Here’s a look at the week ahead in Houston-area high school sports—
This is state championship weekend for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools and only one Houston-area squad still has a shot at bringing home a championship trophy. The Concordia Lutheran Crusaders will play Midland Christian in the TAPPS Division II State Championship Game at noon on Saturday at Buckley Stadium in Killeen.
The Crusaders (14-0) will enter the title game averaging 41.4 points per game with an offense powered by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers.
Senior running back Chance Gray, who is coming off a 237-yard rushing performance in the state semifinal against San Antonio Christian, leads the team with 1,799 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Senior Eddie Brucceleri has added another 1,235 yards on the ground, averaging over nine yards per carry.
Concordia averages 342 rushing yards per game.
Midland Christian (11-2) is led by sophomore quarterback Mason McClendon, who has thrown for 2,184 yards and 22 TDs this season, and junior running back Christian Whigham, who has rushed for 1,923 yards and 37 touchdowns.
The Mustangs lost their first two games of the season, but will enter the game on an 11-game winning streak.
The UIL high school football playoffs are in full swing and the remaining teams are heading into the home stretch, as the state championship weekend is less than three weeks away. This week, 13 area teams will play to keep the dream of a state title alive.
In Class 5A, defending Division 1 state champion Pearland faces Hightower in the Region III-5A-1 final at Tully Stadium on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The Oilers (11-2) have rebounded from a sluggish start to the season to be two wins away from defending their title on December 17. They defeated the Lamar Redskins 35-14 last Saturday to advance.
Hightower (11-2) comes into the game off a huge win over the top defensive unit in the Division 1 playoffs, the Cy-Fair Bobcats. Led by Texas A&M commit Bralon Addison, who rushed for 147 yards and threw for 85 more and added an 81-yard punt return for a score, the Hurricanes won their eleventh game in a row.
The Region III-5A-2 final features a pair of District 21-5A foes who weren’t necessarily expected to be playing for the right to advance to the state semifinal round. The Port Arthur Memorial Titans and La Porte Bulldogs will reprise their showdown in Week 9, when La Porte upset PAM, 24-20, to earn the district title.
But that upset was nothing compared to the Bulldogs’ upset last weekend of the top-ranked Katy Tigers. The La Porte defense played as well as Katy’s heralded defensive squad in their 9-7 victory.
At the same time, the Titans were being fueled by a return for a touchdown by Jhajuan Seales on the opening kickoff and two Terrence Singleton TD runs to power past the Houston Memorial Mustangs, 24-14.
The rematch will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.
Those four teams aren’t the only remaining Houston-area Class 5A teams in the playoffs. The 5A-II-2 final will feature another pair of surprise teams as Spring ISD foes Dekaney and Westfield will play for the Region II Division 2 title in Humble on Saturday.
The Woodlands Highlanderswill play for the 5A-II-1 championship at Waco ISD Stadium on Saturday against the team that knocked out the Klein Oak Panthers last Saturday, Dallas Skyline.
The Houston area is guaranteed three, and possibly four, teams in the two Class 5A divisional state semifinals.
In Class 4A, the Region III finals will feature District 24-4A, as three of the district’s four playoff qualifiers will play this week.
The Manvel Mavericks, La Marque Cougars and Pearland Dawson Eagles will join a former 24-4A resident, the Angleton Wildcats, as the regional finalists.
Manvel (13-0) and La Marque (11-2) will face off for the Division 2 title. Manvel defeated the Cougars earlier this year to earn the 24-4A district championship and the two teams will play this week at Galena Park ISD Stadium.
Dawson (11-2) will have a tough task in the Division 1 final against undefeated Angleton (13-0), but the Eagles will have the advantage of playing the game on their home field, at The Rig in Pearland.
In the lower classifications, Class 3A West Columbia (13-0) has advanced to the 3A Division state semifinal this week. The Roughnecks face another undefeated team, Tyler Chapel Hill (13-0), on Friday night at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches. The winner advances to the 3A-1 state championship game at Cowboys Stadium on December 9.
Also on Friday night, Coldspring-Oakhurst (13-0) plays against West Orange-Stark (10-3) at Turner Stadium in Humble for the Region III Division 2 title.
Early season tournament play continues this week. The big local tournaments this week are:
- Clear Creek ISD Carlisle/Krueger Classic (16 teams)
- Spring Branch ISD Invitational (16 teams)
- Nike Classic in Katy (24 teams)