in the first round in 2023 could set up a more experienced team in 2024 that might be more equipped for a deep playoff run.
Randle, meanwhile will prepare for a showdown with Belton (10-1, 5-1) in round two. With Callis-Williams leading the charge, Randle could be on a collision course for a rematch with Lake Creek later on. Belton stands in the way first.
Ridge Point wins a thriller over Tompkins (again)
Another year, another thrilling game between Ridge Point and Tompkins. Unfortunately for Tompkins, Ridge Point has come out on top both times.
Last year, Ridge Point slipped by Tompkins, 35-33. This years’ matchup was a little more high-scoring. A close game at halftime, Ridge Point went on a run in the second half and opened up a 19-point lead early in the fourth quarter. No matter for Wyatt Young and the Falcons.
Tompkins closed up the gap before falling to Ridge Point, 49-44. Wyatt Young garnered some consideration for my POTW, probably the first time I’ve ever considered a player on a losing team for POTW. However, I didn’t want to give out POTW to the same player twice in three weeks. But it was a POTW-worthy line from Young.
He finished 12-of-14 passing for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 17 carries for 196 yards and four more touchdowns. That’s a total of 342 yards and six (!!) touchdowns.
Caleb Blocker also had a solid night out of the Falcons backfield, he ran for 143 yards on 21 carries. Jhase McMillan was the leading receiver in terms of yardage with his lone catch going for 52 yards and a touchdown. Young spread his 12 completions amongst six receivers; Besi Bello had the other touchdown catch.
That offensive explosion was matched by Ridge Point. Another former POTW of mine, Panthers quarterback Austin Carlisle, finished 18-of-25 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the leading rusher for Ridge Point with an additional 89 yards and another score. For those keeping track, that’s 386 yards and four touchdowns for Carlisle and 342 yards and six touchdowns for Young. Each were worthy of POTW honors.
Twins Wesley and Quincy Drummer ran for 47 yards, two touchdowns and 41 yards, one touchdown, respectively, as they split carries out of the backfield. Wesley also caught a touchdown pass, giving him three scores for the day. Ashton Bethel-Roman, one of the best athletes in the area, led the team in receiving again. His five catches went for 158 yards and two scores.
Ridge Point advances to take on a similarly high-powered Lamar offense in what should be one of the best games in round two. For Tompkins, tough luck has the Falcons out in the first round again.
Cy-Fair rolls past Bellaire
For a team like Cy-Fair, it’s always nice to have an easier round one opponent before a titanic round two showdown. In this case, the Bobcats beat Bellaire, 55-10, before they face state ranked Katy in round two.
Trey Owens was dominant once again, completing 12 of his 16 passes for 250 yards and five touchdowns; he added 29 yards and another score on two carries. Cy-Fair had four running backs finish with between 20-35 yards, with seniors James Walker and Jamel Nickerson scoring on the ground.
Wyatt Herbel was the favorite target for Owens. He hauled in three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Owen Carter had four catches for 72 yards and a score and Charun Davis and Davin Lynn caught the other two Owens touchdown passes.
Next up is Katy, who rolled through Travis in round one, 49-6. In true Katy fashion, the Tigers ran the ball 47 times (for 344 yards) compared to just 19 pass attempts with nine of those coming from backup Jakson Franklin. Sophomore running back Tremayne Hill and senior back Tadi Zambe were both over 100 yards rushing; Hill had three touchdowns and Zambe had one.
Katy will travel to Cy-Fair’s FCU Stadium for the area round matchup that should be one of the best in the entire state.
Player of the Week
My player-of-the-week is a guy who’s played well all year and has led his team to an oddly familiar place. Two years ago, Tomball finished fourth in its district. So the Cougars decided to win four playoff games anyway. Tomball finished fourth in its district this season. Time will tell if the Cougs can make a similar run, and they’re off to a 1-0 start — thanks due in my part to my POTW.
My player-of-the-week is Tomball quarterback Carter Noyes! He finished an efficient 15-of-19 passing for 203 yards and a touchdown, and he added another score on the ground in a 32-6 blowout of Cy Falls.
Tomball will face Oak Ridge on Saturday at 4 p.m. and I’ll be covering that game with in person video highlights and updates on our X (Twitter) page.
Only the best of the best are left playing. Take a look below at the weekend schedule for every Houston area team in round two. Note: every game will be played on Friday night with the exception of Edna vs. Jourdanton on Thursday and Tomball vs. Oak Ridge on Saturday. Teams playing in Region II are noted.
Schedule for 6A-I
- The Woodlands vs. Klein Collins (Region II)
- Spring Westfield vs. Klein Cain (Region II)
- Cy-Fair vs. Katy
- North Shore vs. Clear Springs
- Lamar vs. Ridge Point
- Atascocita vs. Pearland
Schedule for 6A-II
- Willis vs. Tomball Memorial (Region II)
- Oak Ridge vs. Tomball (Region II, Saturday)
- Stratford vs. George Ranch
- Summer Creek vs. Clear Creek
- Heights vs. Hightower
- C.E. King vs. Clear Falls
Schedule for 5A-I
- Richland (DFW) vs. Barbers Hill (Region II)
- Angleton vs. Cedar Park (Austin)
- Fulshear vs. A&M Consolidated
- College Station vs. Magnolia
- Smithson Valley vs. Magnolia West
Schedule for 5A-II
- Lake Creek vs. Austin Crockett
- Belton vs. Richmond Randle
- Austin LBJ vs. Huntsville
Schedule for 4A-I
- Kilgore vs. Bay City
- Needville vs. Lumberton (Saturday)
- El Campo vs. Chapel Hill
- Iowa Colony vs. Lindale
- Bellville vs. Madisonville (4A-II)
- Columbus vs. Woodville (3A-I)
- East Bernard vs. Poth (3A-II)