DFW - Week Sixteen
We have reached the last week of the season. It’s the most bittersweet weekend of the year. The UIL State Championship Games at AT&T Stadium starts on Wednesday morning and culminates with the 6A DII game on Saturday night. Here's a preview of every state championship game and a recap of how each team made it to state in the state championship preview edition of The Cooldown!
2A Division I
Post (15-0) vs Refugio (15-0)
The Wednesday nightcap will feature two undefeated teams looking to win state. Refugio is in its fourth state title game in five years. The Bobcats had a close call against a great Shiner team in the playoffs but made it through. I like Refugio over Post on Wednesday night.
2A Division II
Hamlin (12-2) vs Mart (12-3)
Hamlin will take on Mart in the first game of the day on Thursday. Mart capped off a 15-1 season last year with a 76-33 victory over Gruver to take home the UIL 2A DII State Championship. Mart overcame a 1-3 start by reeling off eleven straight wins to get back to the state championship game.
Hamlin avenged a 39-6 regular season loss to Stratford with a convincing 56-23 win. The Pied Pipers haven't lost since their first matchup with Stratford and have won 10 straight games. Both Mart and Hamlin are hot right now but I believe Mart will take this one. We’ll see if the Panthers can make it back-to-back state championships on Thursday morning at eleven at AT&T Stadium.
3A Division I
Pottsboro (15-0) vs Grandview (14-1)
Pottsboro was 12-0 and had yet to play a close game until just a few weeks ago. The Cardinals have had to survive some close games the last three weeks to remain undefeated an earn a spot in the state championship game. It started with A 38-31 win over Malakoff a few weeks ago, followed by a 35-34 win over Gladewater and last week's 36-35 win over Brock which came down to the final play.
Grandview defeated Malakoff 14-13 early in its season but would lose a hard fought battle, 26-21 to Whitney a few weeks later. Grandview also defeated Malakoff in the 3A DI State Championship Game a year ago. I like the Zebras to repeat as back-to-back state champions this year, though Pottsboro should not be counted out. We will find out on Thursday afternoon.
3A Division II
Gunter (14-1) vs Omaha Pewitt (14-1)
Gunter lost its only game of the season to Pottsboro 27-14. The Tigers have won 14 straight games since that time. Last weekend they defeated traditional powerhouse Canadian 27-20 to advance to the state championship game.
Omaha Pewitt lost its lone game of the season on the first weekend in November to Daingerfield. Pewitt lost 42-38 but had a chance to avenge the loss a few weeks later. Pewitt won the game that really mattered, eliminating Daingerfield with a 45-42 win in the playoffs. The Brahmas defeated East Bernard 24-18 a week later to advance to the state championship game. I have Gunter winning a close game on Thursday night to take the 3A DII crown.
4A Division I
Waco La Vega (14-1) vs Carthage (15-0)
I am REALLY looking forward to this one. La Vega is the defending 4A DI State Champions and they will have to defeat a really good Carthage team to make it two in a row. La Vega lost its second game of the season at home to Argyle 49-35. The Pirates tore through the rest of their schedule until the weekend after Thanksgiving when they squeaked by Melissa 45-42 to set a revenge date with Argyle. La Vega dominated Argyle, winning 44-20 and advanced to the state championship game a week later.
Carthage has a signature win over a really good Pleasant Grove team early in the season and advanced to the state championship game with a 49-42 win over Lampasas. The Bulldogs have athletes all over the field and are led by Kelvontay Dixon. I have Carthage in a close game that could go either way.
4A Division II
Texarkana Pleasant Grove (14-1) vs Wimberley (12-3)
Following the 4A DI game on Friday morning is Pleasant Grove and Wimberley in the 4A DII game on Friday afternoon. Pleasant Grove is making its third consecutive appearance in the state title game. The Hawks capped off an undefeated season with a state championship in 2017. Pleasant Grove fell short against Cuero in the state championship game last season. Quarterback Ben Harmon and defensive end Landon Jackson have been rewriting the history books at Pleasant Grove and it has helped the Hawks reach three straight title games.
Wimberley entered the playoffs with a 7-3 record. The Texans lost to Austin Regents 38-14, Navarro 42-14 and Cuero 34-28. Wimberley avenged its loss to Navarro 42-12 en route to the state championship game. I have Pleasant Grove winning its second title in three seasons in this game.
5A Division I
Denton Ryan (15-0) vs Alvin Shadow Creek (15-0)
There will be future college football stars all over the field in this one. Shadow Creek is 30-1 in the history of its program. The Sharks are in their second year of playing varsity football at the UIL level and are making their second straight state championship game appearance. Shadow Creek lost to Highland Park 27-17 in the 5A DI State Championship Game last year and that game remains the only loss in program history. This season Shadow Creek has been challenged twice by Richmond Foster and pulled out close wins both times. The Sharks are led on offense by quarterback Kyron Drones and Baylor commit Seth Jones at wide receiver. Defense is what makes Shadow Creek really good though. Safety Xavion Alford is a Texas commit and leads the defense alongside defensive end and former LSU commit Alec Bryant.
Denton Ryan is every bit as talented as Shadow Creek is. The Raiders have made it to the state semifinals the last several seasons but haven’t been able to make it past Highland Park to the state championship game. The Raiders proved that they are the best 5A team in North Texas last weekend with a dominant 35-7 win over Frisco Lone Star. Alabama commit Drew Sanders and Texas commits Billy Bowman and Ja’Tavion Sanders will lead Denton Ryan. The Raiders didn’t have a challenging playoff road until they faced a Lone Star team that was coming off wins over Highland Park and Lancaster. The Denton Ryan defense shut down Marvin Mims and the Lone Star offense to advance to the state title game. I have Shadow Creek in a close game.
5A Division II
Aledo (14-1) vs Fort Bend Marshall (14-1)
Aledo and Fort Bend Marshall will face off for the second consecutive year for the 5A DII crown. Aledo won the first matchup handily, but Marshall is an older and more experienced team now. The Bearcats have won 14 straight games after losing the opener to Denton Guyer 60-57. The Bearcats almost lost a district game to Midlothian, but managed to prevail in overtime. Aledo would survive one more scare in the playoffs. The Bearcats eliminated Ennis 43-36 in overtime. Aledo fans aren’t typically used to three close games in one season.
Marshall lost its only game to Manvel 38-34 early in the season. Devon Achane and Malik Hornsby have looked great all season. The duo avenged their only loss with an impressive 40-10 win over Manvel in the playoffs. The Buffs defeated Boerne Champion 55-21 last week and are firing on all cylinders heading into the rematch with Aledo. I have Marshall avenging its loss to Aledo and taking home its first state championship in football but this one looks like a tossup on paper.
6A Division I
Duncanville (15-0) vs Galena Park North Shore (14-1)
This is the rematch the #txhsfb community has been anticipating for a year now. Everyone remembers North Shore clinching a state and national championship with a last second touchdown from Dematrius Davis to A.J. Carter in the back of the end zone. Everyone knows how much talent returned on both teams. All that’s left to do is play the game.
Duncanville is 15-0 and has only really been challenged by Southlake Carroll, who lost to Duncanville 49-35 in the playoffs. The Panthers rolled a really good Rockwall squad 56-14 to advance to the state championship. The status of star quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson hangs in the balance. Jackson suffered a knee injury this oast weekend against Rockwall. Duncanville fears it could be a torn ACL. Jackson is being evaluated on Monday but tweeted that he believes he is fine. If he can’t go, it will be up to freshman quarterback Chris Parson and the uber talented Duncanville defense.
North Shore has been missing a key player for much of the season as well. Star wide receiver Shadrach Banks has missed most of the season with nagging injuries. The Mustangs dropped their opening game of the season 24-21 against Katy on ESPN. North Shore hasn’t looked back since the loss, winning 15 in a row and avenging the loss to Katy with a 56-35 win in the playoffs. North Shore hung 76 points on Atascocita the following week and advanced to the state championship game with a 49-38 win over Lake Travis. I have North Shore winning this one and going back-to-back as state champions.
6A Division II
Denton Guyer (14-1) vs Austin Westlake (14-1)
The nightcap on Sunday will be between Denton Guyer and Austin Westlake for the 6A DII crown. Denton Guyer lost to Southlake Carroll 46-34. Guyer has signature wins over Aledo and two wins over Cedar Hill. The Wildcats trailed for the majority of the game against Cedar Hill in the playoffs before they started kicking onside kicks and keeping the ball away from Cedar Hill. Guyer is in the state championship game following the miraculous comeback and several strong showings since.
Austin Westlake’s only loss was a 26-25 loss against Lake Travis. The Chaps are back in the state title game and facing a good Denton Guyer team. Most expected Longview to be playing in this game as opposed to Denton Guyer. Instead, the Todd Dodge led Westlake Chaparrals will get a Denton Guyer team that features a great running back in Kaedric Cobbs and a dual-threat quarterback in Eli Stowers. This should be a great game and I have Austin Westlake winning the last football game of the 2019 season.
DFW Teams to Watch:
Hamlin (2A DII)
Grandview (3A DI)
Gunter (3A DII)
Denton Ryan (5A DI)
Aledo (5A DII)
Duncanville (6A DI)
Denton Guyer (6A DII)