Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com

 

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Several undefeated and prohibitive favorites got knocked out of the playoffs last week. Sure, every game is tough at this time of the year, but many of those who lost were picked by many to get to state and win it — or make the push. Newton was one of those schools. The Eagles lost to Arp by a touchdown in 3A Division II. Brock was an undefeated defending state champ ranked No. 1 all year and looking for a repeat. That hope got crushed by Wall in 3A Div. I. Waco La Vega looked for a repeat state championship in 4A Div. I, but that went by the wayside when the Pirates couldn’t get a repeat win over district foe China Spring.

Manvel has one of its best teams in history, and a run to state looked promising after a win over Cedar Park. That came to a screeching halt with a loss to Temple. And Galena Park North Shore looked to be on pace for a repeat trip to state to defend its title, but Atascocita had other plans in mind with an overtime win.

Upsets shouldn’t be surprises when teams get to the state semifinals, because every team is good and every team has as good a chance to win it — despite the win/loss records. But, here are some games to watch that could shock the state if it happens.

6A Division I

The Woodlands (14-0) vs Allen (14-0)

1 p.m., Saturday — DKR Stadium, Austin

Ok, it’s not really a shocker if one undefeated team beats another. But this is Allen, the largest school in the state, the school with a 500-plus member marching band, a $60 million stadium and three straight state titles from 2012-14.

Their 57-game winning streak was snapped in last year’s state semifinal to Westlake, and they haven’t lost since then. The Woodlands won’t fear the Eagles. The Highlanders knocked off Katy (26-3) in non-district and have won convincingly this year. Allen traveled to San Angelo for a third round game, but expect The Woodlands to have a better crowd. They’re playing for teammate Grant Milton, the senior linebacker who suffered a brain injury two weeks ago in the regional win over Austin Bowie.

6A Division II

Katy Cinco Ranch (11-3) vs Cibolo Steele (13-1)

6 p.m., Saturday — Alamodome, San Antonio

The Steele Knights have a loss on the record. It was a 59-56 overtime loss to Lake Travis in an unbelievable shootout with an even more unbelievable ending. The Knights have allowed just seven points in their last three playoff games.

The Cinco Ranch Cougars have three losses — Cy Ranch by 7, Katy Taylor by 2 and a blowout loss to Katy. But things have clicked for the Cougars in the playoffs, and Houston- area schools usually rise to the occasion in the late rounds of the playoffs.

5A Division I

Temple (11-3) vs Richmond Foster (14-0)

2 p.m., Saturday — Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos

Richmond Foster has looked downright impressive all season, including non-district wins over Katy Taylor and A&M Consolidated before cruising through district. The Falcons have obliterated the competition through four rounds of the playoffs.

Temple won’t shock anyone after last week’s win over Manvel. They have enough athletes to win this game and have won five straight since its last loss — 17-16 against undefeated state semifinalist College Station High.

5A Division II

Mesquite Poteet (11-3) vs Aledo (14-0)

7:30 p.m., Friday — Ford Center, Frisco

Aledo has looked impressive right out of the gates with wins over Colleyville Heritage and Mansfield Legacy and a blowout win over a team from California before completely destroying its district. The Bearcats have been here before, and they average nearly 59 points a game — nothing new for this program.

Poteet’s losses are nothing to snub at — Denton Ryan, Mansfield Legacy and Highland Park. The Pirates know how to slow down potent offenses, and the Pirate faithful fans will pack the Ford Center for what could be an entertaining game.

4A Division II

Geronimo Navarro (14-0) vs West Orange-Stark (14-0)

7:30 p.m., Friday — NRG Stadium, Houston

West Orange-Stark won state last year and the Mustangs haven’t slowed down in 2016. They have allowed just 56 points in 14 games — that’s four points a game! They won their first five games of the season by a combined score of 254-2, and that included wins over the first-, second- and third-place teams from 10-4A Div. I — Bridge City, Silsbee and Little Cypress-Mauriceville. The Mustangs have allowed just 26 points in four playoff games.

The Navarro Panthers have looked incredible in their own right. They’ve beaten Giddings, La Grange, Refugio and average 48 points a game. Could they have the best shot of knocking off the defending champs with its powerful offense against a formidable defense? Something’s got to give.

3A Division I

Yoakum (10-4) vs Malakoff (14-0)

7:30 p.m., Friday — DKR Stadium, Austin

Malakoff did something that teams in Texas rarely do — beat Cameron Yoe in the late rounds of the playoffs. Malakoff needed overtime to do it, and they did it just one week after knocking off Rockdale. The Tigers have been impressive all year, and that’s reflected in their record. The Tigers average 46 points a game.

The Yoakum Bulldogs started the season with a 2-4 record, but the losses were close, and to good teams. The Bulldogs have won 10 straight and believe they can beat anyone. And there’s nothing better than being on a hot streak in the playoffs.

3A Division II

Canadian (12-2) vs Gunter (14-0)

7 p.m., Friday — Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls

So, it wouldn’t really surprise anyone if Canadian wins this one as the Wildcats are two-time defending state champs. However, early season losses had many scratching their heads. The Wildcats have won 11 straight games and have a bunch of kids who have been there, done that. They face a Gunter team that has looked unstoppable all season. It’ll be a long trip for both teams, but the price of admission will be well worth it.

2A Division II

Wellington (13-1) vs Iraan (14-0)

7 p.m., Friday — Shotwell Stadium, Abilene

The Iraan Braves circled one date on their calendars and have looked forward to it all year. They have one week before it gets here. There have been some heartbreaking things happen over the weekend though, things that truly put a game like football in perspective. However, there’s still a game to play. Iraan has to get past the Wellington Skyrockets first, though. Iraan has been ranked No. 2 most of the season and wants a shot at Bremond in the state finals next week, but the Skyrockets might have a say in that. Wellington had a loss to Memphis in early October but has been hot since then. The Skyrockets have allowed just 19 points in their four playoff games, including shutouts of their last two opponents (38-0 vs Hamlin and 51-0 vs Seagraves. Shotwell Stadium will see a good one on Friday.

2A Division II

Burton (13-1) vs Bremond (14-0)

7 p.m., Friday — Merrill Green Stadium, Bryan

These schools aren’t separated by as many miles as most state semifinal teams, and Bryan High School is the perfect venue for this clash. The big question is can Burton stop Bremond’s Roshauud Paul and the potent Tiger offense. The next question is will Bremond have a hangover after the win over Tenaha and not look past Burton to a looming match with Iraan? Burton is on a 12-game winning streak in its own right and no team has come close to them since Week 2. Bremond hopes to keep its 45-game winning streak intact.

 

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