Every game today has a Metroplex representative and the daily attendance has been wratcheting up from the previous years. So there's all kinds of predictions of attendance records falling. And with that, I'm off to get an early seat.
Bigtime Saturday games on tap today:
12p - 4A Division II - Brenham v Aledo - Aledo was Aledo in this one 38-10. It was a better game than the score indicated and definitely wasn't as one-sided as the Aledo-LaMarque from a few years back. Brenham represented well.
4p - 5A Division I - Pearland v Allen - Again, the favorites prevail, with the Kyler Murray show driving Allen to a 63-28 win. This one was a showcase clinic for Allen. Beck of a year by Pearland, though. They started the season unranked. I thought that was a huge oversight then and they were a deserving finalist this season. But ... Kyler Murray. Whattayagonnado?
8p - 5A Division II - Katy v Cedar Hill
A more manageable 3-pack of games on tap today. I'm about to head out to take it all in. Last night was definitely a grind - I only made it through part of Q3 of the third game, with all but the first game being about an hour behind due to lenghty games. This time around, I'm bringing something to read other than my smartphone.
Here's the agenda. Again, I'll have the occasional update on facebook and twitter:
12p - 3A Division I - Kilgore v Carthage - Carthage wins their 4th title in six years. No shock that they came in as favorites, but Kilgore played them well into the final minutes before Carthage sealed it with a late TD and a 34-23 final.
4p - 3A Division II - Argyle v Fairfield - This one was a bit of a classic, with two lead changes in Q4, a safety, and a turnover on downs at the 9 yard line before Argyle held on for a 38-33 win. Some nice talent on both sides of the ball, including a Texas Tech commit in Argyle WR Ian Sadler.
8p - 4A Division I - Denton Guyer v SA Brennan - This was a great mood-setter for some higher-caliber football on Saturday. Guyer has a great QB (headed to UT) in Jerrod Heard. That was a bit much for the vaunted defense of Brennan whose first-team defense had only given up two touchdowns all season. The final was 31-14, but it was a game going into the final quarter. Despite Brennan's outcome, their monster LB, Grant Watanabe (a Colorado U commit) was named defensive MVP. From here on out, it's worth taking note of the names on the rosters since we're going to see a few that will play on more Saturdays in the future.
I'm just about to head out to Cowboy Stadium (as presented by AT&T or something like that). Four games on tap today as every single high school championship game will be played under the dome in Arlington this year. Unfortunately, the 6-man games were last week. But the small schools are just as fun to watch.
So this is the day that my facebook and twitter feeds become a little football-heavy. If you're down with that, feel free to follow along. If not, feel free to steer clear.
Here's what we're in store for today:
10a - 1A Division I - Stamford v Shiner
Shiner was all that kept this from being the third matchup in a row between Stamford and Mart. This year's Stamford team lacks the offensive and defensive MVP from last season: Hagen Hutchinson completed a redshirt season at Midwestern State after arriving last season without a scholarship offer. The school's only loss this year was to Cisco, who will be playing the night game for a 2A title. I can't say that I know a darned thing about Shiner other than their record (11-3) and that they are home to the greatest brewery on earth. But I like Stamford in this game.
Halftime Update: Shiner looks like the more complete team, leading 21-7. Stamford has another great QB and a monster WR. But they're getting limited opportunities to shine (sorry).
Final: Stamford wins it 41-28 after being down 7-28 on the opening drive of Q3. Impressive comeback. QB/FS is the second player to win Offensive and Defensive MVP. First was last year's QB/FS from Stamford. Gotta say the WR for Stamford was pretty deserving, though. Gonna be hard to catch a better game this weekend. This one was fun.
1p - 1A Division II - Wellington v Falls City
I know nothing of either team. This ought to make it an interesting game for that reason alone. Falls City won a 2010 championship, but I'm not sure that was before my time of making the trek to catch these games. Wellington apparently has an all-state QB, but Falls City has won it's first three playoff games 151-0 before beating a good program in Tenaha last week. Yeah, this could be good.
Not Even Final Update: Wellington running away at the end of Q3 - 34-6. Both teams are a mix of pro-style and Strasbourg offense. Big deficit is causing the Beavers to run 4 receiver sets. Results are predictable.
Final: A slightly more merciful finish of 42-20. Games are running a bit over the scheduled time. That definitely makes it more challenging to sit through four of these games.
5p - 2A Division I - Wall v Cameron Yoe
Not sure how much this years Cameron Yoe team resembles last seasons', but this is their third championship game in four years. They're probably pretty good.
8p - 2A Division II - Cisco v Refugio
Rematch of last year, which Refugio won 36-35. Automatic for being a good game.
» DFW Varsity: Dream state: Half of UIL football finals have defending champ
» Dallas Morning News: Thursday's Class 2A, A football state final previews, predictions
» Dallas Morning News: Big-time college prospects abound in high school football state-title games
» Abilene Reporter-News: Cisco, Refugio set to tangle in rematch of 2011 title tilt
» Amarillo Globe-News: Wellington opponent Falls City determined to win state title
» Big Country: Stamford Faces Tough Shiner Team For The Title
A few bits and pieces to regain some blogging form ...
» Today is Election Day. If you're among the 6% or so ... do your thing. If you're in Austin, however, you've still got more time before things get going for picking Mark Strama's replacement.
An interesting story with an obviously compelling hook. But one issue to take with it:
Jacqueline Greene and her three small children slept in their Sharpstown-area apartment without a door for three nights last week because she is more than two months in arrears on her $593-a-month rent.
The story goes on to identify the apartment complex as "Villa de Cancun, in the 9400 block of Woodfair behind Sharpstown Mall." Nevermind that Sharpstown Mall isn't a thing anymore. Even more importantly ... never mind that the 9400 block of Woodfair is in Westwood ... 3.5 miles from PlazAmericas. Which is where this happened:
» Chron: Viva Cinema says it had ‘no choice’ but to close its doors
This is a bit of a shame. Mostly because I never made it over there for a movie and a meal. Which is probably part of the problem.
And in some high school football items ...
» I'm already prepping for another trip to JerryWorld, where we get one additional game on Championship Thursday. Unfortunately, my old school lost in the last seconds at the hands of one of the better QBs in the state last weekend. I'll be over it in about six months. But here's what the offerings have been slimmed down to so far:
5A1: DeSoto v Allen; Pearland v SA Madison
Obviously, I would have loved to see a Trinty-Pearland rematch here. But Allen and DeSoto are arguably the two best teams in the state. Pearland didn't even start the season ranked, which I thought was bogus. Believe me ... they aren't to be taken lightly. For what it's worth, the SA Madison team looks like a fairly strong representative of SA football. No combination of outcomes would surprise me for the Championship game, but whoever comes out of the Metroplex should win it all.
5A2: Cedar Hill v Lake Travis; Katy v SA Johnson
Katy and Cedar Hill met last season for the championship, with Katy winning 35-24. I wouldn't expect any other outcome this time around.
4A1: Denton Guyer v Highland Park; Stratford v SA Brennan
I'm a little bored of seeing Denton Guyer over the past three years in the Championship game. But they would seem to be the best pick I can think of for next weekend's final winner.
4A2: Aledo v Ennis; Brenham v Calhoun
I have to admit to being curious to see what Aledo looks like without the second-coming of Earl Campbell running roughshod over the competition.
3A1: Stephenville v Kilgore; Carthage v LaGrange
Stephenville v Carthage would be a great game to watch, I think.
3A2: Graham v Argyle; Fairfield v Sinton
I've obviously seen Argyle back in 2011 when they were pretty solid losers against Wimberly. But I have no lasting memory of the game ... so it'll be fun to see some new teams regardless of how this one pans out. #yayalzheihmers
2A1: Wall v New Boston; White Oak v Cameron Yoe
Saw Cameron Yoe look incredible last season.
2A2: Cisco v Leonard; Refugio
Cisco and Refugio met in the 2011 championship game. No idea what to expect this time around, but that's what makes the small schools so fun to watch.
1A1: Stamford v Hico; Mart v Shiner
I refuse to recognize a championship game at this level that has any schools other than Mart and Stamford in it. Stamford doesn't have Hagen Hutchenson back at QB/FS, so I've got to think that any team coached by a guy named Rusty Nail (as Mart does) is my pick.
1A2: Wellington v Albany; Tenaha v Falls City
Tenaha and Albany strike me as suitable combatants for a nice East Texas civil war game.
Stratford-Brennan are kicking off tonight at Reliant. And Saturday at Reliant has the Brenham-Calhoun game at noon and the Katy-SA Johnson game at 4. It's not just for scheduling purposes that I note this. The UIL has been saying that the only reason they can hold multiple state championship games at JerryWorld is because they need 4 dressing rooms to accommodate one pair of teams rolling in and another pair rolling out. Funny how it's only a rule when it needs to be.
Class 5A ----------------- Result - Opponent -------- Record ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Allen W 49-27 Southlake Carroll (1-0) 2. Katy W 41-3 Klein (1-0) 3. Cibolo Steele L 45-46 SA Madison (0-1) 4. DeSoto W 46-7 Arlington Martin (1-0) 5. Southlake Carroll L 27-49 Allen (0-1) 6. Euless Trinity BYE (0-0) 7. Austin Westlake L 31-43 Cedar Park (0-1) 8. GP North Shore W 51-14 Clear Springs (1-0) 9. Houston Lamar W 29-0 Klein Forest (1-0) 10. Coppell W 32-24 Longview (1-0) 11. Cedar Hill W 38-28 Denton Guyer (1-0) 12. Dallas Skyline W 33-30 The Woodlands (1-0) 13. Lake Travis L 19-25 Converse Judson (0-1) 14. Arlington Martin L 7-46 DeSoto (0-1) 15. Converse Judson W 25-19 Lake Travis (1-0) 15. Arlington Bowie W 24-9 Mansfield (1-0) 17. SA Northside O'Connor W 41-28 SA Alamo Heights (1-0) 17. Lufkin W 52-29 John Tyler (1-0) 17. Tyler Lee W 55-20 Sulphur Springs (1-0) 20. SA Northside Brandeis L 12-31 Smithson Valley (0-1) 20. SA Madison W 46-45 Cibolo Steele (1-0) 20. Abilene L 7-37 Hebron (0-1) 23. Abilene Cooper L 36-39 WF Rider (0-1) 23. Longview L 24-34 Coppell (0-1)
Quite a few losses to open up the season with. Credit that to some tough games lined up for Zero Week. For starters, Allen dings Southlake Carroll with a season-opening loss for the second time in a row. Carroll will still get credit for a quality loss. But Arlington Martin's harsher loss to DeSoto will likely be less forgivable. It may be worth watching to see if the San Antonio teams are turning a corner after Madison's win over Cibolo Steele. AP moves Madison up to #10 after this win. It's also worth noting Houston Lamar getting some reputation points after a surprisingly well-played championship game against Allen back in December. Trinity High slept in and starts the season off with tough opponents: Jenks (OK), DeSoto, and Bentonville (AR). If they manage to escape that with a perfect record, it's pretty much a waiting game for Trinity and Allen to face off in the playoffs.
» Cinco Ranch 38 - Cy Ranch 7
Luke Klingler (David's kid) is the starting QB. His aim for the season has to be to show that an ACL injury last season is behind him and that he has the tools to get a D1 scholarship offer. The season starts with a solid win. Klingler's stat line is relatively modest 5-11-105-1-1. The Cougars start the season with a good showing with the running game, though - 35 for 273 yards.
» Manvel 33 - Spring 12
I have no idea why everyone is writing off Manvel this season. They've graduated a quality QB to Old Dominion and Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Klingler has moved on to New Caney along with his senior OL son, Cory. But they've still got a quality defense and the offense seems to have always been a product of Head Coach Kirk Martin. As long as the new skill position players can hold their own against the better teams on the schedule, I'd expect them to crack the Top 25 and maybe even nip at the heels of the Top 10. For what it's worth, Dave Campbell has Manvel ranked #17 after this win.
» Pearland 49 - Madison 0
Like Manvel, I'm about as skeptical that Pearland is going to be as forgetable as the AP voters seem to think. This was a good start against weak competition. But still an impressive showing.
In my 'hood ...
» Sharpstown 48 - Sterling 39
» Lee 31 - Scarborough 6
» Strake Jesuit 14 - Spring Dekaney 41
Class 4A ----------------- Result - Opponent -------- Record ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Denton Guyer L 28-38 Cedar Hill (0-1) 2. Cedar Park W 43-31 Austin Westlake (1-0) 3. Aledo W 44-3 Highland Park (1-0) 4. SA Northside Brennan W 52-0 SA Holmes (1-0) 5. Lancaster L 27-39 South Oak Cliff (0-1) 6. Whitehouse W 58-21 Hallsville (1-0) 7. Humble Summer Creek W 78-13 South Houston (1-0) 8. Tyler L 28-52 Lufkin (1-0) 9. Georgetown W 35-14 Killeen Ellison (1-0) 10. WF Rider W 39-36 Abilene Cooper (1-0) 10. Texas City W 48-0 Dickinson (1-0)
Count Denton Guyer with a quality loss. The Monday AP poll has them ranked third despite the loss to a top-tier 5A team. The new entries to the chart (Summer Creek and SA Brennan) are worth a little further research and Texas City could make up for Galveston county's absence after La Marque's move to 3A.
New Caney 14 - Caney Creek 35
The other Klingler branch has uprooted from Manvel to New Caney. The new team isn't predicted to be on par with the Manvel teams, but Cory Klingler already has a solid offer to play at Rice next year. Jimmy's offense racked up 321 yards of total offense.
Class 3A ----------------- Result - Opponent -------- Record ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Stephenville W 17-16 Monterrey Tec (1-0) 2. Carthage W 42-28 Jacksonville (1-0) 3. Gilmer W 57-7 Atlanta (1-0) 4. Navasota W 35-7 Willis (1-0) 5. Argyle W 38-9 Abilene Wylie (1-0) 6. Kilgore W 42-7 Marshall (1-0) 7. La Marque W 32-7 Galveston Ball (1-0) 8. Graham W 51-7 Mineral Wells (1-0) 9. Bellville W 44-14 Caldwell (1-0) 10. Abilene Wylie L 9-38 Argyle (0-1)
Class 2A ----------------- Result - Opponent -------- Record ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Newton W 44-20 Bridge City (1-0) 2. Cameron Yoe W 37-34 Waco Connally (1-0) 3. East Bernard W 63-0 Second Baptist (1-0) 4. Refugio W 32-30 Ingleside (1-0) 5. Canadian W 48-21 Amarillo River Rd (1-0) 6. New Boston W 48-6 DeKalb (1-0) 7. Daingerfield L 14-16 Gladewater (0-1) 8. Wall W 46-8 Coleman (1-0) 9. Tatum W 21-6 Arp (1-0) 10. Cisco W 54-8 Early (1-0)
Class 1A ----------------- Result - Opponent -------- Record ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Mart W 32-27 Teague (1-0) 2. Tenaha W 47-6 Joaquin (1-0) 3. Alto L 35-36 Elkhart (0-1) 4. Mason W 55-6 Winters (1-0) 5. Stamford W 40-13 McKamey (1-0) 6. Wellington W 22-6 Childress (1-0) 7. Shiner W 34-0 Vanderbilt Indust. (1-0) 8. Stratford W 29-18 Friona (1-0) 9. Munday L 22-27 Windthorst (0-1) 10. Anson W 50-20 Hamlin (1-0)
Way, way elsehwere ...
» American Fork (UT) 35 - Mountain Crest (UT) 14
Of interest to me since there's a next-generation member of the Katoa family (of Trinity High fame from the 80s) playing for American Form. Junior RB Pini Katoa ran for 121 yards and 2 TDs. That goes along with 2 receptions for 30 yards. They're a week ahead of us in Texas and the previous week saw a 28-41 loss to Brighton. Not sure I've found a reliable box score for that game yet, but it looks like he ended the first game with 27 rushing / 58 receiving yards. It might not be a longshot to see the kid playing on Saturdays in a couple of years.
Saturday went so well that I had a chance to get to the stadium before I even woke up ... errr, collected my notes for the teams playing that day. So this'll obviously serve as a recap for whoever spends their holiday free time reading blogs.
On the whole, the games this day were all entertaining from start to finish. I still get the most enjoyment from watching small schools play for a title, but the schools that look like a decent college program on the field didn't disappoint this year. Each game had a lot to offer.
» Denton Guyer v Georgetown ... I saw Guyer lose to Cibolo Steele last year. This time around, I had little idea what to expect from Georgetown, but their defense made for some great viewing early on. That was before 2014 UT commit Jerrod Heard blew things open. This was the only time I recall seeing a team change momentum in the game, still be behind by four points in the third quarter, but had a sense that the game was all but over because Guyer was beginning to get their offense in sync. UT could be scary whenever it's Heard's turn to be under center. Great two-way threat. The final was 48-37
» Katy v Cedar Hill ... For me, it felt odd rooting for Katy since I've never been much of a fan of theirs. But they were definitely the favorite and the entire weekend was shaping up to be big for the extended Houston area with Navasota and East Bernard already winners. I'll give Cedar Hill credit for proving me wrong to think that the real championship was played between Katy and Cibolo Steele the week before. The Tigers won their 7th title on more than the legwork of Adam Taylor, who should give some reason to take notice of Nebraska in the years ahead. Cedar Hill managed to put Katy in the rare position of trailing in the second half for a brief period of time. I think that speaks volumes for the quality of play Cedar Hill brought. In the end, it was 35-24 Katy and another trophy for the dynasty.
» Houston Lamar v Allen ... Pure underdog scenario for Lamar in this game. Yet they managed to acquit themselves nicely in front of 48,379 fans in the stadium (1,500 shy of the unofficial record set in 1977). In the end, the Allen buzzsaw won out 35-21 on the arm and legs of sophomore (read: 15 yr old) QB Kyler Murray.
As an indicator of how nuts high school football in Texas is, consider this ...
— Damon Sayles (@DamonSayles) December 23, 2012
The DMN has some other choice nuggets from Day Three. I'll definitely say that it was one of the better overall full days of football that I've seen in the three years I've done this marathon.
Next year's tournament will not only have one extra game to fit in, but there's a chance that it might take place in Houston. If nothing else, I truly hope they keep the single-site option for as long as I can keep up the habit of attending these. There's not a better value for what you get to see and it's well worth the vacation time. I just hope I get to see my alma mater back in a title game soon enough.
The Dallas Morning News crew does a decent job of the one-stop overview of today's games at JerryWorld. It seems to be a pattern that the smaller the schools, the more interesting the games based on my scan of the teams involved today. Today's lineup offers a good contrast in school sizes as we get one game each from 2A, 3A, and 4A.
Yesterday's 1A games definitely lived up to the billing and the handful of college recruited players on display showed they can own a game at the 1A level. Munday's Dee Paul played injured. Stamford's Hagen Hutchinson won the game MVP award for both offense and defense (announced as a first). The late game was more one-sided, with East Bernard leading Corsicana Mildred 28-0 at the half (which was my cue to leave). The final ended at 56-14 and was a good showcase opportunity for EB's Troy Slanina (TCU) and Mildred's Nic Shimonek (Iowa). Most of what I saw Shimonek do was run for his life in the backfield while Slanina ran a pretty disciplined old-school running offense.
Below is my cheat sheet on today's championship games on players to watch for. I'll be tweeting at various points in the games and posting some pics on facebook as events amuse me. Feel free to check in if football means anything to you this weekend. I'll likely update this as I get in more research right before the game.
» Munday Moguls
(averaging 58 points and 467 total yards per game)
QB/DB Dee Paul - headed to SMU. Rushed for over 2,000 yards as a junior. Paul is the AP Defensive Player of the year.
DL Lawrence Collier
RB Roddrick Taylor - rushed for 1497 yards and 25 TDs this season.
» Tenaha Tigers
(defeated Stamford 34-27 in regular season)
RB Chavis Gregory - Junior player who has 1465 rushing yards, 22 TDs this season.
LB DeAaron Roland
» Stamford Bulldogs
QB/FS Hagen Hutchinson - dual threat QB who played in last year's championship game, throwing for 353 yards after being unable to throw due to an injury the week before. This season's passing yardage is 2,153 with 33 TDs. On the ground, he gained 994 yards with 13 TDs. His dad is the head coach for Stamford. No scholarship info that I've run across, but there's a report that he's interested in Brigham Young.
LB Ty McLemore
» Mart Panthers
(coach's name is Rusty Nail ... seriously, how cool is that?)
QB NeNerian Thomas - only a sophomore.
WR/DB/K Quentin Bryant
LB Collin Nail - coach's kid, won All-State honors last season as a Freshman.
» Corsicana Mildred
RB/DB Draylon Sterling
DB Jeremy Ballard
QB Nic Shimonek - Iowa commit, has over 2500 passing yards this season and 842 on the ground.
» East Bernard
QB/DB Ty Slanina - headed to TCU next season, where he'll play slot receiver.
LB Trevor Long
DB Grant Aschenbeck
Later today, I'm off for what seems like a new annual tradition of catching the High School Football championship games in Arlington. Oh, and there are also parents to visit and catch up with for a portion of the holidays.
For the sportier option, here's what's on tap ...
Thursday - December 20th
1A-D2 - 12pm - Munday vs Tenaha
1A-D1 - 4pm - Stamford vs Mart
2A-D2 - 8pm - Corsicana Mildred vs East Bernard
The small schools were the most fun to watch last year and I expect them to be as entertaining this year. If you're any kind of football fan and you're not up for the full marathon like me, I'd easily recommend the Thursday batch of games. The 1A-D2 game is a rematch of last year's game won by Teneha. This year, Munday is the team returning a lot of seniors and possibly the favorite. Stamford is a repeat appearance from last year, when they lost to Mason. Along the way to last year's appearance, however, Stamford beat Mart in the semi-final game. And the 2011 championship game was between these same two schools. So there should be plenty of familiarity and bad blood to go around. I have no idea what to expect this time, but I'll be shocked if the 4pm game is a disappointment. I know absolutely nothing of the 2A-D2 schools and that's my homework for the vacation.
Friday - December 21st
2A-D1 - 12pm - Daingerfield vs Cameron Yoe
3A-D2 - 4pm - Gilmer vs Navasoto
4A-D2 - 8pm - Lancaster vs Cedar Park
This will be the first chance I've had to see either of the 2A-D1 teams, but both have been mainstays of the top teams at that level in the past. Ditto for the 3A-D2 schools. I'm only vaguely familiar with the 4A-D2 schools, which takes some doing since I tend to at least have some familiarity with the better programs at that level. That entire field didn't strike me as particularly strong once it was set. But a large part of that is due to a number of programs moving up to 5A and even a few notables moving down to 3A. One of those - Stephenville - won their 3A championship game last week. It's definitely a new decade in 4A football. Hopefully, next year won't see me lose out on free time for following Friday night action.
Saturday - December 22nd
4A-D1 - 12pm - Denton Guyer vs Georgetown
5A-D2 - 4pm - Cedar Hill vs Katy
5A-D1 - 8pm - Allen vs Houston Lamar
This is just going to be a great day of football. Obviously, the Houston area is well represented here. I suspect that Lamar is a sacrificial lamb in the big game. Katy should be favored, but just as last week's big game against former State Champs Cibolo Steele showed, the level of competition is enough to make the game interesting. Denter Guyer is a repeat appearance from last season and arrives this year after a shootout against Tyler John Tyler High. I'm a little disappointed that I don't get to see the UH QB commit from Tyler, but I'll live.
All in all, not a great deal of major rooting interests. Manvel lost a heartbreaker to a subpar team and Euless Trinity failed to make it through the buzzsaw of great Region 1 teams in their bracket. Finally seeing Gilmer in action is a bit of a treat.
It's not lost on me that the folks at Reliant Stadium have purchased a new carpet to try and compete for these games in the years ahead. I'd obviously love to see that, but I'll have to get a little creative about finding some time to trek back up to DFW for some family time.
» Chron: Story lines to follow at high school football title games
» DMN: What you need to know: UIL 5A, 4A, 2A state football championships
» KTXS: Stamford ready for bright lights of Jerry World this time around
» WF Times Record: Tenaha took its lumps early on
» WF Times Record: AP picks Paul as Defensive MVP in Class A
» Star-Telegram: Texas APSE Class 2A and 1A all-state football teams
Euless Trinity. Out. Manvel High. Out. I'm not sure that I have much of a rooting interest left in anyone for the remainder of the high school football playoffs. I'm starting to scope out what I might have to look forward to at the JerryWorld High School Football Woodstockapalooza later this month. For a day, though, I'm greiving the loss of the two schools I wanted to see play there.
That said, the games left in 5A-D1 to settle on half of the bracket are each marvels in scheduling. Allen vs Dallas Skyline and Southlake Carroll vs Desoto will only end up with one team in the championship game. With apologies to HISD's Lamar High, I'd expect Galena Park's North Shore to be on the other side of the field for that last game. Even if they manage to get upset, I think there's going to be a good team from the DFW area crowned for this title. All along, this was a tough bracket for Euless Trinity to get to JerryWorld from in a year when they didn't have as solid of an offense to go any deeper. My standard M.O. is to root against whoever's playing against Southlake Carroll. And for the record, the only loss on SLC this season was at the hands of Allen High. If there's a rematch of that game, I'm hunting down an internet radio feed. And rooting for Allen.
In 5A-D2, Katy is the 800-pound gorilla. They'll likely face Cibolo Steele the week after next. That's essentially a title game for all intents and purposes. I'd love to see that scheduled at Reliant, but it probably won't happen. Austin Westlake is likely coming out of the other side of the bracket. That should make for another great title game, if it pans out that way.
The entire 4A field in both divisions strikes me as far more of an unknown this year. In large part, that's because so many of the interesting teams in years past have either moved up to 5A (Manvel) or down to 3A (Stephenville, La Marque). Nederland pulled off a nice upset of Pearland Dawson at Reliant this weekend, so maybe they're playing a hot hand. We'll see who makes it to Arlington. Sometimes the games you know the least about end up being among the more entertaining.
The 3A fields will end up with championship games on two separate weekends. That means I'll miss out on the D1 game, which is likely to have a better matchup. I'll pick this as ending up with Carthage vs Stephenville. Two great football towns that will miss out on playing in front of 30-40,000 people. But they're at least more proximate to Arlington, so they should travel well and maybe play in front of 10-12,000. Division 2 has a few solid programs still in the hunt. No chance of seeing La Marque play for a championship again, though.
For the smaller school brackets, it's a study in contrasts. 2A has a lot of programs left playing that I'm not terribly studied up on. But both 1A brackets still have potential for a rematch of both games played last year. As much as I like to see new schools from time to time, I think I'd find a complete 1A rematch setup pretty interesting for once.
In memoriam, here's the profile KHOU ran on Manvel High. I'm not ready to call it a jinx, but I'm not over the narrow loss they suffered Saturday, either.
In better news, there seems to be a fair chance of Baylor being offered an invite to the Meineke Bowl here in Houston. One of the other predictions out there seems to suggest West Virginia as a possibility, instead. Either way, I think Art Briles or Dana Holgorsen coming back to Houston for a game would be some fun football to watch.