The Cooldown: Week 12

Cover Photo via @MCHSAthleticDep on Twitter.

For the remainder of the season, we’ll focus on three teams moving on to the next round and talk about their win and road ahead. We’ll have a bonus section as well that will serve as a shout-out to a handful of teams that impressed us who will be hanging up the pads until next year.

1. Katy Tompkins Outlasts Travis

This was the first round game that I was most looking forward to without a doubt. The fact that Travis was rewarded for an undefeated season with a game against a team whose only loss came to the No. 7 team in America is simply not fair.

Eric Rodriguez, Parker Washington and Kaelen Shankle were among the best trios in the state on the offensive side. The Tiger defense was solid all season, letting up more than 30 just three times in the regular season – all in tough non-district games against Hightower, Foster and Spring. And they were able to play Tompkins within seven points.

Just looking at the Region III portion of the bracket in 6A Division I makes me sad for all the good teams who will have seasons cut short because of the dense amount of talented teams, perhaps none more talented than Travis. Just the thought of throwing Tompkins, Atascocita, Dickinson or Travis in 6A Division II is tantalizing.

All four of those teams have the talent necessary to go deep in the playoffs – they just suffer from playing in what I believe is a top five recruiting hotbed in America… that means a plethora of talented teams. Such is life playing in the greater Houston area.

For Tompkins, Jalen Milroe had an interesting night. The Texas commit completed 11 of his 16 passes for 237 yards and three scores. However, only two of the passes actually hit the ground. Travis was able to haul in three interceptions, which kept the Tigers in the game in the first half. The interceptions were uncharacteristic for Milroe, but the junior played an otherwise masterful game: Adding eight carries for 36 yards and a score.

Another impressive part of the Falcons win was the absence of senior tailback RJ Smith. A great sign for Tompkins is that Marquis Shoulders stepped in with no hitch. The junior racked up 151 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries while adding 51 yards and another score on two catches. Milroe is one of the best quarterbacks in his class and he’s got an embarrassment of riches to join him in the backfield. The Falcons depth could take them far.

2. Mayde Creek Makes History

For the first time this century – and for the first time since yours truly was five months old – the Mayde Creek Rams will play a second round playoff game.

The Rams relied on Julius Loughridge as they had all the season – this time to the tune of 25 carries for 196 yards and a touchdown. Mayde Creek finished with just 63 yards passing in its 27-21 win against Bush.

The thing that most impressed me was Mayde Creek’s gutsy performance. Bush has made the playoffs six times in the last decade while Mayde Creek hadn’t seen the playoffs since 2008 and hadn’t won a playoff game since 1997. Bush had the experience factor weighing heavily in its favor and Loughridge and the Rams didn’t care.

Victor Holdman finished with 13 tackles with three tackles-for-loss and the Rams secondary showed up big as well. Juniors Joseph Kinyock and Lavonte Bishop came up with big interceptions to help Mayde Creek jump out to what would prove to be an insurmountable 27-14 lead in the second half. The rest is history.

Mayde Creek will face Cy Creek in the area round. Cy Creek has plenty of playoff experience, and went four rounds deep a year ago. It’ll be a tough test, but I’ve also learned to not count out this iteration of the Mayde Creek Rams. Cy Creek may be favored, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mayde Creek finds a way to make a game out of it.

3. Porter Ruins 10-5A Perfection

Shadow Creek and Friendswood rolled to blowout wins in round one while Foster snuck past previously undefeated New Caney. The Porter Spartans ruined 10-5A’s chance at a 4-0 start to the playoffs with a 21-17 win against Hightower.

The win was Porter’s first in the playoffs in school history after losing the first round each of the last three seasons. While the Spartans impressed on Saturday, I would be surprised if the battle for the Region III came down to anyone but two of the remaining three teams from 10-5A.

Friendswood took down Kingwood Park 40-14 while Shadow Creek blasted Port Arthur Memorial 49-7. The ever-dangerous Foster beat New Caney 31-21. In a weaker region, I would look for two of these three to face off for the right to go to the state semifinals.

Bonus: Shout-out to...

In this section, I want to recognize a few teams who will be turning in equipment Monday as their season came to an end. I’ll skip over Travis here since I went pretty in depth about the Tigers above, but big shout out to them. It’s a shame to see such a talented team headed home early, but unfortunately that’s how the seeding works.

Ridge Point has been a stalwart since arriving in 6A. The Panthers won their district each year until 2019, as they racked up regular season losses to North Shore and Travis. The loss to Travis ultimately proved to be the one that would lose them the district, but an 8-3 season with the three losses to Katy, North Shore and Travis is nothing to be ashamed of. Katy and North Shore are two of the best teams in America and a four-point loss to one of the best teams in Houston isn’t bad. Neither is giving Katy a round one scare for the ages.

Klein Cain had one heck of a season in the ever entertaining 15-6A. Everyone here at IHSS had their eyes locked on this district all season long and the Hurricanes were able to pull out a gutsy upset against Klein Oak in the last game of the season to clinch a spot in the playoffs. It may not have gone the way they had hoped with a 41-15 loss at the hands of a really good Spring Westfield team, but it was a good season for Cain nonetheless. Congratulations to the Hurricanes on their first appearance in the big dance!

Another team that surprised us this season was Pasadena Dobie. The Longhorns finish at 9-2 with losses to Atascocita and North Shore. Again, a nine-win season in Houston with losses to teams of that caliber is pretty salty. Congratulations to Dobie on a great season!