King goes for 175 yards, Atascocita downs Tompkins to advance to State Quarterfinals
HOUSTON – This stage is nothing new for Atascocita.
The Eagles have been here before and know how to play football after Thanksgiving – this season marking the fifth-straight year Atascocita has reached the Regional Semifinals – and they looked the part on Saturday, despite an ugly second half.
Brice Matthews spread the wealth hitting five different receivers with 391 yards and three\ touchdowns passing, Landen King led the group with 175 yards and one score and Atascocita defeated Katy Tompkins 42-24 in the Class 6A Division I Region III Semifinal inside NRG Stadium.
"I was happy the ball was coming my way, but Brice trusted me with the ball and I went up and made plays," King said. "[Brice] is one of the best in the state. He's overlooked but he's one of the best in the state as you all can see now."
Atascocita improves to 12-1 and advances to the State Quarterfinals for the third time since 2015 and first since 2016. Tompkins finishes the year 11-2 overall and falling in the Regional Semifinals for a second-straight season.
"It's a lot of fun," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said. "These seniors have done a lot. I'm happy for them. They, just like any senior, they want to keep playing. Each year is different but we're excited right now."
Atascocita will face North Shore, a rematch of the 2016 State Quarterfinals which the Eagles won 33-27 in overtime, on Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m. at Sheldon ISD Stadium.
"Our kids know another," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said. "We've got the same kids basically. We play against them in the summer and things like that. We've had competition against them, played three times here lately in the last few years. But this year's different. It's all new."
From the get-go, Tompkins showed its hand on how it was going to try and attack the Atascocita defense, running a combo of RJ Smith and Marquis Shoulders right at them. It worked on the opening drive, which was capped by a 32-yard field goal by Hunter Huckaby, but after that it stalled.
In the second quarter, Atascocita took advantage of Tompkins' one-dimensional offense.
The Eagles rattled off 28 unanswered points capped by a 24-yard touchdown connection with King with 27 seconds remaining in the half.
King finished with his 175 yards and score, while Keith Wheeler finished with 68 yards and two scores.
"They can do that," Stump said. "They've been doing it all year. With AJ [Bobb] hurt, Keith stepped in and did a really good job and Landen's been consistent all year doing what he does. He's got strong hands."
VYPE Player of the Game: @Landen_King3 had 14 grabs for 175 yards and a score. #txhsfb@AHSEagleFB@HumbleISD_AHS@HumbleISD@BriceMatthews5@Dylan_robinson9@TuihalangingieD@Dedmondss15pic.twitter.com/nvC1552MqR
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) December 1, 2019
Matthews finished the game 32 of 44 for 391 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Defensively, Atascocita's second quarter was textbook.
The Eagles held Tompkins to 14 plays and 48 yards on five second-quarter drives resulting in three punts, one interception by DJ Murchinson – his fifth interception in the last two playoff games – and ultimately zero points.
Tompkins finally broke through in the second half.
The Falcons capitalized on a few Atascocita mistakes, outscoring the Eagles 21-7 at one point, cashing in on a Matthews' fumble with a trick play pass from Gabe Akin to Jalen Milroe for the seven-yard touchdown. The score cut the Eagles' lead down to 18, 42-24 with 10:38 remaining, which would be the final.
Atascocita turned the ball over three times in the second half alone, putting an ugly finish to a stellar beginning, which is how the script played out against Dickinson a week ago. The Eagles surrendered 20 second half points on the way to a 46-27 victory.
"We came out with a lot of energy, second half got a little bit sloppy, offensively, you know the defense was out there way too long," Stump said. "But we were able to stop them and score and get ahead enough. Felt like we needed to score a couple more times. It's the playoffs, nobody wants to go home."
Milroe finished 14 of 32 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while RJ Smith had eight carries for 40 yards.