Cover Photo courtesy of the Dallas Morning News
Welcome back to the Cooldown! For the first time since March, we have games to recap and games to preview for the upcoming week! The opening week of high school football featured plenty of new faces but proved that traditional powerhouses are reloading instead of rebuilding. It’s time to recap the first weekend of the season and preview the upcoming football weekend!
Rockwall Heath outlasts Keller Timber Creek
There can only be one word to describe this game: offense. And a lot of it. Rockwall Heath put up 627 yards of total offense while Timber Creek could only muster 546 yards of total offense. All in all, the two schools combined for well over 1,100 yards of offense. Rockwall Heath defeated Timber Creek 56-49 and the Falcons didn’t even have dynamic playmaker Emeka Megwa available for this game.
Rockwall Heath quarterback Josh Hoover completed 19 of his 24 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Jay Fair led the receivers with 184 yards and a score on six receptions while Jordan Nabors chipped in 120 yards and two scores on seven receptions and Lance Mason finished with 80 yards and two scores on four receptions. Zach Evans carried the Hawks on the ground with 117 yards and two scores on 13 carries. That was a lot of big numbers so take a breath before we run through Timber Creek’s offensive stats.
Timber Creek’s Jacob Porter completed 30 of his 44 passes for 409 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Maddox Allbritton led the receivers with 146 yards and a score on 11 receptions and Lonnie Johnson was right behind him with 136 yards and three scores on nine receptions. Johnson also finished two of his three rushing attempts in the end zone. Jahrid Hughes chipped in 91 yards and a score on six receptions. Alec Souimaniphanh led the way on the ground with 118 yards on 18 carries. Take that for data!
Obviously neither team needs to worry about its offense, but the defense is a different story. Rockwall Heath especially needs to see improvement from its defense this week as the Hawks take on a Southlake Carroll team that hung 45 points on Highland Park last weekend. Timber Creek will have to play a Lewisville team that beat Arlington Bowie 50-7 in its season opener.
Frisco Liberty beats Frisco Reedy…by one
More offense! Liberty and Reedy each put up more than 500 yards of offense and combined for 99 points as Liberty downed Reedy 50-49. Liberty quarterback Keldric Luster and receiver Evan Stewart picked up right where they left off from last season but Reedy showed a lot of fight in this game. Reedy quarterback A.J. Padgett was particularly impressive, along with his backfield mate Dennis Moody. Reedy trailed 14-0 after one quarter before scoring 49 points over the next three quarters and coming within eight seconds of winning the game. It takes a lot of focus and heart to overcome a slow start and score that many points and lead the game in the 4th quarter.
Luster finished with 293 yards and three touchdowns through the air with another 45 yards and three scores on the ground. An interception was the only blemish on Luster’s night. Stewart led the way receiving with 101 yards and a score and Jaxson Frasier gained 100 yards on the ground on just five carries, one of which went for a touchdown.
Padgett didn’t turn the ball over for Reedy, which was massively important for the Lions comeback attempt. He finished with 186 yards and three scores through the air with another 55 yards and a score on the ground. Kaleb Smith and A.J. Jayroe finished with 69 and 66 yards receiving and each scored a touchdown. The other bright spot for the Reedy offense was running back Dennis Moody, who finished with 225 yards and two scores on 21 attempts. Reedy’s season started in heartbreak after Luster scored a touchdown and game-winning two-point conversion with just eight seconds left, but this is the kind of loss that can propel a team forward and make it better for the rest of the season. It’s also the kind of galvanizing win that can propel a team forward in Liberty’s case. Both teams will be fun to watch for the rest of this season.
Jesuit survives Flower Mound Marcus
It’s a new era for the Marcus Marauders as Garrett Nussmeier is on to LSU. It’s now Jaxxon Warren’s time to shine as QB1. Jesuit, on the other hand, returns Gage Roy at quarterback after Roy had a successful junior season a year ago. Marcus jumped out to the early lead, but Jesuit was the team to come out on top in a 38-34 game that was close all night long.
Roy pitched a great game for Jesuit, completing 26 of his 35 attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Hunter Krepp, who caught seven passes for 119 yards and both touchdowns. Robert Fitzgerald carried the ball 12 times for 72 yards and two scores for the Rangers.
Warren had an impressive debut, completing 19 of his 25 passing attempts for 407 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Even Nussmeier had good things to say about Warren after his impressive debut. As expected, Dallas Dudley was Warren’s favorite target. Dudley caught nine passes for 199 yards and a score and Isaac Khattab caught three passes for 92 yards and a score. Marcus will play McKinney next week in a game the Marauders should win, and Jesuit will take on Rockwall on the road in another early season test for the Rangers.
Games to Watch
Southlake Carroll @ Rockwall Heath
This game has the potential for explosive offensive numbers. That shouldn’t be a surprise after Rockwall Heath and Southlake Carroll’s offensive outbursts in week one. These two teams met in Southlake last season and Carroll won 72-57. It will be hard to top that point total, but each team has the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to make it happen.
Aledo @ Frisco Lone Star
Aledo got off to a slow start against Weatherford before going on to win the game 47-7. The Bearcats can’t afford to start slow against Frisco Lone Star this weekend. Lone Star looked great against San Antonio Cornerstone in week one, but how much does that really say about Lone Star? We’ll find out just how good Lone Star really is on Thursday when the Rangers host Aledo. The Bearcats beat Lone Star 34-32 at home last season and this game has the potential to be every bit as good as the two-point thriller from last season.
Lewisville @ Keller Timber Creek
The Lewisville defense held Arlington Bowie to just one score late in the 4th quarter in its season opener. That’s a massive improvement from last season, but can that group sustain that success? The Fighting Farmer defense will be under duress from a Timber Creek offense that scored 49 points last week. This should be a fun, close game with the potential for a lot of points.
Keller @ Denton Braswell
Would I have made this a game to watch a week ago? No. Will this actually end up being a good game? That remains to be seen. However, Keller shut out Abilene Cooper 39-0 in week one. I don’t know how good (or bad) Cooper might end up being this season, but Keller doesn’t beat teams at that margin very often. Denton Braswell also impressed in week one with a 49-10 win over Mesquite Horn. I think Braswell will be good this year and I will be impressed if Keller can keep the score close.
Grand Prairie @ McKinney Boyd
Another game that I would have not made a game to watch a week ago! Grand Prairie put its best player, Savion Red, at quarterback. The result: a 67-6 win over South Garland! Putting Red at quarterback may not have had much to do with the win as he only attempted three passes but when was the last time Grand Prairie scored 67 points in a game!? This week the Gophers will face a tougher challenge. McKinney Boyd beat Midwest City (OK) 37-0 in its season opener and should win this game. Just like with Keller, I will be impressed if Grand Prairie keeps the score close.
Humble Atascocita @ Allen
We have another Houston-DFW matchup between Atascocita and Allen! The Atascocita Eagles travelled north to play Allen last season and will do it again on Friday as they attempt to hand Allen its first loss at Eagle Stadium. Allen beat Atascocita 52-27 last season. The biggest difference now is that Atascocita quarterback Gavin Session has a full season under his belt. His last start at Eagle Stadium was his first at the varsity level. There is clear and present danger for Allen this weekend. How fitting would it be for the Eagles to hand Allen its first loss at Eagle Stadium? I’m still not going to count Allen out, but this is a game I will be keeping my eyes on.
Denton Guyer @ Denton Ryan
Denton Ryan graduated quite a bit of talent from its State Championship squad from last season. The response? A dominating 40-7 win over Longview. As impressive as that win was, Denton Guyer is a different beast. A 6A sized beast to be exact. Denton Guyer edged out Denton Ryan 23-20 a year ago and this game has the potential to live up to the hype again. Denton Guyer and quarterback Jackson Arnold impressed in a 46-17 win over Hebron last weekend. A family affair is always one to watch, especially one with this much talent involved.
Arlington @ Cedar Hill
The Cedric Harden Jr. era at Cedar Hill got off to a bit of a rough start in a 42-29 loss at home to a good Rockwall team. Week two won’t be much easier as the Longhorns take on an Arlington team that beat Skyline 35-28 last week. Ryley Zalusky and Rodney Talton Jr. appear to be a dynamic one-two punch for the Colts offense. Cedar Hill would love to get some momentum going before heading into district play and beating Arlington would go a long way towards propelling Cedar Hill forward. Arlington can build on its momentum before having to navigate a tough district schedule as well.
Trinity @ Austin Westlake
What did we learn from Ollie Gordon’s first week at quarterback? First off, Gordon has a CANNON for an arm. Secondly, Trinity still won’t pass more than a handful of times per game despite the cannon attached to Gordon’s torso. Third, Gary Maddox is a dangerous playmaker who will only open up options for Trinity’s offense even more. Trinity is a must watch team this year, but they get an Austin Westlake squad that might be the best team in the entire state. This will be a measuring stick game for Trinity. If the Trojans can just keep this game close, that will be a great sign.
Jesuit @ Rockwall
Both teams opened the season with wins over good teams. Rockwall downed Cedar Hill despite a tough night for quarterback Braedyn Locke. On the other hand, Zach Hernandez showed that he can step up and be the main feature of the Rockwall offense when he needs to be. Jesuit outlasted Flower Mound Marcus thanks to a great game from quarterback Gage Roy. I expect this game to be close and for Locke to be the difference. I think Locke plays better than he did against Cedar Hill and powers Rockwall to a close win over Jesuit.
Player of the Week
My player of the week is Richland’s C.J. Nelson! I didn’t list a position for Nelson because let’s be honest, he does it all. Nelson powered Richland to a 52-29 win over Haltom in week one by completing 13 of his 21 passes for 230 yards and a score while adding 153 yards and three more touchdowns on the ground! To recap, Nelson accounted for 383 of Richland’s 492 yards of offense! If he continues to perform like that, watch out for the Richland Royals this season.
Team of the Week
My team of the week is the Plano West Wolves! Plano West has struggled over the last few seasons and started off the 2021 season down 32-7 to Wylie. Instead of riding out the rest of the game, Plano West fought back and scored 42 unanswered points to defeat Wylie 49-32. Running back Dermot White and quarterback Noah Hann are big reasons why Plano West was able to pull off the victory. White finished with 214 yards and three scores on just 13 carries while Hann added 149 yards and two scores on the ground to go with 84 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Newcomer of the Week
My newcomer of the week is Southlake Carroll quarterback Kaden Anderson! There were plenty of excellent choices for this award at the quarterback position alone. Guys like Jaxxon Warren at Marcus, Cedric Hardin Jr. at Cedar Hill, Ryley Zalusky at Arlington, and Matt Allen at DeSoto were all worthy choices. Those guys have known for months that they were the guy, or at least competing for the starting job.
Anderson found out he would be the starting quarterback a few weeks before the season began when Quinn Ewers announced he would be skipping his senior year at Southlake Carroll to enroll early at Ohio State. Anderson also had the added pressure of playing a storied program on national TV. Anderson completed 16 of his 24 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns and put the score well out of reach by the 4th quarter as Southlake Carroll downed Highland Park 45-21. Ewers may be in Columbus, but the future is still bright at Southlake Carroll.