High School: 2011 UIL football playoffs



Two days after Undre Smith was one of seven people hit by an out-of-control, unmanned golf cart at Cowboys Stadium in Saturday, the 46-year-old said he’s still experiencing pain in his left knee, right lower thigh and the right side of his neck. He’s scheduled to see a doctor on Monday.

Smith and a group of reporters were standing around interviewing Spring Dekaney coach Willie Amendola near midfield after Amendola’s team won the Texas Class 5A Division II football championship over Cibolo Steele, 34-14.

“As I was standing there interviewing him, at the last two seconds I could see something white behind him, but I wasn’t sure what it was and it was too late to get out of the way,” Smith said by phone Monday. “It bowled over us. When it hit us, Amendola landed on the inside of the vehicle and I was the last guy on top of it and was riding for a few seconds. I hit the ground and it ran over me again and pushed me out of the way.”

Smith said he was one of two people carted off the field and that he was knocked out initially by the fall.

Cowboys Stadium spokesman Brett Daniels said the facility is "currently investigating the details that led to the accident" and that they hope to know more soon.

“When I came to, there were six or seven people around me and there was a doctor there checking me,” Smith said. “He felt that I had torn ligaments [in the knee].”

A video of the incident shows the cart coming onto the field from behind one of the end zones with a stadium worker chasing after it. It takes a right-hand turn and hits the huddle of folks near midfield with Amendola falling into the cart’s passenger seat. It appears he tries to control it with the steering wheel, but he tumbles out. A worker was able to jump in and stop the cart.

It isn’t clear how the electric cart began to move without anyone in the driver’s seat, but there were fluorescent orange sideline markers in the cart and some pylons near the pedals.

Smith owns his own sports website -- Odums and Smith Sports Highlights -- and he writes game stories and blog entries while his partner shoots stills or video. Andre Odums was also at midfield with a camera on Saturday, but was standing just far enough away to step back before the cart hit him.

“It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever encountered,” Smith said. “It made me angry later. How could this happen at the end of the football game on the field?”

Final results for 2011 football playoff staff picks

December, 18, 2011
12/18/11
5:04
PM CT
Congratulations to Jeff Andrews, who opened an early lead and never looked back to finish with the best record for the 2011 football playoff staff picks. Follow Jeff on Twitter, @jandrews81, to congratulate him and ask for stock tips.

QB Hill, Wasson join elite circles at SL Carroll

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
9:17
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Hal Wasson stepped into Todd Dodge's shadow when he took the head coaching job at Southlake Carroll in 2007.

With Carroll's 36-29 win over Fort Bend Hightower on Saturday, Wasson stepped out of it.

[+] EnlargeKenny Hill
Travis L. Brown for ESPNDallas.comSouthlake Carroll junior quarterback Kenny Hill accounted for four touchdowns and 345 yards in the Class 5A Division I state championship game.
The win gives Carroll (16-0) its first state title under "The Silver Fox" and its eighth overall, tying Celina for the most in Texas history.

"I never came in trying to replace Todd Dodge," Wasson said. "I have tremendous respect for him. He's not replaceable. I just chose to be myself."

Wasson joins Dodge and Bob Ledbetter as coaches who've won state titles at Carroll, but he's not the only one who joined an illustrious and exclusive Carroll fraternity.

Quarterback Kenny Hill joins Chase Daniel, Greg McElroy and Riley Dodge among others as Dragon signal-callers who capped undefeated seasons with a state championship.

That list includes a Heisman Trophy finalist (Daniel), a national champion (McElroy) and a national high school player of the year (Dodge).

Hill was named the title game's offensive MVP. He threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns in addition to 116 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

"It's an amazing feeling," Hill said. "I don't think I could ever compare to those guys who came through here. I'm just trying to be the best I can be."

It's fitting that Wasson won his title at Carroll with Hill as his quarterback. Hill was thrust into the starting role following Daxx Garman being ruled ineligible right before the 2010 season, a controversy that had the potential to unravel Wasson's tenure with the Dragons.

Instead, Hill blossomed in the 2010 playoffs, leading Carroll to the region finals a year before leading the Dragons to a state title.

Just a junior, Hill has a chance to win another title with Wasson in 2012.

Carroll stops Hightower, ties record with 8th title

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
9:17
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It is like old times for Southlake Carroll.

The Dragons are on top of the Texas high school football world again after defeating Fort Bend Hightower, 36-29, in the Class 5A Division I state championship game Saturday evening before 42,822 at Cowboys Stadium.

[+] EnlargeSouthlake Carroll
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Southlake Carroll raised a football state championship trophy for the eighth time, tying Celina for the Texas record.
And thanks to the win, Southlake Carroll became the second school in Texas to own eight state championships, tying Celina for the record. Abilene, Brownwood and Plano all have seven.

This Dragons' victory followed a typical pattern throughout the playoffs. They had to come from behind three times against a more athletic team and did it with the running and passing of junior quarterback Kenny Hill and a defense led by linebacker Will Davis that came up with two game-changing plays in the second half.

Hill accounted for 345 yards and all four touchdowns. He rushed for 116 yards and two scores and completed 19-of-24 for 229 yards and two more scores.

It was Hill’s 6-yard touchdown run with 9:18 remaining that put the Dragons (16-0) ahead for good.

And it was a 7-yard run by Hill on third-and-5 with 1:12 remaining that officially signaled celebration time for Dragon Nation.

Both of Hill’s touchdown throws came after Hightower (13-3) had opened its largest lead of 23-14. Hill went to Sabian Holmes for 59 yards on a post route to cut the Hightower lead to 23-21 and went deep middle again for a 25-yard score to Corey Kemp for a 28-23 Carroll lead.

The opportunity for the Hill-to-Kemp score came about because Davis broke through to drop elusive Hightower quarterback Bralon Addison for a loss of 4 yards on fourth down.

UIL PLAYOFFS
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Region semis »   Region finals »
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STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

After Addison motored 80 yards to put Hightower ahead 29-28, Davis made his second defensive game-changer, pulling the ball out of the arms of receiver Ryan Nelson and then making the recovery of the fumble himself.

Five years without a state title might not be called a slump at most schools, but it wasn’t that long ago -- 2002-2006 to be exact -- that Southlake Carroll was reeling off four state titles in a five-year span.

Enter Hal Wasson, who had the difficult task of replacing Todd Dodge as Dragons' head coach.

Wasson said he gave the same advice to Hill, following in a long line of successful quarterbacks, that he applied to himself in following Dodge: “Be yourself.’’

Said Wasson: “Nothing has come easy. But the work ethic of these players has personally taught me life lessons.’’


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Championship teams need to have more than one great player.

Manvel forced Aledo to prove it in the Class 4A Division II state title game Saturday, keying heavily on Aledo running back Johnathan Gray.

[+] EnlargeAledo with trophy
Travis L Brown/ESPNDallas.comAledo players raised a state championship trophy for the third year in a row.
While the Mavericks succeeded in slowing down Gray, Aledo's supporting cast stepped up, leading the Bearcats to a 49-28 win at Cowboys Stadium.

The victory secured Aledo's third consecutive state title.

"It feels just as sweet as the first [title] did back in 1998," Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. "It's great to win."

Manvel (15-1) made no secret of its main objective: stopping Gray. And it did a good job of limiting his production, especially in the first half. Long runs of 43 and 50 yards provided the bulk of Gray's 134 first-half yards.

But a player as good as Gray eventually breaks loose. Despite Manvel's stellar effort, Gray wound up with 241 rushing yards and his 205th career touchdown, breaking the national record.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

"We really felt like we needed to shut Gray down," Manvel coach Kirk Martin said. "I thought we did a decent job of it. I thought we contained him all right, but he had a good night."

Gray's 37-yard touchdown run gave Aledo (14-2) a 42-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter, pretty much sealing the win.

"It was hard," Gray said. "Those guys are big. The record means a lot. It means our team has worked that much harder than any other team. To break that record, it's a team effort."

With Gray being kept in check for much of the game, quarterback Matthew Bishop (the game's offensive MVP) and his receivers picked up the slack. Bishop threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns to receivers Pate Davis, Willie Gibson and Parker Bradham. Bishop also rushed for two touchdowns.

He was especially good on third down, on which Aledo went 10-for-14. Conversely, Manvel went just 2-for-13, a deficiency that went a long way toward giving Aledo the win.

"That was a complete defense out there," Buchanan said of Manvel. "We had to grind for everything we got. They didn't give us anything. Matt did a great job of scrambling around and finding the open receivers."

Aledo (14-2) jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead thanks to Manvel's struggles on offense. Gibson opened the scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run after a reception on a bubble route. Todd Christian's 70-yard interception for touchdown put Aledo up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

The Mavericks played catchup for the rest of the game, but their stellar third quarter put them in position to spoil Aledo's three-peat bid. They scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives of the second half. Corey Seymour, who had 90 yards receiving and two touchdowns, caught a 29-yard touchdown pass to trim Aledo's lead to 28-21 late in the third quarter. The teams swapped touchdowns again before Gray's touchdown with 6:49 to play solidified the Bearcats' grasp on the championship.

"Toward the third quarter when they started to come back, we got together as an offensive line and got mad and started playing like the way we should," Aledo offensive lineman Michael Wilson said. "We took over."

Live chat: Football state championship games

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
11:30
AM CT
Another fantastic high school football season wraps up today.

Follow along right here as Travis Brown, Jeff Andrews and Randy Jennings answer your questions and provide insight and live updates from the Class 4A Division II (Aledo-Manvel, noon) and Class 5A Division I (Southlake Carroll-Fort Bend Hightower) state championship games.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Lake Travis made Texas high school football history, winning its fifth straight state title Friday by beating Waco Midway, 22-7, at Cowboys Stadium.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

“We’ve got to be at the beginning of the discussion when you talk about the very best dynasties in Texas football history and this is the best state for football,” Lake Travis coach Hank Carter said. “It’s special to be a part of it.”

Offensive MVP Colin Lagasse led Lake Travis’ offensive attack, gaining 130 of the team’s total 388 yards on 11 catches. Quarterback Baker Mayfield supplied the connection, throwing for 276 yards and one touchdown.

Lake Travis jumped to a 10-0 lead after the first half on a 17-yard touchdown pass to TCU commit Griffin Gilbert, brother of former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, and a 26-yard field goal from Kevin Marcotte.

Midway’s lone score of the game was a 90-yard kickoff return by Orion Stewart to begin the second half.

Marcotte hit two more field goals in the second half, which combined with a Lagasse 1-yard touchdown run to complete the game’s scoring.

Now Lake Travis just has to figure out where to add the fifth star for its fifth title to its logo.

“We don’t know what we’re doing with the logo yet, but people smarter than me will figure that out,” Carter said with a five-star smile.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Argyle came within inches of sending the 3A Division II state final into overtime Friday.

Argyle quarterback Austin Aune left a long, vertical pass just an inch or two short, allowing defensive back Brennen Blakemore to make an unbelievable interception to seal Wimberly's 21-14 state championship win.

[+] EnlargeAustin Aune
Travis L. Brown for ESPNDallas.comQuarterback Austin Aune scored Argyle's only touchdown on an 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Blakemore made a full-extension dive to reel in the pass with one hand and had enough sense to transfer the ball to his opposite hand to secure the pick upon impact with the ground.

The interception gave Wimberley the ball back with 2:01 remaining in the game, just a few kneels away from the title.

“I gave it everything I got and it just wouldn’t get there,” Aune said. “The kid made a great play -- a one-handed catch. You’ve just got to tip your hat to him. It’s a game of inches and if he would have missed it and we would have scored and would have been back in there.”

“It’s probably number one [play of my high school career],” Blakemore said. “To be at Cowboys Stadium and do something like that, it’s pretty awesome.”

Aune, a TCU commit, had trouble getting behind his throws because he spent the entire week leading up to the state championship with flu-like symptoms that removed him from practice and kept him under doctor’s supervision in the 24 hours leading up to the game as his condition worsened.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

“First half, I was real weak,” Aune said. “I got an IV in me at halftime and in the second half I felt good. I wish I had felt that good in the first half -- we would have won, I promise you that. I gave it everything I had, but it wasn’t enough, I guess.”

The first half was a defensive struggle, ending with a 7-3 Wimberley lead at halftime.

Wimberley scored added another touchdown at the end of the third quarter on a 66-yard pass from Brady Lambert to Dennis Smith.

Aune scored his team’s first and only touchdown early in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard run to the left pylon. Aune hit Chadd Bossow in the back corner of the end zone to complete the two-point conversion. Bossow was able to drag one toe to secure the catch.

Wimberley retaliated quickly with a 76-yard touchdown run by Trinity Wilson just over thirty seconds later.

Argyle brought the score within a touchdown on a 37-yard field goal by Cole Hedlund but could not find the end zone on its final two possessions with under five minutes left in the game.

However, the game came down to Blakemore's interception, which he and his teammates agreed was worthy of SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.

“I watch that every morning when I eat my Cocoa Puffs,” Blakemore said. “I wouldn’t mind sitting on the couch and see it run by there. That would be pretty awesome.”

Melissa claims school's first state football title

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:07
AM CT
Running back Kristov George capped two third-quarter drives with touchdown runs to lead the Melissa Cardinals to a 28-15 victory over Hempstead in the Class 2A Division I state title game Thursday night at Arlington’s Cowboy Stadium.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

The state title was the first for Melissa.

George, named the game’s offensive MVP, scored on runs of 4 and 8 yards and finished with 112 yards on 21 carries.

Melissa (13-1) reeled off 21 points in the third quarter to break open a 7-7 game at the half.

Sandwiched around George's touchdown runs in the third quarter was a Wes McQueen 68-yard scoring pass to Jackson Webb. McQueen started the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mason Hart in the first quarter.

Melissa’s defense dug in to stop two fourth-quarter threats by Hemstead (14-1) after the Bobcats closed the gap to 13 points.

“We found a way to get it done in big games,’’ Melissa coach Seth Stinton said.

In other title games on Thursday at Cowboys Stadium:

*Tenaha 52, Munday 28: Reginald Davis, a Texas Tech commit, rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns, passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns and added an 80-yard kick return for a score to lead Tenaha (15-0) to the Class A Division II title. Munday (13-3) turned the ball over four times.

*Mason 62, Stamford 40: Behind an offensive line averaging 260 pounds, David Mora rushed for 263 yards and five touchdowns to lead Mason (15-0) to a Class A Division I state championship victory. Stamford (13-3) got 351 passing yards and four touchdown passes from Hagen Hutchinson.

Aledo QB Bishop shouldn't be underestimated

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
11:55
PM CT


Aledo's Matthew Bishop was nowhere to be found among 12 quarterbacks receiving recognition on the Associated Press’ Class 4A All-State football team released this week.

[+] EnlargeMathew Bishop
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Matthew Bishop is 44-3 as a starter and will look to lead Aledo to a Class 4A Division II championship.
Quarterbacks putting up gaudy statistics while playing in offenses specifically designed for passing tend to dominate all-star teams.

That’s not the way that Aledo, with Johnathan Gray in the backfield, rolls.

But ask Bearcats coach Tim Buchanan or Aledo fans and they’ll tell you they wouldn’t trade Bishop, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior, for any quarterback on the all-state list.

"For those all-state teams, all they look at is stats,'' Buchanan said. "And the guys that throw it 60 times a game are the ones that make it.''

Bishop and the Bearcats (13-2) will attempt to win a third straight state title when they face Manvel (15-0) in the Class 4A Division II championship game at noon Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Class 5A state championship games will follow at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Most of the pregame attention falls on Gray, the AP offensive player of the year who has a chance to break national records for rushing touchdowns and points. But when defenses focus too much on Gray, that’s when Bishop goes to work.

The Bearcats have a 41-2 record over three seasons with Bishop as a starter. In playoff games during that span, Bishop is 16-0, including five wins this season. Of course, it hasn't hurt that Gray is there to receive handoffs and run for 204 touchdowns.

Bishop’s statistics paint a picture of the kind of quarterback former University of Texas coach Darrell Royal won so many games with in the 1960s and 70s -- guys like Duke Carlisle, Bill Bradley, James Street and Marty Akins -- that might not fit the mold of an NFL quarterback but were at their best in the clutch, utilizing varied skills.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

As a passer, Bishop often is overlooked. He owns a 66.8 career completion percentage and has thrown for a 7,875 yards and 80 touchdowns in his career. He’s reduced his interception total each season while raising his passing yardage.

"Matt is the most accurate passer I've ever coached,'' Buchanan said. "Look at the games when the other team has slowed down Johnathan and Matt has had 300 yard passing games. I remember that game against Stephenville in the playoffs last year when he threw clutch fourth-down passes, improvising on both. We wouldn't have won that game without those plays.''

As a ball carrier, Bishop isn’t going to be mistaken for Gray, but he has 1,510 yards and 15 touchdowns over his career and has a knack of knowing how to get to the first-down marker.

It was as a runner on a two-point conversion in his sophomore season that Bishop experienced his most devastating moment as a Bearcat. In the final minutes of a state semifinal victory over Denison, Bishop suffered broken collarbone and had to miss the state championship victory over Brenham the following week.

Bishop got his chance to play in a state final last year, completing 9-of-12 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in Aledo’s 69-34 defeat of La Marque. The quarterback also carried nine times for 54 yards in that game.

In Saturday's title game, Bishop will try to avoid 6-foot-3, 245-pound Manvel defensive end Taiwan Johnson, who is being recruited by Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma State, among others. Johnson has 11 sacks (five in the playoffs) and 86 tackles.

If Aledo can prevail, a third state championship ring for Bishop should more than make up for an all-state snub.

Southlake Carroll's defense is much-improved

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
11:54
PM CT


Not many expected Southlake Carroll to last long in the 5A Division I bracket.

For one, teams with good running games seemed to gash the Dragons defense, and the region featured plenty of teams with excellent running games.

But over the course of the last six weeks, Carroll's defensive front -- led by Jeff Miller, Matt Watford, Nash Dickey and James Hagerman -- found its game and shut down Cedar Hill, Arlington Martin and Dallas Skyline on the ground. Now Carroll is one win away from the school’s eighth state title.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

The Dragons play Fort Bend Hightower (13-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in the 5A Division I final.

“Those guys have just gotten better,” said Carroll head coach Hal Wasson of his defensive line. “They’re tougher. They have a nasty mindset. To me, our front has improved more than anybody.”

Carroll (15-0) came into the year knowing it had good pieces on defense. Will Davis, a Kansas State commit, lead a seasoned group of linebackers, and Sabian Holmes gave the team’s secondary a veteran leader.

But the defensive line didn’t return a single starter, and it showed early in the year. Copperas Cove ran for almost 400 yards in Zero Week, an occurrence that repeated itself throughout the regular season.

L.D. Bell put up 300 yards rushing against Carroll. Keller Fossil Ridge ran for 250. Denton Guyer also went over the 300-yard mark.

“We thought last spring we’d have a pretty good [defensive] unit,” Wasson said. “We didn’t play as well as we’d like to the first three or four games, but I doubt anybody does. They’ve continued to improve and mature and get better.”

Things changed in the playoffs. The defensive line improved, linebackers started swarming to the ball carrier, and teams that looked capable of knocking off the Dragons didn’t even come close.

Carroll blew out Cedar Hill, 40-7. The Longhorns barely rushed for 100 yards. Despite having a 1,600-yard rusher in the backfield, Arlington Martin averaged less than 4 yards per carry in a 31-14 loss to the Dragons.

And Carroll’s defense isn’t just shutting down opposition offenses. It’s also making big plays.

Against Dallas Skyline last week, a Carroll lineman tipped a Devante Kincade pass that ended up being intercepted. The Dragons scored a touchdown off the turnover. Carroll forced three Skyline turnovers on downs, including two when Skyline was in the red zone.

So what has allowed Carroll’s defensive line to improve so suddenly?

“It’s the investment they’ve made -- the investment in the weight room, the investment in the mindset of all of it, the investment of wanting to get better, the investment in believing in the schemes,” Wasson said. “It’s a lot of little things, but if you had to use one word it would be investment.”

Hempstead D to test Melissa rushing surge

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
7:14
PM CT
MELISSA (12-1) VS. HEMPSTEAD (14-0)
8 p.m. Thursday, Cowboys Stadium


UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

What: Class 2A Division I state championship game.

When we saw them last: Melissa took down Muleshoe 49-36 in the state semifinal thanks to three Melissa rushers who accounted for 348 of Melissa’s 350 yards in the game. Quarterback Wes McQueen passed for 163 yards and rushed for a team-leading 145 yards. Hempstead ousted Tatum in the semifinals 21-14. Running back Archie Taylor racked up 146 yards and a touchdown in the game.

Last in the playoffs: Melissa’s 2011 playoff run is the longest in the school’s eight-year history. Melissa was knocked out of the playoffs last year in the area round in a 56-27 rout against Grandview. Hempstead’s 2010 season ended quickly with a 20-7 bi-district loss to Marion.

Key matchup: Melissa’s experienced offense against Hempstead’s defense. The majority of Melissa’s seniors have started since their sophomore year. McQueen has been solid for his team since he stepped into the QB role three years ago and has done thing but improve since. With 2,398 yards passing this season for 22 touchdowns, the air game is locked down with McQueen under center. Melissa’s run game has found its stride in the playoffs and has actually carried the offense to the state title game. Melissa’s now balanced attack will have a tough test against a Hempstead team that has recorded 17 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries and 46 sacks against this season.

Players to watch: The emergence of Melissa’s ground game is thanks to a tandem of running backs, John Young and Kristov George, who have combined for 1,609 yards. Hempstead defensive end Alex Trujillo leads the team with nine sacks. On offense, quarterback Obie Wilder distributes the ball to a committee of receivers. Taylor takes most of the load in the ground game.

Prediction: Melissa 35, Hempstead 31.

Southlake Carroll chases its eighth state title

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
6:04
PM CT

FORT BEND HIGHTOWER (13-2) vs. SOUTHLAKE CARROLL (15-0)
4 p.m. Saturday, Cowboys Stadium


UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

What: Class 5A Division I state championship game.

When we saw them last: Southlake Carroll pulled off a stunning comeback against Dallas Skyline, overcoming a 10-point deficit with just 2:26 left in the game to take a 28-24 win. After Carroll cut the deficit to three points, Ray Crockett recovered an onside kick and Kenny Hill scored on a 35-yard run four plays later to win the game. Fort Bend Hightower didn’t have as tough a time last week as it mauled San Antonio Madison, 54-35. Beginning in the second quarter, Hightower scored 27 unanswered points en route to the win.

Last state finals appearance: In 2006, Carroll defeated Austin Westlake 43-29 to cap one of the most dominant seasons in Texas high school football history and wrap up the school’s fourth state title in five years. In 2008 -- Hightower’s only state finals appearance -- the Hurricanes couldn’t stop Allen on fourth down late in the game and lost a nail-biter 21-14.

Key matchup: The Dragons face another strong running team in Hightower, and it will be up to Carroll’s much-improved defensive front to slow down quarterback Bralon Addison and running back Joshua Wilhite, both of whom have well over 1,000 yards rushing. It will be one last test for Carroll’s defensive front, which began the year getting diced by Copperas Cove but has finished the year shutting down stellar running teams in Arlington Martin, Cedar Hill and Skyline.

Players to watch: Carroll receiver Sabian Holmes may have to take on an increased role in the passing game with Peyton Williams out with a knee injury. Ben Sego and Tyler Barnes will also likely get their respective numbers called more. Addison has done it all for Hightower this year. The Texas A&M commit has been efficient in the passing game, throwing 21 touchdowns to just three interceptions, and he leads the team in rushing with more than 8 yards per carry.

Prediction: Southlake Carroll 28, Fort Bend Hightower 21.

Gray, Aledo a win away from third state title

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
5:43
PM CT

ALEDO (13-2) vs. MANVEL (15-0)
Noon Saturday, Cowboys Stadium


UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

What: Class 4A Division II state championship game.

When we saw them last: Johnathan Gray tied the national career touchdown record with five scores in Aledo’s 68-28 rout of Corsicana in a state semifinal in Mesquite. For Manvel, quarterback Shane McCarley threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score in the Mavericks’ 31-28 state semifinal victory over Corpus Christi Calallen in San Antonio.

Last in the playoffs: In 2010, Aledo routed La Marque, 69-34, in the Class 4A Division II state title game for its second straight state championship. The 2010 season ended for Manvel in a 44-28 loss to La Marque in the Region III final.

Key matchup: Aledo’s offense is built around the record-setting Gray, who has rushed for 3,664 yards and 64 touchdowns this season. Manvel’s defense, led by end Taiwan Johnson (6-3, 238), has held playoff opponents to an average of 162 rushing yards per game.

Players to watch: Gray needs one touchdown and 21 points to break national career touchdown and scoring records. Quarterback Matthew Bishop has thrown for 2,800 yards and 29 touchdowns. Receiver Michael Mann has 51 catches for 811 yards and nine touchdowns. For Manvel, McCarley shares time at quarterback with Julian Walker and they have combined to throw for over 3,000 yards. Kaylon Melancon leads the Mavs in receiving with 36 catches for 743 yards and 11 touchdowns. Selwyn Green has rushed for 864 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Prediction: Gray caps a record-setting high school career by leading the Bearcats to a third consecutive state title: Aledo 40, Manvel 28.

Argyle, Wimberley vie for 3A DII state crown

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
5:38
PM CT
ARGYLE (14-1) vs. WIMBERLEY (14-0)
4 p.m. Friday, Cowboys Stadium


UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

What: Class 3A Division II state final.

When we saw them last: Quarterback Austin Aune completed 20-of-29 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns in Argyle’s 34-14 victory over Monahans in a state semifinal at Abilene Wylie. Meanwhile, Wimberley quarterback Brady Lambert tossed fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 22 and 23 yards to Brennen Blakemore, the last with 1:14 remaining, to send the Texans to a 21-14 triumph over Coldspring-Oakhurst in a state semifinal in Bastrop.

Last in the playoffs: In 2010, Argyle lost in a Class 3A Division II regional final to eventual state champion Carthage, 44-27. Wimberley in 2010 lost to Coldspring-Oakhurst in a state semifinal, 26-14.

Key matchup: Argyle’s lethal passing attack, averaging 221 yards and over two touchdowns a game, faces a Wimberley defense that has allowed only one passing touchdown and an average of 43.5 passing yards in the Texans’ last four playoff games.

Players to watch: For Argyle, Aune has thrown for 3,172 yards and 33 touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Ian Sadler has 53 catches for 1,115 yards and 12 touchdowns. Running back Tyler Eveleth has rushed for 1,179 yards and eight touchdowns. For Wimberley, Lambert has thrown for 2,404 yards and 34 scores. Blakemore, a senior, has 49 catches for 1,112 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back Trinity Wilson has rushed for 997 yards and 11 scores.

Prediction: The difference between two very similar teams could be Argyle’s sophomore kicker Cole Hedlund, the national single-season record-holder with 23 field goals: Argyle 33, Wimberley 30.

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