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1. Down goes Katy

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The road to state runs through Lake Travis. Everyone should remember Lake Travis is a defending state champion, so it should come as no surprise that the Cavaliers took down Houston-area heavyweight Katy over the weekend, 28-14.

Lake Travis played excellent defense and did just enough on offense. With Ohio State quarterback pledge Matthew Baldwin running the show and two-way standout Garrett Wilson making big plays, Lake Travis is ready to defend its crown in 6A DI.

2. Allen is back

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In the state title game that is. After missing out on the fun in AT&T Stadium last year, Allen, one of the state’s true powerhouse programs, will have the opportunity to claim the 6A DI crown after taking down Round Rock Cedar Ridge, 28-7. While Grant Tisdale, Theo Wease and the rest of the offense have gotten most of the headline, the defense has been rock solid all year long. Led by Jayden Jernigan and Jaylen Jones, this Allen team has a different style than the ones fans were used to seeing with Kyler Murray at the helm.

3. Week-by-week

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There is nothing flashy about Cy-Fair. This isn’t a team that will excite anyone, and the Bobcats weren’t really expected to make it all the way to AT&T Stadium. But here we are. Cy-Fair simply keeps winning games by any means necessary just like it did over the weekend as it topped Austin Westlake, 14-6. This is Cy-Fair’s first appearance in a state championship, and make no mistake about it, Waco Midway, which has been impressive this postseason, better be ready for an all out war.

4. Dallas shootout

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Everyone expected fireworks as Highland Park took on Denton Ryan at AT&T Stadium, and that’s exactly what we got. Both teams had their explosive offenses on full display, but it was defending state champion Highland Park that made the key stops defensively to pull out a 45-35 win and return to the 5A DI title game. Highland Park was magnificent on third down conversations and quarterback John Stephen Jones, the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has a winner’s mentality.

5. Statement win

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Is this finally the year for Manvel? The question seems to be asked season after season. But yes, this might actually be the year for the Mavericks. Manvel made a statement by hammering previously unbeaten Angleton, 35-10. What made this win even more impressive was the fact that Angleton boasted one of the state’s top defenses regardless of classifications. With electric weapons like Jalen Preston and Kam Scott on the outside, Manvel has been firing on all cylinders offensively and should give Highland Park fits.

6. Don’t call it a comeback

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Aledo hasn’t trailed very often this year. But when the Bearcats faced adversity and a 14-point deficit, they responded. The defending state champions scored 21 unanswered points as they topped Mansfield Legacy, 28-21, on a cold and rainy afternoon. Aledo’s defense stymied Legacy in the second half, and star sophomore running back Jase McClellan put the team on his back as he scored the game-winning 46-yard touchdown. Is there any stopping Aledo? It doesn’t look like it.

7. Scary team

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We’re entering the final week of the Texas high school football season, and it still seems like nobody is talking about College Station. Well, that’s a big mistake. College Station is in the 5A DII state title game after taking down Austin McCallum, which upset Calallen last week, 49-21. College Station is averaging more than 50 points per game in the playoffs and has one of the most electric athletes in the state in Tulsa commit Marquez Perez, who is a dual-threat at the quarterback position. Aledo needs to watch out.

8. Back-to-back?

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Carthage certainly looked like a team capable of winning yet another state title as it defeated Waco La Vega, 46-39. The score looks a lot closer than the game actually was. After all, Carthage jumped out to a 21-0 lead and rode Texas running back Keaontay Ingram to the finish line. Ingram has rushed for more than 2,000 yards this season and is over 5,000 yards for his career. He will have another opportunity to win Offensive MVP at this year’s 4A DI title game

9. If the shoe fits

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Looking for a Cinderella team to root for at this year’s state championship games? Look no further than Rockdale. The Tigers began the year 2-2 and didn’t look poised to make a deep playoff run after a Week 10 loss to Franklin. But with Oklahoma athlete commit Jaquayln Crawford back at full health, Rockdale is now in a position to win a state title. The Tigers secured a big 31-21 win over Yoakum over the weekend and will face Brock in the 3A DI state championship game.

10. Win Streak

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West Orange-Stark extended its impressive win streak to 40 games by knocking off Wimberley, 30-21. WOS is one of the state’s most successful programs and a big-time power in the Golden Triangle. There is no doubt that the Mustangs belong in the elite of the elite when talking about Texas high school football. WOS will look to keep the streak alive and defense its state title against Texarkana Pleasant Grove in the 4A DII championship game.

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