The best matchup this week in Texas High School football that no one’s talking about will take place at Humble’s Turner Stadium on Friday night.
El Campo takes its unblemished 11-0 record into a showdown with Henderson, which enters at 10-1, in a Class 4A Division I Region III Area Round clash.
Many in East Texas considered Henderson a frontrunner to challenge for the state title until a late slip up against Kilgore last month in a game that ultimately decided the top seed from District 9-4A. El Campo maneuvered its way through District 12-4A, knocking off a good Stafford team for the district title.
The El Campo Ricebirds usually make deep runs into the playoffs, but they haven’t seen a team as good as Henderson in the early rounds in a long time. Other than an overtime win against Bay City, El Campo ran through its rather lackluster district — lackluster compared to Henderson’s 9-4A gauntlet that includes Carthage, Center, Kilgore, Palestine and Chapel Hill.
Henderson ran roughshod through a tough schedule and ran up points on everyone except Kilgore, which has a defense good enough to win in the trenches. They had a 100-yard touchdown nullified against Kilgore on the last play of the first half because of a block in the back penalty. Henderson also failed miserably on two-point conversions against Kilgore, and the Lions clearly had their worst game of the season.
The Lions have two TCU commits in running back LaKendrick van Zandt and receiver Trestan Ebner along with shifty quarterback Trae Hall, who’s 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and quick. El Campo dispatched Houston Washington, 56-6, in the first round while Henderson made quick work of a fairly decent Little Cypress-Mauriceville team (48-12) that defeated Navasota in double overtime to take third in District 10 the previous week.
El Campo is undefeated and has past playoff pedigree, but Henderson has more talent on the field and the Lions are hungry to live up to lofty expectations. Turner Stadium has been the host of many great 3A and 4A East Texas playoff tilts over the years, and this Friday should be no exception.
Brought to you by: