Video: Top 10 Texas high school football games
Rivalries and great matchups dominate these must-see contests.
The issue with choosing only 10 can't-miss regular season Texas football games for 2019 is leaving out all the hundreds of worthy games that go unmentioned.
But factoring preseason ranking, recent results or tradition, here's a list of 10 games in the Lone Star State that should be well worth the price of admission.
Numerical references correspond to the Texas Top 25 rankings that were released Tuesday. Inner-state games only.
Top 10 Texas high school football games to watch in 2019
Bearcat Stadium, Sherman
Why it matters: This marks the 121st meeting of the neighboring schools that are separated by 15 miles. The series began in 1901 (the teams often faced off multiple times in a season in the early years) and is known as the "Battle of the Ax.'' A local business owner donated an ax in 1949, which the winning school keeps. Series scores are engraved on the blade. Sherman leads the series 68-44 but Denison extended its winning streak to six with last season's 41-16 victory. There have been eight ties. Quaint Bearcat Stadium, a 6,500-seat facility built as a WPA project and opened in 1940, provides a fitting setting.
9. No. 25 Cedar Hill vs. No. 3 Allen
Eagle Stadium, AllenWhy it matters:
This should serve as an early test for two programs that enter every season with high expectations. It is the opening half of the 20th Tom Landry Classic, honoring the legacy of the original head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, himself a former Texas high school player. Allen, a popular participant in the Classic, has a 12-1 record in the event with three of those wins coming at the expense of Cedar Hill (2010, 2011, 2017). Beginning with the 2012 season, Allen and Cedar Hill have combined to play in seven state championship games (four by Allen), winning six.
8. Mart at Refugio
Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium, Refugio
Why it matters: Mart is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A DII while Refugio is No. 2 in 2A DI. Mart used a 41-8 throttling of Refugio as a springboard to its seventh state title last fall, eventually scoring an 11-man state record 76 points in the final. In 2017, Mart defeated Refugio for the 2A DI title, 34-21. Refugio has had its recent share of glory moments as a state champion in 2016 and runner-up in 2015.
7. Argyle at La Vega (Waco)
Sept. 6 Where:
Willie Williams Stadium, Waco
Why it matters: These two Class 4A DI teams, divisionally ranked in the top three in the preseason, know each other well. They met twice last year with Argyle taking the early season 31-29 victory only to see La Vega prevail 31-14 in a fourth-round playoff meeting in harsh weather conditions. In 2015, La Vega edged Argyle 33-31 for the 4A DI state crown, the third consecutive season for Argyle to reach a state final.
6. No. 13 Fort Bend Marshall (Missouri City) at Manvel
Ken Hall Stadium, Missouri City
Why it matters:
Since the end of last year's epic encounter, won 52-51 in overtime by Marshall 52-51, the rematch has been highly anticipated. Running back Devon Achane
, a senior this fall, ran for seven touchdowns and the game-deciding two-point conversion to lead Marshall to victory. Neither team could stop the other. The score was tied at 44 at the end of regulation. Marshall used the crucial District 11-5A DII victory as a stepping stone to reach the state final.
5. No. 7 Carroll (Southlake) at No. 14 Guyer (Denton)
C.H. Collins Complex, Denton
Why it matters: Last season's encounter was a thriller with Carroll, the home team, pulling out a 33-29 win on a 23-yard, trick-play pass thrown by a wide receiver with six seconds remaining. The teams combined for 29 points in a see-saw fourth quarter. This year's rematch could well decide the District 5-6A title. The winner will hold a 4-3 series advantage.
4. No. 18 Judson (Converse) at No. 23 Steele (Cibolo)
Robert & Glenda Lehnhoff Stadium, Schertz
Why it matters: This matchup often turns out to be the unofficial championship game of Greater San Antonio. The winner of this District 26-6A opener also has the inside track to the district title. That was the case last year when Judson rolled to a 58-21 victory and went on to finish undefeated in league play. While Judson is the more established program with six state titles, Steele has a 7-2 edge in the series.
3. Grandview at Malakoff
Tiger Stadium, Malakoff
Why it matters:
This is a rematch of the Class 3A DI state title game in December won by Grandview, 35-21. Grandview, with 18 starters returning from a 14-2 team, is ranked No. 1 in this fall's 3A DI state poll. Malakoff, which graduated 11 starters after going 12-3, is ranked No. 2. The teams also met prior to the state final, a 28-7 Grandview regular season win at home in Week 3. Grandview is led by quarterback/free safety Dane Jentsch
. Malakoff counters with quarterback Darion Peace
2. No. 15 Westlake (Austin) at No. 4 Lake Travis (Austin)
Cavalier Stadium at Lake Travis
Why it matters:
Lake Travis has dominated the rivalry, winning 10 of the last 14. But since sweeping Westlake twice in 2016 by 42 and 48 points, Lake Travis has lost to its rival twice, including a 44-14 thrashing last year at Westlake. Bragging rights are important for the two schools, located 12 miles apart in South Austin. Hudson Card
, a Texas pledge, gives Lake Travis an edge as the quarterback with the most game experience on either roster.
1. No. 5 Katy at No. 1 North Shore (Houston)
Galena Park ISD Stadium
Why it matters:
Katy's long dominance in the Houston area was interrupted by North Shore last year. The Mustangs handled Katy twice last season, 35-21 in the opener and 49-38 in the third round of the playoffs on the way to the Class 6A DI state championship. Big things are expected from both teams this fall. North Shore is ranked No. 4 in MaxPreps Top 25 and Katy is No. 32. Both teams return excellent passing quarterbacks: Bronson McClelland
for Katy and Dematrius Davis Jr.
for the Mustangs.
Randy Jennings begins his ninth season as a MaxPreps correspondent
and has covered Texas high school football since 1975. The 2010 Texas
High School Coaches Association sportswriter of the year has written for
the Dallas Morning News, Arlington Morning News and served 18 years as
sports editor of the Grand Prairie News.