When looking back at the 2013 high school football season, I stumbled upon my New Year's Resolution: do a better job of picking games to cover in 2014.

Don't get me wrong. I had a blast this football season, the most rewarding of my career, which dates back to 2002. But the numbers don't lie. Out of the 28 games I covered for ETSN.fm last season, just seven were decided by eight points or less. And the average margin of victory in the 28 games I witnessed in 2013 was a shade less than 24 points.

However, that doesn't mean all the games were non-competitive. Below, is the list of the top five games I attended this past football season.

Clint Buckley's Top Five of 2013

No. 5: Whitehouse vs. Chapel Hill

Whitehouse's Reggie Long tackles Chapel Hill's Ja'Braylon Franklin (2) during their Sept. 5 game in Tyler. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)
  • Date: Sept. 5
  • Location: Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
  • Final score: Whitehouse 42, Chapel Hill 34
  • Recap: Whitehouse raced out to a 35-0 second-quarter lead on the strength of four Patrick Mahomes touchdowns passes. Chapel Hill scored the game's next 27 points, pulling to within eight points with 11:30 remaining in the fourth. Mahomes' 3-yard touchdown run increased Whitehouse's lead to 42-27 with 8:56 to go, but again Chapel Hill pulled to within a score on Joseph Clark's 6-yard touchdown run with 2:50 showing on the clock. Whitehouse recovered the onside kick, but fumbled it back to Chapel Hill. However, Wildcats' defensive back Isaiah Burton picked off Chapel Hill backup quarterback Reggie King to seal the win.
  • Statistical standouts: Whitehouse -- QB Patrick Mahomes (33 of 48, 395 yards, 4 TDs passing; 9 attempts, 39 yards, TD rushing), WR Jake Parker (8 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs), WR Jaylon Dews (10 catches, 162 yards), WR Coleman Patterson (8 catches, 49 yards, 2 TDs). Chapel Hill -- QB Andrew Black (18 of 37, 174 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs passing; 15 attempts, 62 yards, 3 TDs rushing), RB Joseph Clark (9 attempts, 49 yards, TD rushing; 1 catch, 24 yards, TD).

 

No. 4: Lancaster vs. John Tyler

John Tyler quarterback Geovari McCollister prepares for impact against Lancaster during their game Sept. 7 in Tyler. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
  • Date: Sept. 7
  • Location: Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
  • Final score: John Tyler 31, Lancaster 28
  • Recap: Despite dominating the action through one half of play, John Tyler had to settle for three field goals and only led Lancaster 15-7 at halftime. It appeared that might come back to bite the Lions as Lancaster scored 21 consecutive points in the third quarter to take a 28-22 lead to the fourth. John Tyler quarterback Geovari McCollister connected with running back Reggie Gipson for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 4:24 remaining, but the PAT attempt was no good, leaving the game tied at 28-28. JT got the ball back with 3:09 remaining and moved into Lancaster territory on McCollister’s 29-yard completion to Nick Cain. Completions of 13 and 9 yards to Duntavion Gross and McCollister’s 7-yard run set the Lions up with a first-and-goal at the 5 with less than 30 seconds remaining. Gipson’s 4-yard run up the middle set up kicker Jose Perez, who drilled the game-winning field goal with one second remaining.
  • Statistical standouts: Lancaster -- QB Chris Thomas (7 of 16, 106 yards, TD passing; 9 attempts, 31 yards rushing), RB Shannon Simpson (10 attempts, 42 yards, 2 TDs), RB Jamarie Williams (12 attempts, 57 yards, TD), WR Tim Taylor (4 catches, 73 yards). John Tyler -- RB Reggie Gipson (15 attempts, 88 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 71 yards, TD), QB Geovari McCollister (25 of 33, 271 yards, TD passing; 14 attempts, 51 yards rushing), WR Nick Cain (7 catches, 85 yards), WR Duntavion Gross (8 catches, 74 yards).

 

No. 3: Argyle vs. Gilmer

Gilmer's Josh Walker brings down Argyle's Nick Ralston during Argyle's 45-38 win in their Class 3A Division II Region II semifinal Nov. 29 in Dallas. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
  • Date: Nov. 29 (Class 3A Division II Region II semifinal)
  • Location: John E. Kincaide Stadium, Dallas
  • Final score: Argyle 45, Gilmer 38
  • Recap: The fourth consecutive playoff meeting between Argyle and Gilmer turned out to be the best of all. Argyle jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, but the Buckeyes tied it at 21-21 on Josh Walker's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:41 until halftime. That left just enough time for Argyle to get into position for kicker Cole Hedlund -- an Arkansas commit -- to drill a 41-yard field goal as time expired for a 24-21 halftime lead. That's when Argyle turned to Texas Tech pledge Ian Sadler, who scored three second-half touchdowns, the last of which gave the Eagles a 45-31 lead with 2:19 remaining. Gilmer quickly got down the field and pulled to within a touchdown on a Tanner Barr 22-yard scoring pass to Kris Boyd with 1:35 to go, but Argyle recovered the onside kick and was able to run out the remainder of the clock.
  • Statistical standouts: Argyle -- RB/WR Ian Sadler (28 attempts, 182 yards, 4 TDs rushing; 2 catches, 38 yards, TD), RB Nick Ralston (14 attempts, 129 yards rushing; 1 catch, 16 yards), QB Brandon Boyzuick (10 of 18, 158 yards, 2 TDs). Gilmer -- QB Tanner Barr (22 of 41, 291 yards, 3 TDs, INT passing; 10 attempts, 85 yards, TD rushing), RB Kris Boyd (8 attempts, 25 yards rushing; 4 catches, 116 yards, TD receiving).

 

No. 2: Falls City vs. Tenaha

Falls City's Dean Gaskamp shrugs off Tenaha defender Damarcus Perry during their Class A Division II state semifinal Dec. 13 at Waco ISD Stadium. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
  • Date: Dec. 13 (Class A Division II state semifinal)
  • Location: Waco ISD Stadium
  • Final score: Falls City 36, Tenaha 34
  • Recap: The rematch of last season's state semifinal was a game filled with severe swings in momentum. Falls City took a 21-7 lead into halftime when Justin Twine scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down with no time remaining in the half. After Falls City missed a field goal on its opening drive of the third quarter, Tenaha marched down the field and got within a touchdown on Chavis Gregory's 1-yard run with 2:54 remaining in the quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Brady Tovar recovered a muff in the end zone, and just like that, Tenaha had tied the game at 21-21. Jacoby Ivy then intercepted Falls City quarterback Dean Gaskamp, which led to Gregory's 18-yard touchdown run as time expired in the third, giving Tenaha a 28-21 lead with one quarter to play. Twine answered with a 46-yard touchdown run -- his fourth of the night -- to even the game. And Falls City recovered a Tenaha fumble on the ensuing kickoff, which lead to Gaskamp's 24-yard touchdown and the ensuing two-point conversion that put the Beavers back in front 36-28 with 9:25 to play. Tenaha had the answer, scoring on J.R. Hill's 30-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Thomas on fourth down with 2:12 remaining. However, a bad snap on the two-point try forced an incompletion and Falls City hung on to deny Tenaha its third-straight trip to the state finals.
  • Statistical standouts: Falls City -- QB/RB/WR Justin Twine (21 attempts, 254 yards, 4 TDs rushing; 1 of 3, 37 yards passing; 1 catch, 20 yards); QB Dean Gaskamp (20 attempts, 111 yards, TD rushing; 1 of 7, 20 yards, INT passing). Tenaha -- RB Chavis Gregory (28 attempts, 211 yards, 3 TDs rushing), QB J.R. Hill (4 of 8, 69 yards, TD passing; 7 attempts, 24 yards rushing; WR DeAndre Thomas (2 catches, 53 yards, TD).

 

No. 1: Gilmer vs. Kilgore

Gilmer's Nick Smith is brought down by a Kilgore defender during their game Nov. 8 in Kilgore. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
  • Date: Nov. 8
  • Location: R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore
  • Final score: Kilgore 34, Gilmer 29
  • Recap: The "District of Doom" championship once again came down to Gilmer and Kilgore, which entered the regular-season finale ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. Benny Colbert's 14-yard touchdown pass to Nick Orange gave Kilgore a 20-14 halftime lead, but Kris Boyd's 9-yard touchdown run with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter gave the Buckeyes a 21-20 lead. Kilgore regained the lead on Kevrin Justice's 10-yard touchdown run and Colbert's two-point conversion pass to Jack Johnston with 6:04 remaining. Gilmer then used trickery to regain the advantage. Receiver Chase Tate tossed his second touchdown of the night -- a 39-yarder to Desmond Pollard -- before H-back Jaidon Parrish hit quarterback Tanner Barr in the end zone on the two-point try, which gave Gilmer a 29-28 lead with 5:02 remaining. Kilgore quickly moved into Gilmer territory, and on third-and-1 from the Gilmer 31, Davieonta "JuJu" Brown went for nine yards. That prompted the Gilmer sideline to call a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. On first down, the Gilmer defense appeared to allow Justice to run free for a 22-yard touchdown and a 34-29 lead with 1:38 remaining. The Buckeyes still had time to go downfield, but Barr's fourth-down pass from midfield fell incomplete and Gilmer was handed its first district loss since 2001.
  • Statistical standouts: Gilmer -- QB Tanner Barr (27 of 35, 257 yards, TD passing; 8 attempts, 15 yards rushing, 1 catch, 14 yards, TD), RB Kris Boyd (8 attempts, 69 yards, TD rushing; 7 catches, 80 yards, TD), WR Desmond Pollard (4 catches, 60 yards, TD), WR Chase Tate (2 of 2, 53 yards, 2 TDs passing, 5 catches, 53 yards, 3 attempts, 18 yards rushing). Kilgore -- RB Kevrin Justice (22 attempts, 116 yards, 3 TDs rushing), RB Davieonta "JuJu" Brown (14 attempts, 111 yards, TD rushing; 1 catch, 39 yards), QB Benny Colbert (8 of 12, 76 yards, TD passing; 12 attempts, 52 yards rushing).