High-SchoolTexas: La Porte

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

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.

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