High-SchoolTexas: Pearland

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.

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.

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.

Stock is rising for Malcolm Brown, Matt Davis

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
3:19
PM ET
In this week's edition of the Texas All-State Football Stock Watch, we've got a defensive lineman showing off his receiving skills and a quarterback showing that his old knee injury ain't a thang.

UP — Malcolm Brown, Brenham DL
By this time next year, the Texas Longhorns will have two Malcolm Browns on their squad. The Steele alum playing tailback while the current Brenham star lining up on the defensive line, so it's pretty easy to tell them apart. But last week, the younger Brown showed that he's not immune to offensive success. In the first quarter of Brenham's contest against Magnolia West, Brown lined up at receiver, and unlike Patriots lineman Vince Wilfork a couple weeks ago, the 280-pound Brown went the distance on a 50-yard catch down the sideline. Brown's improbable TD, along with three sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery led the Cubs to a 47-13 win and a 4-0 record.

DOWN — Kendall Ehrlich, Pearland LB
After dominating their first two games, the defending Class 5A, Division I champs have sputtered, losing two in a row and dropping out of the state rankings. The defense has particularly struggled, as it surrendered a 14-3 lead last week to previously winless Clear Springs. As the team's leader, the onus will fall on Ehrlich to rally his teammates and right the ship before it's too late.

UP —Matt Davis, Klein Forest QB
Davis' 2010 campaign didn't even last two quarters, as the star quarterback went down with a torn ACL in his right knee during the season opener. But the Texas A&M showed little to no signs of the devastating injury in a 28-21 win against previously undefeated Klein last week. Davis threw for 218 yards and two scores and also rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-21 win for the Eagles. On the season, Davis has used his dual-threat ability to total 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns.

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

Manvel debuts, Pearland drops out of Week 5 Texas rankings

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
11:07
AM ET
After games ending Saturday, Sept. 24

The top three teams in ESPNHS POWERADE Texas Football Team Rankings polished off unbeaten opponents last week. No. 1 Allen and No. 2 Katy breezed to convincing victories. But No. 3 Trinity (Euless) needed overtime to prevail over 4-1 Heritage (Colleyville), 38-35. The Trojans managed to increase their streak of consecutive regular-season victories to 22. Klein Collins (Spring) saw its regular-season winning streak end at 23 games after a 34-28 loss in three overtimes to Klein Oak (Spring). The defeat cost the Tigers 13 slots in the ranking. Defending Class 5A Division I state champion Pearland dropped out of the Top 25 after its a 31-24 loss to previously winless Clear Springs (League City).

Nationally, Allen moved back up to the No. 3 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50 after De La Salle (Calif.) lost its first game of the year.

And without further ado, here's this week's top 25 (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Allen 4-0 (1)
Alabama commit Alec Morris completed 22-of-32 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns in a dominating 44-7 victory in a District 8-5A opener at 3-1 Plano. On Friday, the Eagles host 2-2 Lewisville.

2. Katy 4-0 (2)
Brooks Haack, a Louisiana Lafayette commit, threw for three scores, rushed for one in a 46-7 rout of 3-1 Seven Lakes (Katy) in a District 19-5A opener. The Tigers face 2-2 Strake Jesuit (Houston) on Friday at Rice Stadium.

3. Euless Trinity 5-0 (3)
The Trojans needed an overtime field goal from Austin Lopez to extend their regular-season winning streak to 22 with a 38-35 squeaker over 4-1 Heritage (Colleyville). On Thursday, the Trojans face 3-2 rival L.D. Bell (Hurst).

Click here for the full ESPNHS POWERADE weekly Texas football rankings.

Skyline rises, Pearland falls in new rankings

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
2:17
AM ET
Allen and Lake Travis (Austin), No. 1 and No. 5 respectively in the ESPNHS Texas High School Rankings, proved worthy of high standing with convincing road wins on Friday against ranked foes.

Allen went to 3-0 with a 42-23 win in Longview, where Lobos losses are rarer than rain these days.

Lake Travis unveiled a passing attack featuring junior Baker Mayfield that had Aledo on its heels all evening. The Cavaliers proved a fifth straight state title is doable after a 62-35 blowout.

Running back Johnathan Gray did give the Aledo fans reason to cheer when he broke the state’s all-time career touchdown record. He now has 148 after scoring four times against Lake Travis.

Defending Class 5A Division I state champion Pearland was the first casualty among top five ranked teams, losing to 2-1 Memorial, 17-14. The Oilers slipped 16 slots to No. 20.

Nationally, Steele moved into the final slot of the POWERADE FAB 50, leaving the number of Texas teams on the list at eight with Pearland dropping out.

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

1. Allen 3-0 (1)
Senior quarterback Alec Morris threw for 368 yards and five touchdowns and Andrew Rodriguez made 11 catches for 212 yards and two scores in a 42-23 rout of 2-1 Longview. The Eagles, after an open week, begin District 8-5A play at 3-0 Plano on Sept. 23.

2. Katy 2-0 (2)
The Tigers enjoyed an open date and return to face 3-0 West Brook (Beaumont) on Saturday.

3. Euless Trinity 3-0 (3)
The Trojans out-gained Richland (North Richland Hills) 523 yards to 57 and rang up a 25-4 first down edge in a 64-0 landslide in a District 6-5A opener. Up next is a road trip to 0-3 Irving.

Click here for full POWERADE Weekly State Rankings

Lake Travis routs Aledo in clash of 4A powers; Gray sets record

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
2:43
PM ET
A mix of revenge, momentum and pride fueled Lake Travis in its Friday matchup against Aledo. The result was a stunning statement, a 62-35 victory for the Cavaliers and a 1-2 mark for the defending Class 4A, Division II champs.

The contest began as expected, with each team trading touchdowns on their way to a 14-14 tie in the first quarter. But the Cavaliers took over from there, using a high-powered passing offense behind once-backup, now-starter Baker Mayfield (434 yards and sixh touchdowns) to keep the Bearcats at bay. Griffin Gilbert did his usual damage, with seven catches for 116 yards and four TDs, and Zach Austin continued his emergence, snagging seven passes for 194 yards and two scores.

Even Colin Lagasse, who hasn't started at quarterback since Mayfield took over in the opener, got into the action, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. With so many weapons at their disposal, the Cavaliers look primed for a fifth straight 4A state title.

Aledo, meanwhile, continues to struggle despite getting the typical production from Johnathan Gray. The Bearcats tailback finished with 263 yards and four touchdowns, moving him into first on the Texas career scoring list with 148. But the record was overshadowed by the loss, as an Aledo defense that's surrendered 39 points per game continued its struggles.

Allen 42, Longview 23
The Eagles did what seemed to be the impossible, not only winning but blowing out Longview on its homefield Friday. Alec Morris again led the way, putting up 368 passing yards and five touchdowns in the rout. Andrew Rodriguez was Morris' biggest target, catching 11 passes for 212 yards and two scores. Jonathan Williams missed his second straight game with back problems, but with a bye week on the horizon, chances are good that the senior RB can finally return and add yet another weapon to the loaded Eagles.

Pearland 17, Memorial 14
The defending Class 5A, Division I champs went down to Memorial in surprising fashion. The Oilers held on to a 14-10 lead with less than two minutes remaining, but Memorial marched down the field with ease before Justin White punctuated the drive and victory on an 11-yard score. White finished 209 total yards on the night.

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

SPONSORED HEADLINES