In the semifinals, every team is good. It’s nigh impossible to be able to luck your way into this round. Every single team has more strengths than weaknesses at this point, and every team is more adept at exploiting those small weaknesses.
Calallen’s storied head coach, Phil Danaher, is insanely good at exploiting those weaknesses. He has the most total wins and playoff wins in Texas High School football history, and has a history of making it to the semifinal round. However, once they’ve gotten there, Calallen hasn’t exactly been able to finish the job. They’re 1-10 in semifinal games, the lone victory coming in 2005, and they lost the next week to Hebron 28-0.
The ‘Cats are old school, they run a Wing-T offense and try to slow the game down, extend drives, and play excellent defense. The format is proven to work, Calallen has one of the state’s best defenses and a quarterback in Gaige Lamb that can really take you out of your element. Calallen won last week’s matchup with Victoria East despite only throwing for 11 yards, making one completion out of four attempts. Safety John Gaddis and DE/OLB Brandon Broughton are the pillars upon which this excellent defense rests upon.
If Calallen is the old-school, traditional team, then College Station is relatively new-school. It was founded in 2012, meaning that Danaher has been to the semifinals more than twice the amount of years that College Station High has existed. Injuries to quarterback Ty Brock and All-State cornerback Timarcus Davis early in the season had many thinking that this might not be the Cougars’ year, but College Station has prevailed despite the blows. Marquez Perez has been more than an adequate replacement at the quarterback position, and Josh Donovan has been keeping the rest of the squad healthy from his spot at tackle.
On defense, the Cougars are more than stout. Linebackers Mark Wagner Anthony Flores have been all over the field, recording ridiculous stats (Wagner has 175 total tackles and Flores has 22 tackles for a loss). The front seven of College Station has been extremely good so far this season, morphing into whatever the team needs it to be in order to shut down the opposition.
It’s a combination of old school and new school, a power that’s been around for years against one that’s emerging. The legendary Danaher trying to get into the finals again vs. a young team fighting for statewide recognition. It’s going to be a heck of a contest, no matter what angle you look at it.
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