With the Texas high school football playoffs about to kickoff, everybody has their eyes on state title favorites.
But here is a look at 10 sleeper teams that could make deep runs.
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘Valley Week’? Well, if you haven’t, it is in reference to the third round of the playoffs when teams from the Rio Grande Valley usually meet their demise at the hands of teams from San Antonio. However, this year could be different and look no further than San Benito.
The Greyhounds boast one of the strongest teams the Valley has produced in a while and they’ve beaten area foes with ease this season. They boast a stingy defense as well as a playmaker looking to make a statewide name for himself in Tyrone Harper.
Richmond George Ranch
George Ranch’s 6-3 record might not look that impressive on paper, but the Longhorns have the pieces to put together a big run in a wide-open 6A DII Region III. They also has plenty of playoff experience and has a phenomenal head coach in Ricky Tullos.
The Longhorns’ three losses came to The Woodlands, Alief Hastings and Pearland Dawson — the latter two by a combined eight points. George Ranch is dangerous come playoff time and this year is no different. Expect the defense, led by junior defensive end Peter Mpagi, to rise to the occasion.
Guess who’s back?
After being labeled as a state title favorite in the preseason, Steele fell out of favor after starting the year off 1-4. But don’t sleep on the Knights; they could very well make a return to the state title game.
After all, Steele has recovered from its early season downfall, winning its last five games of the year, including a key win over Schertz Clemens last Friday. Steele certainly has the talent with guys like Texas commit Caden Sterns and Baylor pledge JT Woods. It’s just about putting it all together.
In case you haven’t noticed, 6A DII is wild. It’s anybody’s title to win and a number of sleepers could arise. Mansfield is definitely one to keep an eye on. The Dallas-area program is always a tough out in the playoffs and has been getting better week-by-week.
The Tigers suffered an early season loss to a non-playoff team in Flower Mound Marcus, and it seemed like people forgot about them. However, Mansfield has allowed fewer than 17 points in each game during its six-game win streak and has one of the state’s best defenses, led by UCLA safety commit Cam’ron Jones.
Mesquite Poteet needed a win over West Mesquite in the final week of the regular season to even advance to the playoffs. But now that the Pirates are in, they have a chance to make some serious noise. Marshall has been on a hot streak as of late, but this is a winnable game for the Pirates.
Looking ahead, potential matchups against Frisco Wakeland and Mansfield Lake Ridge appear favorable. Led by talented sophomore running back Seth McGowan, who missed a large part of the season due to injury, Poteet has the makings of a Cinderella story in 5A DI Region II. I have the Pirates in the quarterfinals.
Port Neches-Groves fell to rival Nederland in Mid-County Madness to end its regular season. But don’t count the Indians out just yet. Before the loss, Port Neches-Groves appeared to be the premier team in the Golden Triangle and was blowing out opponents left and right.
The loss to Nederland might have been the spark it needed. After all, sometimes a loss can be a good thing. With Texas quarterback commit Roschon Johnson at the helm, PNG can make a deep run in 5A DII Region III.
There has been almost no chatter about Austin McCallum this season. But Texas high school fans need to start paying attention. After all, Austin McCallum had a sensational season, going undefeated and almost untested towards the end of the year.
In fact, McCallum has been one of the most dominant teams in the state over the last five weeks, winning by an average of 60-4. The Knights have a manageable road to the quarterfinals in 5A DII Region IV.
Midlothian Heritage is only in its second year of existence, but it has a real chance to make a run all the way to the 4A DI state finals. The Jaguars are no strangers to the postseason. They went three deep in their inaugural varsity season and won’t be fazed by the bright lights on Friday nights in November and December.
Midlothian Heritage had a perfect regular season and has been boosted by the arrival of 2019 FBS wide receiver recruit Langston Anderson, who moved in from Mississippi this offseason. I actually have Midlothian Heritage in the state finals.
Schools like Seminole and Graham seem to be grabbing all the headlines in 4A DII Region I, but one school that has a legitimate chance to win the region and make it to the state title game is Glen Rose. The Tigers lost in its season opener to Grandview but have been on fire since then, winning nine in a row.
During their nine-game win streak, the Tigers have scored more than 50 points seven times. Glen Rose’s offense is downright dangerous, and the defense should be able to do just enough.
It’s tough sledding in 3A DI Region II, but one team that can make some serious noise is Jefferson. The East Texas program lost to White Oak a couple of weeks, but I’m chalking that down as an anomaly rather than a sign of what’s to come. Jefferson is just too talented not to make a deep run.
Led by wide receiver TQ Jackson, Jefferson can score in bunches and will be tough to stop. The Bulldogs also know how to win tough games as they knocked off Elysian Fields and Waskom early in the year.
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