By Jimmy Oliver
Katy (TX) wins back-to-back state titles:
The Tigers started the season 0-2, which included a 42-0 blowout loss to The Woodlands. From there, it was back to business as head coach Gary Joseph led his team to a 12-1 record the rest of the way.
This was the sixth overall title for the Tigers and the program's fifth in the last 11 years. Will Jeffery was a workhorse at running back for Katy and racked up 142 yards on 22 carries in the state title game. Meanwhile, linebacker Sebi Carbajal led one of the state's best defenses which only got stronger as the season continued.
Prosper (TX) graduates 17 players only to win Class 3A state crown:
Prosper experienced a solid year in '07 and finished at 8-4 overall. But heading into the '08 season, the Eagles lost 17 players to graduation. It was safe to say that expectations weren't calling for a championship.
However, thanks to a dominating defense and a highly-touted rushing attack, the Eagles embarked on a 12-game winning streak en route to the Class 3A Div. I state title. The streak included an impressive win over Wylie, 39-38, in double overtime in the state semifinals.
Quarterback Hunter Nix and running back Bryan Monroe combined to form one of the top offensive duos in the state and were a huge factor down the stretch for the Eagles.
Garrett Gilbert, Sr., QB, Lake Travis Cavaliers (TX):
As one of the nation's most heralded prospects, Gilbert capped his brilliant high school career in outstanding fashion. Gilbert threw for 4,827 yards and 55 touchdowns in leading Lake Travis (16-0 overall) to the Class 4A Division I state title.
Gilbert threw for five scores in the championship game vs. Longview and set a Texas passing record by finishing his high school career with 12,534 yards, surpassing current Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell by just two yards.
The standout -- who will take his game to the University of Texas in the fall -- also broke his own single-season passing record with 4,852 yards this year.
There is little doubt that Gilbert will go down as one of the best football players from the Lone State State.
Russell Shepherd, Sr., QB, Cypress Ridge Rams (TX):
As one of the most athletic, fast, competitive players in the region, Shepherd impressed from the very first week of the season. And based on his most recent performances, the standout has all the tools to make life difficult for defenders at the next level, too.
The LSU prospect had a monster season for Cypress Ridge (7-3 overall) through the air and on the ground. As the Texas Class 5A offensive player of the year, Shepherd threw for 1,843 yards and 20 touchdowns while running for another 1,946 yards and 28 touchdowns.
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