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11/04/19

The Cooldown: Week Ten

There is plenty of action to digest as we head into the final week of the regular season. The ever-complicated District 15-6A has mostly sorted itself out and we’ll run through the remaining scenarios for the final two playoff spots. Somehow, we’re already to the end of the regular season. As the “second season” gets set to start, check out who we’ll be keeping an eye on in the playoffs.

1. Remaining 15-6A Scenarios

For likely the final time this season, here is an update on how 15-6A will shake out. One of the most entertaining districts to watch all season long, Klein Collins and Klein Oak have locked up the top two spots after each had impressive regular seasons. Collins finished its season at 9-1 with a last-second win against The Woodlands last week while Klein Oak sits at 8-1 and will wrap up its season against Klein Cain this week.

Klein and College Park sit at 3-4 with Oak Ridge at 1-6 and Klein Forest winless. Those three have been eliminated. That leaves Conroe, Klein Cain and The Woodlands in a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots.

Each sit at 4-3 and have round robin wins over each other. The scenarios here are pretty simple: The Woodlands is in no matter what with a win against the aforementioned winless Klein Forest. For the purpose of this post, we’ll go ahead and pencil in The Woodlands. If all three win, Conroe will miss the playoffs by virtue of head-to-head points. That means The Woodlands and Klein Cain have “win-and-you’re-in” situations, with Conroe needing help.

If The Woodlands wins (again, highly likely chance that this happens) and Klein Cain loses, Conroe is in no matter their outcome against Oak Ridge. Here is the big kicker: Klein Cain will have to upset Klein Oak to make the playoffs.

(Oh by the way, this goal line stand was all that separated The Woodlands from clinching a playoff berth in Week 10. That Collins defensive line is nothing to mess with.)

To simplify all of this, it is highly likely that The Woodlands will secure a playoff spot by virtue of a win against Klein Forest. Conroe will be favored to beat Oak Ridge as well. The last spot will essentially come down to Klein Cain and Conroe, with Cain’s outcome against 8-1 Klein Oak being the deciding factor. Klein Oak may want to rest starters since they cannot move up or down in the standings regardless of outcome, or they may play everyone and try to finish 9-1.

While Klein Oak will be the favorite this is a winnable game for Klein Cain. The playoff fate of the Hurricanes and Conroe will likely come down to that game, which is one of the top games to keep an eye on next weekend.

2. Deer Park Stuns West Brook

District 21-6A was arguable the most talented in the state in 2018 after North Shore won the 6A Division I title while Beaumont West Brook fell by one point in the Division II championship. A year later, North Shore could very well make it back to Arlington while West Brook lost valuable talent but still brought back a good squad. The Bruins will likely finish 8-2 after they wrap up their season against 1-8 Baytown Sterling this week, with one of those losses coming to nationally ranked North Shore. But the other loss…

A shout-out from Greg Tepper is usually a good indicator of doing something impressive. Not many people outside of Deer Creek saw this coming. The Deer locked up a playoff spot with the win to move to 6-3 before wrapping up its season against Beaumont United this week. La Porte and C.E. King will have a de facto play-in game for the final playoff spot in the district.

West Brook was ranked No. 14 in the state according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football before the loss. Unfortunately for the Deer, their district matches up with 22-6A in the playoffs: where the top three teams all have 8-1 records heading into Week 11.

Deer Park will have to face the No. 10 team in 6A, Atascocita, in round one. That isn’t good news for Deer Park, but it should make for an interesting matchup at the very least; one that we’ll have our eyes on.

3. Manvel Survives Willowridge

The Mavs are back on top of District 11-5A Division II. The key game of the season came back on September 20 as Manvel took down reigning district champs and state runner-up Fort bend Marshall 38-34. Sterling nearly made things interesting a week ago in what was ultimately a 44-26 win for the Mavs.

All that led to the final test in the penultimate game of the regular season. Willowridge was really the only team other than Marshall that had the guns to stick with Manvel in 11-5A II, and they came up on the wrong end of a 49-41 district-clinching win for Manvel.

Senior Tucker Yarbrough finished with 272 yards and three scores through the air while sophomore Donovan Eaglin led the way on the ground with 160 yards and three touchdowns of his own. De'Monte Seymore added 15 carries and 69 yards, including this long touchdown run.

While Willowridge is undoubtedly a talented team, Manvel and Marshall have the means necessary to make a run to the state title game: These two each have a state championship game appearance in the last two years after all.

In Fort Worth, Aledo has had another impressive season, but has shown more signs of weakness than in years’ past. The Bearcats actually lost a game (albeit to a pretty good 6A team in Denton Guyer) and nearly lost to Midlothian as well. I’m not here to say Aledo won’t repeat as state champions, but if Manvel or Marshall can make it out of Houston, I’d give them a fighters chance against arguably the most decorated program of the 2010’s in this state.