High-SchoolTexas: Steele

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

Steele's Tommy Armstrong commits to Nebraska football

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
1:06
PM ET
As the catalyst behind Steele's 4-0 start and No. 50 position in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, Tommy Armstrong has shown that there is life for Steele football after the graduation of star tailback Malcolm Brown. And now, the senior quarterback has given more life to Nebraska's football program.

Armstrong committed to the Cornhuskers on Monday, just a day after returning from his official visit to the Nebraska campus. The dual-threat QB follows in the footsteps of S.A. Madison alum Aaron Green, who is now a freshman tailback at Nebraska and, along with Brown, graced the cover of our ESPNHS Texas magazine last year.

Armstrong has totaled 709 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions this season for the defending Class 5A, Division II champs.

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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