With 5A and 6A teams ready to kickoff their seasons this weekend, teams in conferences 1A-4A enjoyed their last weekend alone in the spotlight in week four. They certainly did not disappoint.
After a wild week of top matchups and crazy shootouts, here are the top ten moments from week four of the Texas high school football season.
10: Gatesville knocks off Hillsboro to end 14-game losing streak
Luke Howard, who played quarterback for Gatesville from 2004-2006, was a hometown hire last fall, but his team couldn’t secure a victory as they fell to an 0-10 record in his first season in charge. This season, after canceling their previous game against Lorena due to COVID-19, Gatesville came out to play in week four against a 3-0 Hillsboro team. After falling behind 6-0, Jason Delong rushed for a touchdown for the Hornets, and Luke Mullins threw a 53-yard bullet down the seam for a touchdown in the third quarter as Gatesville turned the game around and jumped out to a 22-9 advantage. After Hillsboro added a touchdown early in the fourth, Gatesville’s defense came up with a big interception with under a minute to go to seal the 22-16 victory for the Hornets, snapping their 14-game losing streak dating back to 2018. Howard will hope that this win is a sign of things to come as the Hornets will look to build off the momentum from this victory.
9: Sterling City takes down Borden County in top five six-man battle
This matchup was a top-5 showdown heading into the week, according to sixmanfootball.com, as #5 Sterling City squared off against #2 Borden County. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Sterling City started to pull away in the third quarter as it went up 48-28 thanks to consecutive touchdown runs of 37 yards and 70 yards by Cross Knittel. Borden County was not to be denied though as it rallied with 22 straight points, including a nine-yard touchdown run by Trey Edwards to put the Coyotes up 50-48. Unfazed, Knittel quickly put Sterling City back ahead 56-50 with a 51-yard touchdown run. And yet again, Trey Edwards responded, completing a 14-yard pass for a touchdown to put the Coyotes in front 58-56 after Kylan Edwards converted the two-point conversion kick. However, it was Sterling City that got the final word in on the night. With just under 40 seconds to go, Frankie Gonzales took a handoff and bounced to the outside, racing 12 yards for the score and giving Sterling City the score that would seal its 62-58 victory. After this thrilling encounter, another matchup could be on the cards in the playoffs as these two certainly proved their elite standing in 1A Division I six-man football.
8: Paradise edges Millsap on late two-point conversion
It was a battle of unbeatens as 2-0 Paradise traveled to 3-0 Millsap on Friday night. Millsap quarterback Lawson Nairn had a big night, throwing for 262 yards and two touchdowns. A remarkable, winding rushing touchdown by Millsap’s Waylan Dunn, which saw him break a tackle in the backfield before looping across the field to the opposite corner of the end zone, had Millsap up 21-14, heading into the fourth. Paradise responded with a drive late in the fourth quarter. With nine seconds left, quarterback Trey Valentine scrambled around before finding a wide open Casey Nocks along the sideline. Nocks raced up the sideline, shrugging off an attempted tackle near the goaline, for a 22-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 21-20. However, Paradise wasn’t done. On the ensuing two-point conversion, Trein Cox came across the formation before being handed the ball by Valentine and punching it in from two yards out, sending he and his Paradise teammates into a jubilant celebration as they etched out a narrow 22-21 victory on a thriller in Millsap.
Valentine’s touchdown pass to Nocks (Courtesy: Jesse Morris Video): https://twitter.com/JesseMorrisVid/status/1307156944671498241
7: Yoakum takes down Needville in overtime thriller
Yoakum and Needville was a back-and forth contest from the first whistle to the last with six lead changes and four ties throughout the game. It was a tight one down the stretch as Needville faced a fourth down with just under three minutes to go down 35-28. Quarterback Trevor Baker kept his cool, finding receiver Blake Maresh for a 20-yard score, tying the game at 35 and eventually sending it to overtime. Those two were a lethal combination on the night with Baker throwing for 241 yards and Maresh hauling in five catches for 101 yards. Needville drew first blood in overtime as Walker Warncke scored from five yards out to put the Blue Jays up 42-35. Yoakum’s sophomore running back Jayden Jones promptly matched Warncke’s feat, breaking off a 21-yard touchdown run to cut the Needville lead to 42-41. Facing the decision whether to kick the extra point or go for two, Yoakum decided to go for the kill. And it paid off. Jones found paydirt again, capping off an impressive night where he rushed for 137 yards and two scores, giving Yoakum a thrilling 43-42 victory on a wild night in Needville.
6: Late Jaylen Williams touchdowns sees Melissa outlast Stephenville in shootout
The shootout of the weekend took place in Melissa as both teams put up gaudy numbers, totaling 123 points. Stephenville quarterback Gavin Rountree threw for 343 yards and added 134 yards on the ground, while running back Kason Philips added 209 rushing yards and three touchdowns of his own. However, this was not enough on the night as the last couple minutes of the game were all Melissa. First, running back Jaylen Williams punched in from three yards out before quarterback Sam Fennegan ran in a two-point conversion after the play broke down to knot the game at 58. Then after a huge stop by the Melissa defense, Williams struck again. With just 16 seconds left, Williams found a seam in the Stephenville defense, taking off for an 18-yard score to put Melissa up for good 65-58. With an offense clicking like Melissa’s, keep an eye on these 4-0 Cardinals, who have now knocked off defending 3A Division I state runners-up Pottsboro and a talented Stephenville side in consecutive weeks.
Williams’ winning touchdown run (Courtesy of @McKYellowJacket):
5: Llano overcomes San Saba in wild comeback
After Justin Yarbrough booted through a 35-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go to put San Saba up 31-21, it looked like his Armadillos were going to hang on for an impressive victory. However, Llano was not about to see its homecoming night spoiled. Llano promptly drove down the field and quarterback Maddox Green found his receiver Quincy Prince for a 25-yard score to cut the deficit to 31-28. The ensuing onside kick was a kicker’s dream as Diego Miguel’s kick took a perfect bounce high into the air and was recovered by Llano’s Aiden Cuthbertson. All that Llano needed was that chance. The Yellowjackets took full advantage again as Green found Prince yet again, this time from 15 yards out to put Llano up 35-31. San Saba had one last ditch drive, but it was quickly ended by an interception by the Yellowjackets. On a wild night, Llano certainly had a homecoming to remember as it earned its first 4-0 start since 2005
4: West Orange-Stark destroys Newton in statement victory
After a combination of COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura, West Orange-Stark had to wait until week four for its season opener. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Despite facing a tough Newton team that went 11-2 last season and beat West Orange Stark 30-14 in 2019, the Mustangs weren’t fazed. Quarterback Jerren Terrell threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns, Elijah Gales added 136 rushing yards and three more touchdowns, and the Mustangs came up with two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and pitched a shutout as West Orange-Stark came away with a huge 70-0 victory. With a showing like this, West Orange Stark has certainly put 4A Division II on notice moving forward this season
3: Rockport-Fulton runs to victory in upset over Corpus Christi Miller
Due to COVID-19, Rockport-Fulton had not played in three weeks when it took on #5 Corpus Christi Miller. However, the Pirates showed no signs of rustiness, jumping out to a 28-14 advantage. Undeterred, Miller answered with 21 straight points of its own to retake the lead early in the third quarter. Rockport-Fulton responded as John Chupe found paydirt from one yard out. And after the snap on the PAT went awry, the Pirates converted an impromptu two-point conversion with Ace Seibert finding Phillip Krupa to give Rockport-Fulton a 36-35 lead. Miller came right back as sophomore running back Ethan Greenwood scored on a two-yard touchdown run to give Miller a 41-36 lead. But yet again, Rockport-Fulton showcased its resiliency. With under a minute to go, Devan Phillips took a handoff before cutting up and evading a couple of Miller tacklers to score the decisive touchdown on the night on a nine-yard scamper. After a two-point conversion and a late interception by the Pirates’ defense, Rockport-Fulton had sealed an impressive 44-41 victory. “I was extremely impressed by my team’s resolve. There were two times in the game that we could have folded up camp, but my team continued to believe they were going to win,” Rockport-Fulton head coach Jay Seibert said. “They never had a doubt. I was extremely proud of the character of my team.” Out of their slot-T offense, the Pirates had a lot of success with three 100-yard rushers on the night: Luke Muirhead, 135 rushing yards, John Chupe, 101 rushing yards, and Ryan Wells, 100 rushing yards. “When you run the nasty slot, the rushing success always comes down to everyone on the offense doing their job and being physical. Playing low and fast and we did that,” Seibert said. With the Pirates’ slot-T functioning like it did on Friday night, it is certainly going to be a headache for defensive coordinators to try and stop this season.
Devan Phillips’ winning touchdown run (Courtesy of Quinton Martinez):
2: Rankin outguns Leakey in incredible six-man shootout
98-97 is usually a basketball score but not on Friday night in Leakey. Leakey quarterback Hunter Williams had a remarkable night, throwing for 307 yards, rushing for 329 yards, and even catching a pass for 27 yards, totaling an absurd 12 touchdowns on the night. After Rankin jumped out to a 90-72 lead at the beginning of the fourth, Williams caught a touchdown and threw for two more to put Leakey back in front 91-90. Then with just under 90 seconds to go, Leakey running back Roger Garcia broke free for a 27-yard touchdown to put Leakey up 97-90. However, Rankin came up with a huge blocked two-point kick, keeping the game at a one possession contest. All the Red Devils needed was that chance. With 1:03 left, running back Justin Rodriguez, who rushed for 264 yards on the night, broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 97-96. David Alvarado kept his cool on the two-point kick and put Rankin up for good, 98-97. “I was most impressed with our team’s ability to handle pressure. When Leakey surged with all of the momentum in the fourth quarter, we found a way to answer their last score and then make the extra point to give us the one point lead and then forced stripped them for a fumble recovery to end the game,” Rankin head coach Garret Avalos said. Rodriguez and De’Shon Goodley, 128 passing yards and 294 rushing yards, were the key players on the night for Rankin as these two explosive offenses played out one of the games of the year. After 195 total points in a wild back-and-forth contest, this is a game that no one will be forgetting any time soon.
1: #1 Argyle takes down #2 La Vega in battle between 4A Division I Goliaths
La Vega has made a habit of beating top ten teams with three consecutive victories over state-ranked opposition. However, Argyle proved that it is not just any other ranked team. C.J. Rogers threw for 100 yards and two touchdowns, while Braden Baker and Knox Scoggins added 78 yards and 69 yards respectively and a touchdown each on the ground to give Argyle a remarkable 35-7 victory over the #2 Pirates. The Argyle defense was just as impressive, holding La Vega to 72 yards passing and La Vega’s star running back Jar’Que Walton to just 65 yards on 18 carries. With this commanding victory over #2 La Vega, who has an impressive résumé itself, Argyle certainly left no doubt over to its position atop the 4A Division I rankings.