High School: Waco Midway

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.

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5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
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“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.
Austin Lake Travis can wrap up its state record fifth straight crown with a win over Waco Midway (13-2) in the Class 4A Division I state title game on Friday at Cowboys Stadium.

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Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

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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 Cavaliers (15-0) already belong in elite company having won four straight. Only Celina (1998-2001) and Sealy (1994-97) have accomplished that feat, although Aledo can join the three-timers club with a win over Manvel on Saturday.

Would a win make Lake Travis the most dominant dynasty in Texas history?

Celina’s run came at the 2A level. Sealy did it in 3A. Southlake Carroll may have the best argument having won four 5A state titles in five years from 2002 to 2006, going 79-1 in the process. Carroll’s one loss was a 16-15 defeat at the hands of Katy in the 2003 state-title game.

While Lake Travis’ dynasty can top Carroll’s in total state titles, it won’t catch the Dragons in win percentage. The Cavs lost to Austin Westlake in 2007 and to Aledo and Cedar Park in 2010, giving them at least three defeats in their five-year run.

Both Carroll and Lake Travis represent affluent communities, but there’s one interesting difference between the two dynasties. Lake Travis has had three different head coaches in that time span -- Jeff Dicus, Chad Morris and now Hank Carter -- while Carroll had just one -- Todd Dodge.

A fifth straight title is not guaranteed for Lake Travis, though. Midway is riding an impressive nine-game winning streak in which it’s given up more than 20 points just once. The Panthers beat previously undefeated Denton Ryan, 19-7, and destroyed an athletic Tyler team (51-20) that knocked off Highland Park and Sherman.

If Lake Travis does win a fifth title, the sixth may be harder to come by. The school will likely go 5A next year.

Cibolo Steele gunning for second title

Cibolo Steele may be starting a dynasty of its own.

A year removed from winning the first state title in the school’s brief history, the Knights (15-0) are right back in the 5A Division II state-title game looking for more hardware.

Steele owns the state’s longest active winning streak at 28 games and has dominated its opponents in 2011 with an average margin of victory of 24 points, including a 21-point margin in the playoffs.

But the Knights also have a tough opponent in the title game -- Spring Dekaney (13-2). Dekaney boasts Trey Williams, the best running back in the state not named Johnathan Gray.

Williams, a Texas A&M commit, has rushed for 3,633 yards and 45 touchdowns this season, numbers akin to what former Steele running back Malcolm Brown, now at Texas, did for the Knights last year when they won it all.

Midway leaves Denton Ryan in state of shock

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
5:57
PM CT
MANSFIELD, Texas – The expressions on the faces of Denton Ryan’s players after their 19-7 Class 4A Division I Region I semifinal loss to Waco Midway were blank.

Not many tears were shed and no yells of frustration were let out.

The team stood on the sideline of Mansfield’s Vernon Newsom Stadium at a loss for emotion.

[+] EnlargeEdwards
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Denton Ryan's Mario Edwards Jr., the nation's top recruit, congratulates a Waco Midway player after the Raiders were handed their only loss of the year.
“We shocked them,” Midway coach Terry Gambill said.

Nothing in the game plan was all that shocking to Ryan (12-1), as the two played in the regional semifinals last season, but no one could have known Midway’s rushing attack would tally 191 yards on arguably the top defensive front in the state.

Midway running back B.J. Kelly led the charge right through the middle of the Ryan defense, picking up 141 yards on the ground.

Midway (10-2) gained just 20 yards through the air.

“They’re a good football team,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said. “B.J. Kelly is a good player. He’s hard to stop, and that surprised me.”

Midway controlled the pace of the game from the start and never relinquished it. The Panthers' opening drive was a microcosm of their offensive game as a whole: lasting 7:07 on 16 plays and ending with a field goal.

The irony of it all was while the Ryan defense had a disappointing showing in its effort to stop Midway’s ground game, the Raiders did not allow a single offensive touchdown.

That put the spotlight on Midway kicker Drew Owen, who connected on 4 of 5 field goal tries. His only miss was a block by Mario Edwards Jr.

Owen opened the scoring with a 24-yard kick into gusting winds, and he added another at the beginning of the second from 22 yards with the wind at his back.

His highlight was later in the second when he nailed a 51-yarder to put Midway up 9-0. While it was wind-aided, it cleared the crossbar by 10 to 15 feet.

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Ryan pulled within 9-7 before the end of the half on a 4-yard run by Alex De La Torre, which was set up by a Trey Mohair interception.

The game was essentially put away in the third when Midway defensive back Orion Stewart nabbed his second interception of the day and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 16-7 lead.

Owen hit his final kick with 3:30 to play from 29 yards.

Kelly said a chance to get revenge for last season's 19-10 loss to Ryan had been on the mind of the entire Midway squad since day one of the 2011 season.

The retribution advances Midway to the regional final against the winner of Saturday’s Waco Rider-Killeen game, also at Newsom Stadium.

After the game, Florence praised his senior class as one of the best he has ever coached and expressed pride in his team’s ability to take the loss with class.

It’s not the way Ryan expected to finish its season, but it’s hard to diminish the success of a 12-1 season, Florence said.

“It just wasn’t our day,” he said.

Denton Ryan faces stiff test in Waco Midway

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
5:24
PM CT
DENTON RYAN (12-0) vs. WACO MIDWAY (9-2)
1 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Vernon Newsom Stadium


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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 I Region 1 semifinals game

When we saw them last: Opponents haven’t been able to seriously challenge Denton Ryan all year, and the playoffs have yet to be an exception. Ryan blasted Amarillo Caprock, 43-21, in bi-district and El Paso Andress, 38-14, last week. Ryan gave up seven first-half points in the two games combined. Waco Midway is riding an impressive six-game winning streak, the last four of which have been wins over Stephenville (51-20), Killeen (33-19), Burleson (35-13) and Boswell (42-7).

2010 result: In a defensive stalemate in which the two teams barely combined for 300 total yards, Ryan defensive back Jonny Paramore broke the game open in the fourth quarter with a 65-yard interception returned for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 19-10 win.

What’s at stake: The winner will face the winner of the area game between Wichita Falls Rider (9-3) and Killeen (8-4) in the 4A DI Region 1 finals.

Key matchup: Ryan’s front six may be the most talent defensive front in the state on any level, but it’s going to get one of its toughest tests of the year in running back B.J. Kelly and Midway’s running game. Last year Ryan held Kelly to just 56 yards.

Players to watch: Ryan’s Jordan Richmond is a four-year starter at linebacker, but he’s seen an increased workload at running back since starter Jerrick Harvey went down with a knee injury. Midway has unusual situation at quarterback -- it rotates three players. That’s been the arrangement since the second half of the regular season. Jordan Darling gets most of the work but Deandre Ford and Kramer Robertson also throw the ball for Miday.

Prediction: Waco Midway 14, Denton Ryan 13.

Denton Ryan holding it together on offense

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
7:00
PM CT


Denton Ryan continues to make due on offense after a number of setbacks.

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The unit lost a ton to graduation last year, and injuries have ravaged the Raiders on the offensive line and at running back.

Most notably, Ryan lost Jerrick Harvey to a knee injury. Harvey was the team’s primary running back.

That hasn’t slowed down the Raiders, though. They’ve averaged 41.3 points per game since losing Harvey, which is actually higher than the 37.3 points they averaged with him.

Ryan (12-0) has turned to a number of players to fill the void.

Quarterback Kevin Carpenter continues to get carries, and Reynal Caldwell has seen his workload increase. He ran the ball 13 times in Ryan’s bi-district win over Amarillo Caprock and seven times last week against El Paso Andress.

The Raiders use different personnel in goal-line situations, though.

Backup quarterback Mitchell Bridges comes in to pound it into the end zone. He carried the ball three times last week and all three went for touchdowns.

Linebacker Jordan Richmond also gets carries. He led the team with eight carries and 53 yards last week after being part of Ryan’s goal-line package earlier in the year.

Ryan’s offense will need to be at its best this week as the Raiders face a rising Waco Midway team. The Panthers (9-2) are on an impressive six-game winning streak that includes wins over playoff teams Stephenville (51-20), Killeen (33-19), Burleson (35-13) and Boswell (42-7).

The game, scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium, is a rematch of last year’s defensive slugfest in which the two teams barely combined for 300 yards of offense. Ryan prevailed 19-10 thanks to a defensive touchdown.

4A-I preview: Rushing, defense reign in Reg. 1

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
10:30
PM CT
CLASS 4A DIVISION I REGION 1 PREVIEW

Overview: With much of Region I extending from the Texas panhandle down to El Paso, where teams aren’t as strong (at least according to perception), the top-tier teams are easier to pencil in later in the bracket than in other regions with more dark horse teams.

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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

With much of the west included the region, many teams play a bruising style of football that will leave their opponents more than a little sore the next day. Denton Ryan (10-0), Waco Midway (7-2) and Wolfforth Frenship (10-0) run the ball and then rely on their defenses to hold the lead. But the region has a few spread teams that could push the favorites as well. Fort Worth Southwest (9-1) is on a nine-game winning streak and can pass the ball with the best of them, as can Birdville (8-2).

Favorite: Denton Ryan. The Raiders have more FBS commits than the rest of the region combined, and most of those play on their vaunted defense. Mario Edwards is the top-ranked recruit in the nation and has two BCS-caliber linebackers behind him. Points will come at a premium against Ryan. The question, like last year, is whether Ryan's offense can give its defense a lead to protect.

Watch out for: Fort Worth Southwest. Because all nine of its victories came against other Fort Worth schools, Southwest enters the playoffs as something of an unknown. What we do know is that its offense has the ability to put up big numbers in any game, as evident by its 66-point eruption against Fort Worth Arlington Heights. Its offense alone is cause for concern for opponents.

Can’t wait to see: Birdville vs. Fort Worth Arlington Heights (7 p.m. Thursday, Justin's Northwest ISD Stadium). Birdville will get tested right off the bat against an Arlington Heights (8-2) team that finished second in District 6-4A. The last time Arlington Heights faced a team with a stellar passing game, it turned into a historic night for the opposition (Southwest). Whichever team wins this one could end up making a run.

We hope to see: Waco Midway vs. Denton Ryan. These teams played a classic defensive duel at Cowboys Stadium last year that Ryan won en route to an appearance in the state title game. With Ryan’s offense ailing and Midway picking up steam late in the year, a rematch, which would occur in the third round, might be an even better game than last year.

Talent pool (FBS recruits): Wolfforth Frenship: WR Chad Quisenberry (uncommitted); Wichita Falls Rider: DT Dylan McDorman (North Texas); Fort Worth Arlington Heights: LB Nate Guidry (uncommitted); Denton Ryan: DE Mario Edwards (Florida State), LB Alex De La Torre (Texas), LB Jordan Richmond (Texas A&M), DB Trey Mohair (UTSA), OL Jordan Williams (Missouri), DE Dominique Banks (Baylor), WR Sam Johnson (uncommitted), OL Tevin McCray (uncommitted); Waco Midway: DB Shakiel Randolph (SMU).

AUSTIN, Texas -- Forney softball believes it hasn’t recieved the credit it deserves, flying under the radar to the state tournament this season.

The best way to grab some attention –- beating the defending state champ Waco Midway, 9-6, in the Class 4A state semifinal Friday.

Catcher-turned-starter Macie Tillery provided a punch on both sides of the ball, allowing Midway just three earned runs on 10 hits in her seven innings of pitching and homered in the top of the third.

“We don’t get any recognition,” Tillery said. “We like to fly under the radar and it makes us feel like the underdogs and it feels really good to win.”

That chip that Forney has carried through a difficult playoff run, knocking off Frisco Wakeland and Frisco Centennial, was the first thing discussed among the players after Forney’s state semifinal win, Tillery said.

[+] EnlargeMacie Tillery
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comMacie Tillery allowed three earned runs on 10 hits and also homered for Forney.
"We have been underrated most the year compared to most the teams we end up playing. Up in Dallas -- I think everyone was talking about Frisco Wakeland and Frisco Centinnial beating us and we came out and played well."

Forney began the game where they left off in the regional semis and finals, with hot bats. They drove in all the runs it would need in the second, scoring eight on four hits -- three of which were doubles.

Forney coach Eric Montgomery said his team had worked on staying back on Midway starting pitcher Katie Neal's slower paced fastball, which finally kicked in after the lineup had batted around in the second inning.

Tillery added Forney's final run of the game in the third, crushing a homer well over the left-field fence. The long ball was well received by the hitter, who had been in an 0-for-7 slump through Forney's regional final series.

Tillery gave all the credit for the homer to her teammate Taylor Penn, who filled her in on Midway relief pitcher Callee Guffey's tendancy to pound the inside of the plate.

"She told me [Guffey] was going to jam me and she knows inside isn't my best," Tillery said. "She told me to back off a little bit and she gave me one right on the plate and I just took it."

Midway gave Forney a scare in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring four and two runs respectively, but Tillery sat Midway down in order in the seventh to send Forney to the state finals to face Santa Fe Saturday at 5 p.m.

Forney left fielder Micah Fitzgerald was a huge factor in holding any Midway rally at bay, reeling in two diving catches that kept Midway from scoring.

The win against Midway was especially sweet as a means for revenge for a preseason blowout Midway inflicted on Forney.

"Maybe people will recognize us a little bit," Tillery said behind a coy smile, that speaks volumes. The recognition Forney really desires is the respect that comes from hoisting a state championship trophy in the air.
GEORGETOWN, Texas -- The first goal Waco Midway allowed in this year’s 4A girls soccer playoffs was the one that would punch Frisco Wakeland’s ticket to the state finals.

Wakeland knocked out Midway, 1-0, in a physical state semifinal match at Birkelbach Field on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeFrisco Wakeland
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comWakeland's Katey Carmichael (2) held her own against the Midway defense and assisted on the game's only goal.
Wakeland’s Katey Carmichael fought through the Midway defense and sent a beautiful cross through the box to a streaking Ashley Kingston, who was able to volley in pass into an empty net on the far post. The play was sprung by midfielder Ashley Vega, who sent a seeing-eye through ball in between two crashing defenders, right to Carmichael.

The third time was a charm for Carmichael on the cross, who had missed on two assist attempts earlier in the game.

“My goal was to run on to the long balls and slot it back,” Carmichael said. “The first two I did -- I didn’t get it far enough and one went over Maddie [Lundberg’s] head. The one that scored, I hit it hard and Kingston was able to come on to it.”

“It was insane,” Kingston said. “Katey, she’s awesome. She took it all the way down and she made a perfect cross and I just happened to be there.”

Immediately after the goal, the stadium scoreboard malfunctioned causing a fairly significant delay in restarting the game. Coach Meagan Wilson and Carmichael both believed the delay killed momentum and allowed Midway to find a spark that kept pressure on for the remainder of the game.

“I think it did actually,” Carmichael said. “I was kind of upset that happened. I mean, it gave us kind of a break but it affected the momentum.”

Said Wilson: “I was trying to get the fans as involved as possible to keep the energy high as possible on the field. I knew we’d go out and still be able to perform -- I knew we’d be fine. We just had to keep the energy level high.”

The momentum swing gave Midway a few late game chances, including one by Anna Dorsett from close range, which was saved by charging Wakeland keeper Brittanie Barbero. A rebound chance fell at the feet of a Midway attacker, but Madison Brown jumped in the way of the shot, saving what would have been the game-tying goal into an empty net.

Barbero, a Vanderbilt commit, kept her team in the game throughout the match, making key saves that locked down a tie at halftime and closed the door after Wakeland had found the net.

“Britanie Barbero -- player of the match today,” Wilson said. “The kid came up huge. She just played out of her mind. I just can’t say enough about how that kid has stepped up in the playoffs.”

Barbero took the brunt of the game’s physicality, using her body to challenge attackers on 50-50 balls.

“I really just wanted to make sure I didn’t hesitate everytime the ball wasn’t in the air,” Barbero said. “I knew I’m so tall that I just wanted to make sure I went in full force and went for the ball so nothing would be called.”

The highlight of Barbero’s game -- and possibly her state tournament -- came in the first half when she stood her ground after snatching a 50-50 ball, putting a Midway attacker on the ground after running into the keeper. The play made a stand against Midway’s physical play and sparked Wakeland to play the same.

“I was so tired of them knocking me around, so I was like, ‘I’m going to give it back, finally.’ And was given the chance, so I took it,” Barbero said.

Wakeland has a day off to rest and get one final practice in before facing Cedar Park Vista Ridge in the 4A state final at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“It’s crazy because coach has been saying this since the first day of school, ‘We hope to be in the state tournament in April,’ and now we’re here and it’s crazy,” Carmichael said. “I can’t describe it.”

Denton Ryan hopes to end Lake Travis' dynasty

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
7:01
PM CT
Arguably the two best Class 4A dynasties of the last decade meet in the Division I state title game at noon Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

[+] EnlargeDenton Ryan
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comJerrick Harvey and Denton Ryan will look to cap a perfect season against fellow state powerhouse Lake Travis.
Denton Ryan (15-0), which appeared in four straight state-title games from 2000 to 2003, meets an Austin Lake Travis team (13-2) that's gunning for its fourth straight state title.

"There's a reason they're the three-time defending state champions -- they are very well coached, they are very talented and they play very hard," Ryan head coach Joey Florence said. "It's going to be a battle."

Both teams enter the matchup on hot streaks. After a three-year down period following its dynasty days, Ryan is back among the top 4A programs in the state, riding a stellar defense to an undefeated record in a season in which only two teams have challenged the Raiders this year.

Ryan survived a late Wylie rally last week to clinch a berth in the state title game, winning 25-20. Waco Midway pushed Ryan in the third round of the playoffs, but the Raiders defense scored nine points in a 19-10 win.

Lake Travis overcame some rare adversity to make it back to the title game. It had a 48-game winning streak snapped by Aledo in nondistrict play in a game in which quarterback Michael Brewer didn't play. The Cavaliers suffered another loss in their regular-season finale, losing to Cedar Park, 35-21.

But Lake Travis was its old self in the playoffs, racing past contenders Kerrville Tivy (48-42) and Friendswood (24-3) in addition to avenging its loss to Cedar Park (21-20).

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The matchup pits Ryan's defense, one of the best in the state, against a Lake Travis offense that's guided it to unprecedented success.

"We haven't really faced anybody throwing it quite like they're throwing, and certainly nobody as good as they're throwing it," Florence said. "It ought to be an interesting matchup for our defense."

Ryan's defensive front six boasts a bevy of Division I talent, including defensive ends Mario Edwards and Ty Hook (Louisiana Tech) and linebackers Jordan Richmond and Alex De La Torre. Edwards, Richmond and De La Torre are juniors.

After winning two state titles with current Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis is hoping that Brewer, a Texas Tech commit, can match his predecessor by winning his second.

Despite an injury-plagued season, Brewer has thrown for 2,654 yards and 26 touchdowns. Receiver Griffin Gilbert, Garrett's younger brother, leads the team with 70 receptions, 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Denton Ryan, WF Rider take rivalry to playoffs

December, 2, 2010
12/02/10
2:18
PM CT
Denton Ryan and Wichita Falls Rider have developed a healthy dislike for each other over the years.

Since Ryan dropped back down to Class 4A in 2006, its annual bout with Rider usually decides the district champion.

Their next game will mean much more as the Class 4A Division I Region I title is on the line when the two meet at 2 p.m. Saturday at Denton’s C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

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Ryan (13-0) has owned the rivalry of late. It crushed a rebuilding Rider team in 2009, 52-7. Rider (9-4) didn’t fare much better against Ryan this season, either -- losing 35-14. Like all of Ryan’s 2010 opponents, Rider couldn’t get anything going on offense. Even the 14 points came in the fourth quarter against Ryan's backups.

Rider has found its game since that loss, winning six games in a row while averaging 38 points during that span. The Raiders' defense stymied a potent Birdville team in a 24-10 win last week.

But Rider will have to play its best game of the season to generate consistent offense vs. Ryan, whose defense has returned to the level of quality not seen at the school since its state title days in the early 2000s.

Ryan gives up just 165.9 yards per game this season. Since it began District 4-4A play, Ryan has given up 9.4 points per game.

Its best performance of the year may have come last week against Waco Midway. Ryan held 1,700-yard rusher B.J. Kelly to 35 yards. And outside of two big passing plays in the second quarter -- one coming on a miraculous catch and run -- Ryan’s defense was impenetrable in a 19-10 win.

Not only that, but Ryan's defense scored the deciding points in the game while its offense struggled against Midway.

A third-quarter safety and a 65-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Jonny Paramore in the fourth quarter proved the difference for Ryan.

Paramore talks after Denton Ryan's latest win

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
6:28
PM CT


Jonny Paramore talks about his performance and his team's effort after Denton Ryan's 19-10 win over Waco Midway in the Class 4A Division I Region I semifinals.

Defense lifts Denton Ryan over Waco Midway

November, 26, 2010
11/26/10
5:05
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jonny Paramore has made a career of returning interceptions for touchdowns.

Against Waco Midway on Friday, he made Denton Ryan's season with such a play.

[+] EnlargeDenton Ryan
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comTy Hook pulled down Waco Midway's Ryan Smith for a safety to open the second half. The Denton Ryan defense accounted for nine points.
Paramore iced the game with a 65-yard return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, highlighting an exceptional defensive performance that gave the Raiders a 19-10 win at Cowboys Stadium in the Class 4A Division I playoffs.

Ryan (13-0) advances to play the winner between Wichita Falls Rider and Birdville in the Region I final.

With Midway (12-1) driving and Ryan clinging to a 12-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, Paramore, nicknamed the Rattlesnake, stepped in front of a Ryan Smith pass and ran untouched for the score, sending Ryan's sideline into elation.

"They were running some switch route the last couple of plays," Paramore said of his interception. "My safety, Trey Mohair, told me it was coming. I just jumped in front."

It was Paramore's fifth interception returned for a touchdown this season and his second interception of the game.

"I've never coached a kid like that," Ryan head coach Joey Florence said. "He's scored five touchdowns. That's unbelievable. I've never had a kid do that."

Ryan's defense smothered Midway throughout the game. Midway took a 10-7 halftime lead after a scoring a touchdown set up by two big pass plays on a drive late in the second quarter.

Outside of that, Ryan didn't give Midway anything. It held running back B.J. Kelly, who had more than 1,700 rushing yards coming into the game, to 36. Midway didn't score in the second half and was held to just 52 yards after the break.

"I know there are some great defenses out there, and I'm not trying to offend anybody, but if there's a better defense then we better look out because those guys are pretty good," Florence said.

And the points Ryan's defense scored were the difference in the game. Defensive end Ty Hook, who had two sacks in the game, pulled Smith down in the end zone for a safety to open the second half, cutting Midway's lead to 10-9. Paramore's touchdown added another seven to the nine for which Ryan's defense was responsible.

"Right before I went out there, they were telling us about turnovers," Hook said of the safety. "I was hoping to make a play and it happened."

Paramore's first interception set up Ryan's opening score in the first quarter. It gave the Raiders the ball at the Midway 30-yard line. Quarterback Nash Knight hit Sam Johnson in the end zone from 3 yards out, giving Ryan a 7-0 lead.

Ryan's offense sputtered for the rest of the first half but found its game late in the third quarter when Knight was called on to throw short passes to leading receiver Michael Cudd, who was largely ignored in the first half.

"We try to get the ball to Michael," Florence said. "He's one of our better players. That's something we tried to do after halftime."

The drive set up a 32-yard field goal by Colton Gutierrez early in the fourth, giving Ryan the lead back, 12-10, before Paramore's touchdown.

"Nash is just taking care of the football," Florence said. "He's such a smart kid. he's doing what we're asking him to do. He's doing his job."

Live chat: HS football regional semifinals

November, 26, 2010
11/26/10
12:30
PM CT
There are just three more rounds until we reach the state championship games, and we'll be chatting here Friday and Saturday for the regional semifinals.

On Friday, Jeff Andrews and Travis Brown are covering the triple-header from Cowboys Stadium. The day kicks off with Denton Ryan vs. Waco Midway at 1 p.m., followed by Wylie-West Mesquite at 4 p.m. and Frisco Liberty-Bastrop at 7 p.m. We also have Randy Jennings reporting from Maverick Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. Euless Trinity-Arlington Martin game.

On Saturday, Jeff, Travis and Randy will triple team the action at Cowboys Stadium. It's Abilene Cooper-Denton Guyer at 1 p.m., Abilene-Southlake Carroll at 4 p.m. and Highland Park-Mesquite Poteet at 7 p.m. In addition, Kellis Cunningham will provide updates from Birdville-Wichita Falls Rider via Twitter as TheKicker04.

Denton Ryan gets first big test of the season

November, 24, 2010
11/24/10
7:30
PM CT
For the most part, Denton Ryan has breezed to its undefeated record.

Halftime has been an opportunity to prepare backups and review how to run out the clock. Usually Ryan has a three-score lead by that point.

But the going has gotten tougher in the playoffs. Ryan found itself in an unexpected scrum at halftime with El Paso Del Valle last week before pulling away for a 27-7 win.

REGIONAL OVERVIEW Video
Watch ESPNDallas.com's Travis L. Brown, Randy Jennings and Jeff Andrews break down the third round of the UIL football playoffs.
Class 4A Video   Class 5A Video

Video Interviews:
SL Carroll RB Paul Stevenson »
Coppell QB Joe Minden »
Denton Guyer QB J.W. Walsh »

Brackets/scores:
4A DI | 4A DII | 5A DI | 5A DII
Others (from UIL website) »
That was just a warm-up for Ryan’s next opponent – Waco Midway (12-0), a battle-tested state-title contender which should give Ryan its first serious challenge of the season in the third round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs at 1 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium.

The game features two teams with similar formulas for success: run the ball and play stifling defense.

Led by a front seven filled with FBS prospects Ty Hook, Mario Edwards, Dominique Banks, Jordan Richmond and Alex De La Torre, Ryan has smothered its opponents this year, allowing just 166.3 yards and 11.3 points per game – both lows in the area among 4A teams.

Led by Baylor commit Beau Blackshear, Midway’s defense has been equally impressive, especially against the run. Midway has held its opponent to less than 100 yards rushing eight times this year.

That could make it difficult for Ryan, which prefers to move the chains with its running game while its defense harries the opposing offense.

Against Del Valle, Ryan gave the rock to running back Kaylon Alexander, who ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns, inching him closer to the 1,000-yard mark for the season, although Ryan has used multiple running backs at times this year.

Midway employs a very similar offensive philosophy, running the ball almost 2-to-1 with B.J. Kelly getting most of the load. He ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries in Midway’s 50-17 win over Fort Worth Boswell last week.

5A regionals: Trinity's tough road continues

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
5:22
PM CT
With few surprises in the Class 5A Division I bracket, Euless Trinity’s road to a consecutive state title has unraveled as expected – difficult.

[+] EnlargeTreavon Walton
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comRunning back Treavon Walton will look to help Denton Guyer knock off Abilene Cooper for the third time in as many years.
After thwarting a very good Allen team last week, Trinity (12-0) faces Arlington Martin (10-2), which stumbled in nondistrict only to rebound and win 10 straight games.

Should Trinity win, it will likely play Coppell (12-0) in the Region 1 finals. After that, its projected opponent is Round Rock Stony Point (12-0), which Trinity beat in the state semifinals last year. Trinity’s opponent in the state finals would undoubtedly be tough.

If the bracket continues with no upsets, five of Trinity’s six playoff opponents would be teams that have been state-ranked at one point this season.

Rematches highlight Division II Region 1


Class 5A Division II Region 1 is giving old foes a chance to get reacquainted with each other.

Denton Guyer (10-2) will play Abilene Cooper (11-1) in the playoffs for the third straight year. Guyer beat Cooper both times in heated contests that came late in the Class 4A playoffs in 2008 and 2009.

Guyer comes into the game after exacting revenge on Cedar Hill, which
beat Guyer in nondistrict play. Cooper comes in somewhat wounded after three starters were dismissed from the team over the weekend.

Southlake Carroll (9-3) hopes to get revenge on the team that helped knock it out of the national spotlight – defending Division II champion Abilene (9-3).

Coming off a stunning 79-1 stretch, Carroll fell to Abilene in the playoffs during Hal Wasson’s first season as head coach in 2007. The Dragons haven’t sniffed a state title since.

REGIONAL OVERVIEW Video
Watch ESPNDallas.com's Travis L. Brown, Randy Jennings and Jeff Andrews break down the third round of the UIL football playoffs.
Class 4A Video   Class 5A Video

Video Interviews:
SL Carroll RB Paul Stevenson »
Coppell QB Joe Minden »
Denton Guyer QB J.W. Walsh »

Brackets/scores:
4A DI | 4A DII | 5A DI | 5A DII
Others (from UIL website) »
Abilene has been hurt by injuries this year, including a big one to star running back Herschel Sims, who didn’t play in Abilene’s 45-28 win over El Paso Coronado last week.

DeSoto faces resurgent Austin Bowie


Few saw Austin Bowie reaching the third round of the playoffs.

The Bulldogs (8-4) started the year 2-3 and were manhandled by Class 4A Waco Midway, 42-7, in nondistrict, but Bowie won six of its last seven, including playoff wins over Georgetown (35-17) and a strong Klein Collins team (26-16).

DeSoto has yet to be seriously challenged in the playoffs after decimating Dallas Skyline, 38-0, in the area round, but Bowie’s running game, led by Brelyn Sorrells (1,766 yards, 22 touchdowns), has given teams fits.

Tough schedule has Mesquite Horn prepared for playoffs


Mesquite Horn (8-4) may have the ugliest record for a state-title contender in the state.

A brutal nondistrict schedule and a tough district handed Horn losses to Coppell, Denton Guyer, DeSoto and Longview, all of which are still alive in the playoffs.

[+] EnlargeStrahan
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comQuarterback Collin Strahan has helped Mequite Horn reach the third round of the playoffs.
But experience against good teams has proved valuable as Horn has rolled through its two playoff games, topping Division II favorite Copperas Cove (48-14) and Rowlett (44-22).

Horn faces another team with an ugly record in the third round – Leander (7-5). The Lions started the year 0-4 but have won five straight, including playoff wins over Austin (24-0) and Klein (14-7).

If Horn wins, it may get another shot at Longview, which plays Tomball in the other Region 2 game.

Coppell hits the road for third-round game


A lost coin toss will cost Coppell (12-0) a long trip out to Midland where it will play Midland High for what could be a shot at Euless Trinity.

Head coach Joe McBride lost the flip to determine where the two teams will play. Midland chose its home venue of Grande Communications Stadium.

Despite playing what’s essentially a road game, Coppell is the favorite after an undefeated regular season and decisive playoff wins over Plano (23-6) and Duncanville (35-10).

Midland (11-1) has been equally dominant with its lone loss coming against Abilene. The key matchup comes when the Bulldogs have the ball. They average 38.9 points per game against a Coppell defense that gives up just 9.5.

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