The Cooldown: Week 8

We’ve reached the end of week eight which means every team in the state has played seven games and some have played eight. Some large district teams, such as Cinco Ranch, won’t have a bye week until the last week of the season. That can make messy playoff races, such as 19-6A, hard to decipher at the moment. Let's dive in.

Bridgeland stuns Cy Ranch to take control of 16-6A

Bridgeland has had an odd season – good thing the only thing that matters is district record.

The Bears started off just 1-3. The year began with an impressive win against a solid Cy-Fair squad before two fairly non-competitive games against highly ranked Tompkins and Shadow Creek. A narrow district opening loss to Langham Creek spelled early trouble, but the bounce back has been impressive.

Bridgeland reeled off consecutive shut-outs against Cy Park and Cy Falls before toppling the district-leading Cy Ranch Mustangs, 24-17 last week. Bridgeland overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit and ripped off 17 straight points to take the lead. The Bears have leaned on a strong defense all season and got just enough from the offense to take control of 16-6A.

Hudson Pollard finished with 88 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-21 passing and added 37 yards on the ground. No Bears receiver topped 30 yards and Savion Williams caught the lone touchdown. The difference was made on the ground. Jordan Wooden paced Bridgeland with 20 carries for 84 yards and a score, while Jonathan Nelson put the game away with a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

Bridgeland’s remaining opponents are a combined 9-12 with only Cy Woods and Cy Springs proving to be reasonable threats. The Bears should win those games and take the 16-6A crown, though Woods and Springs should be playing inspired ball given that those two are battling with Langham Creek for the final playoff spot.

Katy ISD remains a mess; Tompkins wins

Katy ISD is now a nine team district with the addition of Jordan and Paetow. That means eight district games, and the round robin of wins and losses will make your head spin.

Katy, as usual, is the last remaining unbeaten at 5-0 and faces its biggest test yet against Cinco Ranch this week, who is 5-1 in district. Those two spots seem firmly locked up, but the rest is up in the air, which is why last weeks’ showdown between Morton Ranch and Tompkins was so pivotal.

Morton Ranch previously beat Cinco Ranch, who previously beat Tompkins. Each needed a big win to stay in the playoff race, and Tompkins got it with a decisive 55-21 win in which it shut out the Mavericks in the first half.

Tompkins threw just seven passes on the night and totaled just 250 yards of total offense. Caleb Komolafe ran for 64 yards and a score on 10 carries while Wyatt Young carried three times for 58 yards and two scores. Tompkins forced four turnovers to set up several short scores and Morton Ranch wasn’t able to find an offensive groove until the fourth quarter.

While it looks like Katy and Cinco Ranch have secured playoff spots, it will be an interesting race between Tompkins, Morton Ranch and Jordan for the final two spots, while Paetow and Taylor hang on the peripherals of the race at 2-3 each.

Alief Taylor keeps pace in 23-6A with win over Strake Jesuit

With two teams sitting at 4-0, it looks like the final two playoff spots in 23-6A are up for grabs, and Alief Taylor took a huge step toward grabbing one of those spots last week.

A 24-17 win against Strake Jesuit puts the Lions in prime position to take one of the two remaining spots in what is essentially a three-team race. Torrian Roberts kept the ship afloat in the absence of star quarterback Chase Jenkins, finishing with 70 yards, a touchdown and an INT on 4-of-10 passing, with 21 yards and two short touchdown runs to boot. Joshua Smith had an outstanding night, running 20 times for 211 yards and set up both of Roberts’ TD runs.

The Lions still have to play Shadow Creek and the next game is at Pearland, who is below them in the standings at 2-2. A win against Pearland would all but cement Taylor’s playoff spot, while Strake Jesuit likely needs Taylor to lose that game and beat Pearland itself to get in.

News and Notes

In this section each week, I’ll do some bullet points to recap other games of interest in the area, but didn’t have time to discuss in full detail like the games above.

  • Klein Cain overcame a slow start to beat Klein Oak handily, 53-14
  • Langham Creek won a thriller with Cy Springs, 32-31
  • Cinco Ranch took down Paetow, 35-24
  • Jordan out-lasted Seven Lakes, 31-21
  • Klein Collins hung on for a 28-17 win over Klein Forest
  • Dawson hung on for a rivarly win over Pearland, 21-14
  • Channelview out-lasted Dobie, 48-35
  • Tomball hung on for a rivalry win over Tomball Memorial, 35-27
  • Fulshear snuck past Magnolia West, 23-20
  • Clear Brook survived Clear Creek with a last second field goal for a 16-14 win
  • Jersey Village bounced back to beat Cy Creek, 36-21
  • Bush picked up a nice 13-0 win over Elkins
  • Heights out-raced Westside for a 45-37 win

Player of the Week

Heights is in the thick of the 18-6A playoff race thanks to, perhaps, an unlikely source. Jay Morrison starred at quarterback for the Bulldogs for three seasons and left big shoes to fill, but Allen Rainey is certainly filling them well.

My player-of-the-week, Rainey was an efficient 20-of-26 passing for 250 yards and two scores, while adding 16 carries for an additional 144 yards and three more touchdowns. Heights won a shootout with Westside, 45-37, thanks to Rainey’s prolific offense.

What to look forward to

Here are the best games coming up this week. With just three weeks left in the regular season, the playoff race is as hot as ever, and the outcome of some of these games will directly decide who finishes where in each district.

  • Tomball Memorial battles Klein for playoff seeding (TH)
  • Paetow looks to stay in the playoff race against Seven Lakes (TH)
  • Marshall takes on rival Willowridge (TH)
  • District undefeateds square off as Dawson travels to face Shadow Creek (F)
  • Conroe takes on Grand Oaks (F)
  • Channelview faces off with red hot Deer Park (F)
  • CE King looks to keep momentum going against Atascocita (F)
  • Klein Cain battles district leader Klein Collins (F)
  • Alief Taylor battles Pearland in a game with huge playoff implications (F)
  • Barbers Hill takes on high-powered Kingwood Park (F)
  • Manvel battles Magnolia (F)
  • Bridgeland looks to keep it rolling against Cy Woods (SAT)
  • Heights takes on Westbury in a game with huge seeding implications (SAT)