With one more game to go in the district season, Ridge Point, Bush and Hightower have earned three of the four playoff spots in District 20-6A.
Ridge Point will be the 20-6A district winner in 6A Division 1, and Bush and Hightower will represent the district in 6A Division 2. The winner of the Travis-Hightower game on Friday will claim the final Division 1 playoff spot.
Marshall will represent District 23-5A in 5A Division 2.
Ridge Point 21, Bush 17
In the battle of undefeated teams, Ridge Point came back from a 17-14 deficit to beat Bush 21-17. Both teams will move on to the playoffs as district winners, the Panthers in Division 1 and the Broncos in Division 2.
Ridge Point scored first as Adam Bazan caught a 2-yard scoring pass from Aaron Allen. Bush tied it up when Adam Colley caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Wade Freeman. After a safety by Bush, Bazan caught a 91-yard touchdown pass from Allen. Bush closed out the first half scoring on a 34-yard pass from Freeman to Lawrence Scott. A 2-point conversion made the score 17-14 in favor of Bush.
Ridge Point scored the game winning points when linebacker Chad Bailey, brought in to convert a fourth down and 2, ran for a 51-yard touchdown. Neither team could score in the fourth quarter and Ridge Point celebrated a district championship.
“We should have played better both ways. We made a lot of mental mistakes that we need to clean up before playoffs,” Panther quarterback Allen said. “But I’m proud of my team. We left everything out on field and our defense came up big for us at the end.”
The game was evenly matched as Ridge Point generated 387 yards of total offense and Bush had 369 yards.
The Ridge Point coaching staff named Chad Bailey as defensive player of the week, and Aaron Allen as offensive player of the week. Bailey had nine tackles, three tackles for a loss, one pass break up, and on offense, he ran 51-yards for the game winning touchdown. Allen completed 12 of 23 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 69 yards.
Offensive lineman of the week was Quent Titre. Dylan Malpass was named special teams player of the week as he kicked 3 of 3 extra points and had a 41.5-yard punting average. The defensive lineman of the week was Dennis Osagiede with seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries.
Ridge Point finishes its district schedule against Hightower on Thursday at Hall Stadium, and Bush will play Austin on Thursday at Mercer Stadium.
Hightower 21, Travis 12
The Hightower defense held Travis to one touchdown and made plays when they needed to be made, as the Hurricanes beat the Tigers 21-12.
Travis came into the game averaging 40 points per game in district play, but the Hurricane defense held them to a first quarter touchdown and two field goals.
Travis scored first with a 39-yard field goal by Josue Guerro. Hightower took a 7-3 lead as Zaveon Turbin caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Smith. Travis regained the lead as Kaelen Shankle scored on a 4-yard run. The first quarter ended with Travis leading 9-7.
In the second quarter, the Hurricanes took the lead with Chance Ceasar scoring on a 27-yard pass from Smith. Guerro kicked a 21-yard field goal 4:47 to go in the half to bring Travis within two at 14-12.
At this point, the Hurricane defense stepped up and shut down the Travis offense. The Tigers were driving with 2:00 to go in the half when Hurricane defensive back Isaiah Essisima intercepted a pass at the 10-yard line. With 36 seconds to go in the half, the Tigers were again threatening to score when Quinton Sharkey intercepted a pass at the 5-yard line.
In the second half, Travis received the kickoff and maintained possession for 9:53 of the third quarter before missing a field goal. The fourth quarter saw Travis again move downfield but Hurricane linebacker Derrick McClendon intercepted a pass on the Hurricanes’ 14-yard line stopping another potential scoring drive.
“I was baiting the quarterback the whole game. On this play, I had him thinking I was dropping to the curl flat, but I watched his eyes and saw the post coming, and then I jumped the route,” McClendon said.
The Tigers would not give up and forced Hightower to punt, but with 3:26 to go in the game, Travis fumbled, and Hightower took over on the Tiger 19-yard line. A play later, Devin McAdoo ran 8 yards for a touchdown to make the score 20-12.
“Number 9, Kevontae Camp Sims, made a great block and there was a big hole to run through. The line set me up for a good touchdown,” McAdoo said. “Our defense had our back the whole time they were out there in the third quarter. At the end of the game, it was the offense’s turn to shine and we had our moment.”
The game was still a one-possession game, and on the extra point attempt, the Hurricanes had an illegal formation penalty and a false start penalty to turn the kick into a 30-yard attempt. But Endy Lopez was equal to the task, and the Hurricanes led 21-12.
Needing two scores with no timeouts remaining, the Tigers moved quickly to the Hurricanes’ 16-yard line, but on a fourth down and six, Travis attempted a field goal and it was no good, giving Hightower a 21-12 win and a spot in the playoffs.
For the game, Hightower completed 7 of 15 passes for 81 yards and rushed for 219 yards on 34 carries.
Travis had 112 rushing yards on 32 carries and completed 22 of 43 attempts for 291 yards.
One of the highlights of the game was the one on one battle between Travis receiver Arjei Henderson and Hurricane defensive back Isaiah Essisima. The two potential all-district players each made highlight reel plays during the game.
“It was great competition, we just competed with each other all night,” Essisima said. “I was in straight man to man coverage on Henderson all night with no help behind me. It was great competition.”
“The win against Travis was a total team effort. Our defense played a great game. They created a number of turnovers and put the offense in a great position to put points on the board,” Hightower Assistant Coach Gerrick Green said. “Our players of the game were the entire defense because they came up with big stops and helped seal the win.”
Travis, a perennial playoff team, has been hit with a rash of injuries. On the sidelines during this game were captain and all-district returnee linebacker Jake Lynch, wide receiver Austin Bertness, running back Parker Washington, wide receiver Kollin Jackson and defensive lineman Felix Etugbo.
Hightower will play Ridge Point on Thursday at Hall Stadium, while Travis plays Kempner on Friday at Mercer Stadium.
Dulles 57, Austin 34
Ainias Smith scored three touchdowns, and Griffin Maranda and Myles Heard had two touchdowns each, as Dulles beat Austin 57-34.
Smith opened the scoring with a 1-yard run halfway through the first quarter. Austin’s Gerad Miller brought the Bulldogs to within one at 8-7 as he scored on a 60-yard run. After that it was all Vikings. Miranda caught touchdown passes of 35 yards and 24 yards from Cameron Peters.
The Bulldogs’ Troy Omeire caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Trey Larson, but Heard answered with a 19-yard scoring run and Smith caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Peters to make the halftime score 37-15.
Austin opened the third quarter with Miller scoring on a 25-yard run, but Dulles’ De’Andre Moore caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Peters to keep the lead at 22.
Austin kept fighting as Larson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Omeire and a 45-yard pass to Miller. That ended the Austin scoring as the Vikings’ defense shut them out in the final quarter.
Heard added to the lead with a 9-yard run and Smith closed out the scoring with a 3-yard run.
Both teams were able to run the ball as Austin had 308 rushing yards on 29 carries, and Dulles had 388 rushing yards on 48 carries. Surprisingly, Austin had 360 passing yards to just 180 for the Vikings, but they could not turn those yards into scores.
Dulles is on a two-game winning streak.
“Our coaches have had a very big role in our recent success,” Myles Heard said. “They installed different packages and adjustments to our opponents, and we just executed the play calls. The different packages and plays have really help us find some rhythm.”
“We made some mistakes on both offense and special teams that led to costing touchdowns on defense. The offense played well, but we need to clean up the turnovers, so the opposing team won’t have momentum,” Ainias Smith said. “However, it was a great team win, but we have things we need to clean up in all phases of the game if we want to do better next season.”
In their final game, Dulles plays Clements next Friday at Hall Stadium, and Austin plays Bush on Thursday at Mercer Stadium.
Kempner 41, Clements 15
Kempner rushed for 398 yards as the Cougars beat Clements 41-15. Jacob Mangum-Farrar opened the scoring with a 54-yard run, and Jordan Oliver added touchdown runs of 7 yards and 8 yards to make the score 21-0.
Clements’ Pierre Djunga scored on a 4-yard run to make the score 21-7 at halftime.
Once again Mangum-Farrar opened the scoring with a 19-yard run, which was followed by Clements’ John Nork scoring on a 7-yard run to make the score 28-15.
Kempner closed out the game with Cade Lubojasky throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Michael Adeyeba, and Joel Adams scoring on a 30-yard run.
For the game, Kempner generated 460 yards of total offense while holding Clements to 219 yards.
“Jacob Mangum-Farrar and Jordan Oliver played both offense and defense and each had touchdowns,” Kempner Head Coach Darrin Andrus said. “Our defense played much better. Abbott Ashiofu and Blake Better had good games defensively.”
Kempner will play Travis on Friday at Mercer Stadium, and Clements will play Dulles on Friday at Hall Stadium.
Marshall 42, Texas City 12
Marshall moved a step closer to the playoffs as they beat Texas City 42-12. The Buffalos did all of their damage on the ground as they rushed for 460 yards on 43 carries, and had just 41 yards of passing. The Buffalo defense held Texas City to just 111 yards of rushing.
Devon Achane and Jerry Davis took turns scoring touchdowns for Marshall as the Buffalos led 14-5 at halftime, and 35-5 at the end of the third. Achane started off the scoring with a 56-yard run, Davis had a 16-yard touchdown run, Achane ran it in from 71 yards out, Davis had a 7-yard run, Achane came back with a 55-yard run, and Davis finished the Buffalos scoring with a 42-yard run.
“We just want to take it step by step all the way to state,” Marshall wide receiver Henry Thomas said.
“I am very proud of the way the team played. We faced some adversity early and some mistakes were made, but they stayed focused and overcame. All of our units played well,” Marshall Head Coach James Williams said. “Our defense has improved every week and our offense has continued to be explosive. Jerry Davis and Devon Achane each scored three touchdowns against Texas City. We will keep focusing on getting better going into the playoffs.”
Marshall closes out its season with Santa Fe on Friday at Santa Fe Stadium.
Willowridge 64, Galena Park 61
Willowridge’s Javion Chatman caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Vaughnte Frederick with 2:31 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 64-61 win over Galena Park.
Defense was absent on both sides as the teams combined for 1,406-yards of total offense. Willowridge passed for 370 yards and rushed for 356 for 726 total yards of offense, while Galena Park passed for 346 yards and rushed for 334 yards for 680 total yards of offense.
Willowridge was down 33-14 at halftime, with the Eagles scoring on a 68-yard run by Chris Carter, and Lidarian Carter catching a 41-yard pass from Frederick.
The Eagles closed to within 53-43 at the end of the third quarter, as Joe Johnson scored three touchdowns, a 27-yard run, and touchdown passes of 9-yards and 43-yards from Frederick, and Lidarian Carter added a 64-yard scoring run.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson scored on a 59-yard pass from Frederick. After a Galena Park touchdown, Frederick scored on a 22-yard pass from Johnson to bring the Eagles to cut the lead to 61-57 with 5:56 on the clock. The Eagles finally took the lead, and the game, as Chatman caught the game-winning pass from Frederick.
Willowridge will finish its season on Friday at Galveston Ball.
Galveston Ball 42, Elkins 7
Galveston took a 21-0 halftime lead and didn’t let up as the Tors beat Elkins 42-7. Elkins’ Kashon Martinez scored on a 46-yard run to make the score 28-7, but the Knights could not score again.
Elkins will meet Texas City on Friday at Texas City.