14 Dec, 2019
For the second consecutive season, Shadow Creek football earned a spot in the UIL 5A Division I state title game with a state semifinal win against San Antonio Wagner. The Sharks pulled away on Friday for a 45-21 win at San Antonio's Alamo Stadium.
"We were all locked in," VYPE Player of the Game Kyron Drones said of Friday's performance. "And then, we got unfinished business to take care of."
The latest meeting had a lot of early scoring and Shadow Creek took advantage of every San Antonio Wagner miscue. The trend started with a Thunderbird fumble that set up Drones' three-yard touchdown pass to Greg Hancock and the Sharks' 7-0 lead. Another was a missed extra point that would've tied the game at 14 with 5:15 left in the period.
Shadow Creek's second score was Drones' 24-yard touchdown run and their third was an Eric Landaverde 25-yard field goal. Meanwhile, San Antonio Wagner kept it close with Joerell Brown and Jordan Patterson touchdown runs.
The teams followed the 30-point opening period with seven scoreless drives to start the second quarter, but showed their magic in the final four seconds of the first half. Drones found Carlton Guidry on a 55-yard touchdown strike before Avante Stevens' 75-yard kickoff return and San Antonio Wagner's successful two-point conversion made it a 24-21 game at halftime.
The start of the second half seemed to follow a similar path because Guidry returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown at the 11:45 mark of the third quarter, but it ended up being the start of something new. It launched a 21-0 second half surge that also included Drones' 55-yard touchdown pass to Jared Jackson and a pair of interceptions forced by the Shadow Creek defense in the third period, as well as Jay'Veon Bell's 28-yard touchdown run with 1:47 left in the fourth.
Shadow Creek has to wait til Saturday to find out who it will face next week. The Sharks will take on Denton Ryan or Frisco Lone Star at Arlington's AT&T Stadium on Friday December 20th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.
"We know we have to have a great week of preparation," said Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler. "We're going up there. We're not sure who we're going to play yet, but either way that game goes tomorrow. It's going to be a tough task and we gotta come prepared."
Highlights by VYPE Media's Karen Fernandez.
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vype houston media 2019 season football txhsfb game recap uil 5a division i state semifinal championship title rematch judson wagner player of the game interview kyron drones greg hancock eric landaverde joerell brown jordan patterson carlton guidry avante stevens jared jackson jay'veon bell uil state arlington at&t stadium brad butler denton ryan frisco lone star vype houston high school sports houston high school sports san antonio texas high school sports sports san antonio
Courtesy Waco Tribune
MIDLOTHIAN - For all the good that Springtown was able to mount against Waco La Vega in the 4A Division I state semifinal, it was all undone by costly penalties.
On the game's first offensive play of the game, it fumbled on its own three yard line and was picked up by La Vega's Demarrquese Hayes for a score.
So not only did it give up score after getting the opening kickoff, that meant La Vega would get the ball back to start the second half.
Fast forward to the second quarter and Springtown starting to make things interesting. It had already cut the La Vega lead down from 14-0 to 14-7 and were in La Vega territory and looking to draw even. Quarterback Camden Chesney throws a pass to the left and hits La Vega's Jordan Rodgers right in the chest and he runs it back 77-yards to make things 21-7.
Jordan Rogers with a big interception and takes it to the house for @lvpirates to make the score 21-7 @lvpirates lead with 8:52 in the first half. What a play!!!!!!! @AdamFromGP @Parker_Turley52 pic.twitter.com/8kYh1ZHUNq
— Friday Night Glory (@FridayNghtGlory) December 14, 2019
From that moment on, the game was never in doubt as it was just a sign of things to come for Springtown. While the defense did its part to stifle the La Vega (14-1) offense, Springtown (13-2) could not stop shooting itself in the foot with turnovers - six of them to be exact (3 fumbles and 3 interceptions).
Rogers would finish with two of La Vega's three INTs on the night.
For a team that had just two in four playoff games, Friday's game will probably be look as an outlier.
Springtown's 13 wins is the most in school history and its venture into the state semis is the deepest it has gone since 1995. For La Vega, it makes its second straight appearance in the state finals, where it will meet the winner of Lampasas and Carthage at 11 a.m. Friday, December 20.
HOUSTON - A year ago as Shadow Creek was making its historic run to a state championship game in the inaugural year of the program playing UIL football, Brad Butler was posed with this question.
Do these guys even understand the historic run they are on?
Butler at the time laughed and jokingly said he hoped they didn't figure that out until after the season was over. The Sharks finished 2018 at 15-1, with its lone loss coming to Highland Park in the 5A Division I State Championship game.
Fast forward to today, Shadow Creek is doing it again. The Sharks are 14-0 heading into Friday's state semifinal rematch with San Antonio Wagner, hoping for a second-straight trip to AT&T Stadium with a win.
But there's a difference between this year's team and lasts but it doesn't all show up in the box score.
"We had so many guys returning off last year's team that there's definitely a different maturity among our team," Butler, the 2019 Touchdown Club of Houston Coach of the Year, said. "They've been pretty focused and you know they set some goals and is really one of the more mature teams that I've coached, to be honest with you."
The maturity comes from the senior class, which is the first group that has walked the halls of Shadow Creek High School all four years.
This current seniors went through the first two years of the program, during which they weren't in a UIL district at that time having to travel all over the state just to build a 10-game schedule.
From those experiences, the group became tight, which has carried them to this moment.
"I just think the relationships that were built and the chemistry that was built, I think is paying off for us now," Butler said.
If Shadow Creek wants to return to Arlington in a week, it will have to beat San Antonio Wagner, again.
Last season the road to their first state title game appearance went through the Thunderbirds inside NRG Stadium, which the Sharks won 41-24.
This time, Shadow Creek travels to the Alamo City to face them and their triple-option offense anchored by LJ Butler, who has rushed for more than 2,200 yards this season.
"We've got a lot of respect for them," Butler said. "That game we had last year here in NRG was a good game. Last week, I don't know how many yards they rushed for but it was a bunch. They put 74 points on the board, so we know they are tough ball-control offense, they are a challenge to get off the field.
"We've got a real challenge, they've been playing extremely well."
The defensive unit heading into this rematch is almost the exact same as last year, minus a couple of seniors that graduated. But the Division I filled talent core is still wearing the black and blue, led by Alec Bryant and company.
What San Antonio Wagner didn't have to defend against in 2018 was the rising talent of Kyron Drones.
The junior quarterback, who took over for the speedster Jamarian George, has really shown his ability to sling the pigskin down field, as well as run, just in a different style, when need be.
Drones has passed for 2,998 yards and 43 scores, while rushing for another 705 yards and 15 touchdowns in 14 wins this season for the Sharks.
"[He's grown] a bunch, even feeling more comfortable and stepping into a leadership role for us," Butler said about Drones' growth. "It's been exciting just to watch him get more comfortable and improve all year. We're a little bit different looking offensively than we were last year just because of the different skill sets between what Jamarian brought and what Kyron brings. Not that one is better than the other but it is different. We feel like we're fairly efficient now."
What can't be argued is the success of Butler's Sharks since arriving on the scene in 2018.
Heading into this state semifinal showdown, the Sharks are looking with a win to improve to an incredible 30-1 overall and advance to the program's second-straight title game.
"I know they do," Butler said about them realizing what they've accomplished. "It's not something we talk about too much. The last two years we've mapped out a playoff plan at the beginning of the playoffs each year. I think that's helped keep us focused on the next step.
"They've done a great job of not getting too far ahead of themselves and taking care of each week at a time."
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