Region III’s Final Four weekend is highlighted by a 5A, Division I rematch between a team in search of redemption and one hunting for history.
Saturday will mark exactly three months since North Shore began its 2010 season with a disconcerting 44-6 to Katy. The Mustangs have gone 10-1 since that humid August night and will face a (still) undefeated den of Tigers that have incurred few speed bumps en route to a potential third state title in four years.
Last week’s 44-20 win over upset-minded Fort Bend Hightower provided a clear indication that coach David Aymond’s Mustangs are back in top form, but QB Keenon Gibson, OT Sedrick Flowers (Texas commit) and LB Derrick Matthews (Houston) will have their hands full against a Katy team that features RBs Donovonn Young and Adam Taylor, who combined for 336 yards and five scores in a 55-20 win over Cy-Fair.
The winner will face the survivor of Cypress Creek and Pearland, a contest that is expected to be a shootout that will highlight two of the Touchdown Club of Houston’s offensive player of the year finalists. QB Chuck Keeton (Utah State) sparked the Cougars’ 54-28 win over Cinco Ranch with 317 yards and two scores from scrimmage, while Oilers RB Dustin Garrison continues his assault on the record books following a 51-22 win over Beaumont West Brook.
In 5A, Division II, Clear Creek’s surprising run will be tested by a Cy-Woods offense that has rolled up 112 points in playoff wins over Eisenhower and Katy Taylor. QB Colton Huntsman has triggered the explosive Wildcats attack, which faces a Creek defense that is coming off a 16-0 win over La Porte in which coach Darrell Warden’s unit recorded four turnovers.
Cy Woods must contain Creek RB C.J. McElroy (Houston), who was held in check last week, but the Touchdown Club of Houston finalist has shown the penchant for taking control of games with his explosive versatility.
Houston Memorial and Port Arthur Memorial both won area round squeakers, setting the stage for what should be an evenly-matched tilt in the other DII semifinal.
Class 4A has become the 24-4A Invitational, as Friendswood, Manvel (Division I), Dawson and La Marque (Division II) could make the district the first to run the board to the regional finals in both divisions.
The Cougars face perhaps the biggest challenge as they take on a Dayton team that has won nine straight after a 0-3 start. Despite a slew of injuries, the Broncos come into the contest rolling with momentum after a 49-17 win over Kingwood Park featured an offensive display that saw them amass more than 500 yards.
La Marque will likely be without RB Tim Wright, who suffered a serious ankle injury in the win over Yates, meaning coach Darrell Jordan will turn to a defense that has forced 12 turnovers in their last three games.
Manvel’s underrated defense will get a stiff test against a resurgent Port Neches-Groves team that has found new life with RB Chase Bertrand, who had 221 yards in three touchdowns in last week’s 50-47 shootout against Willis. The Mavericks can’t focus too much on Bertrand, as Indians QB Brennan Doty is a dangerous dual-threat.
Having mauled Angleton and Worthing by a combined 109-21, Dawson now sets its sights on Montgomery, who has been fueled by the running of Leroy Dobbins. Dobbins has seen his recruiting stock rise in the last month, and is backed by a rugged defense which limited Hunstville and Crosby to just 21 points in their two playoff victories.
Coach of the year candidate Walt Beasley keeps finding ways for Humble to advance, but the Wildcats have a huge task in the form of a Friendswood team that seeks its third straight trip to the regional finals. The Mustangs have looked sluggish at times, but an offense featuring QB Pete Matezold (Fordham) and RB Jonathan Johnson is capable of unloading points by the bushel.
Humble isn’t as prolific on the offensive side of things, but their swarming defense, led by junior DL Paul Boyette and Zorrell Ezell, can disrupt Friendswood’s frantic pace, which would led to the Wildcats turning to their ball control attack.