The area round is over and the field is beginning to whittle down to the truly elite teams. Round three is when things start to get real in terms of the state championship picture. We also find out, in part, whether DFW or Houston will reign supreme. Region II in 6A is split evenly between the two areas and now the best of the best from each will face off in Austin or Waco.
The Woodlands dominates its way back to round three
The Woodlands hadn’t made a third round appearance since 2019. So, for the first time in Mabrey Mettauer’s three seasons as a Highlander, they’re back to the area round against defending state finalist Duncanville. And the Highlanders did it in dominating fashion, winning 62-21.
Klein Cain had no answer for a dominant Highlander defense, and the Hurricanes had just as few answers for Mettauer and the offense. Mettauer finished 9-for-13 passing with 90 yards and a score, while adding 112 yards and another touchdown on just 13 carries.
A trio of Highlander running backs pushed right up against 100 yards. Arkez Gomez racked up 98 yards and a score on seven carries, Jacoby Mitchell tallied 81 yards on 12 carries and Aden Self finished with 88 yards and a score on just four carries. That’s a lot of guys at nearly or above 100 yards accounted for all by themselves.
On the other side, it was tough sledding for Klein Cain, with the Hurricanes missing quarterback Lance Awe. Jaelen Smith spent much of the season as a dynamic threat at wide receiver and out of the backfield, but he was forced into action at quarterback due to Awe’s injury.
Smith finished 3-for-16 passing for 27 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 27 yards when Cain inserted Awe for the final drive of his senior season, throwing mostly quick timing passes. Smith rushed 13 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns to provide the bulk of the offense for the Hurricanes. Yemi Adeleke ran for 87 yards on 21 carries and Awe went 4-for-9 passing for 33 yards. It was the final game for seniors Adeleke, Awe and Smith.
The Woodlands will have a tall task against Duncanville, who has played in the state title game in three of the past four seasons, next week, but the Highlander offense is rolling right now and it should be a good game.
Westfield survives a thriller against Klein Collins
Perhaps the best game in the area on Friday night was Westfield rallying from behind to take down Klein Collins, 41-38. Two traditional powers in Houston, it is Westfield that advances to take on Waxahachie.
PJ Hatter had another great night for the Mustangs. He finished just 7-for-9 passing for 35 yards, but did tons of damage on the ground. Hatter totaled 230 yards and three scores on 20 carries. He wasn’t the only one; Taji Atkins ran nine times for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Surviving in this kind of shootout should serve Westfield well against Waxahachie next week. The Mustangs weren’t tested much outside of a loss to North Shore in the regular season, but Friday’s win proves this Westfield team knows how to win close games. They’ll need that ability if it gets past Waxahachie next week as Duncanville would likely be the team waiting in round four.
Summer Creek upends Shadow Creek
Summer Creek raised some eyebrows last week. Teams with four regular season losses typically don’t fare well in the playoffs, but not every 6-4 team plays in one of the toughest districts in Texas. The losses to North Shore, Atascocita and Klein Collins were all state ranked matchups. The other loss was to a district champion Klein Cain.
On the other hand, Shadow Creek was 11-0 entering the area round matchup. Despite that, Summer Creek still walked away with a comfortable 36-20 win. These teams got it done in different ways. Summer Creek was excellent on special teams, blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown. That’s a 10-point swing in a 16-point game. The Bulldogs were also excellent on the ground, with Lloyd Avant running for 150 yards and three scores on 26 carries.
Shadow Creek was the opposite. The Sharks totaled just 82 yards on 26 carries as a team, but senior quarterback Duke Butler had a nice game. He finished with 261 yards and three touchdowns against one INT on 19-for-34 passing. Jacorey Watson caught seven of those passes for 78 yards and two scores; Joshua Best caught the other Butler TD pass.
Here’s the important takeaway from those stats: Shadow Creek didn’t run the ball well at all against a very battle-tested Summer Creek defense. Why does that matter? Summer Creek’s next opponent is Katy.
Nobody runs the ball better – perhaps in the whole state! – than the Tigers do. But this is a seasonsed, veteran Summer Creek defense who has a massive challenge in the way. By the way, all those state-ranked, quality regular season losses the Bulldogs piled up? They were by four points, three points, seven points and three points against Klein Cain, Klein Collins, North Shore and Atascocita, respectively. This is a team that can win any game it plays in. Katy will certainly put that to the test as maybe the best team in Houston this season.
Player of the Week
Speaking of that Katy rushing attack, Seth Davis made this POTW a pretty easy choice for me. The Mississippi State commit ran for 268 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries! And he only played the first half!
So, my player-of-the-week is Seth Davis and that Katy Tiger offensive line. They’ll have a big test against Summer Creek next week, but I still would expect Davis to have a big game. Davis is now third in Katy school history with 6,003 career rushing yards. He needs 155 yards to pass Deondrick Glass for second and 530 yards to overtake Rodney Anderson for the school record.
For the record, I think Davis gets the record. Katy needs to beat Summer Creek and then would likely get Hightower and Dripping Springs before the state title game. I think Katy is the favorite in all those games, so Davis could have four games still left to play. Summer Creek might be the biggest test before the state title game, so this week is a huge test.
Here’s what we have left for the Houston area. We’re down to just 12 games this week and only two teams left playing below class 5A. Here’s what the schedule looks like, split up into games on Friday or Saturday and sorted by start time. I hope each of these teams has a blast practicing on Thanksgiving and putting on the pads with their teammates at least one more time!
- Hightower vs. C.E. King at Cypress’ Pridgeon Stadium, 1 p.m.
- Fulshear vs. Smithson Valley at Seguin’s Matador Stadium, 1 p.m.
- Marshall vs. Lake Creek at Houston’s Delmar Stadium, 1 p.m.
- Cinco Ranch vs. North Shore at Katy’s Rhodes Stadium, 2 p.m.
- Katy vs. Summer Creek at Humble’s Turner Stadium, 2 p.m.
- Tomball vs. DeSoto at Pflugerville’s The Pfield, 4 p.m.
- Spring Dekaney vs. Harker Heights at Baylor’s McLane Stadium, 6 p.m.
- Ridge Point vs. Atascocita at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium, 7 p.m.
- Columbus vs. Cameron Yoe at Bastrop’s Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
- Hitchcock vs. Franklin at Shenandoah’s Woodforest Bank Stadium, 7 p.m.
- Westfield vs. Waxahachie at Hutto’s Memorial Stadium, 2 p.m.
- The Woodlands vs. Duncanville at Pflugerville’s The Pfield, 3 p.m.