High-SchoolTexas: Plano

Marcus re-enters top 10 in POWERADE FAB 50

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
4:18
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Jan. 8

The new year brought the same results for the Marcus basketball team. The Marauders opened Region 1, District 8 play with two wins against Plano and Allen, pushing them back into the top 10 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Prestonwood Christian looked just as impressive, shaking off a 1-2 showing at the Beach Ball Classic with a close in against No. 4 Westbury Christian. Both teams remain ranked nationally, as the Lions sit at No. 19 and Westbury Christian comes in at No. 33. Prestonwood Christian stands to move up even more should it be able to knock off national No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) during Saturday's action at the HoopHall Classic.

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

1. Grace Prep (Arlington) 12-2 (1)
Lions cruised to wins against Pantego Christian and Fort Worth Christian as they prepare to face undefeated Trinity Christian on Friday.

2. Marcus (Flower Mound) 21-2 (2)
Marauders re-enter top 10 of POWERADE FAB 50 with wins against Plano and Allen.

3. Prestonwood Christian (Plano) 14-3 (3)
Lions squeaked by No. 4 Westbury Christian, notching a quality win in preparation for contest against national No. 2 Oak Hill Academy on Saturday at HoopHall Classic.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly Texas basketball rankings

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

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.

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.

District title implications on the line in Texas Week 4 football

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
1:06
PM ET
Here's a shocker: Johnathan Gray set another record.

In the Bearcats' 62-17 win against Keller Timber Creek on Thursday, the senior tailback needed just eight carries to rack up 209 rushing yards and four touchdowns. That scoring output earned him the title of Texas' most prolific prep scorer ever, as Gray's current total of 920 points surpasses Sugar Land's Kenneth Hall (899) for most career points.

What's more, Gray, who's averaging almost five touchdowns a game, is just four points from moving into fourth nationally on the all-time scoring list.

To all Texas Longhorn fans: Yes, your team have questions at quarterback, but with freshman RB Malcolm Brown emerging and Gray headed to Austin next season, Mack Brown's squad might not ever need to pass the ball again.

With that said, let's move into this weekend's contests. As most teams move from their bye week into district play, there are quite a few intriguing matchups, but it's only natural to start at the top. So....

No. 1 Allen (3-0) at Plano (3-0)
History and the rankings aren't on Plano's side in this District 8-5A matchup, but when has that ever stopped an upset from happening? It's been six years since the Wildcats last beat Allen, with last season seeing them squander a 13-7 halftime lead. The Wildcats has shown offensive firepower during their 3-0 start, putting up 51 points per contest behind quarterback Richard Lagow's play (six TDs, no picks). But of course, the Eagles have their own standout QB in Alabama commit Alec Morris, who thrown for 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Plus, the bye week allowed tailback Jonathan Williams to get some much-needed rest for his ailing back, which could give the Eagles yet another weapon in an offense that was already averaging 43 points. It could be a shootout, but ultimately, Allen will again be too explosive for the Wildcats.
My pick: Allen 42, Plano 31

Coleyville Heritage (4-0) at No. 3 Euless Trinity (4-0)
For just about the entire season, Coleyville Heritage has been knocking on the state rankings door. But with a win against a very tough Trinity squad, the Panthers could finally make their way in. Heritage has shown an ability to spread around the ball while shutting down the opposition, winning their last two games by a count of 75-3 and before that beating a solid Hebron squad. Thing is, Trinity has been just as good, if not better. The Trojans have put together consecutive 64-0 shutouts and won last week without throwing the ball once (See, I'm not crazy). Plus, All-State defenders Brian Nance and Polo Manukainiu are back from injury, making that unit even scarier.
My pick: Trinity 38, Heritage 21

Bowie (2-1) at No. 10 Arlington Martin (3-0)
This one really could go either way, as both offenses and defenses are ones that deserve a salute. Not to mention it's a heated, District 4-5A rivalry game. Bowie is looking to bounce back after a big loss to No. 8 Skyline and the Warriors have the tools to do so. The offense boasts dual-threat QB Kolby Listenbee and tailback Russell Hansbrough while the defensive line is a handful. But Martin has successfully rode the backfield tandem of Kyle Hicks (361 rushing yards, six scores) and Cameron Williams (335 yards, four TDs). Plus, All-State defensive lineman Devonte Fields has rarely been stopped this year. Martin has the homefield advantage, but that can mean little in town rivalries. I smell an upset brewing.
My pick: Bowie 24, Martin 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.

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