ETSN.fm Round 1 Rewind: Looking Back on Bi-District Football Playoffs
Thirty-three first-round games in the books this past weekend, and 30 more in the second round this week as the high school football playoffs continue for programs across East Texas.
There were eye-opening results -- positively and negatively, that is -- across the region during the bi-district round of the playoffs. Which teams made statements, whether good or bad?
Here's a look back on some of the more interesting results from an entertaining first round of the playoffs.
- Lufkin: Just about everybody in the state penciled in defending 5A Division II champion Spring Dekaney and five-time defending 4A Division I state champion Lake Travis for a second-round matchup in the 5A D-II Region II bracket. Well, Lufkin and Pflugerville had other ideas. Lufkin got a huge win, riding the passing combo of Tyler Stubblefield and JaBryce Taylor and a monster game from tailback Kendrick Mapp, to an impressive 35-20 victory. The victory was Lufkin's first in the playoffs since 2008. Next up for the Pack is the aforementioned Pflugerville team, which is an identical 8-3 entering Saturday's 2 p.m. area playoff in Bryan.
- John Tyler: 77 points? In a playoff game? That's what Cujo put on Waxahachie on Friday in a 57-point annihilation. The Lions made it obvious that they weren't going to let the 45-38 win against Whitehouse, JT's first close game in six weeks, affect the team's confidence. John Tyler was the clear favorite entering the bi-district matchup with Waxahachie, but the manner in which the Lions crushed the Tribe likely caught the attention of a lot of other teams in the 4A Division I Region II bracket.
- Henderson: Van took a seven-point lead when it reeled off 21 consecutive points thanks largely to two Henderson turnovers, but once the Lions protected the ball, the Vandals were done for. The spread running attack featuring Patrick "Monster" Brown and Diamante Wright rolled to 400-plus rushing yards on a Van defense that had allowed 28 total points in its previous two games. Henderson scored the game's final 34 points. The way the Lions won had to catch some eyes in 3A Division II Region II. Perhaps Celina's? After all, the team Henderson drilled 42-19 in last year's Division I Region II final will likely be waiting for the Lions if Henderson beats Quinlan Ford at 2 p.m. Saturday in Royse City.
- Daingerfield: Like John Tyler, Daingerfield was the clear favorite entering its game with Eustace, but the Tigers obviously weren't affected by any hype. Daingerfield hammered Eustace 58-0 for the Tigers' fifth consecutive double-digit victory. Believe it or not, it seems like Daingerfield is flying under the radar. Yes, the program with six state championships, the most in East Texas, may be ripping foe after foe with little fanfare. Well, we've noticed, and we won't be surprised if the Tigers get a rematch with New Boston in the 2A Division I Region II championship.
Getting Wake-Up Calls
- Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes' first half-ending bomb to Dylan Cantrell helped turn the tide, but even after that, beating a solid Ennis team wasn't easy for a Whitehouse squad that was eight points away from an undefeated regular season. Nevertheless, Whitehouse held on for a 42-32 win, getting a 62-yard Brannon Beaton fumble return touchdown thanks to Chris Reese's sack in the waning seconds to seal the victory. Having a tough first-round matchup should help the Wildcats as they continue their run, which could give them the most wins in school history with one more victory. And there's no doubt the Wildcats' second-round opponent caught their attention: Wylie East demolished District 14-4A champion Sulphur Springs 70-33 by building a 42-point halftime lead. Whitehouse edged Sulphur Springs 38-33 in the rain Sept. 14 at home.
- Carthage: The Bulldogs came even closer to dropping their first-round matchup than Whitehouse, despite entering it as a bigger favorite. Carthage, which survived a serious Palestine upset bid, 30-27, also relied on its defense to seal the deal. D.K. Calloway sacked Palestine QB Gee Clark for a 14-yard loss on third down in Carthage territory in the final minutes. The Dawgs stopped Palestine two yards shy of a first down on the next play, then got one first down to run out the clock and avoid one of the biggest upsets in the state. Carthage held on despite four turnovers, including a fumble inside Palestine's 1-yard line and an interception in the Wildcat end zone. Carthage left a lot of points on the board, but the defense allowed less than 260 total yards. Perhaps the Dawgs will be back to their District 20-3A-thumping selves after such a close call.
The feeling with District 14-4A entering 2012 was that it was a little down with Texas High and Marshall not their usual selves, but an 0-for-4 first-round playoff performance was disappointing nonetheless.
Hallsville had a tough task playing undefeated Lucas Lovejoy, and Texas High certainly wasn't expected to be beat Sherman (though the Tigers came close, holding a 23-20 fourth-quarter lead before falling 40-23).
But second-place Mount Pleasant scoring only 21 points against a 4-6 Wylie team that allowed 32.5 points per game in the regular season was baffling, and Wylie East's 70-33 destruction of 14-4A champion Sulphur Springs was a real jaw-dropper. Wylie East is a quality team, but how many people thought Sulphur Springs would trail the Raiders 56-14 at halftime?
The top two teams from 14-4A -- Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs -- were outscored by a combined 115-54. Not the weekend East Texas fans hoped for from one of the region's two 4A districts.