1. Upset alert
Down goes The Woodlands. Considered a state title contender, the Highlanders failed to get anything going on offense and fell to Rockwall in the first round of the playoffs, 23-7. Led by Vanderbilt linebacker commit Alston Orji, the Yellowjackets did a tremendous job of playing tough defense and keeping the high-powered Highlander offense in check.
This was The Woodlands’ first loss at home since the 2012 season. This was arguably the biggest upset of the first round. Rockwall moves on to the area round of the playoffs, where it will take on Sachse on Saturday in Allen.
2. Another upset
Fort Bend Bush was a popular pick to make a deep run in the playoffs. But Katy Taylor was out to ruin your bracket. The Mustangs played tough defense and came away with a surprising 14-0 victory. Led by highly touted defensive end recruit Braedon Mowry, Katy Taylor shut out an offense that was averaging more than 40 points per game.
If the Mustangs keep playing defense the way they did over the weekend, more upsets could be on the horizon. Katy Taylor plays Langham Creek on Friday in Cypress.
3. Title contender
If you slept on Newton before you filled out your bracket, don’t worry. There is still time to hop on the bandwagon. The Southeast Texas powerhouse looked like a well-oiled machine in a 58-0 dismantling of Arp in the first round of the 3A DII playoffs.
The Eagles were led by a pair of juniors Friday night: Running back Darwin Barlow ran for six touchdowns while athlete Tamauzia Brown notched his 11th interception in a dominant defensive effort. Brown is also staring to get more national recruiting attention and both players will be key as they face Rice on Friday in Crockett.
4. Valley thriller
54yd game winning kick by Austin Garza for Edinburg Vela. pic.twitter.com/vknQKrSPOe
— version2media (@version2media) November 18, 2017
Edinburg Vela preserved its undefeated season and moved on to the area round of the playoffs after fending off Brownsville Hanna, 34-32. The Sabercats trailed Hanna by one point with 24 seconds left when Austin Garza lined up to attempt a 54-yard field goal.
An attempt from this distance for a high school kicker is likely to sail wide. But the senior knocked it right through the uprights with the game (and their season) on the line. Vela will take on Eagle Pass on Friday in Laredo.
5. Surviving a scare
Dallas-area power Euless Trinity also had its hands full this weekend, needing overtime to defeat Plano 28-21. Trinity is known for its ground and pound game, but it was a pass from Laki Ellis to Toby Harrah that won the game in the extra period for the Trojans.
While Trinity certainly has the pedigree, it will need to step up its game against Duncanville in one of the most anticipated area round contests in the state at AT&T Stadium.
6. Allen is Allen
This weekend, I had the opportunity to watch 6A DI state title favorite Allen take down Hebron with ease. And it’s not hard to see why the Eagles are once again a force to be reckoned with. Hebron kept things close in the first half by slowing the game down, but once Allen got rolling early in the third quarter, the game got ugly — fast.
Allen has a ferocious defensive led by guys like Jayden Jernigan and Jevon Jones and an offense that is humming with explosive weapons like quarterback Grant Tisdale and wide receiver Theo Wease. Allen faces South Grand Prairie on Friday at AT&T Stadium.
7. Have a day
To say Roschon Johnson had a monster performance in the first round of the playoffs would be an understatement. Johnson was flat out unstoppable as he willed Port Neches-Groves to a wild 72-69 first round win over Crosby.
Johnson passed for 326 yards, rushed for 272 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns — yes, 10. To make it an even better night for Johnson, a Texas commit, he scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with 25 seconds remaining.
8. TAPPS action
All eyes are on the UIL state playoffs, but don’t forget about TAPPS. The first round of the Division I playoffs also took place this weekend, and I was on hand to watch Bishop Dunne shut out Argyle Liberty Christian, 36-0. Bishop Dunne played a phenomenal game on defense and special teams, blocking a pair of punts early in the game, which set the tone.
The Falcons have a monster in the middle in defensive tackle Calvin Avery, an elite safety in Brian Williams and one of the country’s most explosive two-way athletes in Marquez Beason. Bishop Dunne vs. Houston St. Pius X in the second round should be a dandy.
9. San Antonio Showdown
In one of the state’s most anticipated first round games, it was San Antonio O’Connor that came away with a 34-24 win over Schertz Clemens. O’Connor is still undefeated on the season and has been playing great team football.
Led by junior offensive lineman Brannon Brown, the Panthers have been tough in the trenches and have been able to grind opponents down just like they did over the weekend. O’Connor moves on to face San Antonio Reagan in the area round.
10. Overtime madness
Here's Elijah Davis' gamewinning 2pt conversion. pic.twitter.com/0H5Bih6kvX
— Ishmael Johnson; Donate grassroot, not nationally (@IshmaelRJohnson) November 18, 2017
The most overtimes played in the first round of the playoffs were three. And that came courtesy of a thrilling 50-48 Liberty Hill victory over Boerne in a 4A DI matchup.
Liberty Hill tied the game in the third overtime and punched its ticket to the area round as Elijah Davis plunged into the end zone for a two-point conversion. Liberty Hill gets Rockport-Fulton this weekend in Seguin.
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