Quarterback John Stephen Jones led the Highland Park Scots to their fourth state championship in “The House That Jerry Built”, also known at AT&T Stadium. However, the victory was more of a family affair, since Jones is the Cowboys owner’s grandson and CEO Stephen Jones’ offspring.
“We dreamed up a lot of things and envisioned a lot happening in this stadium,” Jerry Jones said. “Watching John Stephen win a state championship was not one of them.”
Highland Park upset the favored Temple Wildcats 16-7 for the Class 5A Division I title behind the Highland Park defense, providing critical pressure and forcing poor field position to secure the victory. The unit made critical stops – once at fourth and four at the one yard line in the beginning of the last quarter, and another safety that made the game a two-score match: Reid Hesse was sacked in the end zone by defensive MVP Turner Coxe.
Paxton Alexander led Highland Park with 144 yards rushing on 26 carries, and John Stephen Jones was 9 of 23 for 96 yards with an interception. He was sacked three times and finished with 29 yards rushing, but somehow won MVP because of his eventual inheritance of the stadium they played in.
Franklin had 78 yards rushing, and Hesse was 21 of 31 for 177 yards with an interception.
This title is the Scots first championship since 2oo5 when Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford led Highland Park. Stafford filmed an intro video for the team, congratulating them for the accomplishment before the game.
DeSoto Eagles (16-0) defeats Cibolo Steele Knights (14-2)
DeSoto and Cibolo Steele may have been the best game of the UIL State Championships. The Eagles amassed an early eighteen point lead – more points in a first half than Steele has allowed in their past four games combined – before fending off a surging Knights unit that clawed their way back into the game, slowly dwindling the deficit behind quarterback Xavier Martin (272 total yards). Shawn Robinson was named Offensive MVP, often threading the needle through a cluster of defenders to create plays that less gifted quarterbacks would never envision. Robinson took a shot in the fourth quarter, hobbling him, and forcing the Eagles to devote their drives to the run game.
The turning point came later in the quarter, when DeSoto defensive back Isaiah Stewart stripped the ball from Martin and linebacker Caleb Ervin fell on it. The following drive resulted in a Christian Gonzalez field goal that gave the Eagles a two possession lead. Steele attempted a final push to narrow the result, but came up short, watching a fourth down end zone pass deflected by Defensive MVP Stewart, effectively ending the game 38-29.
Lake Travis (15-1) defeats The Woodlands (15-1)
The best team in Texas high school football was also the most dominant in the 6A DI Championship, outclassing The Woodlands 41-13. The Lake Travis defense held the Highlanders to a single score until garbage time in the waning moments of the fourth, holding the high-powered The Woodlands average offensive output (488.9) to 291 yards. The Highlanders couldn’t form a functional offensive unit, going three-and-out their first three drives and throwing an interception during their fourth.
Offensive MVP Charlie Brewer destroyed the opponents offense with his vast stable of LT receivers, accounting for 434 total yards and four TDs. The senior finishes his career as the most accurate passer in high school football history over a single season, completing over 77 percent of his passes.
“We thought that we could throw it around a bit,” Brewer said. “We came out firing on all four cylinders and started out fast.”
Saturday’s championship win gives Lake Travis its sixth in program history and it’s first in Class 6A. The Woodlands have never won a title and dropped to 0-2 all time in state championship games.