The football season is nearing its climax, which means state champions are about to be crowned. Some states have already named their victors, but Texas and Louisiana are still playing.
Five Texas Tech commits are still in the hunt for state titles. Here’s a look at the grind these five commits have gone through to get where they are, and who is standing in their way.
QB Jarrett Stidham, Stephenville
UIL Class 4A Division 1 (Texas)
Some teams were licking their chops when Texas Tech commit and Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham went down late in the season with a broken fractured hand which required surgery.
For starters, Stephenville finished third in its district. It then, had to win a 66-64 shootout over Decatur in the bi-district round.
Then Stidham was cleared to play, practiced all week and Stephenville kept it a secret from everybody. This led to a 69-60 victimization of Lubbock Estacado in the area round, which RaiderPower.com detailed earlier.
Tobyn Tannehill and the Big Spring offense did their best to keep up, but Stidham and the Yellow Jackets were just too much. The Big Spring offense did not have any unanswered scores until their final score of the ball game. Stidham connected with receivers four times for scores. He added three more on the ground. The No.1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation racked up 434 total yards in this game.
In two playoff games, Stidham has 608 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers are just his passing stats. Add in his rushing statistics of 348 yards and six touchdowns and you get the grand total of 956 yards and 16 touchdowns in two games!
Stephenville (9-3) will play Graham (11-2) for the Region I championship 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mineral Wells. The winner will likely face defending state champion Argyle.
WR Carlos Strickland, Dallas Skyline
UIL Class 6A Division 1 (Texas)
Dallas Skyline has yet to trail in a playoff game and has dominated each round.
In the bi-district round at Forester Stadium during a 41-14 route Lake Highlands, Texas Tech commit Carlos Strickland notched two receptions for a total of 82 yards. One grab was a 34-yard touchdown from K.C. Johnson in the first quarter.
The Raiders scored all 41 points by the end of the third quarter. Lake Highlands did not put numbers on the board until the fourth.
Skyline made its new home in Waco starting with the area round. Strickland came up with four receptions for 86 yards against Belton during 49-7 display. The Scout 300 prospect scored on a four-yard reception. It was the first score of a four-touchdown second quarter which put Skyline up 42-0 at halftime. Again, the Raiders scored all of its points before Belton got on the board in the fourth quarter.
Skyline next defeated Klein Collins 34-14 in the regional semifinals after Strickland took over in the third quarter with two touchdown receptions in a span of 104 seconds. The first came on a 19-yard pass. He then followed up with a 34-yard scoring reception, both coming from K.C. Johnson.
Strickland’s playoff numbers include 10 receptions for 245 yards and four touchdowns. The four-star prospect’s average reception goes for 24.5 yards. This is on a team loaded with FBS talent on both sides of the ball.
Skyline (13-0) will play the legend killer, Klein Oak (11-3), next. Oak has taken down The Woodlands, Austin Bowie and Mesquite Horn to get this far and has been considered the underdog in each game.
The Class 6A Division 1 Region II championship is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium. The winner will play the victor of Euless Trinity and Allen.
OL Terrence Steele, Cibolo Steele and DB Collin Wilder, Katy
UIL Class 6A Division 2 (Texas)
Texas Tech has two commits who could see each other in one week if their teams take care of business this week.
For offensive lineman and Texas Tech commit Terrence Steele, the offense of Cibolo Steele has not disappointed during this year’s chase for the state title. The offense scored nine touchdowns in the bi-district round during a 70-21 smashing of San Antonio MacArthur. Steele racked up 459 rushing yards in this game.
Two players racked up over 100 yards rushing during the area round game. In a 24-12 victory over San Antonio Brennan, the Knights managed to gain 281 yards on the ground in what is deemed a defensive game. Neither team scored in the second half.
In the regional semifinals, the Knights took a 34-0 lead against Weslaco East in the second quarter. Steele fell just short of the 300 yard rushing mark, ending up with 298. It still managed to rack up 498 yards of total offense.
The Knights offense has eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark, averaging 346 yards on the ground per postseason game. Cibolo Steele (12-1) has totaled 19 offensive touchdowns in the span of three games and is currently averaging 510 offensive yards per playoff game.
Steele’s next opponent will be San Antonio Brandeis (12-1). The Class 6A Division 2 Region II championship will take place 4 p.m. Saturday at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
The winner of the Region IV championship will play the winner of the Region III championship, which also features a Texas Tech commit.
Katy safety Collin Wilder is committed for the 2016 class and when the best defenses in the nation gets debated, the Tiger defense is almost always mentioned in the conversation.
Katy has made some of the best teams in the Houston area look absolutely silly. In the playoffs, Katy has outscored opponents 212-41. This includes a 73-7 victory over Westside, 76-14 beating of Memorial and a 63-20 demolition of Pearland Dawson.
Katy’s defense has scored six times. Only once has an opponent scored in the first half. Pearland Dawson scored in the second quarter after going down 42-0.
Katy (12-1) will have its toughest test to date when it plays Manvel (13-0) 7:30 p.m. Friday at NRG Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans.
DT Courtney Wallace, Neville
LHSAA Class 4A (Louisiana)
Louisiana has a 32-team bracket for class 4A and these teams are seeded. Texas Tech commit Courtney Wallace and Neville High School, having gone 9-0 against teams within the Pelican State border, earned a two seed. Most of the Tigers games have been at home in Bill Ruple Stadium near Monroe. During these playoffs, the defense has been stout. In the first round, every single healthy player on the Neville roster saw action during a 57-7 demolition of No. 31 Riverdale. Unfortunately, Wallace was not one of those healthy players.
After sitting out the first round due to a knee injury, as a precaution, Wallace returned to the gridiron for a 56-30 victory over No.15 Breaux Bridge. The defense snatched five takeaways, including four fumble recoveries.
The Tigers front seven was the key point in a 34-7 quarterfinal victory over No.10 Edna Karr at Behrman Stadium in Algiers. Neville’s defense recorded seven sacks and forced two fumbles. Wallace recovered the second fumble, which led to a touchdown.
Neville (12-1) will host its semifinal game against No. 3 Franklinton (12-1) 7 p.m. Friday at Bill Ruple Stadium. A victory would send Neville to the state championship game.
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