High School Football

The first-round football outlook

Langham Creek could be a sleeper. Photo by Jerry Baker

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Ding… Ding…

It’s Round 1 of the Texas High School Playoffs as the road to AT&T Stadium begins now. It’s a 6-week march to Jerry World and several Houston-area programs have dreams of playing on the biggest stage in Texas.

So let’s get the fearless predictions underway. The first-round has a few interesting match ups, but most games will go to the district champs.

There will be that one or two upsets and no team wants to fall victim of looking ahead.




No. 18 Cypress Ranch vs Bellaire

Ranch has too many playmakers for Cards to account for

Mustangs by 17

No. 1 Katy vs Travis

Travis offense will be GROUNDED

Katy by 24

No. 8 Atascocita vs Pasadena Memorial

Eagles soar over run-oriented Memorial

Atascocita by 21

No. 15 Hastings vs No. 20 Dickinson

Toughest Round 1 Matchup

Bears just get by 4 points

No. 7 Lamar vs Cy Falls

Can Goodwin outgun DIs of Lamar?

Lamar by 14

No. 6 Ridge Point vs No. 12 Cinco Ranch

Panthers are total package; Kuithe’s out

RP by 14

No. 17 Deer Park vs No. 14 North Shore

North Shore D too tough

‘Stangs by 10

No. 13 Clear Springs vs Pearland

Rematch of Last Year’s Oiler Upset?

Not this year, Springs by 17





Horn vs Oak Ridge

War Eagles had quick start, then sputtered

Horn by 10

No. 16 Klein Oak vs Aldine Davis

Oak is Peaking on Defense

Panthers by 21

No. 5 The Woodlands vs Rockwall

Can they get back to State Title Game?

Starts Now – Highlanders by 17

No. 9 Spring vs Klein

The District Originals

Spring by 10





No. 3 Cy-Fair vs Westside

Bobcats look like regional favs

Fair by 21

No. 19 Strake Jesuit vs Hightower

Crusaders a surprise?

Jesuit by 7

Summer Creek vs La Porte

SC has athletes everywhere

Creek by 3

Dawson vs Friendswood

Another battle down south

Dawson by 3

Heights vs No. 11 Langham Creek

Lobos O too much

Creek by 24

No. 10 Bush vs Katy Taylor

Broncos are legit

Bush by 21

South Houston vs Kingwood

Hmmmm. Head-scratcher

‘Stangs in a tight one

Clear Lake vs George Ranch

Both teams are Up and Down all Season

Lake by 10





No. 2 Klein Collins vs Dekaney

Collins on a mission

Tigers by 28

No. 4 Westfield vs Stratford

Mustangs are too Physical

Westfield by 12




No. 8 Magnolia vs Cedar Park

Bulldogs must make stops

Cedar Park by 21

No. 9 Porter vs Nederland

SETX squad is tough

Nederland by 10

No. 1 Manvel vs Madison

Mavs can score at will

Manvel by 30

No. 6 Magnolia West vs Rouse

Mag West has surprise season

Can’t hold on, falls by 3

Port Arthur Memorial vs Kingwood Park

Titans have overcome Harvey

PAM by 21





No. 2 Angleton vs Highlands

Wildcats can reach state

Angleton by 28

No. 10 Foster vs Burbank

Falcons are playoff ready

Foster by 13





No. 4 New Caney vs Vidor

SETX hasn’t seen this offense

Eagles by 14

No. 3 FB Marshall vs Houston Sterling

Buffs are super-fast

Marshall by 28

Port Neches vs No. 5 Crosby

Great game with Great Crown

PNG by 3

No. 7 Waltrip vs Texas City

Stings will Sting

Texas City by 14





Terry vs Houston

Rangers are athletic; must be two-dimensional

Terry by 1

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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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