High-SchoolTexas: Kenny Hill

Top 10 Stories of the Year in Texas

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
10:10
AM ET
The year 2011 is winding down to an end and what a year it was in the world of sports. Here are the top 10 stories from the Texas high school sports scene:

10. Double Dip
All Craig Nowak and Daniel Vertiz did in the last two months of the year was run — and run well. After winning the 5A state championship, Nowak of Cypress Woods took third at the NXN and 14th at Foot Locker Nationals in consecutive weeks. Vertiz of S.A. Reagan performed the same gauntlet, taking second at the state meet, second at NXN and fifth at Foot Locker Nationals. Vertiz and Nowak finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in the DyeStat rankings.

9. Ballers 'R Us
Texas has always been known for football but with the talent brimming from the hardwood this year, basketball has stepped into the spotlight. Led by the likes Isaiah Austin, Cameron Ridley, Marcus Smart and Rasheed Sulaimon, 13 players made the ESPNU 100.

8. Dragons Net Crown
For the second straight season, a Class 5A team went unbeaten en route to the state crown. This time it was Southlake Carroll, which finished 28-0-3 behind tournament MVP Oshick Sams' dominant play in goal.

7. Watch the Throne
As you've already seen and will find out later (see No. 2), Southlake Carroll had a good year, to say the least. After winning in soccer, the Dragons went on to make noise in cross country by dethroning five-time Class 5A champ The Woodlands by scoring a meet-record 20 points. The Dragons nearly completed a perfect season but finished second behind CBA at Nike Cross Nationals.

6. Lions Shine at City of Palms
Just a few days after suffering a loss to Grace Prep in front of a national TV audience, Prestonwood Christian got even in a big way at the City of Palms tournament in Florida. The Lions knocked off Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and nationally ranked Riverside (Calif.) before beating Grace Prep by 20 points to become the first Texas team to win the City of Palms.

5. Super Mario
A year after being named Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year, Denton Ryan's Mario Edwards Jr. left little doubt as to who was the nation's top player. As for where the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 150 will head to college, that isn't so sure. Edwards is committed to Florida State but is still strongly considering Oklahoma, among other schools.

4. Drive for Five
Lake Travis' push for a fifth straight Class 4A football title appeared to take a hit when QB Colin Lagasse went down in the first game. But junior Baker Mayfield stepped up big, throwing for 3,788 yards, 45 touchdowns and just five interceptions to lead the Cavaliers to a 16-0 record and another championship. The Cavs are the first 11-man team to win five straight titles.

3. Marcus Makes its Mark in Hoops
Almost a year to the day after shedding tears of sadness over losing in the Class 5A state semis, Marcus Smart and FM Marcus hoops team shed tears of joy this past winter when they capped a 38-1 campaign with the Class 5A crown. Smart sits as the reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year in the Marauders' drive to repeat this season.

2. Gridiron Kings
Southlake Carroll had quite a ride to the Class 5A, Division I title. The Dragons have to come back in every playoff game, had some question whether a late onside kick travelled 10 yards in the semifinal against Skyline and saw a fox join the action during Kenny Hill's game-winning TD run in the same game. Hill, not the fox, proved to be the star of the 36-29, title-game win against Fort Bend Hightower as the junior QB totaled 345 yards and four scores to earn offensive MVP honors. The Dragons are now tied with Celina for the most football titles in state history.

1. Gray's Anatomy
It's safe to say that no football player boasts a better rèsumè than Johnathan Gray. The Aledo senior tailback broke the national record for career touchdowns with 206, won Gatorade National Player of the Year, repeated as Gatorade State Player of the Year and Mr. Football USA, won a second Class 4A, Division II title and finished in the top five nationally in career rushing yards, points, carries and 100-yard games. Texas Longhorn fans are more than happy that UT hooked this legend.

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

2011 Final Texas football rankings

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
1:23
PM ET
The resilient Dragons of Southlake Carroll came from behind three times to edge Fort Bend Hightower 36-29 in the Class 5A Division I state title game Saturday in front of 42,822 at Cowboys Stadium to finish the 2011 season atop the POWERADE ESPNHS Texas football team rankings.

In five of its six playoff games, Carroll (16-0) had to overcome deficits. Against Hightower (13-3), the Dragons trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Junior quarterback Kenny Hill, the son of former major league pitcher Ken Hill, threw touchdown passes to Sabian Holmes and Corey Kemp, then put his team ahead for good with a six-yard touchdown run with nine minutes remaining. Hill was named the game’s offensive MVP. Carroll linebacker Will Davis made two key defensive plays in the second half, stuffing Hightower quarterback Bralon Addison on a fourth-down run and later forcing and recovering a fumble that led to the winning touchdown.

The state title was the eighth for Carroll, best in the Class 5A division, and the school's first since 2006. Class 3A Celina also has won eight state titles. Nationally, the Dragons move to No. 6 in the final POWERADE FAB 50 and were joined by six other teams from Texas.

In Class 4A, Lake Travis won its fifth consecutive state title, defeating Midway 22-7 to cap a 16-0 season. The Cavaliers are the first Texas 11-man team to win five straight state titles. In the Division II final, Aledo won its third straight crown, spoiling Manvel’s bid for an undefeated season, 49-28. Aledo senior running back Johnathan Gray broke the national record for career touchdowns with a 37-yard run on a draw play in the fourth quarter, his 205th career touchdown.

With the 2011 season reaching the end, here's the final top 25:

1. Southlake Carroll 16-0 (1)
Junior quarterback Kenny Hill accounted 345 total yards and had a hand in all four of his team's touchdowns as the Dragons defeated 13-3 Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City) 36-29 in the Class 5A Division I state title game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Hill was named the game's offensive MVP and linebacker Will Davis took the defensive honor.

2. Lake Travis (Austin) 16-0 (2)
The Cavaliers completed their "Drive for Five'' by winning a fifth straight Class 4A state title, taking down 13-3 Midway (Waco) 22-7 Friday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Baker Mayfield threw for 294 yards and a touchdown and senior Colin Lagasse had 209 total yards. The win was the 30th consecutive playoff victory for the Cavs.

3. Skyline (Dallas) 14-1 (4)
Junior quarterback Devante Kincade threw for 3,270 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushed for 857 yards and 17 touchdowns in a season that ended in a 28-24 state semifinal loss to eventual Class 5A Division I state champion Southlake Carroll.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings.

Five Days of List-Mas: Texas' underclass football stars

December, 13, 2011
12/13/11
12:35
PM ET
5

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships are winding down and the Class of 2012 had their run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Texas next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.
5. Brice Gunter (JR), Stephenville, WR
Credentials: 69 catches, 1,099 yards, 15 touchdowns, finalist for Gatorade State Player of the Year

4. Jake Oliver (JR), Dallas Jesuit, WR
Credentials: 108 catches, 1,637 yards, 24 touchdowns

3. Baker Mayfield (JR), Lake Travis, QB
Credentials: 3,512 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, five interceptions, 765 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, led Cavaliers to Class 4A, Division I title game in first year as starter

2. Kenny Hill (JR), Southlake Carroll, QB
Credentials:2,713 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 1,267 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, led Dragons to Class 5A, Division I title game

1. Devante Kincade (JR), Skyline, QB
Credentials: 3,231 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, four interceptions, led team to Class 5A, Division I semifinals

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas

Tomorrow: POWERADE state hoops rankings

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

Southlake Carroll knocks off Skyline to take over top spot

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
12:30
PM ET
The new No. 1 team in POWERADE ESPNHS Texas football team rankings, Southlake Carroll, has an opportunity to become No. 1 in another category -- most Texas state football championships won.

Carroll is one of five schools currently tied with seven state titles and the Dragons can step to the top by defeating Fort Bend Hightower in Saturday’s 4 p.m. Class 5A Division I state title game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. An eighth state title for Carroll would be one more than Abilene, Brownwood, Celina and Plano.

Carroll needed every bit of playoff magic it could muster in a 28-24 victory over former No. 1, Skyline on Saturday in a Class 5A Division I state semifinal. Touchdown runs of 3 and 35 yards by junior quarterback Kenny Hill in the final 1:07 enabled Carroll to overcome a 10-point deficit. Skyline (14-1) outgained Carroll by 143 yards in the showdown, but had three turnovers and three failed fourth-down gambles.

Three other state finals this weekend will involve teams attempting to repeat as state champions. Steele tries to defend its Class 5A Division II state title against 13-2 Dekaney. Aledo and record-setting running back Johnathan Gray have a chance to win a third straight state title in Class 4A Division II, but standing in the way is unbeaten Manvel. And Lake Travis will try to complete its “Drive for Five,’’ an unprecedented fifth straight state title, in a Class 4A Division I match-up against Midway.

Nationally, three Texas teams are in the top 15, led by Carroll at No. 7. Fort Bend Hightower also moved into the POWERADE FAB 50, debuting at No. 46.

Here's the top 25 going into the final week of the state playoffs. (Last week's ranking in
parentheses):

1. Southlake Carroll 15-0 (2)
Junior quarterback Kenny Hill capped an amazing comeback by scoring two touchdowns in the final 1:07 of a 28-24 victory over 14-1 Skyline (Dallas) in a Class 5A Division I state semifinal Saturday at SMU‘s Ford Stadium. In between the Hill touchdowns, Carroll recovered an onside kick. The Dragons meet Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City) in the state title game set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

2. Lake Travis (Austin) 15-0 (3)
Junior quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for four touchdowns and Colin Lagasse scored four times in the Cavaliers’ 45-14 bashing of 12-3 Dawson (Pearland) in a Class 4A Division I semifinal Friday night in San Antonio’s Alamodome. The Cavaliers, winners of 29 consecutive playoff games, go for their fifth straight state title against 13-2 Midway (Waco) at 8 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

3. Steele (Cibolo) 15-0 (4)
Tommy Armstrong, a Nebraska commit, rushed for four touchdowns and passed for another in a 51-31 bashing of 13-2 Memorial (Port Arthur) Saturday at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The Knights, winners of 28 straight, will attempt to defend their Class 5A Division II state title against 13-2 Dekaney (Spring) at 8 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings

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.
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.

Allen vs. FM Marcus, Steele vs. Judson highlight Week 8 Texas football

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
11:34
AM ET
After a relatively normal week of Texas football, plenty of fireworks could take place in some big weekend showdowns.

Let's start with the state's top team, 7-0 Allen, which battles a surging FM Marcus squad (7-0) that's reached No. 14 in the rankings. Both teams are coming off cardiac wins. Allen needed 13 points in the fourth quarter to complete a come-from-behind, 40-28 win against Plano West. Likewise, if not for a 14-yard touchdown run by Jeff Smiley with 24 seconds left, Marcus wouldn't have escaped with a 28-24 victory against Plano.

Offense won't be a problem for either team. Allen boasts quarterback Alec Morris (five total TDs last week) and has benefited from the return of tailback Jonathan Williams. On the other side, Smiley paced the Marauders last week with 103 rushing yards and three scores.

One team will leave the field with its first loss and the X-factor will be the Marcus defense, which has struggled of late, allowing an average of 36.3 points in its last three games against high-powered offenses.
My pick: Allen 42, FM Marcus 31

No. 7 Steele (7-0) at No. 23 Judson (6-1)
It's been 20 games since Steele lost a game, and with the way quarterback Tommy Armstrong has been playing, the defending Class 5A, Division II champs seemed primed for another title run. The Nebraska commit had five touchdowns (three passing, two scoring) in last week's win against New Braunfels.

But the Knights will enter a hostile environment Thursday night when they travel to face Judson. After falling to Wagner, the Rockets got back to their winning ways last week with a 45-6 victory against Seguin. RB Quaylon Jones serves as the Rockets' sparkplug, as he had 170 yards and two scores last week.

Whether Judson can stop Armstrong from opening up the field with his dual threat will be key in deciding this District 25-5A showdown.
My pick: Steele 35, Judson 27

No. 9 Southlake Carroll (7-0) at Keller Central (6-1)
An upstart Fossil Ridge squad that nearly knocked off Southlake Carroll handed Keller Central its first loss of the season last week, leaving the Chargers in search of redemption entering this week's big Division 7-5A matchup.

The quarterbacks and top receivers for each squad will be the focus in this contest. For Southlake Carroll, Kenny Hill can make plays with his arm (1,584 passing yards and 13 TDs) and legs (nine rushing scores), but he's most proficient when hooking up with WR/DB Sabian Holmes through the air. The senior wideout has 584 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Holmes will also likely be lined up against Keller Central's top WR, Zach Sanchez, who has 28 catches, 769 yards and eight TDs. The Dragons defense will be tasked with slowing down Central QB Tanner Tausch, one of the area's top gunslingers with 1,445 yards, 15 scores and just three picks.

Southlake Carroll's defense was stout last week against Coppell, allowing just 10 points, and a similar effort will be needed versus Keller Central's slew of weapons.
My pick: Southlake Carroll 27, Keller Central 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.
As if their crosstown rivalry didn't have enough fireworks involved. When Cypress Falls and Cypress Fairbanks meet this time around, there's a lot more at stake than just bragging rights.

No. 10 Cypress Falls (6-0) had pretty much breezed past its opponents until last week, when Brice Peters needed to break off a 55-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap the Eagles' 27-22 win against Langham Creek. Peters has been a beast in the last couple games, racking up 364 yards and five scores.

But No. 11 Cy-Fair (6-0) will present quite a challenge for Peters. The Bobcats' defense has allowed just 30 points in six games and didn't allow a touchdown until its fifth game of the season. Bananas. Plus, the Bobcats have a playmaker of their own in John Jacob, who rushed for 206 yards and three scores last week.
My pick: Cy-Fair 27, Cypress Falls 21

Coppell (5-1) at No. 9 Southlake Carroll (6-0)
Southlake Carroll has quietly made its way up the state rankings while Coppell has done just the opposite, dropping out altogether in this week's list after losing to Denton Guyer and a near-loss to Fossil Creek. Luke Jenner is the catalyst behind the Cowboys' offense, while junior QB Kenny Hill leads the Dragons. Hill has totaled 1,848 yards and 17 touchdowns that can score a lot. David Busby anchors a Coppell secondary that will look to slow down Hill through the air.
My pick: Southlake Carroll 31, Coppell 21

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Headlining the ESPN High School Football Kickoff this past weekend was none other than the nation's No. 1 recruit Mario Edwards Jr. and Denton Ryan (although Hillcrest, Missouri's Dorial Green-Beckham made a case of his own).

Edwards Jr. did not disappoint, recording one sack and forcing a fumble that led to a touchdon in the Raiders' 25-9 win in front of a national TV audience. All-State linebacker Jordan Richmond also made his mark, intercepting a pass to help hold Sulphur Springs to 159 yards versus Denton Ryan's 320. Tailback Jerrick Harvey chipped in 115 yards and a score on the ground, squelching any chance of the Wildcats backing up their coach's guarantee of a victory.

Allen also lived up to its top billing with a complete effort in its 28-13 win against Cedar Hill.

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