Inside High School Sports DFW | The Cooldown: Week 21
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01/18/21

The Cooldown: Week 21

The Cooldown- 2020 Week Twenty-One

The 2020-21 football has finally concluded. Congratulations to the Aledo Bearcats on winning a 10th State Championship, and to the Denton Ryan Raiders on winning the 5A DI State Championship! A big congratulations also goes out to Southlake Carroll and Cedar Hill on making it to the State Championship Game!

I will recap a wild football season for the Cooldown this week before shifting to basketball next week. It’s also the 100th season of UIL basketball and we have a lot of catching up to do as metroplex teams move through district play! Before the season I put out an all DFW First Team and a comprehensive list of players to keep an eye on. Before next Monday’s Cooldown- I will put out a new DFW First Team and hand out some season superlatives. For the last time this season, let’s recap the games around the metroplex.

Aledo defeats Crosby for the 5A DII State Championship

What an accomplishment for the Aledo Bearcats! This Championship gives Aledo a third State Championship in a row. The last decade has been the best Aledo has ever had. The Bearcats took down Crosby 56-21 behind a powerful performance from Demarco Roberts. Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi found JoJo Earle for a touchdown to start the scoring before Roberts ripped off six touchdowns for Aledo. Fowler-Nicolosi connected with Brian Fleming for a score to put a bow on Aledo’s 10th title.

Fowler-Nicolosi finished with 215 passing yards and two scores with just four incompletions. JoJo Earle caught six of Fowler-Nicolosi’s 15 completed passes for 134 yards and a score. Roberts finished with 255 yards on the ground and the six scores and took home Offensive MVP!

Deniquez Dunn and Reggie Branch still did plenty of damage for Crosby. The dynamic duo scored all three of the Cougars touchdowns. In the end, it wasn’t near enough offensive output to match Roberts and Aledo. What next season holds for Aledo remains to be seen. The Bearcats usually reload and replace any graduated talent but replacing Earle and Roberts won’t be easy. New players will have to step up for Aledo come August. For now, the Bearcats get to enjoy yet another State Championship.

Denton Ryan ousts Cedar Park for 5A DI Championship

The most recent quarterback to win a State Championship for Denton Ryan is no longer James Battle. Seth Henigan changed his number in hopes of winning a State Championship, and Denton Ryan did so with a win over Cedar Park on Friday night.

Henigan had a good night, passing for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Denton Ryan’s offense is littered with playmakers for Henigan to get the ball to. Ja’Tavion Sanders finished with 82 yards receiving and a touchdown while Billy Bowman Jr. added 63 receiving yards and a score. Ke’Ori Hicks led the Raiders in rushing with 128 yards and two scores while his brother Kalib finished with 87 yards on the ground. Henigan took home Offensive MVP honors thanks to his impressive performance.

Denton Ryan will have to replace quite a bit of talent next season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Henign has already enrolled and moved to Memphis to begin his college career. Bowman will head north to Norman while Sanders will travel south to Austin. Both could see significant playing time as freshmen. The defense will have to replace Ty Marsh, who is currently undecided and took home Defensive MVP, and D.J. Arkansas, who is heading to Rice. The defense will be in good hands with Bear Alexander and Austin Jordan returning, but new playmakers will need to emerge for the offense.

Katy defeats Cedar Hill to win 6A DII State Championship

It was a long afternoon for the Cedar Hill Longhorns in the 6A DII State Championship Game. Kaidon Salter’s final game in a Longhorn uniform didn’t go as he had planned but he did get Cedar Hill back to the title game. The Longhorns struggled to block and run the football. This allowed Katy to rush Salter on every play. At the end of the day, Cedar Hill just didn’t execute the way it needed to, and coach Carlos Lynn said as much after the game.

Regardless, Cedar Hill had a great season. A win over DeSoto certainly feels great and a thrilling playoff run culminated in another appearance in the State Championship Game. Salter finished with 113 yards passing and an additional 49 yards on the ground. Salter scored both of Cedar Hill’s touchdowns on the ground as well. Anthony Thomas IV and Javien Clemmer led Cedar Hill in receiving yards with 49 yards and 48 yards respectively.

Salter is off to Tennessee to play for the Volunteers. Cedric Harden Jr. is the heir to throne and will be the full-time starter in his junior season next year. Cedar Hill will also have to replace Clemmer and offensive lineman Carlos Peoples- along with defensive end Charles Esters and cornerback Amarian Williams. Next season will look different for Cedar Hill, but the Longhorns will still be plenty talented.

Austin Westlake takes down Southlake Carroll for 6A DI Championship

It wasn’t the result Carroll wanted, but the Dragons got to the 6A DI State Championship Game. The 1st quarter suggested we were in for a classic. Then Westlake’s suffocating defense took control of the game. In the end, it was Westlake defeating Southlake 52-34. Carroll scored 13 points more than any other team did against Westlake this season, which is something to be proud of.

Quinn Ewers finished with 350 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Ultimately the Westlake pass rush slowed down the talented quarterback, but that performance against the best defense in the state is why Ewers is the highest rated quarterback in the junior class. Owen Allen finished with just 40 yards on the ground but did score twice. Brady Boyd had one of his best games in a Carroll uniform with 12 receptions for 189 yards and two scores. Landon Samson added six receptions for 91 yards and R.J. Maryland caught three passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Southlake Carroll returns the majority of its production. For that matter, so does Austin Westlake. We could get round two of the Dodge Bowl at the State Championship Game next year. Carroll does lose Boyd to Minnesota, and that will hurt. Boyd was Ewers favorite target, and one of the most reliable receivers Carroll has had in a while. But Samson is no sidekick. He will thrive as the lead receiver next season. Losing defensive back Cinque Williams and kicker Joe McFadden won’t be easy either, and the Dragons will need to find replacements for both.

Aside from losing those three, everyone is back for Southlake Carroll next season. Ewers, Allen, Samson and Maryland are four-headed monster on offense. Avyonne Jones and Barrett Baker are talented defenders. Carroll will be in the mix to make it back to the State Championship Game a year from now.

Players of the Week

My players of the week are Denton Ryan quarterback Seth Henigan and Raider defensive back Ty Marsh. The Henigan family sent Seth off to college by winning a State Championship together, and it just doesn’t get better than that. His performance in the 5A DI State Championship Game was incredible, and the playmakers around him had a big part in his success all season long. Marsh finished with an interception, a blocked kick, 3 pass break-ups and a forced fumble and recovery. Whatever college lands Marsh’s services will feel very lucky on the late signing day.

Team of the Week

My team of the week is the Denton Ryan Raiders. Denton Ryan climbed the mountain back to the State Championship Game and finished the job this time around. The Raiders have been one of the more successful programs in the metroplex since Dave Henigan took over but didn’t have a State Championship to show for it. The long wait is finally over the Ryan Raiders are Champions once again.