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One game left to decide it all.
Go home State Champions or go home as runner-ups. Teams have worked all season to get to this point, and for four Austin and San Antonio area schools, they will have the chance to raise the trophy and finish on top this week.
Here are the breakdowns.
POTH VS GUNTERThursday, December 15th, 3:00PM | AT&T Stadium, Arlington TexasFor the first time since 1968, the Poth Pirates are in the State Championship game. They will be looking to do what the '68 squad could not -- win it all.
For the Pirates this feels like it's been building since head coach Jeff Luna took over the program. Last season they came up short in the Regional Final against Franklin, but this season they made it through the Regional Finals 12-6 against Tidehaven. In the State Semis, they handled Harmony 51-28 behind 354-yards on the ground -- including quarterback Zane Raabe's 151- yards on the ground and running back Matthew Bunn's five touchdowns.
Gunter will have the edge from "experience" as this squad lost to Franklin in the State Championship game last season. This game will come down to Poth's defense, which is allowing 9.1 points per game, can stop Gunter, which has been putting up 42.5 points per game. But if Gunter can't slow down Raabe or Bunn, who have put up 62 touchdowns together this season, this one could be a barn burner.
WIMBERLEY VS CARTHAGEFriday, December 16th, 11:00AM | AT&T Stadium, Arlington TexasGoing into the season, Wimberley seemed poised to have a great season at the quarterback position.
And they did.....just not how they envisioned it.
A few weeks before the season started starter Cash McCollum transferred to China Spring. The Texans had to retool quickly at quarterback and they have done so. Sophomore quarterback Cody Stoever stepped into the starting roll and has been phenomenal for the Texans throwing for over 2,300-yards and rushing for over 1,100, while putting up over 50 touchdowns in the process.
Wimberley comes in winning a thriller against Cuero 42-36 that saw them lean heavily on senior running back Johnny Ball, who had 184-yards on the ground. They will need both players to show up big again against a Carthage defense that is only allowing 12.5 points per game.
The defense will also need to come up big for the Texans. They did last week against Cuero with three second-half turnovers and 24 unanswered points, to lead them back to the State Championship for the first time since 2019. Carthage, of course, is a state power in it's own right and is looking to go a perfect 9-for-9 in State Title game appearances. Their struggles last week against Glen Rose will be all over the film room for Wimberley this week.
BOERNE VS CHINA SPRINGFriday, December 16th, 3:00PM | AT&T Stadium, Arlington TexasSpeaking of Cash McCollum, Boerne gets the chance to defeat him on Friday as the Greyhounds will face China Spring in the 4A-DI final.
Boerne comes into the game after an absolutely dominate performance against Chapel Hill 35-0. The Greyhounds, who are primarily a passing team, turned to their running game in the win with running back TJ Dement finishing with 180-yards and three touchdowns. Adam Hicks ran for another 75-yards on the ground. '
The most impressive squad was the defense, which shut out a high-powered Chapel Hill offense, forcing five turnovers and stopping the Bulldogs from scoring four different times when they reached the red zone.
The key to the game may just be the brother-to-brother connection of quarterback Jaxon Baize to his brother Braden. Whenever Jaxon needed it, he's been able to find his brother Braden for key plays. Or it could be the Boerne offensive line. All season they have dominated the line of scrimmage and opened up holes for the run game and created time to throw in the passing game.
If China Spring’s defensive front cant get pressure or push, the Greyhounds could be well on their way to their first state title.
VANDEGRIFT VS DESOTOSaturday, December 17th, 3:00PM | AT&T Stadium, Arlington TexasWhile Vandegrift may have started their season with a 3-point loss on a game-ending field goal, they won a trip to State in the same manner as kicker Hayden Arnold nailed a 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Wide receiver Miles Coleman was the difference for the Vipers in their win against Katy, putting up 183-yards receiving while throwing for two touchdowns on trick plays. Quarterback Brayden Buchanan did what he has done all season -- putting up amazing numbers for the Vipers. He threw for 453-yards and two touchdowns, and one touchdown rushing. The win sends them to the State Championship for the first time where they will be facing a DeSoto team that is back in the State Championship for the first time since 2016.
The Viper defense had to keep its eyes on playmaker Seth Davis in their win against Katy and will have its hands full again with arguably one of the best receivers in the country in five-star Johntay Cook. The Texas-commit has over 1,300-yards and 20 touchdowns on the year and could be the most dangerous man on the field Saturday. Why? Because the Vipers will also have to deal with the Eagles' run game, which put up 434-yards on the ground in their win against Denton Guyer.
For the offense, the keys will be finding success in the run game along with their success in the passing game. Buchanan to Coleman, and the rest of his receiving core, seems like a given. They will get their yards there. But if the Vipers can continue to run the ball well behind the offensive line that includes four-star Clemson-commit Ian Reed, they will have a shot in this one.
The state semifinals are here. A trip to AT&T stadium and a chance for a state title is on the line. We take a look at the Austin and San Antonio schools vying for those spots and preview their matchups.
GILMER HARMONY VS POTHFriday, December 9th, 7:00PM | Cypress' Cy-Fair FCU Stadium, Cypress TexasDon't let Harmony's 5 losses fool you they are deserving to be in this state semifinal. Poth meanwhile has been consistent over the last few years but is looking to get back to the state championship for the first time since 1968. Poth, whose offense has been great all season, won a defensive battle against Tidehaven last week with 4 turnovers while quarterback Zane Raabe and the Pirate offense did just enough. They will need another game like that from their defense this week if they want to get to AT&T Stadium.
CUERO VS WIMBERLEYFriday, December 9th, 3:00PM | Alamodome, San Antonio TexasCuero played in what was arguably the game of the year last week where they defeated Silsbee in a 3 overtime classic 58-56. Quarterback Mason Notaro threw for 247 yards, rushed for 75 more and had 4 total touchdowns in the win, while running back Tycen Williams led the way on the ground for the Gobblers with 158 yards, and another 71 on the ground, with 5 total touchdowns. They'll be faced with facing a Texans offense that has heated up as of late, including last week in their 49-30 win over the Vikings. In that game running back Johnny Ball could not be stopped as he had 303 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. Both offenses are going to score, so the key to this game will be which defense can make the stops at the right time. Cuero has won 5 of the last 7 matchups against these two, including winning 2 of the last 3 games in the postseason in that span.
TYLER CHAPEL HILL VS BOERNEFriday, December 9th, 7:00PM | Alamodome, San Antonio TexasThese two teams are coming off two very different games, behind the arms of Sophomore quarterbacks, in the Regional Finals. For Boerne they rolled past Calallen in a 49-19 win behind Sophomore quarterback Jaxon Baize's 233 passing yards and 3 touchdowns and TJ Dement's 146 rushing yards and 1 touchdown and 61 receiving yards. Meanwhile Tyler Chapel Hill won a thriller against Kilgore 24-21. Sophomore quarterback Demetrius Brison totaled 315 yards of offense and 3 total trouchdowns in the contest which was just enough to get past Kilgore. Boerne's offensive line could be the difference in this one as they have given Baize all day to throw all season long. But if Boerne's defense can't stop the speed of Chapel Hill it could be a long day at the office.
PORT NECHES-GROVES VS LIBERTY HILLFriday, December 9th, 7:00PM | Katy's Legacy Stadium, Katy TexasLiberty Hill faced some adversity early on in their game last week against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff losing 2 of their 3 leading rushes in the game. That was no problem for the Panthers who tallied 545 yards of offense while their defense came up huge to help them secure a 63-43 win. Meanwhile Port Neches-Groves avenged their regular season district loss to Fort Bend Marshall with a 29-21 win over the Buffs. Liberty Hill came into the season with only 3 returning starters on defense and has done a great job of developing those new players on defense this season. How the Panthers defense handles this Port Neches-Grove's offense that is humming will be the story in this one.
KATY VS VANDEGRIFTSaturday, December 10th, 7:00PM | Alamodome, San Antonio TexasVandegrift has been on a roll since their 3 point Week 1 loss to Dripping Springs. Last week they got their revenge on the Tigers defeating them 27-24. The Vipers defense came up huge in the game after stopping a Tiger 19 play drive in the 4th quarter on 4th and short. Quarterback Brayden Buchanan was as good as ever throwing for 150 yards and a touchdown while running back Alex Witt added 165 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile Katy used a huge second half to cruise to a 56-34 win over C.E. King. Running back Seth Davis ran for 301 yards and 6 touchdowns to lead the way for the Tigers. That will be the key to the game. Can Vandegrift stop the run game of Katy. I think Vandegrift's offense is going to put up some points. But if their defense can't stop the run, it won't matter how many points the Vipers put up.
NORTH SHORE VS WESTLAKESaturday, December 9th, 3:00PM | Rice Stadium, Houston TexasHands down, these 2 teams have been the 2 best teams since the 2018 season. Each team has 3 state championships in that time while Westlake is currently on a 54-game winning streak and is looking for the 4th straight state title. The last time these two teams met, also in the state semifinals, Westlake came out victorious. Both teams rolled last week with Westlake defeating Brennan 47-7, while North Shore defeated Atascocita 38-7. This game is going to come down to the defenses for each team. Both teams have offenses that have some "holes" though I use that term loosely. Westlake has shuffled quarterbacks this year while Sophomore phenom Kaleb Bailey suffered an injury earlier in the season. Even with that being said, these offesnes have put up ridiculous numbers this year. But now each squad will be playing what is arguably the best defense they've seen all year. For Westlake that means going up against what may be the best secondary in the state while for North Shore, who has relied on the run with the absence of Bailey, that is a Westlake front led by Texas commit Colton Vasek. Whichever offense can get rolling early will be the difference in this one. It's hard to pick against a 54 straight win team though.