Houston (Texas) Stratford vs. Pearland (Texas) Dawson
Some may have been out on the town for a TV less that the price of a t-shirt, while others watched Texas high school football at Reliant Stadium. In the middle afternoon game, Dawson defeated Stratford 48-35. Two players stood out in this game, running back James White and junior receiver Tony Upchurch. White, a Texas A&M commit, was a true workhorse in the game gaining more than 200 yards and four touchdowns, on 40 carries. He got the tough yards, but was also able to show his speed in the open field. The team relied heavily on his ability to move the chains and he delivered.
Upchurch was able to make key plays when his team needed it most. He ended up with a couple of scores, one receiving and one rushing. Upchurch, who already holds an LSU offer with likely more coming this spring, plays with a tough, physical nature with makes him a valuable asset to his Dawson team as he can line up anywhere in the backfield.
Houston (Texas) Lamar vs. Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor
In what turned out to be quite a sloppy game, Lamar made just a few more plays for a 30-14 win over Taylor. Though coming out on the losing end, running back Trevorris Johnson was the player of the game running for close to 174 yards and a couple of scores. The TCU commitment was the primary playmaker and he was called upon often. Top defenders for Taylor: defensive ends Torrodney Prevot (USC), Ogbonnia Okoronwu (Oklahoma State) and Duke Ejiofor (Rice) were able to get some pressure, but did not make enough plays to plays down the stretch to halt the Redskin offense. Prevot led the way in sacks.
Erin Hartigan, Midlands Field Reporter
DeSoto (Texas) vs Coppell (Texas)
Oregon-bound running back Dontre Wilson accounted for 250 yards and four scores on just 25 touches Saturday in DeSoto's 42-14 area-round win over Coppell in the Texas-5A playoffs, moving the Eagles within four wins of a state title. The most dazzling play I've seen this season came on Wilson's 46-yard weaving, tackle-breaking, 360-spinning touchdown reception in the second half. And while the electric 5-foot-10, 180-pounder certainly played an integral part of the win, it was the DeSoto defense that ultimately sealed the deal, locking up a Coppell program that had averaged 32 points per game. This defensive stand was in large part to the anchors, defensive backs Myron Turner (verballed to Washington State) and junior Nick Orr, son of former NFL-er Terry Orr. Due to UIL investigation on Arlington Bowie, Eagles wait until a ruling Monday to know whether they will face the Bowie Vols or El Paso Franklin in the regional round.
Arlington (Texas) vs Abilene (Texas) Cooper
This was another matchup where defense proved to be the difference maker. Future TCU linebacker Sammy Douglas and highly-touted junior safety Jacob Nwangwa led Arlington's, holding Cooper dual-threat Lorenzo Joe (a University of Texas commitment) to a 43-percent passing completion percentage for 187 yards and a touchdown, and just 49 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Arlington's quarterback Connor Huffman connected on 15 of his 25 passes for 307 yards and a score, with a touchdown keep and another 89 yards. Receiver Dontha Robinson was, as always, a reliable target, adding another touchdown and 63 yards on just four grabs to help knock Cooper, 27-20. Colts advance to the regional round where they will face Cedar Hill and its Texas A&M-bound receivers Quincy Adeboyejo and Laquvionte Gonzalez.
Lamar quarterback Darrell Colbert was able to make some throws that helped out his team. He showed flashes of great plays, but he did let a couple of passes get away from him. On a number of plays, simply throwing the ball away to play another down or series would have been ideal.
Annabel Stephan, West Field Reporter
Pearland (Texas) Dawson vs. Houston (Tex.) Stratford
The game was a close one, but the Dawson Eagles managed to pull out the 48-35 win in the final few minutes of the game. Dawson's biggest challenge in the game was turning over the ball and penalties were abundant on both sides during the game, but running back James White, a Texas A&M commit, helped the offense overcome the difficulties, racking up over 220 yards, including a close to 45-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left in the game. Stratford quickly realized that White was getting the bulk of the carries for the Eagles, but White adjusted well to the multiple coverage. Receiver Tony Upchurch, a 2014 prospect who holds an offer from LSU, was quiet throughout the first half of the game, but stepped up in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns. Though they suffered the loss, Stratford offensive lineman Christian Daimler, an Arizona State commit, is an aggressive player and did a nice job in allowing the offense the necessary time. The Eagles will face Nederland (Tex.) in the 4A Region III Semifinals this weekend.
Katy (Tex.) vs. Houston (Tex.) Langham Creek
After Katy took the lead 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, scoring on all four drives, there was no looking back for the Tigers. With an offense propelled by running back Adam Taylor, the Tigers shut out the Lobos 49-0. Taylor, a Nebraska commit, finished the game rushing for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. 2015 running back Rodney Anderson also impressed at the position, racking up over 100 yards and both receiving and rushing touchdowns, giving Taylor a few breaks throughout the game, though both were pulled before the end of the fourth quarter. Defensive back Isaiah Brown, a Tulsa commit, broke the Katy record for interceptions during the game, nabbing his tenth on Friday. Baylor cornerback commit Kyle Fulks also had a strong performance in the game. The Tigers will face La Porte (Tex.) in the Region Semifinal on Friday.