The Cooldown: Week 5

Week five is already in the books. Football season flies by doesn’t it? With district play kicking off, check out the recap of last weeks’ action and find out what great games are coming up in week six.

Willis stays hot with win over Klein Collins

Man I love a good battle between 13-6A and 15-6A. These two districts used to be one big nine-team district before splitting up (and adding some new members) in the last round of realignment.

But how about Willis? The Wildcats rallied to beat Klein Collins 35-28 to advance to 3-2 on the year. That’s pretty impressive after a 3-7 season in 2019 was sandwiched between 2-8 seasons in 2018 and 2020. With five games left on the schedule, Willis needs just one more win to top its highest win total in quite a while.

Sometimes all you need is a good quarterback to help turn things around. Willis has just that in sophomore Derek Lagway, who already holds a number of college offers. He tossed two touchdowns and 162 yards on 9-of-15 passing, and had one interception. Lagway was also the leading rusher for the Wildkats carrying nine times for 60 yards and another score.

Lagway did a good job spreading the ball around; five receivers caught a pass and nobody caught more than three. The leading receiver was Tallas Harrison, who caught two balls for 60 yards and both of Lagway’s touchdown passes. Harrison also had perhaps the play of the game, picking off Klein Collins quarterback Tucker Parks and returning it for a touchdown. That gave Willis a 28-21 lead and they never gave it back.

Parks finished with 45 yards and the INT on 5-of-10 passing, and he added 10 carries for 105 yards and two scores on the ground. Jeremiah Hasan-Hackney ran for 103 yards and a score on 17 carries in Klein Collins’ run-heavy attack. A team total of 55 carries for 308 yards and three scores wasn’t quite enough to top Willis.

Willis plays in one of the only six-team districts in the state, so next week kicks off a short five game district play schedule. The Wildkats draw The Woodlands on the road, so the district opener will be a tough test, but perhaps a good measuring stick game. Klein Collins drops to 0-4 on the season, granted the Tigers faced a brutal non-district slate. In addition to the close loss to Willis, the Tigers dropped games against Atascocita, North Shore and Katy Tompkins – all top 10 teams in the state. Next up is Klein Oak on the road for the district opener.

Stratford tops Cy-Fair for the first time in over a decade

Stratford opened district play with a big 30-17 win against Cy-Fair to advance to 4-0 on the year. Not only are the Spartans 4-0, but they also picked up their first win against Cy-Fair in 14 years. Back then, some guy named Andrew Luck was playing quarterback for Stratford. I guess he went on to be pretty good, huh?

Nash Rankin might not be Andrew Luck but that doesn’t mean he isn’t pretty dang good himself. Rankin threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-28 with an interception. The Spartans finished with two 100-yard receivers – sophomore Luke Rives caught four balls for 105 yards and two scores while junior Triston Williams torched the Bobcats for 120 yards and two scores. Williams also caught only two passes, both going for touchdowns.

When Stratford last won against Cy-Fair in 2007, Andrew Luck passed for 228 yards and two scores. Rankin finished with 292 yards and four scores. I'll let y'all make your own opinions on that.

Stratford equaled the dominant offense performance on the defensive side. Three senior defensive backs – Perry Pope, Anthony Cuhel and Charles Mackey – all came up with an interception each.

Up next for Stratford is a road match with Cy Ridge. Looking down the schedule, a 10-0 regular season isn’t impossible now that Cy-Fair is out of the way. Meanwhile, the Bobcats will look to get back on track against Cy Creek after a 1-2 start so far.

El Campo races past Boerne Champion

A battle of teams each ranked No. 6 in the state for their respective classifications was not near as close as you would have thought it would be.

El Campo – the sixth-best team in 4A Division I – travelled to Boerne to take on the No. 6 team in 5A Division II in the Champion Chargers. In what was expected to be a close game, El Campo raced past Champion 55-10, establishing itself as a legitimate state championship threat.

Rueben Owens did Rueben Owens things, running for 324 yards and four touchdowns to out-score and out-gain Champion by himself. El Campo moves to 4-1 with the win, with the lone loss coming to another 5A-II team in Fulshear, who has also looked impressive this season.

The Ricebirds currently trail Argyle, Calallen, Austin LBJ, Tyler Chapel Hill and Stephenville in the 4A-I state rankings. The big win may move them up the rankings this week, but those five will be the main competition standing between El Campo and a state title. Next up is a road tilt with Stafford to kick off district play.

News and Notes

In this section each week, I’ll do some bullet points to highlight the other games that caught my eye but didn’t have time to discuss in detail like the games mentioned above.

  • Montgomery put on an offensive fire storm in a 62-32 win over Oak Ridge
  • Dobie out-lasted Channelview 55-49
  • Katy Tompkins survived resurgent Cinco Ranch, 32-28
  • Hightower shocked Manvel 16-12
  • Barbers Hill took down Kingwood Park 41-27
  • Alvin picked up a nice win, 36-20 over Alief Elsik
  • Shadow Creek took down Alief Taylor 35-21
  • Dickinson upset Clear Falls 28-7
  • Bridgeland used a big second half to take down Langham Creek 48-16
  • George Ranch dominated Elkins 35-14
  • Westside upset Bellaire 42-16
  • Pearland had a dominant showing against Strake Jesuit, winning 41-20
  • College Park picked up a much needed 49-13 win over Mayde Creek
  • Klein Cain rolled past Klein, 42-14
  • Tomball picked up a rivalry win over Tomball Memorial, 49-35
  • Baytown Lee squeaked past Friendswood 19-14
  • Fulshear dominated Lake Creek 42-15
  • Sealy impressed against Bay City, winning 38-14
  • Klein Oak dealt Klein Forest its first loss of the season, 51-20
  • Jersey Village impressed against Memorial, winning 24-7

Player of the Week

Tomball picked up a big rivalry win against Tomball Memorial to become the “last man standing” as the only undefeated team left in 15-6A. A year after losing to Memorial by 28 points, the Cougars are 14-point victors against their rivals. And they got a big game from my player-of-the-week…

Quarterback Cale Hellums! Cale has had an outstanding senior season so far and last week was no exception. Hellums tossed two touchdowns and 113 yards on 8-of-9 passing. He never had a pass hit the ground because the one completion was an INT, but we’ll look past that.

Hellums also got it done on the ground, totaling 95 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Speaking of which, quick shout-out for the Cougars backfield duo of Evan Alaniz and Chance Womack, who finished with 133 yards and 79 yards with two scores respectively. BUT, this is Cale’s time to shine!

Hellums spread the ball around nicely, finding five different receivers with none having more than three receptions. For guiding his team to a 5-0 start – and a big rivalry win – Cale Hellums is my player-of-the-week!

What to look forward to:

Here are the games I’m looking forward to this week. According to Greg Tepper, about a quarter of the state is on a bye week this week, so there won’t be quite as many games. It's a weak slate on Thursday and Saturday, but Friday has some heavyweight showdowns.

  • Clear Springs looks for playoff positioning against Clear Lake (TH)
  • Bush and Elkins square off in a big 20-6A game (TH)
  • Seven Lakes looks to establish a playoff spot in 19-6A against Katy Taylor (TH)
  • Mayde Creek looks to get back on track against Cinco Ranch (TH)
  • Fulshear battles Montgomery with both coming off big wins (TH)
  • Alief Taylor looks to get back on track against Elsik (F)
  • Alvin looks to keep momentum going against hot Pearland (F)
  • Shadow Creek battles Dawson in a big measuring stick game (F)
  • Cy Creek takes on Cy-Fair with each needing a big win (F)
  • George Ranch battles Travis as each looks for playoff positioning (F)
  • Bellaire looks to bounce back against Heights (F)
  • Summer Creek and CE King face off in a battle of two of the hottest teams in the area (F)
  • Tompkins takes on Katy in a battle of top-10 teams in the state (F)
  • Klein Collins looks to get back on track against Klein Oak (F)
  • Westfield looks for revenge against rival Spring after last years’ Hail Mary loss in a battle of state-ranked foes (F)
  • Baytown Lee looks to continue momentum against La Porte (F)
  • Crosby faces a big test against Barbers Hill (F)
  • Angleton looks to topple Hightower (SAT)

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