High School Football

Defense dominant for No. 6 Falcons in area rout of No. 10 Bobcats

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 12/18/20

Tompkins senior defensive back Colby Huerter had not returned a fumble for a touchdown since his sophomore season. Now he’s got three in his last two playoff games.

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High School Football

Defense dominant for No. 6 Falcons in area rout of No. 10 Bobcats

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Tompkins senior defensive back Colby Huerter had not returned a fumble for a touchdown since his sophomore season. Now he’s got three in his last two playoff games.

Junior linebacker Bryce Shaink had not forced a fumble all season. He had two in one game. Sophomore defensive back Caleb Komolafe had not had an interception return for a touchdown. That is no longer true.

The Falcons’ defense was awe-inspiring in No. 6 state-ranked Tompkins’ 51-28 win over No. 10 Cy-Fair in their Class 6A Division I area playoff final on Friday evening at Legacy Stadium. Cy-Fair was without senior running back and four-star recruit LJ Johnson, who was ill. Johnson had rushed for 1,109 yards and 18 touchdowns this season and is arguably the most talented Class of 2021 running back in the Greater Houston area.

“They run the same offense (without Johnson) and that quarterback (senior Carter Cravens) is a very competitive athlete,” Tompkins coach Todd McVey said. “Those kids compete. They have a great program with a lot of tradition. I’m just proud of our kids.”

Trailing 7-3 after the first quarter, Tompkins (10-0) scored 38 points in the second, inspired by four takeaways that led to 24 points, and pulled away from the Bobcats (10-2) with ease.

“I was obviously very pleased,” McVey said. “We stress turnovers all the time, so seeing them execute the things we work on in practice … I’m very happy for.”

During a two-minute, 28-second span midway through the second quarter, Tompkins’ defense forced three consecutive turnovers and scored on all three. Huerter had two consecutive fumble returns for touchdowns. Both fumbles, committed by Cravens, were caused by Shaink.

“I was attacking his hip, I got my arm through and just ripped it out,” Shaink said. “We were just hitting hard. We just kept hitting them in the mouth. Once they got hit, they couldn’t respond. It says a lot about our defense.”

McVey was proud of Shaink, who has emerged as a consistent playmaker for one of the top defenses in the state.

“Bryce does his job,” McVey said. “He’s very intense. He’s on his craft every day and he continues to get better. He’s a very focused individual who wants to create havoc. When you separate the ball, good things happen, and he does a good job with that.”

Mere moments after Huerter’s second fumble return for a touchdown, Kolomafe intercepted Cravens and returned it 44 yards for a score.

After a Sherman Smith 1-yard scoring run, the Falcons again scored off a turnover moments later when junior defensive back Maliik Edwards recovered a fumble caused by senior linebacker Temisan Alatan. Hunter Huckaby capitalized with a 33-yard field goal for a 41-7 halftime lead.

“What really changed this week is we were physical,” Huerter said. “We were hitting. The balls were flying loose, and I got lucky. The ball kept coming to me and I did my job. It’s all about having fun and being physical.

“I know all those boys at Cy-Fair. I played with them in 7-on-7. They’re great guys. I knew how mean and physical they are. They’re like Katy. They’re a machine. I told our guys all week we just had to play physical. Do our job, be aligned and we came out on top.”

The Falcons’ starting offense scored just 14 points. Senior quarterback Jalen Milroe scored on a dazzling 55-yard run to score Tompkins’ first touchdown of the game in the second quarter and gave the Falcons the lead for good.

Tompkins only produced 288 yards of total offense. It didn’t matter. The defense held Cy-Fair to 4.5 yards per play. In the fourth quarter, the Bobcats scored three touchdowns on 140 of their 307 total yards against Tompkins’ backups.

“It brings fuel to us to watch our defense,” Milroe said. “It makes us hungrier to fight. Those guys played their tails off. They don’t like losing. Every single rep, they do not like to lose. They’re always looking for ways to improve.”

Cy-Fair’s offense was on the field for 28-minutes, four-seconds. Tompkins’ offense was on the field for just 19-minutes, 56-seconds.

“They better be happy we gave them that much of a break, man, I was getting exhausted,” Huerter joked. “It’s a lot of fun right now to play.”

Next up for the Falcons? The defending Class 6A DI back-to-back state champion, 12-0 North Shore Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in the state. They play Thursday, Christmas Eve, at 1 p.m. at Legacy Stadium.

Tompkins players said they’re excited about the opportunity. It’s a matchup of two teams ranked in the top six in the state. A powerful offense in the Mustangs against the relentless defense of the Falcons.

It’s also a matchup of two premier quarterbacks, potentially the start of a rivalry that will linger on into the SEC over the next few years: Alabama signee Milroe versus Auburn signee Dematrius Davis, who could make a claim as the best quarterback in Texas high school football history when his career is finished.

“We’re excited to play in games like this,” Milroe said. “I don’t get caught up in all the comparisons. It’s Tompkins versus North Shore. We’re trying to steadily improve and get better, and I’m looking forward to playing a great team.”

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