The theme of The Cooldown this week is its Houston vs. All Y’all.
C.E. King traveled north up I-45 to take on Allen for the second year in a row. There are plenty of comparisons to 2020-21 Atascocita there, by the way. In addition, Willis got the home end of a home-and-home with Temple after losing on the road last season. I’ll discuss those two taking on out of area schools and what it could mean for the big picture compared to the rest of the state.
With week two come and gone, there are plenty of storylines to discuss as we find out more about each team. With that…
C.E. King gets revenge in big road test
For the fifth year in a row, I spent my week two at Allen High, watching the Eagles take on a school from the Greater Houston area. Unfortunately, that’s my consequence of living in DFW. Fortunately, Allen keeps giving me a reason to attend a game in person.
During 2020 realignment, the Eagles put Atascocita on the non-district schedule for 2020 and 2021. The appeal then for teams such as Atascocita was to be the first to beat Allen in Eagle Stadium. After losing in 2020, Atascocita accomplished that goal in 2021 with a breakout performance from receiver Chase Sowell and headlined by the confidence-bordering-on-cocky bravado of quarterback Gavin Session.
Realignment 2022 saw C.E. King step up to the plate. While beating Allen at Eagle Stadium might not be the mountain it once was — Atascocita’s win there was Allen’s first home loss in more than a decade — it still proves a worthy challenge that will have the Panthers battle tested heading into district play in 21-6A, perhaps the toughest in the state.
This game felt a lot like that 2021 showdown between Atascocita and Allen, which saw the Eagles from H-Town come out on top, 41-20. It was a back-and-forth game for the entire first half, with Allen leading 15-10 at the break. Things were nip-and-tuck through most of the third as well, before C.E. King scored, capitalized on a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and then scored again. The Panthers never looked back, winning 45-28.
Much like Sowell (now playing D1 ball at East Carolina University) two years ago, Vincent Jones had something of a coming out party on Friday night. He finished with nine catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns in an offense typically known for hearing Rae’G Dailey’s name called. Dailey finished with four catches for 28 yards.
In a game where C.E. King finished with just 23 rushing yards outside of Dionne Sims’ 75-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the second half, quarterback Darius Clark-James stepped up. Though DCJ doesn’t have the same loud, outward bravado Session displayed in his time at Atascocita, he’s an excellent and mature leader of his team, something that shone through when I interviewed him after the game. Clark-James finished with 368 yards, five touchdowns and an INT on 20-of-28.
Once-revered Allen is now 0-2 this season with both losses at home. C.E. King faced a tough road test and came out on top, which will help prepare for a district schedule that includes North Shore, Atascocita and Summer Creek, each ranked in the top 14 in the state.
Willis avenges 2022 loss, thrashes Temple
It is high time to take Willis as a threat in district 13-6A.
We’ve long known about 5-star quarterback DJ Lagway. While he’s one of the most talented signal callers in the country, it’s still been tough sledding in 13-6A. Now, Lagway and the Wildkats might represent the “tough sledding” for everyone else.
Lagway didn’t quite top his record-setting season opener, but still had a solid night. He finished 19-of-29 passing for 192 yards, a touchdown and two INT’s. The Florida commit added 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and even caught a pass for six yards. Daylion Robinson caught the lone touchdown, and added 132 yards and three scores on just eight carries.
The Lagway/Robinson combination in the backfield could take Willis far, especially with how The Woodlands has struggled to begin the year. But not every team is who we might think they are in non-district, that’s why we play the games. Temple roped McKinney Boyd 57-34 in its first game, so it appears at least right now that Willis’ blowout of the Wildcats is quite impressive.
Lamar breezes past The Woodlands
Just as we mention the heater Willis is on to open the season, The Woodlands has looked awful shaky. District 13-6A could get real fun this year. But this isn’t about that. Folks, Lamar might be all the way back.
The Texans have had at least three losses in each of the past five seasons. That may not sound like a lot – it’s really not – but this is a program that has state title potential and routinely wins the district. And after Lamar dismantled The Woodlands 45-21, I’m struggling to find any team left on the schedule that Lamar could lose to. It may very well be a one loss type of year.
The senior-laden Texans were led by a fantastic game from quarterback Jordan Reaves, who finished 16-of-22 passing for 270 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. Reaves added 70 yards on 10 carries as well. He wasn’t alone in the rushing attack, as senior back Justin Howard ripped off 196 yards and three scores on just eight carries.
All the playmakers for Lamar are seniors. Wide receiver Tristen Brown caught nine passes for 180 yards and two scores, while Dayvyon Gipson had 48 yards and the other Reaves TD pass. If the Texans keep playing like this, they could give the recent traditional powers a run for their money come early December.
As for The Woodlands, 0-2 with two double digit losses is not how it wanted to start out what was looking like a promising season. Quarterback Mabrey Mettauer is one of the best in the nation, but it hasn’t mattered much so far. Mettauer finished 11-of-22 for 103 passing yards and a TD. Parker Stewart was the leading rusher with just 15 yards. District 13-6A could get interesting, with Willis off to a blazing start and Oak Ridge stacked with talent.
News and Notes
In this section each week, I’ll hit on some of the scores that caught my eye, but didn’t have time to discuss in full detail like the games above.
- Klein Cain, 48 – College Park, 27
- Tomball Memorial, 62 – Cy Creek, 6
- Oak Ridge, 41 – Stratford, 34
- Atascocita, 42 – Katy, 34
- New Caney, 31 – Porter, 14
- Marshall, 56 – Crosby, 7
- Madison, 63 – Yates, 24
- Bellville, 38 – Stafford, 0
- Bridgeland, 41 – Tompkins, 35
- Dickinson, 45 – Ridge Point, 37
- Hightower, 14 – Westfield, 9
- Klein Collins, 30 – Pearland Dawson, 17
- Pearland, 55 – Memorial, 21
Player of the Week
My player-of-the-week is an obvious choice. Now, I usually don’t like double-dipping and choosing my player-of-the-week to be from a game I’ve already recapped, but I watched it with my own eyes… I have to.
My player-of-the-week is Darius Clark-James! He led C.E. King to a tough road win in a difficult environment (trust me, the Allen student section is something else and the Allen band is the size of a small nation’s Army) all while not being able to lean much on the run game. The Allen defense knew the pass was coming, and Clark-James still torched them to the tune of 368 yards.
What to look forward to
Here are the games I’m most looking forward to this week. Games on Thursday or Saturday are noted.
- Lamar at Clear Falls (TH)
- Alief Taylor at Marshall (TH)
- Bridgeland at Shadow Creek
- The Woodlands at Oak Ridge
- Travis at Hightower
- Summer Creek at Klein Collins
- Tompkins at Katy
- C.E. King at Pearland
- Waller at Montgomery Lake Creek
- Manvel at Angleton
- Magnolia at Fulshear
- Worthing at Bay City
- Yates at Wharton
- Cy-Fair at Cy Woods (SAT)
- East St. Louis (IL) vs. Atascocita (SAT)