High-SchoolTexas: Euless Trinity

Skyline and Southlake Carroll face off while Gray chases records

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
12:56
PM ET
It'd be hard to top the slate of games and storylines featured in this weekend's Texas state football playoffs — and these are only the semifinals.

Here's what to watch for:

Skyline vs. Southlake Carroll
For the second time in the Class 5A, Division I playoffs, the top two teams in the bracket will face off. Before it was Allen battling Euless Trinity. Now that they're both gone, we're left with Skyline and Southlake Carroll, slotted one and two, respectively, in the ESPNHS rankings. Both teams possess talented junior quarterbacks who can change the game in a hurry. Skyline is led by Devante Kincaide, a dual-threat QB who has a big target in Thomas Johnson. On the other hand, the Dragons feature Kenny Hill, who totaled four touchdowns last week and has carried his team to this point. Skyline's defense has the edge in this game, but the Dragons could gain some pointers watching last week's film when The Woodlands built a 24-14 lead on the Raiders and nearly pulled off the upset.
My pick: Skyline 28, Southlake Carroll 24

Aledo vs. Corsicana
It's not often that Johnathan Gray enters a contest in which the opposing tailback has produced nearly as many yards as he has. But so is the case Friday when Corsicana's Cameron Washington and his 3,045 yards match up against Johnathan Gray and his 3,446 yards. Gray, who won his second Tom Landry award Thursday as the top Dallas-Fort Worth football player, going to get his regardless, as was evidenced by his production in Aledo's two losses this year. But the Aledo defense will focus on slowing Washington, who had just 76 rushing yards in the team's lone defeat this season. Not only is a third trip to the Class 4A, Division II title on the line for the Bearcats, but Gray has a chance to beat the national career mark for touchdowns (199) and points (1,196).
My pick: Aledo 31, Corsicana 21

Steele vs. Port Arthur Memorial
Steele is looking for a repeat trip to the Class 5A, Division II title game but standing in its way is a Port Arthur Memorial squad with plenty of playmakers. There's Baylor-bound QB Terrence Singleton and Arkansas recruit Nate Holmes at running back. Steele has a star of its own in QB Tommy Armstrong, who had four touchdowns last week, but the defense could be the story of this game. The Knights are giving up less than 12 points per game and have a sack machine in Eric Maus (9.5 sacks).
My pick: Steele 27, Memorial 20

Lake Travis vs. Dawson
Lake Travis has won 28 straight playoff games and four straight Class 4A titles. The Cavaliers are again the favorite to win the Class 4A, Division I crown — just don't tell Dawson that. James White and Tony Upchurch have thoughts of a major upset and the skills to do just that. Lake Travis' offense sputtered last week in a 14-9 win against Cedar Park, but its defense has given up 15.1 points this season and came up with two big turnovers last week.
My pick: Lake Travis 26, Dawson 14

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Showdown on tap between Skyline and new No. 2 Southlake Carroll

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
4:51
PM ET
It's a matchup sure to catch the fancy of Dallas/Fort Worth high school football fans. Skyline vs. Southlake Carroll, No. 1 against No. 2, collide in the Class 5A Division I state semifinal set for 4 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

There’s no doubting either team’s fifth-round playoff legitimacy, as each sports a 14-0 record. But there are differences, too. Not since 1950 has a Dallas ISD school won a state football champion. On the other hand, in a span of five seasons from 2002 to 2006, Carroll won four of its seven state football championships.

Each team is led by a versatile junior quarterback —Devante Kincade of Skyline and Kenny Hill of Carroll. Skyline is loaded with speed that college programs crave. Carroll is gritty, having outscored opponents in the second half of its four playoff games 59-8. To the winner, a date in the state championship game on Dec. 17 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Nationally, Port Arthur Memorial debuted in the POWERADE FAB 50 at No. 39 after beating La Porte, 34-6, to advance to the Class 5A, Division II semifinals. Meanwhile, La Porte, Katy and Euless Trinity dropped out, leaving six Texas teams in the national rankings with Skyline leading the way at No. 8.

Here's the top 25 four rounds into the state playoffs. (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Skyline (Dallas) 14-0 (1)
Down 24-14 at halftime, the Raiders came roaring back in the second half behind Devante Kincade. The junior quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran one yard for the game-winner with 2:59 remaining in a 35-31 victory over 12-2 The Woodlands Saturday in Waco. The Raiders will meet 14-0 Carroll (Southlake) in a Class 5A, Division I state semifinal set for 4 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium in University Park.

2. Southlake Carroll 14-0 (3)
Junior quarterback Kenny Hill, the son of former Major League pitcher Ken Hill, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two in a 31-14 victory over 12-2 Martin (Arlington) in a Class 5A, Division I, Region I title game Saturday evening at SMU‘s Ford Stadium. Up next for the Dragons, four-time state champions in the 2000s, is 14-0 Skyline (Dallas) in a Class 5A, Division I state semifinal set for 4 p.m. Saturday back at Ford Stadium.

3. Lake Travis 14-0 (2)
Dane Balazs and Brock Kenyon had second half interceptions, the latter with 52 seconds remaining, to allow the Cavaliers to hold off 11-3 Cedar Park, 14-9, Friday night at Austin’s Royal-Memorial Stadium in the Class 4A, Division I, Region IV title game. The Cavaliers will shoot for their 29th consecutive playoff victory in a state semifinal against 12-2 Dawson (Pearland) set for 8 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football state rankings

Aledo looks for revenge against Stephenville in state quarterfinals

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
2:43
PM ET
The outcome was a shocker to most, a 48-47 upset of the defending Class 4A, Division II champ Aledo by Stephenville, which had lost to the Bearcats in their last four meetings. But based on the way history played out the last two years, with the teams facing off in the playoffs, most figured they'd meet again.

Some fourteen weeks later, here we are: Aledo vs. Stephenville, Vol. 2.

Both teams enter Saturday's contest at 11-2, but only Aledo possesses Johnathan Gray. Fresh off winning the state Gatorade Player of the Year award for the second straight year, Gray enters the contest with an insane 3,236 yards and 58 touchdowns. The senior had his way in the season opener (222 yards, four scores), but he was stuffed on a critical two-point conversion try and the Aledo defense had trouble slowing down Stephenville's offense. Another high-scoring game is likely, as both teams have surpassed the 40-point mark during their current playoff run.
My pick: Aledo 38, Stephenville 35

Southlake Carroll vs. Arlington Martin
Most (including me) had left Arlington Martin for dead last week when it went up against powerhouse Euless Trinity. But the Warriors' defense played out of its mind, limiting the Trojans to three first downs and 134 total yards just a week after putting up 28 points on Allen the week before. A similar effort will be key against Southlake Carroll, which has plenty of offensive firepower against Kenny Hill and is prone to put together late rallies.
My pick: Southlake Carroll 21, Arlington Martin 17

Skyline vs. The Woodlands
The new No. 1 team in the ESPNS Texas rankings will put its undefeated record on the line against a surging The Woodlands squad. The Woodlands put together a strong defensive effort last round, using constant pressure and turnovers to down Mesquite, 24-6. But Skyline will pose quite a different challenge, what with QB Devante Kincaide getting better with each week and his favorite target WR Thomas Johnson (two TDs last week) apparently back to full strength.
My pick: Skyline 35, The Woodlands 21

La Porte vs. Port Arthur Memorial
Count La Porte as another squad that was supposed to be at home by this point. The Bulldogs pulled off one of the many shocking upsets of these playoffs by downing previous No. 1 Katy, 9-7, on a late field goal. Defense was again the key, as La Porte has allowed just 20 points through three playoff games. Terrence Singleton will be the focus this week after he rushed for 181 yards and two scores last round.
My pick: La Porte 20, Port Arthur Memorial 14

Steele. vs. S.A. Reagan
Steele continues to look poised to repeat as champs, but the Knights certainly (should) know better than to assume anything in the playoffs. Last week, QB Tommy Armstrong used his usual play (three total scores) to mesh with a shutdown defense (six turnovers) in a 28-0 win against Alexander. Is S.A. Reagan cut out for an upset? The potential is there, what with the Rattlers able to light up the scoreboard (40-plus points six times this year) and riding a 12-game win streak.
My pick: Steele 34, S.A. Reagan 28

Pearland vs. Fort Bend Hightower
While favorites Trinity and Allen have been eliminated, defending Class 5A, Division I champ Pearland remains in the hunt. Jackie Robinson has been a huge catalyst for the Oilers, rushing for 241 yards in last week's win against Lamar. But Fort Bend Hightower has quite a threat in QB Bralon Addison, who can hurt teams with his arm and legs (and on punt returns, as he did in last week's win). Putting up points isn't a problem for the Hurricanes but their defensive play will have to better to win this one.
My pick: Pearland 28, Fort Bend Hightower 27

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Katy, Trinity topple in third round; Skyline takes top spot

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
3:49
PM ET
It was a disastrous playoff weekend for five previously unbeaten teams in the Texas rankings. Katy, Trinity (Euless), Ryan (Denton), Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress) and Highland Park entered the regional playoff round with 12-0 records. All suffered elimination defeats.

Katy lasted only one week atop the rankings, taken down by La Porte, 9-7 in the Class 5A Division II bracket. It marked the first time in 10 years Katy failed to reach the fourth round of the playoffs. The last time it happened, Vince Young was the quarterback of the opponent.

One week after knocking off previous No. 1 Allen, Trinity was stonewalled by Martin (Arlington), 19-7. Like all the games in North Texas on Saturday, the game was played in winds that gusted to 35 mph.

An unbeaten team that avoided a calamity was 13-0 Skyline (Dallas), the new No. 1 team this week. The Raiders reached the Class 5A Division I title game in Region II with a 42-24 elimination of Klein Oak (Spring).

The POWERADE FAB 50 also saw a major reshuffle, as a result. Skyline is now the top-ranked Texas team at No. 9 while La Porte and Arlington Martin joined the national list.

Here's the top 25 three rounds into the state playoffs. (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Skyline 13-0 (4)
Receiver Thomas Johnson, a Texas Longhorns commit, broke touchdown runs of 64 and 41 yards in a 21-point third period to help the Raiders to a 42-24 win over 9-4 Klein Oak (Spring) in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff. The Raiders play for the Region II title against 12-1 The Woodlands at 4 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.

2. Lake Travis 13-0 (3)
The Cavaliers scored on all seven of their first half possessions and then cleared the bench in a 58-15 rout of 8-5 Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi) in a Class 4A Division I regional playoff, their 27th consecutive playoff victory. It sets up a rematch against District 25-4A foe Cedar Park (11-2) in a state semifinal set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Austin’s Royal-Memorial Stadium.

3. Southlake Carroll 13-0 (7)
Junior quarterback Kenny Hill ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to help the Dragons overcome a 17-point deficit in a 21-17 defeat of 9-4 Bowie (Arlington) in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff. Next is a Region I title game against 12-1 Martin (Arlington) set for 6 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium in University Park.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings

Texas football playoffs enter round three

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
5:35
PM ET
Thanksgiving means three things: turkey, leftovers and football. I'll let you guys handle the first two on your own and jump to the third with a preview of some of this weekend's biggest third-round playoff games:

Katy vs. La Porte
The state's new top team gets a big test against La Porte, which boasts a strong defense. That much is clear in round two, when the Bulldogs held Bush to 108 total yards, seven first downs and posted a pick-six. Granted, Katy is easily the best and most offensively talented team La Porte has faced this year. The Tigers found another weapon in freshman Rodney Anderson, who ran for 215 yards and two scores last week. And their defense has been just as impressive, allowing just a touchdown per game.
My pick: Katy 35, La Porte 20

Euless Trinity vs. Arlington Martin
Trinity survived the postseason's biggest matchup so far, downing previous No. 1 Allen, 28-21, last week. Joel Kimplea continued his dominance on the ground, racking up 345 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously, Arlington Martin will have its hands full with Kimplea and look to let loose its own offensive weapon in RB Kyle Hicks. His production will be key in thwarting Trinity's tough defense.
My pick: Trinity 31, Arlington Martin 21

Lamar vs. Pearland
These two teams have been the comeback kings of these playoffs so far. Some had written off Pearland, the defending Class 5A, Division I champs, after consecutive losses in September, but the Oilers have bounced back with eight straight wins. The offense has been impressive during this stretch, putting up 41-plus points in seven of those victories.
Lamar experienced the same misfortune in September and then needed 21 straight points to close out a 35-34 win against Cypress Falls last round. Which team will keep rolling?
My pick: Pearland 31, Lamar 30

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Katy takes over top spot after Allen falls to Trinity

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
1:18
PM ET
Texas, we have a new No. 1.

The Katy Tigers (12-0) have muscled their way atop this week’s Texas state rankings. The Houston-area power defeated Woods (Cypress) 44-30 in a Class 5A Division II area playoff game Friday night. Katy takes over the top spot that Allen held the previous 13 weeks of the season.

On Saturday, Allen’s season ended at the hands of 12-0 Trinity (Euless), 28-21, in a Class 5A Division I area playoff at Cowboys Stadium. As a result, Katy moves up to No. 3 in the latest POWERADE FAB 50, while Trinity takes over the No. 5 slot in the national rankings.

Katy, ranked No. 2 throughout the season, is four playoff wins away from the school’s seventh state championship. The Tigers’ most recent state titles came in 2007 and 2008. The Tigers have made five other state final appearances, the most recent a loss to Abilene in 2009. In the last 11 seasons, Katy’s playoff record is remarkable 42-6. Only in two games this season has Katy trailed. It has outscored opponents 547-88.

Allen (11-1) was unable to contain the power running game of Trinity, which moves up a rung in the rankings to No. 2. Trinity also ended Allen’s 2010 season in the area round.

In another Saturday area playoff showdown of Top 25 teams, 12-0 Skyline (Dallas) prevailed over 10-2 DeSoto, 41-31. Skyline stopped DeSoto on two crucial fourth downs while converting on fourth down for the clinching touchdown.

Here's the top 25 two rounds into the state playoffs. (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Katy 12-0 (2)
Freshman Rodney Anderson rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-30 victory over 9-3 Woods (Cypress). Katy will play in the regional round for the 10th straight season (Vince Young was the opponent’s quarterback the last time it lost in area) against 11-1 La Porte at 6 p.m. Saturday at Houston’s Tully Stadium.

2. Euless Trinity 12-0 (3)
Running back Joel Kimpela carried 32 times for 345 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 triumph over 11-1 Allen in a Class 5A Division I area playoff at Cowboys Stadium. Up next is 11-1 Martin (Arlington) at noon Saturday at Bedford’s Pennington Field, the third consecutive season the two have met in a regional playoff. Trinity’s playoff record in the last eight years is 31-4.

3. Skyline 12-0 (5)
Junior quarterback DeVante Kincade threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards and three scores in a 41-31 elimination of 10-2 DeSoto in a Class 5A Division I area playoff in front of a capacity crowd of 11,500 fans in Irving. The Raiders advance to a regional playoff against 9-3 Klein Oak (Spring) 7 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings
Allen versus Euless Trinity. It's not every day or year that a matchup like this happens in the second round of all times in the playoffs. Only in Texas.

The No. 1 Eagles face their greatest test of the year in No. 3 Trinity, pitting an explosive offense against a defense that hasn't broken — let alone bent — this season. The Trojans actually enter this matchup with the momentum and upper hand for several reasons:

-Trinity ended Allen's season last year in the second round with a 37-35 decision.
-Allen has had to put together late-game rallies in each of its last six games.
-The Trojans D isn't much for allowing comebacks, as it's given up less than 12 points per game this year.

Still, there's a reason Allen has been able to avoid so many upset bids. Having the likes of RB Jonathan Williams and efficient QB Alec Morris leading the offense makes it hard for defenses to hold down the Eagles, who can score in bunches and in a hurry. The Trojans love to eat up the clock behind their running back Joel Kimplea, and it's safe to say they will do the same to reduce Allen's offensive opportunities.

The onus will be on Allen's defense to slow down Trinity's run game and make sure the Eagles' offense can take control of the contest. Should be another classic matchup.
My pick: Allen 38, Trinity 35

Skyline vs. DeSoto
These two also met in the playoffs last year, but it was far from a barnburner as DeSoto shut out Skyline, 38-0. Like most, I'm expecting a much closer game this time around. Division I talent will be all over the field in this matchup, from Skyline WR Thomas Johnson and LB Peter Jinkens to DeSoto DB Bryson Echols and OL Curtis Riser. On paper, Skyline has the advantage from the offensive firepower wielded by Johnson and QB Devante Kincaide along with a nasty defense that's surrendered just 5.7 points per game this year. But DeSoto has played a slightly tougher schedule, facing the likes of Longview and Cedar Hill. This could be a shootout, leaving it up to one of the defenses to assert itself as the X-factor.
My pick: Skyline 35, DeSoto 31

Southlake Carroll vs. Cedar Hill
After struggling in their first-round contests, these two face off with high offensive hopes. Quarterback Kenny Hill leads the way for Southlake Carroll, as he's capable of making plays with his arms and legs. Cedar Hill gets most of its yards behind junior running back Laquvionte Gonzalez, who averages almost 10 yards per carry. Neither defense has been great this season, but Cedar Hill showed signs by allowing less than 200 yards in last week's win against L.D. Bell.
My pick: Southlake Carroll 24, Cedar Hill 20

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Several heavyweights survive scare in first round of Texas football playoffs

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
12:24
PM ET
Since that November evening in 2010 when Trinity (Euless) ended the season of Allen in a 37-35 playoff classic, it almost seemed a matter of course that the two powerhouse programs would meet again.

That wait ends at 2 p.m. Saturday. In the second game of a Cowboys Stadium high school quadruple-header, Allen (11-0) will face Trinity (11-0) in a Class 5A Division I area playoff rematch.

Allen has occupied the top spot in the Texas rankings all season. No. 3 Trinity has been yapping at its heels. The position of the teams in the rankings was reversed last year. Trinity was No. 1 and Allen was No. 9 going into the area playoff that drew an estimated 40,000 at Cowboys Stadium. Allen’s upset bid was slowed by three fumbles and the inability to contain Trinity star Brandon Carter, now a freshman at TCU.

Both programs know what it is like to finish on top. Trinity won Class 5A Division I state championships in 2005, 2007 and 2009. The Trojans lost to Pearland in the finals last season. Allen won the 5A DI state title in 2008, knocking out Trinity along the way in a state quarterfinal.

There is another intriguing area-round rematch on Saturday matching No. 5 Skyline (Dallas) against No. 12 DeSoto at 5 p.m. Saturday at Irving Schools Stadium in Irving. It will be the fourth consecutive year for Skyline (11-0) and DeSoto (10-1) to face off in the area round. Skyline took the first two and DeSoto got revenge with a lopsided shutout last year.

Should DeSoto get the win, the Eagles will most certainly enter the POWERADE FAB 50 after receiving votes in this week's national rankings.

Here's the top 25 one round into the state playoffs (last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Allen 11-0 (1)
Alec Morris threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a 17-point fourth quarter as the Eagles came from behind yet again to defeat 8-3 Central (Keller), 30-17, in a Class 5A Division I bi-district playoff at Cowboys Stadium. The Eagles also trailed in the second half of four of their last five district games. Up next is an area playoff against 11-0 Trinity (Euless) 2 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

2. Katy 11-0 (2)
The Tigers dominated in all phases of a 63-7 dismantling of 6-5 Madison (Houston). Freshman Rodney Anderson rushed for 91 yards and four touchdowns. Up next is 9-2 Woods (Cypress) in a Class 5A Division II area playoff Friday at the Berry Center in Cypress.

3. Euless Trinity 11-0 (3)
The Trojans led by only six points at halftime, but stepped on the gas in the second half as Joel Kimpela finished with 269 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 55-36 Class 5A Division I bi-district win over 7-4 Duncanville. The Trojans face 11-0 Allen in an area playoff Saturday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings.

Texas football playoffs get under way

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
2:55
PM ET
Thursday marked the first day of yet another football postseason for Texas. There was the expected (Johnathan Gray rushing for 196 yards and three scores as Aledo racked up 671 total yards of offense in a 59-10 win against FW Dunbar), the thrilling (a blocked PAT by FW Arlington Heights secured a 14-13 win against Birdville) and the impressive (Hector Peralez intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble to lead Kilgore 44-6 win against Royse City).

Much more of the same is bound to happen in the first round and beyond, so here are a few games to watch out for:

Denton Guyer at Hebron
A year ago, Denton Guyer blazed through the Class 5A, Division II playoffs before losing in the title game. Many of the stars from that squad are now graduated, but the Wildcats have shown promise in wins against quality opponents like Coppell. Hebron enters the postseason on a two-game losing streak, but the Hawks are battle-tested and nearly knocked off Allen two weeks ago. Hebron DB Kiante' Griffin leads a solid defense that will be key to pulling out a win against a Guyer squad that can pile up the yards and thrives off physical play.
My pick: Denton Guyer: 21, Hebron 18

Euless Trinity vs. Duncanville
Something's gotta give in this matchup. Led by All-State LB Brian Nance, Euless Trinity's defensive has been stifling all season, allowing just 191 total yards per game. Meanwhile, Duncanville's offensive has been explosive, riding the dual-threat ability of QB Deandre Grimes to the tune of 429 yards per game. Trinity's rich history and band of standout players gives it the edge in this contest, but with Trojans potentially facing No. 1 Allen in the next round, they could be in trouble if they find themselves looking ahead.
My pick: Euless Trinity 35, Duncanville 20

FW Southwest vs. FW Boswell
Last year, Fort Worth Southwest won its first-ever playoff game. This year, the Raiders are District 6-4A champs with hopes for a deep postseason run. Standing in their way this weekend is a Fort Worth Boswell team that's no pushover. Thing is, Boswell will not only have to bring its 'A' game but also plenty of offensive firepower to hang with the Raiders. Remember, it was Southwest WR Robbie Rhodes who tied a national record with eight touchdown catches and QB Wesley Harris who threw for a state record nine TDs in the same game.
My pick: FW Southwest 38, FW Boswell 24

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Four new teams enter final regular season Texas football rankings

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
3:02
PM ET
The UIL state football playoff begin this week with no shortage of storylines involving the ranked teams in Texas

For example:

*Lake Travis (Austin) is attempting to win its fifth straight football title in Class 4A. The Cavaliers, in the Division I bracket this season, can be the first in Texas to accomplish that feat in 11-man football.

*Aledo running back Johnathan Gray is chasing state and national records in touchdowns, points, and career rushing yardage. His chances are enhanced with every Bearcat win. Aledo is shooting for its third straight Class 4A title in Division II.

*Here’s an odd stat about Trinity (Euless). The Trojans have won state championships in the last three odd-numbered years, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The Trojans bring a 10-0 record to this season’s Class 5A Division I bracket and are well-aware 2011 is an odd-numbered year.

*There is no chance our No. 1 and 2 ranked teams all season, Allen and Katy, will meet. Allen landed in the Division I bracket of Class 5A and Katy is in Division II.

But fear not, the playoff road offers no shortage of competition for both.

Projected match-ups include Allen-Trinity in the second round and Katy-Steele (Cibolo) in a state semifinal.

Six playoff wins are required to win a state title in Texas. It is a span that tests talent, depth, coaching, yes, and even luck. There’s no better time in Texas for the high school football fan.

Nationally, two new Texas teams entered the POWERADE FAB 50 with Southlake Carroll at No. 46 and Longview right behind at No. 47.

Here's the top 25 at the completion of the regular season (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Allen 10-0 (1)
A new $60 million stadium is scheduled to open in the fall, but the Eagles closed out their 35-year-old facility by overcoming an early 10-point deficit with six consecutive touchdowns in a 59-30 thumping of 3-7 Flower Mound. The Eagles face 8-2 Central (Keller) in the opening round of the Class 5A, Division I playoffs Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

2. Katy 10-0 (2)
The Tigers completed their sixth perfect regular season in the last nine years as their defense limited 8-2 Cinco Ranch (Katy) to a negative 16 rushing yards on 22 attempts in a 38-7 victory. Katy will face 6-4 Madison (Houston) in a Class 5A, Division II bi-district game Friday night at Butler Stadium in Houston.

3. Euless Trinity 10-0 (3)
The Trojans completed their third 10-0 regular season in the last four years as running back Joel Kimpela rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-7 manhandling of 3-7 MacArthur (Irving). The Trojans return to Irving Schools Stadium Friday for the fourth time this season to face 7-3 Duncanville in the opening round of the Class 5A, Division I playoffs.

Click here for the full POWERADE FAB 50 weekly Texas football rankings

La Porte, Cinco Ranch enter Week 10 Texas football rankings

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
6:12
PM ET
After games ending Saturday, Oct. 29

The playoff field in Texas has grown steadily since the days prior to 1982 when only district champions were allowed entry. When the playoffs begin next week, each district will send four teams into postseason play.

Not many argue that more is better now, but change comes with a downside. A district championship doesn't carry as much significance these days beyond a less dangerous first-round playoff opponent, on paper anyway.

Still, for many, "district champion'' has a nice ring and isn't taken lightly.

This week there are three showdowns for district titles involving ranked Texas teams.

On Friday, No. 5 DeSoto will pay a visit to No. 12 Longview for the District 11-5A crown while No. 17 Manvel goes on the road with a one-game lead to face No. 24 Dawson (Pearland) for District 24-4A honors.

In the Houston area, No. 2 Katy will face No. 25 Cinco Ranch (Katy) in a Saturday morning start at Rhodes Stadium for the District 19-5A title.

Nationally, while Allen still holds the No. 3 spot, Katy moved into a tie in the points category with 236 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Allen 9-0 (1)
The Eagles came from behind yet again, scoring the game's final 21 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to diffuse the upset bid of 6-3 Hebron (Carrollton), 28-21. Jonathan Williams scored the game-winner on a five-yard run with 1:25 remaining. Allen faces 3-6 Flower Mound in the regular-season finale on Friday.

2. Katy 9-0 (2)
Ricky Bickham, a 5-5, 145-pound junior, rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 52-14 blowout of 1-8 Taylor (Katy). Katy goes for the outright District 19-5A title and a perfect regular season against 8-1 Cinco Ranch (Katy) on Saturday.

3. Euless Trinity 9-0 (3)
Nothing fancy about the way the Trojans win. Running back Joel Kimpela averages over 10 yards per carry with 1,218 yards and 14 touchdowns. Coming off a bye, Trinity risks its 26-game regular-season winning streak against 3-6 MacArthur (Irving) on Thursday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings.

Week 9 Texas football rankings stand pat as Allen survives another scare

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
12:31
PM ET
Results as of Sunday, October 23

It has been a perilous three weeks for No. 1 Allen. The Eagles (8-0) have trailed in three consecutive games, but somehow found ways to remain unbeaten thanks to clutch comebacks. Allen couldn’t have cut it much closer than in its latest victory, 38-35 over 7-1 Marcus (Flower Mound) on Friday. With eight seconds on the clock, Eagles quarterback Alec Morris threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Oliver Pierce for the winning score.

Although it hasn’t cost Allen yet, opponents are averaging 34 points a game over the last three games, a number the Eagles need to lower come playoff time. With one slip by Allen, No. 2 Katy is poised to take over the top spot. The Tigers (8-0) have outscored opponents, 350-30. Seven points is the most surrendered by Katy in a game this season. Allen could have its hands full again on Friday when it goes on the road to play another strong District 8-5A team, 6-2 Hebron (Carrollton) at Hawks Stadium.

Allen-Marcus was one of three district showdowns matching top 25 ranked teams last weekend. In the San Antonio area, No. 7 Steele (Cibolo) prevailed over No. 23 Judson (Converse) 34-20 and in North Texas, No. 24 Cedar Hill held off No. 25 Mansfield, 42-34.

Nationally, Steele moved up one spot to No. 38 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here's this week's top 25 (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Allen 8-0 (1)
The Eagles used only 90 seconds on their winning drive that ended in a 16-yard Alec Morris to Oliver Pierce touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining for a 38-35 win over 7-1 Marcus (Flower Mound). Morris, an Alabama commit, threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Allen visits 6-2 Hebron (Carrollton) on Friday.

2. Katy 8-0 (2)
Freshman Rodney Anderson rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Brooks Haack threw for two scores in the Tigers' 45-0 rout of 5-3 Memorial (Houston). On Saturday, the Tigers face 1-7 Taylor (Katy).

3. Euless Trinity 9-0 (3)
Trinity's defense limited 4-4 Grapevine to 156 total yards in a 38-0 whitewash, its third shutout of the season and its 26th consecutive regular season victory. The Trojans, open this week, close the regular season on the road against MacArthur (Irving) on Nov. 3.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings

Week 8 Texas football rankings remain steady as big contests loom

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
2:15
PM ET
Results as of Saturday, Oct. 15.

With few upsets in Week 7, there was very little movement in the state rankings. But that could change this week. Three Week 8 games pit Top 25 teams against each other in district contests.

Heading the list, No. 1 Allen visits No. 14 Marcus (Flower Mound). Both teams are 7-0 and the winner will take command of the contentious District 8-5A race in North Texas.

San Antonio area powers Steele (Cibolo) and Judson (Converse) meet in a District 25-5A showdown on Thursday night. No. 7 Steele (7-0), the defending Class 5A Division II state champion, has won 20 games in a row, dating back to the third game of the 2010 season. No. 23 Judson (6-1), has a rich tradition, having won six state championship titles.

Debuting in the rankings this week at No. 25 is Mansfield. The Tigers are 7-0 for the first time in 41 years and will host No. 24 Cedar Hill (5-2) with the District 5-5A lead at stake. Cedar Hill’s losses have come at the hands of Allen and No. 5 DeSoto.

Nationally, Southlake Carroll is now knocking on the POWERADE FAB 50 doorstep, as the Dragons received votes for the first time this season.

Here's this week's top 25 (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Allen 7-0 (1)
The Eagles survived a scare for the second straight week, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind 40-28 triumph over 4-3 Plano West (Plano). Alabama-bound quarterback Alec Morris, who threw for four scores, put Allen ahead with an 18-yard touchdown run. Next is a road showdown with 7-0 Marcus (Flower Mound) for the District 8-5A lead on Friday.

2. Katy 7-0 (2)
The Tigers took care of business quickly, reeling off five touchdowns in the first 14 minutes of a 52-0 pasting of 1-6 Mayde Creek (Houston). Quarterback Brooks Haack threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another. On Friday, the Tigers face 5-2 Memorial (Houston).

3. Euless Trinity 8-0 (3)
The Trojans took command early with 42 points in the first 13 minutes of a 49-9 sinking of 2-5 Nimitz (Irving). On Friday, Trinity goes for its 26th consecutive regular season win at 4-3 Grapevine.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings

Five teams nearly lose in Week 7 Texas football rankings

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
2:07
PM ET
Results as of Saturday, Oct. 8

Five unbeaten Dallas-area teams in the state rankings stared down the barrel of defeat last week, but all five were able to avoid midseason upsets with clutch fourth-quarter play.

The trend began with No. 1 Allen in Thursday’s 42-38 victory over Plano East. The Eagles didn’t take the lead for the last time until Jonathan Williams’ touchdown run with five minutes remaining.

On Friday, No. 6 DeSoto went to halftime trailing North Mesquite 17-0. The Eagles stormed back in the second half, finally grabbing the lead for good a minute into the fourth quarter.

No. 7 Ryan (Denton) cut it much closer. The winning field goal in the Raiders’ 20-17 nail-biter over Rider (Wichita Falls), a 41-yarder by Mark Orozco, came with six seconds on the clock.

Highland Park, ranked No. 12, fell 21 points behind Wylie in the first half. The Scots’ 24-21 comeback win was complete when Jackson Hauser scored on a three-yard run with 20 seconds remaining.

No. 18 Marcus (Flower Mound) needed four overtimes to finish off Plano West, 51-48. It was the second overtime win in as many weeks for the Marauders.

In this week's POWERADE FAB 50, Katy moved up to the No. 4 spot, just behind Allen. Seven teams from the Lone Star State remain in the national rankings.

Here's this week's top 25 (Last week's ranking in parentheses):

1. Allen 6-0 (1)
The Eagles three times overcame a 10-point deficit in Thursday's 42-38 win over 2-4 Plano East (Plano), thanks in part to receiver Andrew Rodriguez (six catches, 173 yards, two touchdowns). Next for Allen is a home game against 4-2 Plano West on Friday.

2. Katy 6-0 (2)
Quarterback Brooks Haack threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another in a 45-7 drubbing of 3-3 Morton Ranch (Katy) on Thursday. Another Thursday game is on the horizon this week against 1-5 Mayde Creek (Houston).

3. Euless Trinity 7-0 (3)
Joel Kemplea punched in two short touchdown runs and Austin Lopez kicked field goals of 36 and 41 yards as the Trojans defeated 2-4 Haltom, 35-8. On Friday, Trinity goes on the road for the second time this season to face 2-4 Nimitz (Irving).

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings.

Arlington Martin drops out of Week 6 Texas rankings

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
1:12
PM ET
After games of Sunday, Oct. 2

At this point, we really shouldn't be surprised. But with each week, Johnathan Gray just keeps putting up insane numbers that seem to get more impressive with time. Last week, the Aledo senior tailback only needed 16 carries to pile up 347 yards and seven touchdowns. Never mind that the Bearcats are 3-2; with Gray on the field, they are always a threat to win.

Speaking of winning, Katy’s 55-3 rout of Strake Jesuit (Houston) Friday at Rice Stadium was victory No. 100 for Tigers head coach Gary Joseph.

The west-side power from Greater Houston remains No. 2 in this week’s POWERADE ESPNHS Texas High School rankings, breathing down the neck of No. 1 Allen.

Given that a regular season is only 10 games, it takes deep playoff runs to amass a record of 100-10 in less than eight full seasons, as Joseph has done. His teams have never failed to go at least four rounds in the playoffs. Joseph coached Katy to state titles in 2007 and 2008. The Tigers were state runner-up in 2005 and 2009.

Unfortunately, not everybody was winning this past weekend. Arlington Martin experienced its first loss of the season, falling 47-16 to rival Arlington while Klein Collins also lost 42-31 to a Trey Williams-led Dekaney squad. Both fell out of the top 25 as a result.

Nationally, Coppell dropped out of the POWERADE FAB 50 after being defeated, 31-7, by Denton Guyer last Thursday.

And without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Allen 5-0 (1)
Missouri commit Jonathan Williams rushed for 233 yards and a touchdown as the Eagles came alive in the second half for a 45-13 dusting of 2-3 Lewisville. Allen on Friday makes a second trip to Plano to face 2-3 Plano East.

2. Katy 5-0 (2)
Quarterback Brooks Haack threw for 313 yards and six touchdowns in a 55-3 pummeling of 2-3 Strake Jesuit (Houston). The Tigers go for their 15th straight district win when they face 3-2 Morton Ranch (Houston) on Thursday.

3. Euless Trinity 6-0 (3)
For the second time this season, the Trojans didn’t complete a pass, but senior running back Joel Kimplea carried 25 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-11 rout of 3-3 rival L.D. Bell (Hurst). Next is a Friday home game against 2-3 Haltom.

Click here for the full POWERADE Texas football weekly rankings.

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