Class 6A, Div. II
Katy (11-0) vs. Stratford (10-1), 7 p.m., Tully Stadium
- Katy continued their dominance this season in the bi-district round and easily went got into the area round against Stratford on Friday.
The Tigers though, were not satisfied with their win and feel they need to reach a second gear as the team heads deeper into the playoffs. That will start with getting injured players fully back into the swing of things, as a number of players missed time late in the season and either are getting back to full health or are just starting to practice at full strength again. The Tigers know they need to improve against the pass after giving up 206 yards passing to Fort Bend Clements.
That will be especially important going up against Stratford and starting quarterback Nash Rankin. The junior has thrown for 2589 yards and 25 touchdowns so far this season, averaging over 235 passing per game. Luke Reives has been a huge threat for them in the pass game, as the sophomore is nearing at 935 yards receiving on the year and has nine receiving touchdowns. Diego Denson has provided balance in the run game, with 752 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Stratford offense has not been without its faults though and has been prone to turnovers. Rankin has 10 interceptions so far this season and if Katy can play sound defense and force the team into third and longs, it would not be surprising if the Tigers came away with multiple takeaways as they did against Clements.
Class 6A, Division I
Tompkins (10-1) vs. Jersey Village (11-0), 7 p.m., Pridgeon Stadium
- Tompkins will face its toughest test of the season since it faced Katy when the Falcons play Jersey Village on Friday.
The Falcons come off a huge win against Fort Bend Travis in which Wyatt Young, a sophomore, rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and caught 5 passes for 57 yards as well. Young wasn’t alone in having a strong day. Senior quarterback Cole Francis threw for 179 yards and Caleb Blocker rushed for 86 while the defense had four interceptions and both Sean DuBose and Eduwa Okundaye came away with sacks.
Things will get significantly tougher for the Falcons against an undefeated Jersey Village squad that has dominated so far this season.
Jersey Village has been successful in both the run and pass game. Sophomore quarterback Adam Tran has passed for 1590 yards and 13 touchdowns this year and running back Rashan Estes has rushed for 1070 yards and 17 touchdowns so far. Jersey Village does rely on Estes a lot in the run game, as no other player averages 50 yards rushing per game for them, but they spread the wealth in the pass game. Quinci Jones has 571 yards on the season with two touchdowns while Arbrie Carter has 452 yards and five touchdowns. Isaac Podraza, Brandon Phan and Estes all also have over 200 yards receiving on the year. The Jersey Village defense has also been a force this year and has given up on average 16 points per game this season.
The Falcons will need to find a way to force turnovers again and will hope to have a strong balanced day on offense as they look to advance.
Class 5A, Division I
Paetow (10-1) vs. Manor (9-2), 7 p.m, Cougar Field (College Station)
- Paetow has been dominant the past two weeks after suffering its first loss of the season to Manvel and that continued in the bi-district round.
The Panthers finally have their one-two punch at running back that they have wanted all season with Damyrion Phillips and Jacob Brown and it showed as the two combined to rush for 227 yards and five touchdowns in the teams win over Galveston Ball.
Paetow’s defense was a huge difference maker as it has been all season for the Panthers. Ball mustered just 90 total yards and turned the ball over four times.
Paetow will need to be on top of their game in the area round as they get a two loss Manor team that has boasted a strong offense all season.
The teams run game has been its strength all year and they have leaned heavily on four star running back Quinten Joyner. The junior has rushed for 2380 yards and 30 touchdowns so far this year, averaging 216 yards per game and a crazy 11.7 yards per carry. The pass game hasn’t been as strong but has still been steady for Manor. Sophomore quarterback Jayson Zardavets has passed for 1248 yards and 12 touchdowns and is averaging 113 yards per game through the air. But Zardavets has been prone to turnovers, throwing nine interceptions so far this year.
Paetow will need to have another dominant day on defense while having a strong game running the ball and throwing efficiently.
Class 6A, Division II
Cinco Ranch (7-4) vs. Memorial (7-4), 1 p.m., Tully Stadium
Cinco Ranch won its first playoff game since 2016 last week and has another winnable game in the area round against Memorial.
Running back Eric Eckstrom had a huge game for the Cougars, as in his first start the junior rushed for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Gavin Rutherford continued his terrific junior campaign and now has 2395 yards passing and 25 touchdowns this season, averaging 217 yards per game through the air. Sam McKnight missed the game with an injury and Cinco Ranch will hope to get their starting running back healthy as soon as possible.
Memorial will pose a tough test for the Cougars, as the Mustangs are built a lot like the Seven Lakes squad that Cinco lost to two weeks ago. The Mustangs are a defensive first team, they have only given up 20 points on four occasions this season and give up on average 15 points per game. But as strong as Memorial is defensively, they are no the most potent offense, they have scored ten points or less four times this season and were shut out by Cy-Fair earlier this year. The team is built to go through the run game and Carson Zahn is the bell cow for the Mustangs. Zahn has rushed for 893 yards and seven touchdowns for Memorial this year to lead the team while Ethan Spears also gets a lot of carries and has 522 yards and 12 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Chase Goodwin has thrown for 1154 yards and 11 touchdowns this season and his biggest weapon is Kyle Siblik, who has 541 yards and six touchdowns this year, Zahn is second on the team with 255 yards on 14 receptions.
The Cougars will need Rutherford to lead the offense past a strong Memorial defense and will hope for another strong defensive performance like they had in the bi-district round.