By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Seven Fort Bend ISD teams made the football playoffs this year. Below is a summary of games played during the final week of the regular season.
Willowridge 20, Ball 7
While the Willowridge seniors were being introduced before Saturday afternoon’s game with Ball, two eagles, or at least two very large birds, soared above Hall Stadium, as if encouraging the Willowridge Eagles to grab the open playoff spot. And they did. Willowridge came from behind to defeat Ball 20-7 and move into the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Ball scored first on a 10-yard run from Jaden Bennett, but the Eagles responded with a 20-yard touchdown run from Kealton Goffney. The extra point was missed and the first quarter ended with Ball up 7-6. Midway through the second quarter, Vaughnte Frederick caught a 47-yard pass from Goffney to go ahead 13-7 at the half.
The third quarter was scoreless but with 6:26 to go in the fourth quarter, Goffney hit Chris Shaw with a 26-yard scoring pass to make the score 20-7. With time counting down, Ball moved down the field until with 4:41 to go in the game, Jeremy Payne intercepted a Ball pass and the Eagles were in the playoffs.
“I was watching the quarterback’s eyes all day and I knew where that pass was going. When I caught it, I realized we had just won the game and were going to the playoffs,” safety Jeremy Payne said. “That was my first interception of the season and it came at a great time.”
Goffney was 10-15 for 171 passing yards and two touchdowns, and had 11 rushes for 59 yards and one touchdown.
“When you have a great quarterback like Goffney, the offensive line wants to block for him, and we give it our extra effort. Kealton is our leader and we follow his lead in practice and in the game. He gives us energy and I would do anything just for him,” center Mark Alvarado said.
Vaughnte Frederick had five receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown, and Chris Shaw had three receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.
“It was really hard at the line of scrimmage, but we just needed to get off the ball, and push them forward,” right guard Alan Perales said. “They didn’t do anything that we weren’t prepared for.”
“It was an intense game,” linebacker Daijuan Johnson said. “We just kept fighting through everything and got the win.”
“Our mentality was to not give up anything. We had to keep our intensity up. When they recovered a fumble, we increased the intensity and they went three-and-out,” nose guard Brendan Dejean said.
Ridge Point 48, Hightower 7
Ridge Point was never threatened as they defeated Hightower 48-7 to claim the Fort Bend Tollway Cup and other bragging rights. Mason McBride ran 15 yards to put the Panthers on the scoreboard, and Dylan Malpass added a field goal to make the score 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Aaron Allen hit Adam Bazan on a 42-yard touchdown pass, Chad Bailey returned a fumble 37 yards and Malpass added a 32-yard field goal to make the halftime score 27-0.
“All I saw was the ball on the ground after our defensive end Nelson Ceaser hit the quarterback and I picked it up and took off,” Bailey said. “Our defense played a solid game.”
Mustapha Muhammad caught a 10-yard touchdown pass and Bazan grabbed a 12-yard scoring pass before Hightower’s Andre Lewis scored on a 10-pass to make the score 41-7. Knowledge Smith returned an interception 55 yards to make the final score 48-7.
Ridge Point’s Aaron Allen was 10-16 for 190 passing yards and three touchdowns. “It was a great game. The defense made big stops all night, and offensively we moved the ball down the field with demand,” Allen said. “Adam Bazan had a big night for us.”
Mason McBride rushed 16 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Bazan had two receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns, and Mustapha Muhammad had two receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown.
For Hightower, Sir-Zavious Broussard was 13-28 for 133 yards and a touchdown.
“We just didn’t execute like we were supposed to,” Broussard said.
Devin McAdoo carried 17 times for 115 yards.
Travis 46, Kempner 39
Travis scored 32 points in the second half to beat Kempner 46-39. In the first half, Parker Washington kept Travis close as he caught two touchdown passes, the first for 36 yards from running back Naveon Mitchell and the second for 16 yards from Amryn Jeffrey. Meanwhile, Kempner had two touchdown runs from Joel Adams, 61 yards and 13 yards, and one from Malcolm Stephens, 4 yards, to make the halftime score 22-14.
In the third quarter Travis came out passing as Jeffrey hit Washington for a 28-yard touchdown and Arjei Henderson for a 19-yard touchdown to take a 27-22 lead. Billy Reagins Jr. responded with a 22-yard scoring run as Kempner reclaimed the lead 28-27. Back came the Tigers as Mitchell scored on a 7-yard run to make the score 33-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Travis added to their lead when Jacob Owens returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown. Kempner would not give up as Malcolm Stephens scored on an 18-yard pass from Alec Carr and Freddy Lopez kicked a 27-yard field goal to tie the score at 39 with 2:36 to go in the game. Just 47 seconds later Henderson caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jeffrey to give Travis the lead at 46-39. With the Cougars going for it on fourth down and less than a minute to go, defensive lineman Freddy Burnham made a big tackle to give the ball back to the Tigers and the final score was 46-39.
“We knew exactly what play they were going to run, and my team and I made the play,” Burnham said. “I knew that was going to be my last snap at Mercer so I wanted to leave the stadium on a good note.”
For Travis, Amryn Jeffrey was 22-40 for 301 yards and four touchdowns.
“We got away from what we wanted to do, and how we wanted to do it, in the first half,” Jeffrey said. “At halftime we just refocused and got back to our type of football.”
Mitchell had 22 rushes for 126 yards and a touchdown, and he was 1-1 for 36 passing yards and a touchdown.
“We practice the running back option pass every day in practice until our coaches think we have it down,” Mitchell said. “Our ground game opened up in the second half which helped our passing game.”
Arjei Henderson had 10 receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Parker Washington had seven catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Henderson said. “It’s a great way to end the regular season.
“It was a great effort on both sides of the ball against a good Kempner team. Hopefully this win will give us some momentum leading into the playoffs against a great Katy Tiger team,” Travis coach Trey Sissom said. “The biggest play of the game was the forced fumble by defensive lineman Braxton White and the recovery for a touchdown by linebacker Jake Owens. Running backs Naveon Mitchell and Parker Washington had good games. On defense, Braxton White had a forced fumble and four tackles for a loss, and one sack. Outside linebackers Jake Owens and Myles Word help contain the quarterback and pressured the option attack all night. Tre Johnson and Austin Bertness did a great job on our kickoff return team, maximizing field position for our offense.”
For Kempner, Alec Carr was 6-12 for 146 yards and one touchdown. Billy Reagins Jr. carried 30 times for 136 yards and a touchdown, and Joel Adams had 11 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Malcolm Stephens had two receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown, and Jake Landry had two catches for 55 yards.
Dulles 44, Clements 7
Maurice and Marquise Frank both scored two touchdowns and Ainias Smith also had two as Dulles beat Clements 44-7. Dulles had a big second quarter as Smith scored first on an 18-yard run and then on a 32-yard pass from Luke Metzer. Next up was Marquese Frank with an 8-yard run, followed by Maurice Frank with a 44-yard touchdown reception from Metzer to make the halftime score 28-0.
Marquese Frank opened the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown run. Clements’ Blake Jameson returned an interception 54 yards to put the Rangers on the board before Maurice Frank ended the scoring with a 22-yard pass from Metzer.
Metzer was 9-19 for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
“Our season had its ups and downs, but there was nothing better than going out with a win with my brothers. We are family and we have created life-long friends,” Metzer said. “I love my team and everything they did for me!”
Marquese Frank had 21 rushes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, and twin brother Maurice Frank had five receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
“We played through adversity this season but we didn’t let that stop us nor break us up as a family, and we learned a lot from each other,” Marquese Frank said. “As of now, Maurice and I are planning on going to different colleges and playing football, but if it’s meant for us to continue playing together in college then it will happen.”
Ainias Smith had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, and 7 rushes for 59 yards and one touchdown.
“Our season didn’t go as planned, but we still finished hard at the end to leave our last game with a victory,” Smith said.
“It didn’t go as we had planned, but we played a hard, tough season through adversity,” defensive tackle Ben Gansallo said. “We ended the season right.”
For Clements, Nick Infante was 5-12 for 57 yards.
“Unfortunately, our season didn’t go as we planned,” Infante said.
Robert Dominguez had five rushes for 29 yards and Jordan Khalil had three receptions for 41 yards.
Marshall 47, Santa Fe 27
Jabari James ran for four touchdowns and passed for another more as Marshall beat Santa Fe 47-27.
James scored the first touchdown with 4:56 to go in the first quarter on a 13-yard run. About a minute later, Santa Fe tied it up at 7 as Blaine Marcantel caught a 50-yard scoring pass from Tucker Mica. It only took 40 seconds for the Buffalos to regain the lead as Jerry Davis ran into the end zone from 14-yards out.
In the second quarter, Henry Thomas scored on a 34-yard pass from James, but Santa Fe’s Landon Thompson scored on a 20-yard run to make the score 19-13. Jerry Davis then ran 70-yards to make the halftime score 26-13 in favor of Marshall.
James opened the second half with a 9-yard touchdown run, but Santa Fe responded with Marcantel’s second touchdown of the night, a 65-yard pass from Nathan Kruger. The rest of the game was all James’ as scored on a 3-yard run and a 52-yard run. The final score was 47-27.
James was 14-22 for 151 passing yards and a touchdown, and he had 13 carries for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Jerry Davis had nine rushes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, while Henry Thomas had six receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown, and Korey King also had six receptions for 81 yards.
“Our offense has been running pretty good, so we have leaned on them for a while now. They set the tone from the beginning of the game,” Marshall coach James Williams said. “On defense, Geovante Howard had two interceptions, both from inside our own 5-yard line. They were big plays. Our kicker, William Hernandez, has been great for us all year. He is very dependable on kickoffs, extra points and field goals.”
Bush 33, Austin 8
Bush kept its’ playoff dreams alive by beating Austin 33-8. Austin scored first on a Chris Rivers 3-yard run. After that, it was all Bush.
James Colley started the scoring with a 36-yard pass from Wade Freeman. Ricky Arreaga then kicked two field goals, the first for 29 yards and the second from 24 yards to make the score 12-8 at halftime.
In the third quarter Donte Donahue scored on a 36-yard pass from Freeman, Freeman scored on a 1-yard run, and then in the fourth quarter Dyshon Hodge scored on a 18-yard run to make the final score 33-8.
For Bush, Wade Freeman was 13-20 for 242 passing yards and two touchdowns. Brian Smith had 15 carries for 62 yards and Hodge had 13 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. Donte Donahue caught five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.
For Austin, Chris Rivers was 5-17 for 107 yards.
Elkins 30, Texas City 27
Leonard Harris III scored on an 18-yard run with 1:38 to go in the game to lead Elkins over Texas City 30-27, and put the Knights in the playoffs.
Elkins jumped to a 13-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run from Harris, and on a 39-yard pass from Luke Leblanc to Patrick Ballard.
Texas City controlled the second quarter as they scored on two 16-yard touchdown runs, the first from Gavin Raines and then from Jared Hernandez, to make the score at half time 13-13.
Elkins’ Vernon Harrell grabbed a 20-yard touchdown pass from Leblanc, but, Texas City responded with a 3-yard touchdown run from Jared Hernandez to make the score 20-20. The Knights kicked a field goal to take a 23-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Texas City scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:30 to go in the game. But Elkins, with a playoff spot on the line, moved down the field and Harris performed his heroics.
Elkins’ Luke Leblanc was 16-32 for 259 passing yards and two touchdowns.
“We had supreme confidence we were going to win the whole week prior to and during the game,” Leblanc said. “Once again we were down with little time left, but we didn’t panic because we have been in that situation before. We finished the game once again with a third straight win, sending us into the playoffs with a head of steam.”
Harris had 23 rushes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, Vernon Harrell had three receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown, and Patrick Ballard had three receptions for 77 yards and one touchdown.
@FtBendAthletics Athlete of the Week
The Fort Bend Star @FtBendAthletics Athlete of the Week is the Willowridge football team, their coaches, families and fans. The Eagles had a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years and the team stepped up and claimed their spot. “It could have been the last game of our season, but we wanted to keep playing,” nose guard Brendan Dejean said.