Video: Xcellent 25 High School Football Rankings
National No. 4 Allen is one of the 10 Texas playoff games to watch this week.
Marquee matchups are typically hard to find in the first round of the UIL state football playoffs.
And in a way, that's by design. The matchup of the best teams should come later in the six rounds that are required to win an 11-man state championship.
How they got here: In the largest two classifications, 6A and 5A, after the top four finishers from a district are determined, they are placed based on enrollment with the largest two in Division I and the smaller two in Division II. From there the team with the highest finish from one district plays its bi-district game against a lower finishing team.
In Class 4A, 3A and 2A, the teams are divided based on enrollment and placed in divisions before the season begins. District champions in those classifications go against fourth-place finishers in bi-district.
Last season, in 96 Class 2A, 3A and 4A bi-district first vs. fourth playoff games, 13 lowest-seeded teams pulled off the victory. So, take heart 1-8 Grape Creek (San Angelo) going against 9-1 Shallowater in 3A-DI. Or 1-9 Clarksville facing 9-1 Bremond in 2A-DII. Upsets do happen.
From the list of 640 UIL 11-man playoff games this week, here's a look at the best:
Port Neches-Groves (Port Neches) 8-1 vs. Crosby 9-1, Class 5A-DII, 7 p.m. Friday at Baytown's Stallworth Stadium
Both teams suffered their first loss in last week's regular-season finale, Crosby lost to New Caney 63-38 and Port Neches-Groves fell 36-35 to rival Nederland. Crosby, the second seed from District 21-5A, is averaging 51.4 points per game. Baylor pledge Craig Williams
has rushed for 1,528 yards and 27 touchdowns while Jaiden Howard
has thrown for 2,101 yards and 20 scores. Port Neches-Groves, the top seed from District 22-5A, counters with dual-threat quarterback Roschon Johnson
, a University of Texas pledge, who finished with 416 combined yards (292 rushing) and five touchdowns last week.Fort Bend Ridge Point (Missouri City) 8-1 vs. Cinco Ranch (Katy) 8-1, Class 6A-DI, 7 p.m. Friday at Missouri City's Hall Stadium
Ridge Point's defense did not allow a touchdown to three opponents on the way to a District 20-6A title. Offensively senior quarterback Aaron Allen
(1,633 passing yards, 18 touchdowns), a Louisiana Tech pledge, and junior Mason McBride
(773 rushing yards) are top weapons. Cinco Ranch, runner-up in District 19-6A, depends on senior running back and Rice pledge Brant Kuithe
(1,041 yards, 18 touchdowns). Senior Zach Easterly
and junior Cameron Harper
share time at quarterback. Jamie Wolfe
is the leading tackler with 72.O'Connor (Helotes) 10-0 vs. Clemens (Schertz) 8-2, Class 6A-DI, 7:30 p.m. Friday at San Antonio's Farris Stadium
Dual-threat senior quarterback Roel Sanchez
has a hand in 33 touchdowns, throwing for 1,442 yards and rushing for 800 for District 28-6A champion O'Connor. Millard Bradford
leads in interceptions with three. For Clemens, tied for third in the very difficult District 27-6A, senior Marshawn Brown
has rushed for 1,055 yards and 14 scores. The defense has 21 sacks and forced 21 turnovers with six interceptions from senior Jaques Tyler
. Huntsville (8-1) vs. Georgetown 8-2, Class 5A-DII, 7:30 p.m. at A&M Consolidated, College Station
Cooper Bell has thrown for 2,185 yards and 34 touchdowns with Caden Leggett
on the receiving end of 47 for 1,042 yards and 19 scores for Georgetown, third in District 19-5A. Huntsville is the top seed from District 20-5A after defeating Magnolia West (Magnolia) 20-3 last week. The Huntsville defense got an interception from Dedric O'Bryant
and a forced fumble from Jaden Schroeder
. Hornets quarterback Jayce Elliott
returned from a knee injury suffered on Oct. 20.Allen 10-0 vs. Hebron (Carrollton) 8-2, Class 6A-DI, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allen's Eagle Stadium
Hebron, runner-up in District 5-6A, is led by senior quarterback Clayton Tune (2,220 passing yards, 22 touchdowns). Trejan Bridges
, an Oklahoma pledge, has 60 catches for 863 yards and 13 scores. Defensively, Carlos Hatcher
(committed to Tulane) has 9.5 sacks and Verone McKinley iii
(Oregon pledge) has five interceptions. Allen went unbeaten in the regular season for the sixth time in seven years. Arizona State pledge Brock Sturges
has rushed for 1,228 yards and 19 scores while Grant Tisdale
has thrown for 1,428 yards and 20 scores. The District 6-6A champion is No. 4 nationally in the Xcellent 25 Ranking.Mansfield Legacy (Mansfield) 8-2 vs. Burleson 9-1, Class 5A-DII, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth's Farrington Field
Junior Jalen Catalon
does a little of everything for Legacy, runner-up in District 10-5A. He's accounted for 16 touchdowns and 1,296 yards (678 rushing) and also leads the in tackles (77) and interceptions (three). Grant Johnson
has rushed for 1,352 yards and 14 scores. For Burleson, runner-up in District 9-5A, Jaylen Johnson
is coming off a 105-yard receiving performance and Devin Stevenson
eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a 30-20 win over Crowley last week.Del Valle (El Paso) 9-1 vs. Chapin (El Paso) 8-2, Class 5A-DI, 8 p.m. Friday at El Paso's Conquest Stadium
Del Valle, champion of District 2-5A, is led by junior Raymond Montez'
passing (2,177 yards, 16 touchdowns) and rushing (677 yards, 11 scores). Karch Gardiner
is the top receiver with 54 catches for 898 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Anthony Baird
has thrown for 2,640 yards and 33 touchdowns for Chapin, runner-up in District 1-5A. His favorite target is junior Christian McKeever
with 1,158 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.George West 9-1 vs. Bishop 8-2, Class 3A-DI, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corpus Christi's Cabaniss Stadium
Junior Dakota Wallek
has thrown for 1,825 yards and 18 touchdowns for George West, runner-up in District 15-3A-DI. Devin Naylor
has rushed for 608 yards and 18 touchdowns. Bishop's defense has posted three shutouts and in only two games has an opponent reached double-figure point totals.Denison 8-2 vs. Boswell (Fort Worth) 9-1, Class 5A-DII, 7 p.m. Friday at Denton's Apogee Stadium
Run-heavy Denison, runner-up in District 5-5A, throws the ball on only a fifth of its offensive plays. Senior Austin Emery
leads a stable of runners with 879 yards and 12 scores. Boswell, runner-up to Aledo in District 6-5A, relies on the sophomore passing combo of Brayden Thomas
to Brandon Chatman Jr.
Thomas has thrown for 2,473 yards and 31 scores. Chatman has 72 catches for 877 yards and 12 scores.Southside (San Antonio) 8-2 vs. Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi) 8-1, Class 5A-DI, 7:30 p.m. Friday, San Antonio's Southside ISD Stadium
Southside, the District 29-5A champion, is led by senior running back Eddie Perez
with 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns. Perez is coming off a 414-yard, four-touchdown performance last week. Flour Bluff, runner-up in the District 30-5A south zone, is making its 14th post-season appearance since 2000. In its 63-27 win over Ray (Corpus Christi) to reach the playoffs, Simeon Wells
rushed for 133 yards and four touchdowns while Braden Sherron
threw for 201 yards and three scores.