A peek at the Top 5 can't-miss games; plus predictions and galleries
Finally, it's time for football.
Houston-area teams have been prepping for this weekend since December and now we are on the eve. There are some marquee matchups in Week 1 that pit several preseason Top 20 programs.
Here are the can't-miss games of the week.
KEY PLAYERS HEADED INTO WEEK 1
No. 2 Katy at No. 1 North Shore, Thursday at Galena Park ISD Stadium, ESPNU
Huge game. ESPN in town. Stars are blinding. Katy has revenge on their minds after falling twice last year and getting bounced out of the playoffs by the eventual State Champs. Are super WR Shadrach Banks (Texas A&M) and Miami-commit Corey Flagg (LB) available for North Shore due to injury? If not, could be interesting. With a television audience, No. 1 recruit Zach Evans and QB Dematrius Davis will look to show out. The OL is tremendous and could push around Katy's DL. For Katy, QB Bronson McClellan and WR Jordan Patrick have a sort of telepathy, making them a lethal combo on offense. Watch for Katy to get their TEs involved – the are studs. The defensive backfield of Katy can run with anyone, and they will need to play BIG.
PREDICTION: North Shore lives up to hype and takes down Katy
No. 1 (5A) FB Marshall at No. 19 (6A) Eisenhower, Thursday, Thorne Stadium, CLICK TO WATCH LIVE
Don't sleep on the fact that Ike is a 6A and FB Marshall is a SMALL 5A. Numbers matter. Fans think this will be a blowout as the Buffs are coming off a State Title appearance over Christmas. Don't sleep on the fact that Ike only lost 28-21 last year in a tough game played in Fort Bend. However, Hornsby didn't play in that game for Marshall. RB Achane and OL Larry Moore (Texas Tech) put the fear in everyone, but Eisenhower can run with the Buffs. Ike counters with RB Sevan Guidry, QB Christian Sims and WR Anthony Isom. It's going to come down to the defenses. Warren Robinson leads the Buffs, while the DL of Ike is their strength with Jackson and Dosewell.
PREDICTION: State experience gets FB Marshall over the hump in a close one against tough opponent
No. 10 Klein Oak at No. 20 Langham Creek, Friday, Berry Stadium
This is often a wild one. Last season, Oak won 35-27 before making a run to the third round of the postseason. QB Montrell Bolton returns and has a new weapon in Dwight McGlothern, a four-star transfer. RB Charles Garrett will carry the mail on the ground. This is an interesting matchup because coach Jason Glenn is a defensive coach and Langham's Todd Thompson is an offensive guru. However, their teams' strengths are opposite. Glenn's squad is offensive, while Thompson will rely on his D early in the season. Watch for Jordan Shields and Ernest Thomas to anchor a stingy Lobo defense.
PREDICTION: Offense rules the day and Klein Oak goes 1-0
No. 5 Cy-Fair at No. 4 The Woodlands, Saturday at Woodforest Stadium
This is always a great test for these two H-Town power programs. Cy-Fair crushed the Highlanders last season in TWHS coach Jim Rapp's first game. Now, it's at The Bank. This is a battle of the backs – LJ Johnson of Cy-Fair and Bryeton Gilford of TWHS. The Highlanders were a little banged up from their Atascocita scrimmage that saw Malik Johnson, Jett Duncan and Caleb Fox go down. Their availability will be key. The QB play for the Highlanders will also be paramount. Cy-Fair will grind it out on the ground and has a few downfield weapons in Tyron, Whitmer and Davidson. Their defensive QB is Peyton Tally and that unit is SOUND.
PREDICTION: It ain't pretty, but Cy-Fair pulls a heist at The Bank
No. 2 (5A) Shadow Creek at No. 9 (6A) Summer Creek, Saturday at Turner Stadium
What will the Sharks to in Year 2? Great test early against Class 6A up-and-comer Summer Creek, led by coach Kenny Harrison. The 'Dogs went three rounds deep, while the Sharks reached the state finals. Summer Creek QB Bryan Bush had a breakout 2018 and was the District MVP. Can he do it again? He will be running for his life against one of the toughest defenses in the state – see Bryant (LSU), Triplette (Kansas State), Jeremiah Harris (Kansas State) and Xavian Alford (Texas). The Shark O will have a different look with new QB Kyron Drones under center.
PREDICTION: Defense wins titles and defense wins this game – Shadow Creek
Others Games to Watch
No. 17 (6A) FB Travis vs Hightower, Friday, Alvin's Freedom Stadium – Travis has too much O for Hurricanes and new coach
No. 12 Westfield vs No. 18 Lamar, Thursday, Leonard George Stadium – 'Stangs run by Texans
No. 11 Clear Springs vs Converse Judson, Friday, Challenger Stadium – New coach at Judson gets first W.