Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Matt Strasen
It’s the Elite Eight round of the playoffs in Texas and the remaining playoff teams have had elite seasons. Only the best of the best are reporting to practice this week and the State Championships in Arlington are just two wins away for the remaining playoff teams! As always, we will recap some of the best games from last weekend and preview the upcoming Regional Finals this weekend.
Allen races past Trinity
Allen eliminated Trinity in a decisive 59-21 win on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles jumped out to a 38-7 lead by halftime and never looked back. Trinity beat Allen 49-45 in the playoffs last year with a big day on the ground and Allen returned the favor this year, rushing for 255 yards. Trinity finished with 218 yards on the ground. It’s not often the Trojans are out gained by an opponent on the ground.
Jaylen Jenkins led the way on the ground for Allen with 12 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Mike Hawkins Jr. added 71 yards and two scores on 10 carries and also completed seven of his nine passing attempts for 169 yards and a score. Devyn Turner carried the ball 10 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns and Jordyn Tyson led the receivers with five receptions for 126 yards and a score.
It also shouldn’t be understated what the Allen defense accomplished in this game. The Eagles held Ollie Gordon out of the end zone, got several stops on fourth-and-short situations, and forced four turnovers. That’s a recipe not only for success, but for a big win over a talented opponent in the playoffs.
Ollie Gordon capped his remarkable Trinity career with 138 yards on 25 carries and one reception for 51 yards. Gary Maddox carried the ball nine times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Cade Barthelemess completed nine of his 17 passing attempts for 89 yards and two touchdowns, both to Junior Tuipulotu. Allen will face Southlake Carroll in the next round.
DeSoto defeats Spring Westfield
Another team that is peaking and playing its best football in the playoffs is DeSoto. Just like the Allen Eagles, the DeSoto Eagles have been counted out by some and made a statement in each round of the playoffs so far. The latest statement was a 34-17 win over a really good Spring Westfield team. The DeSoto offense impressed- putting up 567 yards of total offense- and the DeSoto defense impressed by holding talented Spring Westfield quarterback Cardell Williams to just one trip to the end zone.
DeSoto quarterback Matt Allen completed 11 of his 21 attempts for 164 yards and a touchdown before backup quarterback Darius Bailey replaced him. Bailey completed all 11 of his passing attempts for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Henley Jr. carried the ball 23 times for 136 yards and a touchdown to lead the ground attack. The receiving corps was particularly impressive with three receivers over 100 yards on the night. Mike Murphy caught five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, Jaylan Bean caught nine passes for 103 yards, and Johntay Cook II caught three passes for 102 yards and two scores.
The DeSoto defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions off of Cardell Williams, and allowed just one touchdown on the night. DeSoto is getting it done on both sides of the football right now but will face its toughest test yet. A rematch with Duncanville looms large on Saturday night and the Panthers are coming off a statement 42-7 win over Spring last weekend. Both teams have a ton of talent and are playing great football right now so this should be a great game.
South Oak Cliff beats Aledo
South Oak Cliff eliminated Aledo in a 33-28 thriller on Friday afternoon. This win for South Oak Cliff over Aledo feels like an upset. I think that has more to do with Aledo’s dominance of 5A DII over the last decade and less to do with how good of a team South Oak Cliff has. At the end of the day, I really think the better team won this football game. So, I won’t call it an upset, but it is a massive win over the Golden Bears and all of DISD. South Oak Cliff proved that, with the right personnel in place, anything is possible.
Kevin Henry- Jennings completed 10 of his 18 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns and also led the Golden Bears in rushing with 42 yards and a score on seven carries. Randy Reece caught five passes for 68 yards and a touchdown and Jamyri Cauley added 50 receiving yards and a score. The South Oak Cliff defense had just as much to do with the win as the offense did. Abdul Muhammad returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter to give the Golden Bears a 27-14 lead and the South Oak Cliff defense recovered a fumble as Aledo was driving late in the game trying to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Brayden Fowler- Nicolosi completed 10 of his 14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Sammy Steffe led the ground attack with 197 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, and also led the Bearcats in receiving with three receptions for 45 yards. Bryan Allen added 51 yards and a score on the ground and one reception for 19 yards and another touchdown. South Oak Cliff will face Lovejoy in the Regional Final.
Denton Guyer outlasts Byron Nelson
Denton Guyer outlasted Byron Nelson 43-36 to advance to the Regional Final on Saturday. Byron Nelson gave Denton Guyer its best shot- and it was a good one- but fell just short. Byron Nelson actually got out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before Denton Guyer responded with two quick touchdowns before the first quarter ended to take a 14-10 lead. The Wildcats opened up the second quarter scoring with an Eli Bowen pick-six to take a 21-10 lead, but Byron Nelson didn’t fold. The two teams traded scores until halftime as Denton Guyer took a 35-30 lead into the break.
The second half featured significantly less scoring as both teams tightened up. A Michael Giordano touchdown run gave Byron Nelson a 36-35 lead in the third quarter before Denton Guyer answered the score with a Jackson Arnold touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 43-36 lead. The game ended on a Peyton Bowen interception of Byron Nelson quarterback Jake Wilson.
Jackson Arnold completed 17 of his 23 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns for Denton Guyer. Arnold was also the leading rusher with 62 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Jace Wilson caught six passes for 112 yards and Jackson Foster added two receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats also scored touchdowns on defense and special teams with an Eli Bowen pick-six and a Peyton Bowen kick returned for a touchdown.
Byron Nelson quarterback Jake Wilson completed 17 of his 30 passing attempts for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Giordano added 177 yards and two scores on 30 carries. Amarion Withrow led the receivers with two receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Draden Gorman and Adam Stellato also caught touchdown passes. It was a valiant effort from Byron Nelson, but the Bobcats fell just short. Denton Guyer will face Prosper in the Regional Final.
Games to Watch
Friday, December 3
Mansfield Summit vs Colleyville Heritage
Mansfield Summit (10-3) will take on Colleyville Heritage (12-1) on Friday night at 7:00 at the Birdville Fine Arts Complex in North Richland Hills. Mansfield Summit eliminated Midlothian 28-20 last weekend behind big performances from Dave Hopkins and Orlando Scales. Mansfield Summit has looked good all season long but faces a tough test this weekend against a Colleyville Heritage team that is undefeated against other 5A teams.
Colleyville Heritage eliminated Amarillo Tascosa 41-24 last weekend thanks to Luke Ullrich and Riley Wormley. The Panthers defense also shut down dynamic playmaker Major Everhart for Amarillo Tascosa. Colleyville Heritage’s only loss this season was an early loss to Trinity. This should be a great matchup in the Regional Final.
Denton Ryan vs College Station
Denton Ryan (12-1) faces College Station (13-0) on Friday night at 7:00 at Baylor’s McLane Stadium in Waco. Denton Ryan outlasted a good Longview team 37-33 thanks to a big day from quarterback Khalon Davis and receiver Austin Jordan. Denton Ryan has it toughest test yet against an undefeated College Station squad that erased Frisco Lone Star before beating Frisco Wakeland 45-35 last weekend.
Saturday, December 4
Allen vs Southlake Carroll
Allen (11-2) takes on Southlake Carroll (13-0) on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 at UNT’s Apogee Stadium in Denton. Allen is coming off a statement win over Trinity at home and has been playing its best football of the season since the playoffs started. Southlake Carroll eliminated Lewisville 52-0 behind big performances from Kaden Anderson, Owen Allen, RJ Maryland, Landon Samson and the Dragon defense. Southlake Carroll has looked like one of the best, if not the best, team in the DFW metroplex this season. The Dragons will be favored but Allen shouldn’t be slept on. The Eagles have plenty of playmakers and have been great football over the last month.
Duncanville vs DeSoto
Duncanville (11-1) will take on DeSoto (11-2) on Saturday night at 7:00 at the Ford Center in Frisco. Both of these teams are peaking at the right time. Duncanville beat a good Spring team 42-7 thanks to Malachi Medlock, Solomon James and the Panther defense. It was a low scoring affair until the fourth quarter when the two teams combined for 28 points. That’s more than the 21 points scored through the first three quarters. DeSoto impressed in a win over Spring Westfield and did so through the air. The Duncanville defense is a different animal though. This should be a great rematch of a game Duncanville won over DeSoto 42-21 several months ago in district play.
South Oak Cliff vs Lovejoy
South Oak Cliff (11-1) takes on Lovejoy (12-1) on Saturday afternoon at the Ford Center in Frisco. South Oak Cliff secured the statement win of the week with a 33-28 victory over Aledo to advance to the Regional Final. Lovejoy outlasted Mansfield Timberview 24-20 behind big performances from Alexander Franklin, Payton Pierce and Jaxson Lavender. This should be a great game between two great teams.
Denton Guyer vs Prosper
Denton Guyer (12-1) takes on Prosper (9-4) on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 at Eagle Stadium in Allen. Denton Guyer defeated Byron Nelson thanks to a complete scoring attack from the offense, defense and special teams. Prosper eliminated El Paso Eastwood 53-6 behind big performances from Harrison Rosar, Tyler Bailey, Houston Hawkins and Hunter Summers. Prosper jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first quarter and the starters got to take most of the second half off. Denton Guyer defeated Prosper 35-7 in district play but Prosper has improved each week. This Regional Final matchup won’t be as easy for Denton Guyer as the district play matchup was.
Offensive Player of the Week
My Offensive Player of the Week is DeSoto quarterback Darius Bailey! DeSoto got a big win over Spring Westfield 34-17 and Bailey came off the bench and passed for 218 yards and three touchdowns to power DeSoto to the win! DeSoto led Spring Westfield 14-9 when Bailey came off the bench. On his first drive, Bailey found Johntay Cook II for the first of his three touchdown passes. DeSoto scored on three of the four drives Bailey led with the last drive ending the game!
Defensive Player of the Week
My Defensive Player of the Week is Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ravonte Blowe! Denton Ryan outlasted Longview 37-33 and Blowe played a big role in the win! Blowe finished with three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and five tackles in the win!
Cover Photo of a festive Allen student section courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Matt Strasen.