Cedar Hill (Texas)
and Lamar (Houston)
don't present obstacles enough, here's another for nationally ranked Katy
That's hard to imagine when you are playing for a Texas state championship, but both teams come in heavy favorites heading into 5A title games Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.
Katy, No. 2 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings
, play Cedar Hill in a 4 p.m. 5A Division II title game, while No. 6 Allen plays Lamar in Division I at 8 p.m.
Katy, which hung on to beat Steele 45-33 in a semifinal game last week, has won six state championships and outscored foes this fall 794-182. The Tigers are led by senior tailback Adam Taylor
(6-foot-2, 206 pounds) who has rushed for 2,247 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Cedar Hill started the season 1-3 and has improved greatly, shown in a 31-28 win over Westlake thanks to a last-second 42-yard field goal by Brooks Ralph
. Cedar Hill got a big lift from converted linebacker Bobby Jackson
, who rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, including a 77-yarder that broke a 14-14 tie.
Coach Joey McGuire said Jackson had been a running back until his junior year. Because the Longhorns had
and Jared Rayford
, Jackson was moved to defense. He got into a few playoff games as a running back this fall, but last week all of his practice reps came at running back. He has only 29 carries this season.
Gonzalez (1,415 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns) and Quincy Adeboyejo
(1,230 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns) are Texas A&M commits. Quarterback Damion Hobbs
, committed to Arkansas State, has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,569 yards and 27 touchdowns.
"If we listen to most people, we'd just check in our helmets now,'' McGuire told MaxPreps correspondent and longtime Dallas-area prep scribe Randy Jennings. "Not too many give us much of a shot. But I'll promise this — we're going to show up at 4 o'clock on Saturday and give it everything we've got.''
Allen's only loss was 27-24 to Coppell on Sept. 28. Since then, the Eagles have rattled off 12 straight wins, most of them lopsided. Last week's 51-36 triumph over DeSoto was against the nation's top-ranked team.
Allen raced to a 21-0 lead in that one and never trailed. Senior running back Marcus Ward rushed 32 times for 228 yards. On the flip side, DeSoto star and Oregon commit Dontre Wilson was limited to 39 yards on 15 carries.
Allen sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray
chipped in with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He completed just enough passes to keep the DeSoto defense guessing.
DeSoto's offense, averaging 48 points a game, was stopped on downs five times in Allen territory. The only DeSoto turnover, Tay Evans
' interception of a screen, turned into an Allen touchdown.
"When you play a big-play team like DeSoto, the mindset is to make them snap it one more time,'' said Allen senior linebacker Nick Cobb
, who stopped two of DeSoto's fourth down plays. "Even if a play goes for 30 yards, just make the tackle and make them snap it one more time. You can't worry about it when they make a big play.''
"The whole thing about this group is they play as a team,'' said a beaming Allen coach Tom Westerberg. "This wasn't a real good team in the spring, but we've gotten better every week."
Westerberg's team faces a Lamar squad that is unbeaten, has outscored foes 566-131 and are perfectly balanced with a passing attack, led by quarterback Darrell Colbert
, that has piled up 2,356 yards and a rushing game that has 2,452 yards without a 1,000-yard rusher.
Lamar is a Houston ISD squad and the last one to win a football title was Yates in 1985.
"The big thing in my mind is for Allen and Katy not to think that last week was the state championship," Jennings said. "They have to remember to show up Saturday."