High School Football

Grateful Falcons open playoffs with rout of Travis

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 12/11/20

The run game and stingy defense ignited Tompkins’ 42-10 Class 6A Division I bi-district playoff win over Fort Bend Travis on Friday at Legacy Stadium.

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High School Football

Grateful Falcons open playoffs with rout of Travis


The run game and stingy defense ignited Tompkins’ 42-10 Class 6A Division I bi-district playoff win over Fort Bend Travis on Friday at Legacy Stadium.

Nothing fancy, nothing new. Workmanlike and businesslike, just as the Falcons have been through this program-best season.

But No. 6 state-ranked Tompkins is savoring playoff wins a little more these days after a plethora of playoff games around the Houston area were canceled last week because of COVID-19. That included two games that affected district partners, as Katy and Taylor moved on with byes after their opponents were forced to forfeit because of the novel coronavirus.

“Welcome to 2020,” Tompkins coach Todd McVey said. “We control our controllables. That’s it. I tell them to count our blessings, wear our masks and just do what we can do. That’s all we can do. It seems really easy, but it’s not sometimes. We’ll continue to work on that.”

The Falcons (9-0) had little trouble with the Tigers (4-5).

Tompkins led 21-0 after the first quarter on senior receiver Joshua McMillan II’s 28-yard touchdown haul from senior quarterback Jalen Milroe, senior safety Colby Huerter’s 35-yard fumble recovery return for a touchdown, and senior running back Sherman Smith’s four-yard TD run.

“In big playoff games, we know we’ve got to start fast or else it’ll be a long game,” said senior running back Marquis Shoulders, who had 38 yards on his first three carries to set up McMillan’s score on the opening drive. “We have to do that every game.”

Shoulders battered Travis for 118 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Smith added 49 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

“Those guys complement each other well,” McVey said. “The O-line did a great job opening things up so they could find some creases. It’s a blessing to have those two guys.”

The difference-maker, however, was Huerter.

The South Dakota State commit had the early defensive score—his first fumble recovery for a touchdown since his sophomore season—and added a big interception late in the first half that halted Travis momentum after the Tigers climbed within 21-7.

Huerter’s 78-yard return on the pick set up Smith’s second touchdown run, a three-yard stop-and-go to the outside with 1:18 left in the first half.

“I’m not so much proud of what this defense does against any particular team, it’s what it does for us,” said Huerter, who cited the defense’s energy. “What we do together. We gel. It’s great when you can see it all fit and come together from the backend as a safety. It’s a beautiful sight. We’ve got a great family on defense.”

Huerter has six takeaways this season. McVey said the 6-foot, 180-pounder provides a perfect example for the younger guys on the team.

Huerter understands the entire field well, coaches everyone else on what to do, and his reaction time has improved with experience.

“He’s a guy we’ve had since his sophomore year,” McVey said. “He’s a terrific leader to the guys. He brings the energy. This year especially, he’s just playing. He’s letting the game come to him. I tell him he’s being the older Kobe Bryant instead of the younger Kobe who was, just, go. He’s learned how to play the game and it’s slowed down for him.”

In all, the Falcons had three takeaways and held Travis to 204 total yards.

“It comes down to preparation,” Huerter said. “We watched a ton of film, a lot of film. They’re a great bunch of athletes over there. We schemed well, did our job.”

Tompkins was coming off an open week as it could not get a game scheduled for its regular season finale. The Falcons have had other games canceled because of COVID-19. They've had games postponed. Practice time has been at a premium.

They’ve seen teams they know well have to end their seasons because of the virus.

“It’s difficult, but we try to just do what our coach says,” Huerter said. “Us at Tompkins, we know how to do this COVID stuff. We’re very disciplined and Coach McVey has done a phenomenal job making sure it’s in our heads to keep our masks up and be safe out there.”

Tompkins’ next scheduled opponent is No. 10 Cy-Fair. It’s the Falcons’ first game against a state-ranked opponent since they played Katy on Nov. 5.

They are looking forward to the heavily anticipated matchup. But if there’s one thing they’ve learned this season, it’s to appreciate and be grateful for the games that could be played. So, they planned to enjoy the Travis win for a bit longer than they normally would have any other season.

“It’s another chance to play, and that’s the important thing,” McVey said of Cy-Fair. “They’re a very good football team, so we’ll have our hands full. But we’ll enjoy this one, like we’ve generally done in 2020, get back to work, and it’s one day at a time. Whenever we play them will get here soon enough.”

Tompkins High School, Tompkins Falcons, high school football, playoffs, Katy ISD, Todd McVey, Colby Huerter, Marquis Shoulders, sports, Katy, Texas


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