Photo: Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball.com

HOUSTON — It was a storyline all week long heading into a highly anticipated matchup between Houston Lamar and Galena Park North Shore.

Whichever team won the turnover battle was sure to come out on top in a slugfest of Houston heavyweights.

Sure enough, North Shore capitalized on a couple of early Lamar turnovers and cruised to a 44-29 win in the 6A DI regional finals.

“The turnovers were huge,” said North Shore head coach John Kay. “I think we were a bit amped up coming out. It helped us settle down and get up. We’ll take the win, and we’ll move on from here.”

Photo: Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball

Lamar looked to have momentum in the contest’s first three minutes as it forced a three-and-out and quickly moved into the red zone. But then the tables turned.

North Shore linebacker Datrevion Singletary made a great play on the ball, came away with an interception and raced back the other way for a 90-yard touchdown.

Lamar fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, which led to a short touchdown run by sophomore running back Zach Evans. Following a big defensive stand, Evans scored his second touchdown of the night to give North Shore a commanding 21-0 lead.

“Early on, we were really good,” Kay said. “I think the turnovers, the special teams and the defense were all big for us. We did some good things out there.”

North Shore and Lamar exchanged some shots in the second half, but the damage had already been done.

Photo: Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball

When Lamar looked like it was close to turning the corner, the North Shore defense was there to make a key stop, forcing five turnovers total.

Evans finished the night with 174 yards rushing and four touchdowns and helped North Shore close out the game.

“(Evans) has really stepped his game up,” Kay said. “It all goes back to the way he practices. He’s grinding. He’s being a good leader. He’s grown himself in some intangibles that people take for granted, and it’s showing on the field.”

North Shore moves on to the 6A DI Region III finals where it will face Katy, which is coming off a big win over Humble Atascocita.

After a rough start to the year, North Shore and its talented underclassmen have found their footing and are ready for the challenge ahead.

“We know what kind of program they have,” Kay said. “When you talk about the gold standard in Houston high school football, the conversation begins and ends with Katy. But we’ll line up and give them our best shot.”

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