As the high school football season approaches its midway point, it has been more of the same for some schools, while others are still searching for that winning formula as the season reaches a make-or-break stretch.
St. Pius X continued its winning ways with an emphatic second-half comeback last week, while St. Thomas picked up its first victory of the season in a hard-fought battle with Stafford.
St. Pius X Panthers
Head Coach Erik DeHaven and the Panthers looked to be on the verge of dropping its first regular-season game in nearly a calendar year when they trailed the Manor Mustangs 34-21 heading into the locker room. However, the Panther defense pitched a second-half shutout while Grant Gunnell and the offense sprang to life, as they outscored the Mustangs 25-0.
“We are very proud of the way our team handled adversity after the first half of play. Manor was a very physical, and well-coached team,” DeHaven said.
Gunnell accounted for 528 total yards and seven total scores in the game to lead St. Pius X on the comeback trail, while Boobie Curry (146 yards, 2 TDs) spearheaded the receiving core. Chase Lane (seven catches, 96 yards) and Trenton Waggoner (74 yards, 2 TDs) also chipped in as the Panther offense exploded in the second half.
On the defensive side of the football, three Panthers reached double digit tackles, with senior All-American Bruno Forestieri leading the way at 16. Meanwhile, senior defensive back Jarvis Johnson tallied five tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups to help keep Manor off the board in the game’s second stanza. After turning the ball over four times in the first half, the defense answered by creating four turnovers themselves.
“At no time did anyone hit a panic button. The senior leadership was exceptional, and truth be told we needed this game. We have a big test this week [against Plano Prestonwood],” DeHaven said.
With the victory, St. Pius X improved to 4-0 on the season, and has now emerged victorious in 21 of their last 22 regular-season contets since the beginning of the 2016 season. The Panthers will put their unbeaten season on the line next week as they look to exact some revenge against Prestonwood Christian School – who defeated SPX in last year’s TAPPS state title game – Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in Plano.
“This is a great test in the middle of the season for Team 63,” DeHaven said.
St. Thomas Eagles
Things have gotten off to a bit of a tough start for second-year Head Coach Rich McGuire and the Eagles as they look to regain a standing atop the TAPPS standings. But they took a step in the right direction last week with a 28-21 victory over the Stafford Spartans to gain their first victory of 2018.
A win did not come easy, as neither side ever lead by more than two scores. St. Thomas took a 14-7 edge into the break, and the teams played to a 14-14 stalemate in the second half, allowing the Eagles to escape with the victory.
Senior dual-threat quarterback Peyton Matocha keyed the Eagles’ offensive attack with 445 total yards (309 passing, 136 rushing) along with four total touchdowns, while senior Hunter Cheek racked up 144 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions through the air. Sophomore Jordan Augustine also chipped in with five catches for 78 yards.
The Eagles will look to build on their first victory of the season next week, as they take on Trinity Christian in a road tilt Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Lutheran North Lions
As the 2018 season has kicked off, things have unfortunately not panned out as planned for the Lions and head coach Nathan Robbins. The Lions slide to 0-4 after a loss to Legacy Christian School last week. They will look to get into the winner’s column next week with a non-district matchup against the 4-0 St. John XIII Lions out of Katy Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.
Following an unbeaten regular season in 2017, things have taken a step backwards for the Rams to begin 2018, as they fell to 0-4 with a 51-21 defeat at the hands of Fort Bend Willowridge last weekend. Waltrip has a bye this week, but will look to notch its first victory of the season in a home tilt against Sharpstown Saturday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.
First-year head coach Gary Howard has unfortunately not seen this season begin with the results he had hoped for, as the Spartans sit at 0-4 nearing the midpoint of 2018 after a loss to Hitchcock High School last weekend. Scarborough’s season continues with a home game next week against KIPP Northeast High School Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.
Booker T. Washington
Coming off a 1-7 season in 2017, the Eagles’ season has unfortunately begun much the same, as they fell to 0-4 with a defeat at the hands of rival Yates High School last weekend. Next week, the Eagles will take on the 1-3 Royal Falcons, who are coming off a 42-11 loss to Lutheran South last week. That game will kick off Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Royal High School in Brookshire.
Heights High School
Things were looking up for Head Coach Stephen Dixon and the Bulldogs after a 6-3 mark in 2017, but the plans have gone a bit awry to begin this season. Heights has stumbled to an 0-4 mark through the season’s first month, most recently at the hands of the Seven Lakes Spartans out of Katy.
Dixon and his squad look to get off the mat against the 1-3 Houston Math, Science and Tech next – which is coming off a 62-13 defeat against Morton Ranch – in a home tilt. The teams will kick off Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.