The Cooldown: Week 7

We’re through seven weeks of the regular season, and playoff pictures are starting to form with four weeks left. There’s still plenty left to decide, so let’s discuss playoff pictures as part of each game recap. November will be here before we know it!

Magnolia slaughters West in the Magnolia Bowl

Hunter Andrews just put up what is probably the biggest “put his team on his back” type of game I’ve seen this year.

No Bulldog eclipsed the 100-yard mark other than Andrews. Heck, no Bulldog accounted for even 50 yards other than Andrews. The yards accounted for by a Magnolia Bulldog other than their outstanding running back was quarterback Tanner Whittington’s 48 passing yards. SO how did Magnolia score 44 points?

Because Andrews ran 20 times for a whopping 275 yards and five touchdowns. Todd Barretto was the only other Bulldog to score; he fell on a fumble in the end zone for his only touch of the game. Meanwhile, Andrews averaged 13.8 yards-per-carry on his 20 carries in what was a huge district win for Magnolia.

The Bulldogs have a district loss to state No. 5 Fulshear, but that might be the only district loss on the ledger for Magnolia when it’s all said-and-done. They should cruise past Kempner next week and Foster on October 27; a game against Manvel sandwiched between those two will present a challenge. That game with Manvel could determine playoff seeding. Fulshear and Magnolia occupy the top two spots right now, with Manvel, Angleton, Magnolia West and Friendswood still in the hunt for those last two playoff spots.

Out of that group, Magnolia West still has to play Fulshear, Angleton and Friendswood, with those last two games coming in the final two weeks of the season. Those games could very well decide the bottom half of the playoffs in district 10-5A-I.

Willis dismantles another opponent

We’ve previously hit on Willis in this blog. With some more data points, some of what I said in that blog is worth rehashing.

Through seven games, Willis’ smallest margin of victory was 28 back in week two in a 45-17 win against Temple. That was also Willis’ only game not eclipsing 50 points. The schedule thus far hasn’t been particularly grueling, but that doesn’t mean Willis isn’t for real. And with the Wildkats competing in Region II – made up of half Houston, half DFW – makes things even more interesting. If Willis can make it to the state quarterfinals, who might await… Duncanville? DeSoto? Talk about a matchup-of-the-year type of game.

Willis got one step closer to that goal last week with a 56-17 thrashing of College Park. The Kats are massive favorites next week against Caney Creek and will face it’s two toughest district opponents to close out the year at The Woodlands and home to Oak Ridge. Fortunately for Willis, it gets a bye week before those games.

DJ Lagway is the motor that powers the engine. He completed 22 of his 28 passes for 391 yards, five touchdowns and an INT. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Lagway was going for the state record for touchdown passes thrown in a season after looking at his stat line every week.

DeBraun Hampton was the favorite target on this particular night (it seems like that varies by week at Willis, a testament to the Kats depth), catching six passes for 165 yards and a pair of scores. Jermaine Bishop hauled in seven passes for 93 yards and a touchdown while Jalen Mickens added three for 77 yards and a touchdown. Running back Terri Lawrence had the other Wildkat touchdown.

… got all that? That Willis offense can (probably) run with anyone in the state. It’s easy to say that when we’ve watched Willis play lesser teams for seven straight weeks, but the talent suggests this offense could do some numbers on a defense such as Duncanville that the Panthers haven’t seen this season. Come to think of it… wouldn’t a Willis-North Shore state title game be an absolute banger? I’m getting way too far ahead of myself and there are teams just as worthy (if not more) as Willis in Region I and Region II of getting to Arlington… but it’s a fun thought.

For now, Willis ranks No. 17 in the state. That would suggest there are a solid handful of teams more likely to make a run at state. There’s probably a reason for that; like I mentioned, we can all see that Willis hasn’t been tested yet. They don’t have any real measuring stick opponents on the schedule other than maybe The Woodlands – currently unranked in the state. But time will tell. All I know is I’m excited for November.

Summer Creek tests North Shore

And speaking of North Shore, the Mustangs got a real test out of Summer Creek. It was the kind of game that makes you wonder if maybe this game could go the other way the second time around in the playoffs. North Shore will always get the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. The Mustangs have lost just two games to Houston area teams since the start of 2018: An opening night loss to Katy on ESPN in 2019, and a regular season loss to Spring Westfield in 2021. But last week’s game makes you think just a little bit.

Lloyd Avant had a fantastic night for Summer Creek in the 31-21 loss. He finished with 15 carries for 148 yards and two scores. Even though it was technically a double-digit loss, the game was much closer than the score indicated.

Kaleb Bailey had another great night for North Shore. He finished 10-of-16 for 195 yards and two touchdowns through the air and he added two more scores on the ground. North Shore won’t be tested again until the late rounds of the playoffs – probably the state quarterfinals unless it meets Summer Creek before that – so this was a good experience a team that isn’t used to being tested before the state semifinals in a lot of years. For now, North Shore is still the favorite to win Region III and make it back to state, but it is possible to wonder what might stand in the way. That hasn’t always been the case in other years.

News and Notes

In this section each week, I’ll list off some of the other scores from across the area that caught my eye, but didn’t have time to discuss in full detail like the games above.

  • Bridgeland, 12 – Cy Falls, 10
  • Klein Oak, 28 – Klein, 27
  • Westfield, 42 – Nimitz, 28
  • Dickinson, 45 – Clear Falls, 13
  • George Ranch, 27 – Bush, 14
  • Mayde Creek, 31 – Seven Lakes, 24
  • Klein Cain, 24 – Klein Forest, 21
  • Dobie, 42 – Pasadena Memorial, 27
  • Travis, 41 – Clements, 20
  • Madison, 44 – Waltrip, 37
  • Texas City, 15 – Marshall, 7
  • Bay City, 25 – El Campo, 21
  • Yates, 14 – Furr, 7

Player of the Week

My player-of-the-week helped carry his team to a huge district win against a state-ranked opponent. Some wrote off formerly state-ranked Klein Collins after it lost to Summer Creek earlier this year – and we just talked about how good of a team Summer Creek is. After beating Tomball Memorial handily, the Tigers are back in the rankings at No. 25 in class 6A.

My player-of-the-week is Michael Wilson! The Klein Collins running back ripped off 256 yards and two touchdowns in the big win. Collins is now tied with Tomball atop the 15-6A standings as the only teams at 3-0. The Tigers take on Tomball on October 27 in what should be a loaded week of action for relevant playoff seeding races.

What to look forward to

Here are the games I’m looking forward to most this week. Games on Thursday or Saturday are noted.

  • Langham Creek at Cy Springs (TH)
  • George Ranch at Hightower (TH)
  • Elkins at Bush (TH)
  • Katy Taylor at Mayde Creek
  • Klein Cain at Klein Oak
  • Pearland at Pearland Dawson
  • Tomball at Tomball Memorial
  • College Park at The Woodlands
  • Marshall at Nederland
  • Stafford at Brazosport
  • Sealy at Bellville
  • Bridgeland at Cy Ranch (SAT)
  • Cy Falls at Cy Woods (SAT)
  • Manvel at Foster (SAT)

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