Inside High School Sports Houston | The Cooldown: Week 14
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11/29/21

The Cooldown: Week 14

Houston is officially out of the state title race below class 5A after Bellville, Columbus and El Campo lost last week. That means round four of the #txhsfb playoffs features just five games including Houston area teams. Of those games, four feature a Houston-versus-Houston matchup with the exception being a showdown between Crosby and Texarkana’s Texas High.

So, this means four Houston teams are guaranteed to advance to the state semifinals. Check out a recap of last weeks’ action, player-of-the-week and a look-ahead to next round four action and what could await each team in round five.

North Shore survives against Tompkins

This game was a repeat third-round matchup from a year ago; that game featured quarterbacks who spent their Saturday as backup QB’s on opposite sides of the Iron Bowl.

Unlike last year, Dematrius Davis didn’t come out on top with Jalen Milroe’s Alabama Crimson Tide winning in four overtimes. However, Davis’ alma mater did win again. For the second-straight year, North Shore knocked off Tompkins in round three. This time, the game was a little bit closer than last years’ Davis-led 47-22 trouncing.

For a while, it looked like this game would be another North Shore blowout. The Mustangs rolled up 20 first half points while the defense shut out Tompkins. Then, sophomore Wyatt Young decided it was Wyatt Young time. The running back-turned-dual-threat-quarterback ran for three second half touchdowns and amassed 131 yards on just 10 carries. Young came up just short of a first down late in the game that would have potentially given Tompkins the win had he picked it up.

Part of the reason North Shore held on the for the win was an outstanding game from freshman quarterback Kaleb Bailey, who racked up 109 yards, four touchdowns and an INT on eight-of-12 passing. Two of his touchdown passes were caught by his brother, Jhalyn Bailey, who totaled 54 yards and the two scores on three catches as North Shore held on for a 26-20 win.

The younger Bailey has a chance to do something the Mustangs’ last star freshman quarterback – Davis – didn’t do: lead North Shore to a state title as a freshman. Of course, Davis led the Mustangs to state titles as a sophomore and junior. That remains to be seen for Bailey but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. North Shore takes on Atascocita – whom it beat by 10 points in the regular season – in round four. With a win, North Shore would play the winner of Lake Travis and San Antonio Brennan for the right to go to state.

Katy takes down CE King

There aren’t many teams that can slow down the Katy machine when it’s really rolling and CE King found that out the hard way.

It was a fantastic season for CE King, who spent much of the season ranked in the 6A statewide top 25. To be in the top 25 out of nearly 250 programs is special. But the Panthers ran into the buzz saw that is used to being special. Katy has spent the entire season ranked in the top three of the state rankings.

Katy, per usual, had twice as many rushing attempts as passing. The leading rusher was Seth Davis with 27 carries for 165 yards and a score. Davis tacked on another touchdown on an eight-yard halfback pass. Caleb Koger didn’t match Davis’ perfect passer rating, but did have a nice game throwing for 170 yards and two scores on 11-of-19. The leading receiver was Nic Anderson with seven catches for 98 yards and a score; JR Ceyanes and Luke Carter also caught touchdown passes.

King quarterback Nehemiah Brousard completed 18-of-24 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. DK Hammond had a hand in all three Panther touchdowns, running for 89 yards and two scores on 14 carries while adding a 86 yards and a score receiving. Elias Dejean caught six passes for 92 yards while Malachi Boles added seven for 61 yards.

That sets up a showdown with Summer Creek for the Katy Tigers who will be expected to win again. CE King beat Summer Creek 35-10 in the regular season, so Katy should figure to have any easier time with the Bulldogs than it did with King last week. Should Katy survive, it would advance to a titanic showdown with Austin Westlake in a matchup between the top two teams in all of class 6A for the right to go to state.

Atascocita gets playoff revenge against Ridge Point

Another third round rematch from last year featured Atascocita and Ridge Point; the Panthers got the best of Atascocita last year but weren’t so lucky on Saturday.

The Eagles’ defense had a stellar game, holding a typically high-flying Ridge Point offense to just 21 points and none in the first half. Zion Brown did just enough at quarterback, completing 11-of-24 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown against one interception. Chase Sowell led the Eagles in receiving as he continued a dominant senior campaign, finishing with 93 yards on five catches, one of which was Brown’s lone TD pass. Tyras Winfield added 109 yards on 25 yards and what would prove to be the game-clinching score.

On the other side, Bert Emanuel capped off his high school career by completing 21-of-32 passes for 331 yards and two scores, adding 66 yards and another touchdown on 19 carries.

Atascocita will have to beat North Shore in a regular season rematch to advance. North Shore won the regular season game 31-21, but Atascocita was playing just its second game without starting quarterback Gavin Session, whose season ended early with a torn ACL. The Eagles have since had more time to adjust to sophomore Zion Brown running the show and could be primed for an upset.

Player of the Week

How about that sophomore class at Fort Bend Hightower?

Manvel has looked dominant all season except in two losses to Hightower, who have had the Mavs’ number this year. It was dominance from two sophomore Hurricanes that propelled Hightower to the win, and they share my player-of-the-week.

First, KJ Penson threw for 203 yards and three scores on an efficient 12-of-18. Throw in another 252 yards and a touchdown on the ground for running back Jeremy Payne and good luck to any opponent trying to win a game while surrendering that many yards to an opposing offense. That’s more than enough to earn player-of-the-week honors!

Hightower will need a big game from each of them next week as it takes on Katy Paetow, whom the Hurricanes lost to 55-7 in the regular season.

What to look forward to

As I mentioned in the intro, Houston is eliminated below 5A and has just five total games this week. The playoff picture is beginning to become more clear, so here’s an in-depth look at what each team faces and the road ahead to state.

6A-I

There are two teams left in 6A-I after DFW’s Duncanville and DeSoto knocked out Spring and Spring Westfield in Region II last week. That means North Shore and Atascocita are the last Houston teams standing. I outlined above what each team has done to this point. The winner will face the winner of Lake Travis and SA Brennan in the state semifinals, and should be favored to win. Atascocita will take on North Shore at 7 p.m. on Friday at Pasaden’a Veterans Memorial Stadium.

6A-II

While the Spring ISD schools fell to DFW area powers in round three in the 6A-I bracket, both Houston-area schools prevailed against DFW in 6A-II last weekend. This sets up a showdown between Tomball and Bridgeland in Region II. Tomball has been the biggest Houston-area surprise of these playoffs, needing a win to make the playoffs on the final day of the season, but then upsetting Cy park, beating Willis and upsetting Rockwall-Heath to roll into the Region II finals at 10-3. For Bridgeland (11-2) it has been an easier path.

The Bears rallied to beat Klein Collins by a point in round one before beating College Park by seven in round two. Then, Bridgeland beat typical DFW power Cedar Hill in round three, but Cedar Hill has had a down year by their standards, struggling offensively. Tomball might be the favorite here, but that could depend on the health of Bridgeland star quarterback Conner Weigman, who missed three quarters of the Bridgeland’s win over Cedar Hill with a head injury. Tomball battles Bridgeland on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tomball ISD Stadium.

In Region III, we have Katy and Summer Creek. Everyone knows Katy’s resume: defending 6A-II champs, top three team all season, 13-0. Meanwhile, Summer Creek finished fourth in the bloodbath that is 21-6A, which featured three top 25 6A teams for much of the season. Katy is the big favorite here and Summer Creek will hope to catch the Tigers looking forward to Westlake in hopes of an upset. Of course, Houston is still alive on each side of the bracket so we could see an all-Houston state title game in 6A-II, though it is unlikely. Katy takes on Summer Creek at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Houston’s Rice Stadium.

5A-I

The last teams standing in 5A-I are Hightower and Paetow. As I outlined above, Hightower has had an impressive season and beat highly-ranked Manvel twice, but does have a previous 55-7 blowout loss to Paetow. The winner of this one will be the favorites to go to state; the winner plays either Corpus Christi Flour Bluff or CC Veterans Memorial in round five. Hightower gets a shot at revenge against Paetow on Friday at 7 p.m. at Houston’s Rice Stadium.

5A-II

The final Houston-area team alive is Crosby, taking on a Texas High squad whom it beat in round two last year en route to state. The common opponent here is Port Neches-Groves: Crosby raced past PNG 69-28 in the regular season while Texas High beat PNG 44-21 last week. Crosby has an explosive offense once again and will hope to ride it to another win. Crosby barely escaped A&M Consolidated last week, 53-50 after nearly blowing a double-digit fourth quarter lead. Should Crosby win to keep Houston alive in 5A-II, they’ll face a rematch against Liberty Hill in the state semifinals, or they would play Alamo Heights. Crosby takes on Texas High at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Lufkin’s Martin Stadium.