Sharks in the Water

Shadow Creek Punches ticket to State Championship Game

Originally Appeared on VYPE

HOUSTON – Don't ever count them out.

Time and time again during this playoff run Shadow Creek has gotten down – trailing Porter 23-7 at the half and Foster 21-14 heading to the fourth quarter – and each of those instances it came back and won.

To keep its historic inaugural football season alive, Shadow Creek would need that kind of late-game heroics again.

Trailing 17-14, the Sharks used a 27-point fourth quarter, including a 100-yard missed field goal kick return by Ronald Nunnery Jr. and Shadow Creek defeated San Antonio Wagner 41-24 in the Class 5A Division I State Semifinal at NRG Stadium on Saturday.

"I just think that's kind of been our makeup," Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler said. "I hate that we have to get our back against the wall sometimes. Our attention to detail early wasn't great tonight on offense. Defense hung in there and played their tails off.

"When it got to crunch time we were able to make plays."Shadow Creek improves to 15-0 and will face back-to-back defending state champion Highland Park in the Class 5A Division I State Championship game on Saturday, December 22, with kickoff slated for 11 a.m. at AT&T Stadium.

"I knew we were going to be competitive," Butler said about the season. "It's really hats-off to our kids for buying into our coaching staff and our coaches have done a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to help make this possible. We're just extremely excited right now."

The Sharks will try and become the first team since the 1982 Beaumont West Brook Bruins to win a state championship in their first varsity season. If the Sharks win they will be the first team since 1968 Lubbock Estacado to win a title in its first season and do so undefeated.

"It's the best feeling every," Shadow Creek quarterback Jamarian George said about making it to the state title game. "We've been hoping for this our whole lives. Best feeling ever."


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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

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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