High School Football

Falcons conquer Mustangs in matchup of undefeated Houston powers

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 10/23/20

Tompkins and Taylor each entered Friday’s District 19-6A clash undefeated. Not only that, the Falcons and Mustangs were ranked in the top six in Class 6A in this week’s Houston area high school football media poll; Taylor No. 5 and Tompkins No. 6.

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High School Football

Falcons conquer Mustangs in matchup of undefeated Houston powers

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Tompkins and Taylor each entered Friday’s District 19-6A clash undefeated. Not only that, the Falcons and Mustangs were ranked in the top six in Class 6A in this week’s Houston area high school football media poll; Taylor No. 5 and Tompkins No. 6.

And while Tompkins players and coaches refused to acknowledge their 28-0 win over Taylor at Rhodes Stadium as a statement win, it sure looked like it.

Tompkins (4-0, 2-0 19-6A) held Taylor (4-1, 2-1) to 171 yards of total offense and had two takeaways—a Koronje Gilbert interception and a Kobee Madriz recovery of a caused fumble by Colby Huerter. It was senior defensive back’s Temisan Alatan’s blocked punt and recovery of the ball in the end zone 108 seconds into the game that set the tone.

“I just did what I was coached to do,” said Alatan, crediting assistant coach Bill Walker. “I knew what I was going to do. We shifted as the motion guy was coming, I saw the gap and hit it full speed. Our defense is always told that we set the tone at Tompkins, and that’s what we did.”

Tompkins harassed Taylor senior quarterback J Jensen III all night long. The Falcons sacked Jensen III three times and forced his first interception in 77 pass attempts this season when Gilbert picked off a throw in the red zone late in the second quarter.

At one point in the second half, Jensen was sacked on three consecutive possessions. Linebackers Jeremy Tas and Bryce Shaink, and lineman Jeremiah Ageh had sacks for Tompkins.

“I was proud of the way they came out in the second half,” Tompkins coach Todd McVey said of his defense. “Early on, it looked like we hadn’t played in two weeks. We had to get back to fundamentals on how we tackle. We made some adjustments, but it still comes down to blocking and tackling, and I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half.”

As the defense established control, the offense literally ran away with the game as senior backs Marquis Shoulders and Sherman Smith had their way against the Mustangs’ front seven.

Heading into the game, Taylor was allowing a respectable 168.3 rushing yards per game. But Shoulders had his most explosive game of the season, with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, and Smith added 147 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

They ate up chunks of yards seamlessly. Shoulders had a touchdown run for 86 yards and Smith had one for 78.

“The line was making big holes, big running lanes, so I had a lot of room,” said Shoulders, a Tulsa commit. “I saw them and hit it.”

Shoulders has 431 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns this season. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder spent a lot of the offseason in the weight room and put on 10 pounds of muscle. He is faster—a remarkable notion in itself—and runs the 40-yard dash in the low 4.4s now opposed to almost a 4.5 last season.

“His knowledge base of the game is definitely better,” said senior quarterback and Alabama commit Jalen Milroe, who completed 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards and rushed for a touchdown on a 1-yard keeper. “That comes from the offseason work that we all have together. It comes from film work and just playing together at practice. He’s constantly getting better. Marquis strives for perfection, which is what I love about him.”

The Falcons were back on the field for a game for the first time since Oct. 9, when they opened district play against Cinco Ranch with a 55-0 win. Their game last week against Katy was postponed to Nov. 27 due to a COVID-19 case reported in the Tigers’ program.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Katy ISD has reported COVID-19 cases in three of its football programs: Tompkins, Katy and Mayde Creek. That has led to constant, almost day-to-day shuffling of scheduling.

McVey said his program is simply trying to “control what we can control” as far as abiding by the district’s safety protocols, as the pandemic has each week’s slate of games tentative at this point.

“We do the best we can with what we have,” McVey said. “I tell our kids all the time that nothing is guaranteed anymore. We’re going to enjoy these nights and just keep playing one week at a time and see what happens.”

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