By Adam C. Warner and Jimmy Oliver
Class 5A – Div. 1 Semifinals
Allen Eagles (13-1) vs. Stony Point Tigers (13-1) Tigers, Dec. 13: All eyes are on Allen this week after the squad beat state and national power Trinity, 34-21, to advance to the Div. 1 semifinals. Buoyed by quarterback Tucker Carter and Jeremiah Williams, Allen’s offensive attack is potent through the air and on the ground. Allen is back in the semifinals after falling to state power Southlake Caroll in ’03 and ’06. Meanwhile, Stony Point enters on the heels of an 11-game winning streak and has been dominating opponents in the playoffs by outscoring them 128-34. Stony Point is very sound defensively with linebacker P.L. Lindley and safety Kevin White heading the group. Offensively, watch for RB Glasco Martin, RB Stephen Williams and QB Nyk McKissic to be major factors in the contest.
Hightower Hurricanes (12-0) vs. Clark Cougars (13-1), Dec. 13: Two teams that love to run the ball will meet on the gridiron on Saturday for the chance to land a championship berth. Hightower is coming off a 38-21 win over Pearland and can set a school mark for most victories in a season with a win this weekend. The Hurricanes are led by standout QB A.J. Highsmith, who is a dual threat whenever he has the ball. Meanwhile, Clark features one of the top rushing units in the state and will try to control the clock. The Cougars average over 300 yards per game on the ground and will be carried by RB Jock Tilghman, who has over 2,200 yards so far this season.
Class 5A – Div. II Semifinals
Wylie Pirates (12-2) vs. Copperas Cove (13-1), Dec. 13: Two offensive juggernauts battle for a spot in the championship at Waco ISD Stadium on Saturday. Headed by dynamic back Nick Knott (15 rushes for 159 yards last week vs. Cedar Hill) and QB Jerod Monk, who can torch defenses with his strong and accurate arm, Wylie has been hard to contain all season long. Knott can also pound for short yardage or break open big gains. On the other side, Copperas Cove will likely rely on running back William Wright to control the pace of the game. Wright has tallied 430 yards and five scores in just his last two games. While Copperas Cove has been to the last 4A title games, Wylie went just 5-6 last year and has experienced an unprecedented turnaround. This one shapes up to be a classic.
Katy Tigers (11-3) vs. Smithson Valley Rangers (13-1), Dec. 13: Saturday’s semifinal will be a showdown of storied programs. After a rough 0-2 start to the season, Katy is back on track and playing its best football of the season. Including a 42-0 win over La Porte last week, the Tigers have allowed just 24 points in four postseason games. Katy will be going for its fourth state title within the last decade while Smithson Valley hopes to earn its first, despite winning five Region 4 titles. The Katy rush defense has been excellent and will need a top-notch performance against RB Robbie Mecke to prevail. Katy RB Michael Webb will be key as well. The standout has rushed for more than 100 yards in all four postseason victories.
Class 4A – Division I Semifinals
Guyer Wildcats (12-2) vs. Longview Lobos (12-2), Dec. 13: Two high-scoring squads meet in the semifinals after squeaking out quarterfinal shootout wins. Guyer will likely depend on RB Jaimaine Wilhite and QB J.W. Walsh to carry the load on offense. Guy averages just over 410 yards per game, including 285 on the ground. Meanwhile, Longview is headed by the offensive duo of RB Tyler McCray and QB Aaron Johnson. Both teams average nearly identical rushing stats, so the defense that can come up with stops and some turnovers will likely propel its team to victory.
Friendswood Mustangs (11-1) vs. Lake Travis Cavaliers (14-0), Dec. 13: While Friendswood squeaked into the semifinal, Lake Travis is hitting on all cylinders. Friendswood beat Central, 20-19, last week while Lake Travis trounced Kileen, 71-9. The Cavaliers have won 28 straight games behind star QB Garrett Gilbert, who threw for four TDs last week in the 62-point win. Friendswood QB Jacob Karam is a standout too, and has over 3,000 yards and 37 TDs on the year. Friendswood WR Andre Gautreaux is a stud and has tallied 1,165 yards and 17 TDs. The Friendswood defense is a cause for concern as the unit has allowed 27.6 ppg in the regular season. It could be a long day if they can’t shut down Lake Travis' potent offensive attack.
Class 4A – Division II Semifinals
Everman Bulldogs (14-0) vs. Sulphur Springs Wildcats (12-2), Dec. 13: With a potent rushing attack, the Bulldogs will look to take a bite out of the Wildcats’ defense this weekend. WR Chris Franklin is a standout offensively as well, while DB Cory Franklin, LB Lee Langston and teammate Devin Woods are physical and can fly to the ball. The Wildcats rely heavily on do-it-all QB Tyrik Rollison. The standout accounted for seven touchdowns last week and had 387 yards passing. And with speedster RB Ryan Young making defenders miss left and right, Sulphur Springs will be hard-pressed to miss out on a championship berth.
Dayton Broncos (12-1) vs. Tivy Antlers (12-2), Dec. 13: Dayton QB Cody Green is a standout as a dual threat. Green had 259 yards rushing and two scores plus 71 yards passing and two more touchdowns last week in a 42-21 win over Brenham. The signal-caller will be called on once again to have a repeat performance. All the while, Tivy QB Colton Palmer is very similar to his rival. Last week, Palmer threw for 250 yards and three scores to lead his side to a 45-14 win over Hendrickson. Despite giving up 30 points per game in the regular season, the Tivy defense has held playoff opponents to just 13 points per outing. They will certainly need another strong postseason showing to survive against a formidable Dayton team.
Class 3A - Division II Semifinals
Liberty Hill Panthers (14-0) vs. Celina Bobcats (11-3), Dec. 13: Liberty Hill is coming off a convincing 48-27 win over Bridgeport, while Celina is fresh off a huge 55-13 win over Kaufman. The key to this game will be which team can put together a consistent, time-consuming rushing attack as both teams run the ball well. The Panthers are riding the coattails of a 38-game winning streak and Celina would love to put an end to that streak. This is also a rematch of the ’06 3A Division II title game, which saw the Panthers take home the title. .
Carthage Bulldogs (12-2) vs. Giddings Buffaloes (11-3), Dec. 13: This game comes down to offense vs. defense. Despite a banged up Dwight Smith at running back, Cathage features a dynamic offense that frequently racks up first downs. Smith has rushed for over 2,000 yards and 33 touchdowns so far this season. Meanwhile, Giddings can come away as victors with another top-notch defensive performance. The Buffaloes have have forced five turnovers in the playoffs so far and will need to come away with some more this week to reach the finals.
Class 3A - Division I Semifinals
Prosper Eagles (13-1) vs. La Vega Pirates (12-2): If Prosper can stop La Vega RB Chris Parr from having a big day, they will be favored to come away as victors this weekend. Parr, after sitting out the entire regular season, is fresh and looking to make an impact. In his first two playoff games, the standout back has rushed for six touchdowns. Another key area will be to see if La Vega can stop the two-headed rushing attack of Bryan Monroe and Hunter Nix. This has the makings to be a grind it out battle and it will be interesting to see who will be left standing at the end.
Class 2A - Division II Semifinals
Daingerfield Tigers (13-1) vs. Blanco Panthers (14-0): This matchup is all about two defensive juggernauts going head-to-head. Daingerfield has three shutouts this season and hasn't allowed more than 18 points since Sept. 26. Meanwhile, Blanco has five shutouts to its name and hasn't allowed more than 21 points to a team all season. With the game being played in Texas Stadium, think the kids are going to be pumped for this one?
Class 2A - Division I Semifinals
Muleshoe Mules (14-0) vs. Kirbyville Wildcats (13-0): Muleshoe has a tough and strong defense as evidenced by the team giving up just 27 in the last three playoff games. Kirbyville coach Jack Alvarez recently told the Beaumont Enterprise that, “[Muleshoe] has some of the best tacklers I’ve seen all year”. That's saying a lot, seeing that the Wildcats have played some tough teams like Arp and Newton. Muleshoe is led by QB Wes Wood, who has thrown for 61 touchdowns this year. On the other side, the Wildcats can grind it out with their strong running game to eat up the clock and move the chains. This is going to be another great Texas showdown.
To contact editor Adam C. Warner, send an e-mail to email@example.com.