The road to a Texas high school state football championship begins for five Katy ISD teams this week.
Out of Class 6A, Katy and Tompkins are representatives in the Division I playoff bracket. The No. 2 state-ranked and No. 8 nationally-ranked Tigers, making their 29th consecutive playoff appearance, are playing for a state-record ninth championship after going through the regular season unscathed. Tompkins is in the playoffs for the second straight year. The Falcons went to the third round last year, but they were in the Division II bracket then. A stronger field awaits in Division I.
The Class 6A-Division I Region III playoff bracket is a who’s who murderer’s row of elite programs in the state, like Katy, Cy-Fair, Atascocita, Ridge Point, Tompkins and defending state champion North Shore, among others.
Mayde Creek and Taylor are Class 6A-Division II reps. The Rams are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, while Taylor is making its fifth postseason appearance in six years.
Paetow is competing in Class 5A, a playoff participant for the first time in just its second year of varsity football. The Panthers are playoff-ready, however, surviving a District 10-5A that includes regional heavyweights like A&M Consolidated, Lamar Consolidated and Huntsville.
Here are previews for each game this week.
Mayde Creek (8-2) vs. Fort Bend Bush (5-5)
Thursday, Nov. 14, at Legacy Stadium, 6:30 p.m.
Mayde Creek has its most wins in a season since 1997, when it finished with 10. … The Rams have always been a potent offensive team. This year, the difference is defense. Mayde Creek is allowing 22.1 points on 268.9 yards per game, with 14 takeaways. The Rams average 2.0 sacks per game and have 56 quarterback hurries this season. … Senior DL Victor Holdman averages 8.9 tackles per game and has 12 tackles for a loss to go with 3.0 sacks. Senior DE/LB Trejuan Holmes leads the Rams with five sacks. Junior DB Joseph Kinyock averages 8.4 tackles per game with two interceptions. … Offensively, Mayde Creek is led by junior RB Julius Loughridge (1,331 yards, 13 TDs) and junior QB/WR Donte Jones. Jones has 296 passing yards for three TDs, 349 rushing yards for five TDs and 121 receiving yards for two TDs. He has scored six TDs in his last three games. … Senior WR/RB Daniel Huery has missed the last two games because of a hamstring injury, but he is expected to play against Bush. Huery has 830 all-purpose yards this season (372 rushing, 360 receiving, 49 kick return, 49 punt return) and has five rushing TDs and two receiving TDs. … Bush averages 17.2 points per game and gives up 17.1 points per game. … After a 7-2 showing in 2017, Bush has gone 5-5 each of the last two seasons. … Senior DB Kenneth Phillips, who verbally committed to Texas A&M in July, is the Broncos’ top athlete, playing mostly on defense but also some on offense. The 6-foot, 200-pounder averages 3.9 tackles with an interception and fumble caused. He also has 241 rushing yards and three TDs, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. … Senior QB Jaden Pete has thrown for 928 yards and six TDs to four INTs, and rushed for 184 yards and four TDs. … Sophomore RB Donovan Nixon is the Broncos’ top ballcarrier with 472 yards. He averages 7.6 yards per carry and has three rushing TDs. … Senior Bush WR Jalen Weatherspoon has seven touchdowns. … Bush is more of a defensive-oriented team than offense-oriented, thanks to Phillips and senior cornerback Matthew Andrews, who leads the team with four interceptions.
Tompkins (9-1) vs. Fort Bend Travis (10-0)
Thursday, Nov. 14, at Mercer Stadium, 7 p.m.
Tompkins’ first step toward a state championship? Undefeated Travis. … This figures to be a shootout. Tompkins averages 48.7 points on 433.4 yards per game. Travis averages 44.5 points on 409.8 yards per game. … The key to this one is the quarterbacks. Tompkins junior and Texas commit Jalen Milroe has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,991 yards and 23 TDs to two INTs. Travis senior Eric Rodriguez has completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 2,408 yards and 29 TDs to five INTs. … The difference could be the running game. Travis averages just 163.4 yards rushing on 6.1 yards per carry. Tompkins averages 231.5 yards rushing on 7.5 yards per carry. … The Falcons have a dynamic backfield tandem in senior RB R.J. Smith (1,041 yards, 20 TDs) and junior RB Marquis Shoulders (824, 11). … Whereas Tompkins is a balanced offensive outfit, the Tigers are a pass-heavy unit. Senior WRs Jarrell Farr (914 yards, 12 TDs) and Parker Washington (829, 14) are electric. The passing game accounts for 60 percent of Travis’ total yards. … That will make for an interesting subplot against a talented, athletic Tompkins secondary. The Falcons allow just 90.9 passing yards per game and have nine interceptions. … Defensively, Tompkins has the edge, allowing 14.3 points on 228 yards per game. Travis allows 23 points per game. … Tompkins junior LB Kobee Madriz and senior DB Pryce Powell average 7.6 and 7 tackles per game, respectively. Powell also leads the team with three interceptions. … Travis has no player averaging more than 5.2 tackles per game. But the Tigers do get to the quarterback as they average 2.4 sacks per game. Senior DL Pat Brown has six sacks. Senior DE/MLB Jared Wright and senior DE/OLB John Henderson have four apiece. … Travis also has picked off 14 passes this season, led by senior Cam Oliver’s six. Junior Cam Moore has four. … Senior DL J’mani Gibson missed all of 2018 with injury for Travis, but has been big this season. He averages 4.9 tackles per game, has 10 tackles for a loss, to go with three sacks and two fumble recoveries. … For the first time in four years, Travis is playing someone other than Katy in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Katy (10-0) vs. Ridge Point (8-2)
Friday, Nov. 15, at Legacy Stadium, 6:30 p.m.
Katy is playing Ridge Point for the first time. … Katy is averaging 46.7 points on 443.6 yards per game. The Tigers are surrendering 7.5 points on 167.9 yards per game. … Katy’s workhorse is senior RB Ron Hoff, who has enjoyed a breakout season during his illustrious career. Hoff is averaging 21.8 carries per game and has 1,440 yards and 16 TDs. … Katy junior QB Bronson McClelland is completing 68 of 120 passes for 1,212 yards and 14 TDs to four INTs. … The Tigers have a pair of dynamic playmaking receivers in seniors Jordan Patrick (641 yards, six TDs) and Steven Stiles (417 yards, seven TDs). Stiles has three touchdowns in his last two games. … Katy has 21 takeaways this season: 13 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. Senior CB Bryan Massey leads the team with three interceptions. Junior CB Hunter Washington has two pick-6s. Sophomore LB Ty Kana leads the team in total tackles and tackles for loss with 72 and nine, respectively, and junior LB Shepherd Bowling leads Katy in sacks with six. … The Tigers’ defense has shutouts in its last four games, and has five in all this season. … Ridge Point averages 37.4 points per game and gives up 17.7. … Thirty-one of the Panthers’ 45 touchdowns have come via the run. Senior Marcus Wright leads Ridge Point with 102.4 rushing yards per game and 10 TDs. He averages 7.5 yards per carry. … Junior John Paul Richardson is a do-it-all threat for the Panthers’ offense. He has six rushing TDs and four receiving TDs. … Senior QB Will Pendergrass averages 115.1 passing yards per game, but completes less than 50 percent of his passes. He has thrown for nine TDs to three INTS. As a team, Ridge Point, which has had three players attempt three or more passes this season, has completed 50.3 percent of its passes. … Junior MLB Joe Sniffin is the Panthers’ best defensive player. He averages 7.3 tackles per game, has eight tackles for a loss, and has three fumble recoveries and three fumbles caused. … Senior LB Adrian Johnson leads the Panthers with seven sacks. Senior DB Preston Steszewski leads the Panthers with four interceptions.
Paetow (8-2) at Whitehouse (7-3)
Friday, Nov. 15, at Whitehouse, 7:30 p.m.
Paetow makes its varsity football playoff debut. … The Panthers enjoyed a remarkable regular season in their second year of varsity football. Paetow average 42.6 points on 411 yards per game and surrender 18.3 points on 242.5 yards per game. … The Panthers’ offense is built around senior RB Jonathan Jolly (1,386 yards, 13 TDs) and junior Damon Bankston (1,030 yards, seven TDs). Bankston averages 151.1 all-purpose yards because of his ability as a running back, receiver and returner. … Senior WR Johnathan Baker has 496 yards and 14 TDs on 30 catches, averaging 16.5 yards per catch. … Paetow has a slew of defensive talent. Senior LB DJ Mourning averages 6.5 tackles per game, has eight tackles for a loss, to go with seven sacks, three fumble recoveries, a fumble caused and an interception. Senior LB Alex Elko averages 7.2 tackles per game and has two fumble recoveries. Senior LB Calevin Curry averages 6.6 tackles per game, has 16 tackles for a loss, to go with three sacks. Junior DL Andrew Rutherford and sophomore DL Jacob Johnson have combined for 16 tackles for losses and seven sacks. Junior DL Agumba Otuonye has 18 tackles for a loss. … The Panthers’ defense has been the ideal complement to the run game for coach B.J. Gotte’s ball-control schemes. … Whitehouse averages 27.3 points per game and gives up 26.7 points per game. … The Wildcats boast a fairly balanced offense, averaging 135.3 passing yards per game and 206.7 rushing yards per game. … Senior QB Kaden Casey is Whitehouse’s spark. He has thrown for 1,100-plus yards and 13 TDs while rushing for 700-plus yards and 10 more TDs. … Junior DE Trae Hawkins and senior DE Ty Ward have combined for 14 sacks and 31 tackles for losses for Whitehouse.
Taylor (5-5) at Fort Bend Elkins (8-2)
Saturday, Nov. 16, at Hall Stadium, 1 p.m.
Taylor enters as the underdog against Elkins, but the Mustangs have won the bi-district round of the playoffs for three consecutive years. … The Mustangs have the ideal makings for success in the playoffs: a dominant offensive line, a potent running game, an opportunistic passing attack, and a solid kicker in junior Renan Baeta. … Generally a run-heavy team, Taylor has one of its more balanced offenses in years, averaging 182.9 rushing yards and 170.6 passing yards per game. … Junior RB Casey Shorter is the Mustangs’ bellcow with 162 carries for 968 yards and 11 TDs. He also has 18 catches for 228 yards and two TDs. … Junior QB J. Jensen III has completed 52.5 percent of his passes for 1,358 yards and 10 TDs to 10 INTs. … Senior WR Griffin Dougherty has 562 yards and four TDs. … Taylor has 24 takeaways this season: 12 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. … Senior DB Braden Hay leads the Mustangs with four interceptions. Senior Lee Davis and junior Cecil Ivey II have three apiece. … Baeta has scored 61 points: 11 field goals and 28 point-after makes. … Elkins averages 42.6 points per game and gives up 18.6 points per game. … Elkins’ offense is based primarily on the run. The run game accounts for 64.7 percent of its total yards per game. … Taylor’s defense, however, surrenders just 184.2 rushing yards per game, so something’s got to give. … Elkins has three players with 553 or more rushing yards: senior Issiah Nixon (764 yards, 13 TDs), senior Cameron George (609 yards, 11 TDs) and senior Derwin Cooks (553 yards, eight TDs). … The 6-foot, 175-pound George is also Elkins’ quarterback. He has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,419 yards and 14 TDs to three INTs. … Elkins’ defense has 25 takeaways: 11 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries. … Elkins’ only losses this season came to Travis and Ridge Point. Those teams have a combined 18-2 record.