Mansfield Summit 41-38 Red Oak
Story of the Game: Another week, another Mansfield Summit upset.
Despite being the fourth seed out of District 4-5A and only getting into the playoffs on a tiebreaker introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jaguars are now one of the final four teams left in the 5A Division I playoff bracket.
Summit looked to be in trouble down by ten with six minutes to go, but throughout the playoffs, the Jaguars have thrived in the underdog role.
First, Jalon Rock took a kickoff 72 yards to the house for his second kickoff return touchdown of the day to cut the Red Oak lead to 38-34 after a missed extra pint. Then after a Red Oak punt, the Jaguars went to work again, marching 54 yards to the Red Oak three yard line with just 34 seconds left. Quarterback David Hopkins did the rest, barreling in from three yards out to secure an improbable 41-38 victory.
The game started slow as it took the teams nearly the entire first quarter to put points on the board. It was Hopkins who drew first blood for the Jaguars as he hit his receiver D’Szarion Brown on a hitch route for a six-yard score with just nineteen seconds left in the quarter. Summit kept the momentum going and doubled its advantage midway through the second quarter after a bad snap on a Red Oak punt gifted Summit great field position, which allowed running back Jaydon Lott to score from three yards out for the Jaguars.
Down 14-0, Red Oak responded with two touchdowns, one on a six-yard pass from quarterback Joshua Ervin to tight end Jace Wyatt and another on a 20-yard run by Iverson Young, to knot the score at 14 at the break.
Summit started on top in the second half as Rock took the opening kickoff back 76 yards to restore his team’s advantage, but Red Oak answered as Ervin found a wide open Wyatt for a 27-yard touchdown to cut the Summit lead to 21-20 after a missed extra point.
Undaunted, Summit answered with a 27-yard touchdown of its own just a minute later as Hopkins found his receiver Hal Presley down the seam to put the Jaguars up 28-20.
From there, Red Oak went on a run. First Young bulldozed his way into the end zone from one yard out before a catch on the two-point conversion by Raymond Gay on an out route tied the game just a minute after the Summit score. Then, the Hawks turned a Summit fumble into points as Ervin found La’Kelsey Johnson on another out route for a five-yard score to put Red Oak up 35-28 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Hawks would tack on a field goal after that, midway through the fourth quarter, after failing to convert in a goal-to-go situation before Summit’s heroics in the closing minutes clinched the Jaguars yet another upset victory.
The Jaguars will need yet another big upset next week if they are to play for a state title as they take on defending state runners-up Denton Ryan, but with the way this team has been rolling through higher seeds in the playoffs, Summit will believe it has a chance to defy the odds yet again.
Play of the Game: Down by two scores with six minutes left, Summit needed a quick score. Jaylon Rock delivered. He fielded a pooch kick, cut across the field, and outran Red Oak defenders up the sideline for a 72-yard score. That explosive play helped turn the tide and allowed for Summit to complete its comeback with Hopkins’ rushing touchdown as the seconds waned on the clock.
Rock’s 72-yard kickoff return touchdown (Courtesy of Juwan Davis): https://twitter.com/MrJDavis96/status/1345090086669574144
Player of the Game: CB Jaylon Rock- Rock was a playmaker throughout the contest on Friday, providing big plays when Summit needed it the most. He had a 76-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter after Red Oak had scored 14 unanswered to close the first half before adding his crucial 72-yard touchdown return in the final quarter. He also came up with an impressive bobbling interception in the second quarter, showcasing his knack for making game-changing plays all over the field.
Denton Ryan 17-7 Highland Park
Story of the Game: There was plenty of pedigree in this one as Denton Ryan, the 2019 state runner-up, took on Highland Park, which won three straight state titles from 2016 to 2018.
The first touchdown of the game was a stunning one as Texas commit Ja’Tavion Sanders made an improbable one-handed grab for an eight yard score off a perfectly lofted pass from his quarterback Seth Henigan to give Ryan a 7-0 lead just over two minutes in.
Later in the first quarter, Henigan and the Ryan passing attack struck again. Henigan found his receiver Billy Bowman Jr. in acres of space across the middle for an easy 64-yard touchdown to put Ryan up 14-0.
With the clock winding down in the first quarter, Highland Park showed it wasn’t going down without a fight. Quarterback Brayden Schager escaped pressure in the pocket and turned the play into a scramble drill, rolling right and finding his receiver Crockett Corwin for a 29-yard score to cut the Ryan lead in half, 14-7, with just 20 seconds to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ryan blocked a Highland Park field goal attempt midway through the period before tacking on a 34-yard field goal of its own as time expired to take a 17-7 lead into halftime.
From there, the defenses took over. Highland Park came up with a turnover on downs and an interception in the third quarter, but both times, Ryan’s defense stood tall and forced punts.
The story was the same in the fourth quarter as Highland Park came up with an interception with ten minutes to go, but Ryan’s defense rose to the occasion and responded by forcing a turnover on downs. The closing minutes saw Highland Park throw a late interception as Ryan held off the Scots to earn a 17-7 victory.
That victory means the Raiders are one step closer to avenging their heartbreaking 28-22 defeat to Shadow Creek in the title game one year ago. However, in order to get back to the grand stage and play for the state title, the Raiders will have to take down plucky underdog Mansfield Summit in an intriguing semifinal matchup.
Play of the Game: This was arguably the most impressive touchdown of the entire weekend. The strength and focus of Ja’Tavion Sanders defied belief as he boxed out a Highland Park defender to come up with an improbable one-handed catch for an eight-yard score to put Ryan up 7-0. The catch has made the rounds in the national media and helped set Denton Ryan on its way to another state semifinal appearance.
Sanders’ touchdown catch (Courtesy of Nick Harris): https://twitter.com/NickHarris247/status/1345119837719244802
Player of the Game: WR Billy Bowman- Both defenses deserve huge credit for their performances, but in a game of few touchdowns, Bowman provided a spark when Ryan needed it. He got behind the Highland Park defense for the 64-yard score that put Ryan up by two scores and finished the game with eight catches for 136 yards. His explosiveness will be vital as Ryan aims for the two victories that it needs to bring home its first state title since 2002.
Cedar Park 52-42 Manvel
Story of the Game: This game was full of offensive fireworks from the very first snap.
Cedar Park quarterback Ryder Hernandez hit his receiver Jack Hestera down the sideline for an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage that put Cedar Park up 6-0 just 18 seconds in.
After a turnover on downs on its second drive, the Timberwolves kept the momentum going on their third drive as running back Kevin Adams II found paydirt from five yards out to extend the lead to 14-0.
Down two scores, Manvel got the touchdown it needed as running back Ty Harris broke free for a 23-yard run for the score, but Cedar Park responded with some trickery as Hernandez faked a handoff before pitching to Tristan Hervey on a reverse play. Hervey did the rest, racing 32 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
Harris struck again after that with a 54-yard touchdown run, but Cedar Park increased its lead to two scores again, 28-14, with four minutes left in the second quarter as Hernandez found Hestera again on a beautifully placed 13-yard pass down the sideline.
The pattern continued heading into halftime as Manvel quarterback Gabriel Larry hit Jalen Walthall for a 22-yard touchdown before Hernandez found his receiver Preston Scott, who shrugged off a defender and sprinted to the house for a 30-yard touchdown with just seven seconds left in the half to give Cedar Park a 35-21 halftime advantage.
Coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, Manvel flipped the momentum completely. First De’Monte’ Seymour finished off a Manvel drive with a two-yard touchdown run before Larry hit Walthall on the ensuing drive from 26 yards out for their second touchdown connection of the game to tie the game up at 35.
Cedar Park tried to turn the tide with a field goal that put it up by three, but Manvel bounced back and claimed its first lead of the game just ten seconds into the fourth quarter as Larry scored on a 23-yard touchdown run.
From there, Cedar Park took over. After forcing a turnover on downs, the Timberwolves offense took full advantage as Hernandez hit Gunnar Abseck on a shovel pass for a one-yard score with just under seven minutes to go. The defense stepped up after that with another big play as Blake Burton recovered a Manvel fumble on the next drive. Cedar Park used that fumble to ice the game as senior running back Cade Haught barreled into the end zone from three yards out to give Cedar Park a 52-42 lead that it would hold onto for the remainder of the game.
The dangerous combination of Hernandez and the Timberwolves offense and its Black Rain defense will now look to vanquish Veterans Memorial in the semifinals as it seeks to secure its first state title berth since 2015.
Play of the Game: It may not have been the most jaw-dropping play of the game, but it may have been the most important. With Cedar Park having just gone up 45-42, its Black Rain defense came up with a game-changing play. After Manvel’s ball carrier was stripped of the ball, senior cornerback Blake Burton came up with a huge recovery that set Cedar Park up in Manvel territory. With the way Manvel’s offense had been moving the ball all game long, that forced turnover gave Cedar Park the breathing space it needed as it drove down the field and put the game away with Haught’s late touchdown run.
Player of the Game: QB Ryder Hernandez- Hernandez has been electric all year and he delivered yet again in this one. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, including the explosive 83-yard bomb to Hestera to open the game, as he led the Timberwolves in this shootout against a high-powered Manvel offense.
Veterans Memorial 49-14 Flour Bluff
Story of the Game: This game was all Veterans Memorial from the very first kick of the ball.
Veterans Memorial return man Joseph Meador found a gap in the Flour Bluff coverage before racing for an 84-yard kick return score just 15 seconds into the game. Five minutes later, it was 14-0. Quarterback Carter Senterfitt bided his time in the pocket before finding a wide open Cameron De La Pena across the middle for the 19-yard score as the Eagles got off to a dream start.
Flour Bluff did answer after that as Nash Villegas powered in from two yards out on a quarterback power, but the Hornets failed to establish a secure foothold in the game as Veterans Memorial began to take over for good.
Two touchdowns on Senterfitt quarterback keepers from one yard out extended the Veterans Memorial lead to a more comfortable 28-7 margin with just over four minutes remaining in the half. Then with the seconds ticking down in the half, Senterfitt delivered a dagger, hitting Jeylon Beasley deep across the middle. Beasley shrugged off one tackler before outrunning another for a 51-yard touchdown with just 28 seconds left in the half to give Veterans Memorial a 35-7 lead.
Flour Bluff began to chip away at the deficit to open the second half as Villegas found his receiver Rayden Campbell, who ripped the ball away from a Veterans Memorial defender, for a 28-yard touchdown to cut the Flour Bluff deficit to 21.
However, that is as close as the Hornets would get. Late in the third quarter, Veterans Memorial turned an interception into points as Senterfitt scored on yet another one-yard touchdown run to extend the Eagle lead to 42-14.
Flour Bluff huffed and puffed in the fourth quarter, but three turnovers on downs and an interception prevented it from making any progress on the scoreboard. Veterans Memorial, on the other hand, turned its interception into another touchdown as backup quarterback Elijah Durrette sliced and diced his way past Hornet defenders for a 10-yard score, the final touchdown of the afternoon.
With this victory, Veterans Memorial is now only one win away from its first ever state title appearance in school history, just five-and-a-half years after opening, and the first by a Corpus Christi ISD school since 1963. To get there though, the Eagles will be in for a tough test as they will have to take down Cedar Park and its Black Rain defense.
Play of the Game: This one was an absolute gut punch for Flour Bluff. After a dominant first half, Senterfitt and the Veterans Memorial offense delivered a further blow with just 28 seconds left in the first half when Senterfitt found Beasley for a 51-yard score. That put Veterans Memorial up by 28, a demoralizing blow for Flour Bluff, which was unable to muster enough offense to make this a game in the second half.
Beasley’s 51-yard touchdown grab (Courtesy of Len Hayward): https://twitter.com/Caller_Len/status/1345473746807574529
Player of the Game: QB Carter Senterfitt- His dual threat ability wreaked havoc on the Flour Bluff defense all game long. He finished 13 for 18 with 175 passing yards and two touchdowns, while adding 164 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. The Eagles will need his playmaking ability next week when they face a stifling Cedar Park defense in the state semifinals.