Video: Top 10 high school football Games of the WeekTexas tilts among the national action spotlighted.
Separated by 17 miles on the opposite sides of Lewisville Lake, Ryan (Denton) and Lone Star (Frisco) have put together dream 14-0 football seasons to this point.
Saturday's Class 5A Division I state semifinal outcome at Allen's Eagle Stadium determines which powerhouse program advances to the Dec. 20 UIL state title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The state semifinal round has been a hurdle Ryan has been unable to clear in the past three years. Just as in this season, Ryan took a 14-0 record into three consecutive fifth-round playoff games, only to lose to eventual state champion Highland Park in each instance.
Ryan, the Region I winner, doens't have to face Highland Park this time. Lone Star made sure of that, defeating the Scots 33-27 in overtime in the third playoff round.
Lone Star, Region II champs, has been in existence 10 years and has quickly developed into dominant force. The Rangers already have one state championship appearance in 2015.
There is star power in both camps.
Lone Star senior Marvin Mims set state and national single-season records for receiving yardage with his current total of 2,502. The Oklahoma pledge has exceeded 200 receiving yards in a game seven times this fall. He has a chance with his 5,342 career yards to break the state and national record in that category as well.
Lone Star quarterback Garret Rangel has thrown for 4,518 yards and 50 touchdowns. Jake Bogdon leads the Rangers ground attack with 1,440 yards and 20 scores.
Ryan is led by versatile linebacker and receiver Drew Sanders, an Alabama pledge. Wide receiver Billy Bowman, verbally committed to Texas, is the favorite target for quarterback Seth Henigan (2,780 passing yards, 34 touchdowns). Running back Emani Bailey, a Louisiana pledge, has rushed for 1,498 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Here is a preview of the top state semifinal games this week. (MaxPreps Texas Top 25 ranking included):
No. 11 Ryan (Denton) vs No. 12 Lone Star (Frisco)
Class 5A Division I
Saturday, 2 p.m., Eagle Stadium, Allen
Ryan: LB/WR Drew Sanders (6-5, 227), QB Seth Henigan (6-3, 195), RB Emani Bailey (5-9, 200), WR Billy Bowman (5-10, 180), DE Ja'tavion Sanders (6-4, 225).
Lone Star: WR Marvin Mims (6-0, 180), LB Jaylan Ford (6-3, 210), QB Garret Rangel (6-2, 165), RB JJake Bogdon (5-10, 180), WR Trace Bruckler (6-3, 190).
The teams have met twice previously in the opening month of the season in 2016 and 2017 with Ryan winning both by scores of 51-34 and 28-21. Ryan played in four consecutive state title games from 2000-2003, winning the Class 4A-DI title in '01 and the 4A-DII crown in '02.
No. 5 Guyer (Denton) vs No. 7 Westfield (Houston)
Class 6A Division II
Saturday, 1 p.m., Sheldon ISD Stadium, Harris County
Guyer: QB Eli Stowers (6-4, 200), RB/SS Kaedric Cobbs (5-10, 213), WR/CB Seth Meador (5-11, 175), LB/RB Johnathan Jones (5-9, 182), DL/OL Dotun Olanipekun (5-10, 250).
Westfield: WR Malachai Jones (6-0, 180), QB Cardell Williams (6-2, 160), RB Kendal Taylor (5-9, 172), WR Jalen Francis (6-2, 170), LB Dyllon Peavy (5-10, 210).
While consistently making deep playoff runs over the last nine seasons, Westfield (13-1) has reached the state semifinal round only in 2015 when the Mustangs lost to eventual state champion Cedar Hill. In three other seasons, including last year, Westfield lost in the regional final to the team that went on to win state. Sophomore quarterback Williams gives Westfield a passing weapon the Mustangs have lacked in a few other seasons, throwing for 2,593 yards and 28 touchdowns. Guyer (13-1) is in a state semifinal for the sixth time in 12 seasons, but for the first time since 2013. Stowers, a junior Texas A&M pledge, has 2,867 passing yards good for 36 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,045 yards and 10 more scores.
No. 2 North Shore (Houston) vs No. 8 Lake Travis (Austin)
Class 6A Division I
Saturday, 4 p.m., Reeves Stadium, Round Rock
North Shore: RB Zachary Evans (6-1, 210), QB Dematrius Davis Jr. (6-0, 195), WR Shadrach Banks (6-0, 200), OL Damieon George (6-6, 306), MLB Corey Flagg Jr. (6-0, 215).
Lake Travis: QB Nate Yarnell (6-6, 195), RB Weston Stephens (5-10, 175), WR Kyle Eaves (5-11, 160), WR Grayson Sandlin (6-4, 205), LB MauricoTrevino (5-11, 205).
Defending state champion North Shore struggled a little early in the season, but the Mustangs (13-1) are rolling now. They have scored over 50 points in all four playoff games and put up 76 most recently in a Region III final over 12-2 Atascocita (Humble). Lake Travis (13-1) no doubt remembers how explosive North Shore can be. The teams met in a state semifinal last year won by North Shore 51-10. That loss snapped Lake Travis' streak of three straight title-game appearances from 2015-17. Both teams lost season openers and have reeled off 13 wins in succession.
Canadian vs Gunter
Class 3A Division II
Friday, 7 p.m., Lion Stadium, Vernon
Canadian: QB/LB Grant McCook (6-0, 190), RB/LB Hayze Hufstedler (5-10, 170), WR/CB Twister Kelton (5-8, 135), FS/WR Jack Koetting (6-0, 155), DE/C Rhet Pennington (6-1, 205).
Gunter: QB/FS Hut Graham (6-2, 175), RB/LB Peyton Lowe (6-1, 187), LB/RB Grant McAfee (5-9, 150), RB Bryson Rigsby (5-8, 165), LB Martin Garcia (5-11, 155).
It has almost gotten to the point that Canadian and Gunter could put this state semifinal playoff on their regular-season schedule. Canadian (14-0) and Gunter (13-1) are meeting in the fifth playoff round for the fourth consecutive season. Canadian, 2A-DI state champion in 2014 and 2015, took last year's contest 17-7 and then lost in the title game to Newton, 21-16. Gunter was a 44-34 winner over Canadian in 2016 on the way to the state title. Gunter won again in 2017 (56-27) and finished as state runner-up.
Refugio vs San Augustine
Class 2A Division I
Thursday, 7 p.m., FCU Stadium, Cypress
Refugio: QB/DE Austin Ochoa (6-2, 205), RB/FS Jordan Kelley (6-1, 160), WR Antwaan Gross (5-11, 160), TE/LB Jaden Hubbard (5-11, 175), C/LB Thomas Keyes (6-1, 195).
San Augustine: QB/CB Jayden Hicks (5-8, 165), RB Kevorian Barnes (5-10, 181), RB Tijay Thomas (5-8, 160), WR/SS JaVarius Miller (6-2, 204), LB/WR Donta Barnes (6-1, 238).
Beginning with the 2011 season, Refugio has made it to the state final five times, including a streak of three in a row that ended in 2018. The Bobcats (14-0) survived a third-round playoff scare in a 45-43 win over Shiner. San Augustine (14-0) has lost four games in the last three seasons but Refugio was responsible for one of those, a 63-21 blowout in a 2017 state semifinal. Both teams are capable of lighting the scoreboard. Refugio averages 53 points a game and San Augustine is scoring at a 59-point clip.