Cover Photo via @KLEINOAKFB on Twitter.
The area round of the playoffs didn’t come to pass without plenty of mayhem. While Houston saw plenty of entertaining games, DFW saw the most shake-up.
Class 6A Division II favorite Longview, a 33-point favorite according to the DCTF computers, lost to Dallas Jesuit. DFW powerhouse Allen, who beat Dickinson handily earlier in the season, lost before the fifth round for the first time since 2012. Both upsets have big implications on the Houston area, which we’ll discuss below.
1. Dallas Jesuit upsets Longview... What does that mean for Houston?
The state’s longest winning streak came to end on Friday as Dallas Jesuit took down Longview 27-25. Jesuit running back EJ Smith ran for 164 yards in the win, and slowing down the son of Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will be a tall task for…
… Klein Collins, who will have the pleasure of taking on Jesuit at McLane stadium this Friday. Collins got here by way of a 37-6 first round win against Spring Dekaney before taking down Austin Vandegrift 28-14 last week.
Klein Collins had a solid regular season, with one narrow loss coming against Klein Oak, 35-33, back on Oct. 4. Slowing down Smith and the Rangers won’t be easy after they pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the season, but if Collins can take advantage of it, a state championship appearance could be in the cards. The road for Collins includes Jesuit, Spring Westfield and likely Denton Guyer.
I’m not here to say Collins would win or be favored in any of those games, but they should be competitive in each one. The Tigers have a fighting chance to potentially go deep. Either way, I like the chances of Collins or Westfield to win Region II, resulting in a matchup with Guyer (barring upsets) for the right to play for state.
2. Rockwall upsets Allen... What does that mean for Houston?
Allen has made it to at least the state semifinals each season since 2012. The Eagles have won four state championships in that time. Now, they’ll be enjoying Thanksgiving with their families for the first time in, uh, eight years. Rockwall deploys one of the best players in the country at wide receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Ohio State commit racked up 252 yards and five touchdowns on 15 catches against the Eagles and looked virtually unstoppable. That’s the task awaiting Klein Oak in round three.
The Panthers have a dynamic duo of their own: Quarterback Montrell Bolton and wide receiver Dwight McGlothern terrorized District 15-6A all season, leading Klein Oak to an 8-2 regular season. The road ahead isn’t too scary in Region II if Klein Oak can survive Rockwall – which is a tall task itself. The winner of that game gets the winner of Prosper and The Woodlands. But then the Region II winner will face Duncanville in round five. Not ideal!
3. The rematch(es) we've all been waiting for...
With a dominating win against Dawson in the area round, North Shore will face Katy for the second time this season in round three. Katy won the opening night matchup on ESPN with a come-from-behind 24-21 victory.
This time, North Shore will have dynamic wide receiver Shadrach Banks, who missed the opening night game with an injury. With a potential trip to Arlington on the line, round two could truly go either way. North Shore has been on a roll as of late, while Katy has needed big fourth quarters to put away good Ridge Point and Cy-Fair squads. North Shore hasn’t been tested in the playoffs like Katy has. Round one was entertaining enough, but this one could be the game of the season.
The other big rematch comes in 5A Division I. Shadow Creek has dominated nearly every game en route to a 12-0 record; now tied for longest in the state with 20-something other schools after Longview’s loss. The Sharks closest game this season against teams not named Foster was a 42-14 win against Angleton. The Sharks only beat Foster 24-17.
Clearly, Foster has been the only team to give Shadow Creek a test this season. If the Sharks want a return trip to state, they’ll have to beat them again. The winner of this one will get the winner of Cedar Park and Manor in round four before playing the champion of a weaker Region IV for the right to go to state. While Cedar Park has been impressive, I like Shadow Creek to make it back to state.
Bonus: Eliminated teams that impressed us this season...
Mayde Creek made school history in 2019. The Rams made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and won a playoff game for the first time since 1997. They play in a district that includes nationally ranked Katy, state ranked Tompkins, and Taylor, who will play a third round playoff game. Katy ISD was highly competitive this season, and Mayde Creek was able to finish 9-3. Two of those losses came against two of the best teams in the state. The Rams have plenty of momentum to build on for 2020.
Cy-Fair, along with several other teams, competed in what might be the single toughest region in the state regardless of classification. Region III in 6A Division I is chock-full of teams that could compete for the region championship if they were in the weaker 6A Division II. The Bobcats finish at 11-1 after giving Katy a good fight for three quarters. No shame in bowing out to USA Today’s No. 7 team in America.
Speaking of tough, Friendswood competed in one of the toughest districts in Texas. With Shadow Creek and Foster still playing and Hightower bowing out in round one, 10-5A Division I was full of heavy weights. Angleton didn’t even make the playoffs in this district, if that tells you anything. Friendswood finished second in the district before a tough 31-14 loss to Cedar Park in round two.