After an abnormal start to the 2020 high school football season, 5A and 6A schools are finally entering the playoffs.
District 23-6A finished up with two teams having dropped out of competition due to COVID breakouts, leaving only six teams standing, and after an overtime upset, the district outcomes were solidified.
Dawson defeated the reigning 5A D1 state champions, the Shadow Creek Sharks, right before the Thanksgiving Break in a thrilling back and forth game that was decided in overtime. The victory can be widely attributed to the rushing of Jaden Stewart (28 carries for 157 yards) and Torrence Burgess Jr. (14 carries for 57 yards, 2 TDs), the overtime-winning kick from Carter Brown, and their success on the defensive side of the ball. The upset victory over Shadow Creek capped Dawson's regular season with an undefeated record (9-0, 7-0).
Dawson's overall success rides not only on the shoulders of their running backs, but also the leadership of quarterback Colin Johnson (3 TDs, 709 yds, 101.3 yd/gm). The main takeaway from the Eagles' undefeated season thus far? They dominate the rushing game. Jaden Stewart (117 carries for 731 yds, 12 rush TDs, 1 rec TD) leads the team in touchdowns and yardage, and he makes quite the unstoppable pair with Torrence Burgess Jr. (83 carries for 522 yds, 11 rush TDs, 1 rec TD, 1 KOR TD). Together, the running backs led Dawson to their undefeated season. Leading the team defensively is Jordan Stewart (41, solo tackles, 53 total tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT), Cameron Whitfield (32 solo tackles, 44 total tackles, 5 sacks), and Blake Smith (28 solo tackles, 38 total tackles, 3 INTs). This team, with their chemistry and drive, was destined to make a deep run into the 6A DI playoffs and extend their undefeated season. However, with continued success, the Eagles found themselves up against back-to-back state champion, North Shore. The Eagles fell in the second round to North Shore 38-7.
The Shadow Creek Sharks finished second in 23-6A after 33-0 and 20-6 wins over Strake Jesuit and Pearland respectively. Quarterback Kyron Drones (13 pass TDs, 1069 pass yds, 2 rush TDs) continues his strong leadership. Other big contributors commanding the offense for the Sharks successful district play are running back Kelvon Brown (84 carries for 574 yards, 4 TDs), wide receiver CJ Guidry (17 catches for 339 yds, 8 TDs, 207 kick return yds and 1 returned TD), and Greg Hancok (24 catches for 545 yds, 5 TDs). On the defensive side of the ball, Terrence Cooks III (33 solo tackles, 55 total tackles, 2 sacks) and Byron Roberson (52 solo tackles, 78 total tackles, 1 sack) combine to apply immense pressure on the quarterback and prevent the opposing offense from moving downfield. The team has an incredible amount of potential, and the Sharks are thirsty for a return to the State Championship in Arlington. While the Sharks struggled a bit throughout the season, they were expected to go far in the 6A DII playoffs. However, the Sharks fell to Katy in the third round with a 49-24 loss.
Coming in third was Pearland after a couple of close losses to Dawson and Shadow Creek. Pearland is led by quarterback Jake Sock, who has thrown 678 yards for 10 touchdowns this season. Darius Hale (97 carries for 586 yds, 5 TDs) and Dominic Serna (90 carries for 614 yds, 6 TDs) lead the Oilers rushing game, and together account for a third of the Oilers touchdowns this season. Other key offensive players for Pearland include receiver Isaac Sanchez (15 receptions for 299 yds, 2 TDs) and receiver William Foster (10 receptions for 217 yds, 4 TDs). The defensive side of the ball is led by Kelekolio Linton (34 solo tackles, 62 total tackles, 5 INTs) and Kvon Sherman (34 solo tackles, 48 total tackles, 2 sacks), who defend passes well and prevent the ball from moving quickly downfield. While the Oilers might have been considered an underdog going into the playoffs, their defensive success that held both Shadow Creek and Dawson to twenty points or less would play an important role in the overall success of the team. The Oilers were knocked out by a 21-6 loss to Atascocita in the second round.
Last but not least, Strake Jesuit pulled out a win over Alief Elsik to clinch fourth place in the district. Led by senior quarterback Connor O'Hara (91 completions for 1118 yds, 11 pass TD), the Strake offense scored a total of thirty touchdowns for the season to solidify their appearance in the playoffs. The Crusaders have key players rushing the ball that account for more than a third of Strake's touchdowns: Joel Crawford (140 carries for 790 yds, 9 TDs) and Maurice May (110 carries for 735 yds, 5 TDs). O'Hara often finds his key receivers Will Taylor (20 receptions for 363 yds, 4 TDs) and Robert Smith (23 receptions for 328 yds, 4 TDs) to get the offense moving downfield. The Crusaders' playoff run was cut short after a 21-16 loss to Clear Falls in the first round.
Congratulations to all four teams on their well-played district matchups and their own respective showings in the playoffs. In the crazy times we are currently living in, it has been great to see some fantastic Texas high school football.
This week's accolade went to Pearland Dawson Football who had a convincing victory over Shadow Creek... the kind of win that gives Dawson the nod for Team of the Week.