The Cooldown: Week 8

I feel like last week might as well have unofficially been rivalry week. Not every game was a rivalry, but I noticed at least three cross-town rivalry games that took place. And that’s not counting the several intra-ISD games that took place that happens just about every week in the larger districts.

Nevertheless, we’re one week closer to the end of the regular season. Let’s recap key games and discuss some playoff outlooks.

Dawson nips typically explosive Pearland

Pearland entered last weeks’ rivalry game with Dawson having scored at least 20 in every game, and 40+ points in four out of six games. Dawson put an end to that with a 21-7 win.

The Dawson defense deserves major credit, holding Pearland to seven points isn’t easy, and limiting the passing game was a big key to that. Cole Morkovsky finished 12-of-23 for just 58 yards and an INT. Receiver Patrick bridges helped bolster the passing numbers, completing one pass on a trick play for 45 yards. That’s 103 yards – nearly half on the trick play – on 24 attempts. Salty defense.

The only thing going for Pearland was junior back LaDamion McDowell, who continued his stellar season with 18 carries for 150 yards and the lone Oiler touchdown. His Dawson counterpart, Bryce Burgess, also had a great night – 25 carries for 167 yards and a score. Gage Greene finished 11-of-18 passing for 161 yards and two touchdowns, with Burgess and Braylon Howard catching one apiece.

Dawson is now in the drivers’ seat as the last remaining team in 23-6A with no district losses. Not too bad for a team that started 0-3 after a tough non-district slate. The Eagles have gotten better each week of the season. A huge game next week at home against Shadow Creek will all but clinch the district for Dawson, while a loss could mean a three-way tie for the district title.

A Shadow Creek win likely leaves the Sharks, Dawson and Pearland with one loss apiece due to Pearland’s 20-13 win against Shadow Creek earlier in the season. At least one algorithm has Shadow Creek favored, so things could get real juicy in 23-6A. I’m not sure what the tie-breaker procedure is.

Tomball Memorial gets back on track with a rivalry win

Pearland versus Dawson wasn’t the only cross-town rivalry slugfest of the week; Tomball Memorial and Tomball threw their hats in the ring in that regard.

Tomball Memorial quarterback Aiden Martin has been one of the more explosive players in the area this year, and he showed off his duel-threat ability last week. Though it wasn’t his best night passing – 9-of-19 for 109 yards – he contributed on the ground with 11 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Nelson had a great night in the backfield for the Wildcats, running 18 times for 150 yards. Treveon Green finished off drives in the red zone with 10 carries for 42 yards and two scores in Memorial’s 27-21 win over Tomball.

Martin’s counterpart, Carter Noyes, finished with similar efficiency: 13-of-25 passing; he tacked on 162 yards and a touchdown. The Tomball run game was not as strong, with leading rusher Koby Fosher tallying 88 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Brooks Junod was the leading receiver with 95 yards on seven catches; Joey Bruhn caught the lone Noyes touchdown pass.

Tomball Memorial’s win evens the score in the district standings. Memorial and Tomball now stand at 3-1, with Memorial having the tiebreaker. Klein Cain is also 3-1 with a loss to Tomball Memorial. Klein Collins leads the district at 4-0; Memorial’s only loss is to Collins. Three teams are tied at 1-3 and Klein is 0-4, so it looks like Collins, Tomball Memorial, Cain and Tomball will be the four playoff teams. If everything holds serve – which I think it should – Klein Collins will win the district, Tomball Memorial will finish second and a regular season finale between Tomball and Klein Cain will decide who finishes third and who finishes fourth in 15-6A.

Columbus wins in titanic 3A showdown

Columbus picked up what might be the most impressive win of the season in class 3A last week.

The Cardinals boat-raced previously No. 4 Hitchcock in the second half for a 52-24 win. This week, the only team in the state ranked higher than Columbus is Franklin, who knocked Columbus out of last years’ playoffs.

If Columbus makes it to Arlington, remember the name Ty’Vone Whitehead. He will be a big reason why that happens. He ran 25 times for a whopping 313 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Adam Schobel is also a huge key for Columbus; he finished 16-of-26 passing for 147 yards and he added a touchdown on the ground.

Hitchcock represents the first of a short two-leg revenge tour from the 2022 season. Columbus lost to Hitchcock by five points in the regular season before falling by three to Franklin – who also eliminated Hitchcock – in the playoffs. Two losses by a combined eight points can be tough to stomach when a state title is a legitimate possibility.

This year, Columbus may just be the favorite to win Region III. Hitchcock tumbled to No. 9 in the state this week and Franklin is at No. 1. All three play in Region III and each ranked in the top four in the state before Columbus’ blowout win. It should be a show once again in the playoffs, and Columbus has a real shot at winning a state title.

News and Notes

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

  • Cy Springs, 31 – Langham Creek, 13
  • Bush, 29 – Elkins, 10
  • Hightower, 62 – George Ranch, 24
  • Aldine Nimitz, 42 – Aldine Davis, 28
  • Strake Jesuit, 24 – Alief Taylor, 15
  • Klein Cain, 42 – Klein Oak, 30
  • Crosby, 15 – Baytown Sterling, 7
  • La Porte, 56 – New Caney Porter, 42
  • Randle, 56 – Montgomery, 28
  • Iowa Colony, 37 – Navasota, 21
  • Dobie, 41 – Channelview, 40
  • Cy Falls, 24 – Cy Woods, 17
  • Waller, 38 – Klein 21
  • Manvel, 19 – Foster, 16

Player of the Week

My player-of-the-week has been dominating Fort Bend ISD for years. Hightower will hope to make a deep playoff run, and the Hurricanes have the explosiveness to do that on offense. They’re currently steamrolling just about everything in their path. Hightower’s only loss was to Ridge Point in a 43-36 thriller back on September 14.

My player-of-the-week is Hightower running back Jeremy Payne! Between rushes and catches, Payne had just 11 touches in Hightower’s 62-24 win against George Ranch, but those 11 touches went for 247 yards and three scores. That’s an average of 22.45 yards-per-play, a number that seems fake to me.

That’s the biggest reason why Payne is my POTW, though his quarterback, Joseph Stewart, definitely deserves a shout-out. Stewart finished with 314 yards and five touchdowns on an efficient 15-of-20 passing. Good luck to anyone trying to slow down that duo in the playoffs. As Ridge Point might say… you better score a lot of points if you want to beat Hightower.

What to look forward to

Here are the games I’m most looking forward to this week. Most games are starting to have big playoff implications, so it should be a fun week. Games on Thursday or Saturday are noted.

  • Conroe at Grand Oaks (TH)
  • Bush at Clements (TH)
  • Katy Jordan at Katy Taylor (TH)
  • Waltrip at Galveston Ball (TH)
  • Willowridge at Fort Bend Marshall (TH)
  • Shadow Creek at Dawson
  • Deer Park at Channelview
  • Oak Ridge at College Park
  • Cy Woods at Bridgeland
  • Cy Springs at Cy Falls
  • Klein Collins at Klein Cain
  • Angleton at Friendswood
  • Barbers Hill at Kingwood Park
  • Magnolia at Manvel
  • Dayton at Texas City
  • Bay City at Needville
  • El Campo at Iowa Colony
  • Washington at Yates
  • Navasota at Stafford
  • C.E. King at Atascocita (SAT)
  • Wisdom at Madison (SAT)

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