This final week of the high school football regular season does not lack intrigue.
There are a plethora of playoff spots still open around the Houston area. District titles are still to be had. Seeding is far from settled. Rivalry games are still at stake.
For many teams, the playoffs started last week, when they discarded their Week 10 obligations and started preparing for Week 11, as one last hope remains for many coaches and their student-athletes to play into mid-November.
With that in mind, here are five games to key in on this week.
Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium
The District 14-6A title is on the line. Cy-Ranch is currently undefeated in district at 7-0. Memorial is 6-1. A Memorial win means a share of the district title between the Mustangs and Wildcats. A Cy-Ranch win allows the Mustangs to win it outright. Memorial is the top offense in the district, averaging 44.7 points on 585 yards per game behind senior running backs Christian Lovick (1,341 yards, 16 TDs) and Colbie Habermacher (900, 12) and junior QB Chandler Galban (2,002 passing yards for 18 TDs to one INT). Cy-Ranch, however, is perennially a defensive powerhouse, and this year is no different. The Mustangs are allowing just 15 points on 241.6 yards per game and have 17 takeaways, including 14 interceptions.
Thursday at 7 p.m. at Woodforest Bank Stadium
Each team is 4-3 in District 15-6A, meaning the winner grabs that fourth and last playoff spot and moves on to the postseason. Neither team’s offense is particularly special, and just about even statistically, but College Park’s defense is significantly better than Klein’s, allowing just 17.8 points on 299.3 yards per game. Klein’s defense ranks at the bottom of the district, allowing 28.8 points on 402.2 yards per game. Offensively, College Park averages 26.3 points on 308.9 yards per game. Klein does have the star power, however. The Bearkats boast senior RB D’Anthony Simms, who has rushed for a district-best 1,394 yards and 18 TDs.
Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Legacy Stadium
It’s a win-or-go-home game for the last remaining playoff spot in District 19-6A. Cinco Ranch is hoping to avoid becoming the first Cougars team to miss the playoffs since 2005. The Spartans are hoping to make their first postseason since 2014. Cinco Ranch has the district’s worst defense, allowing 34.9 points on 379.3 yards per game. Seven Lakes has the district’s worst offense averaging 24.7 points on 291.2 yards per game. Where Cinco Ranch has a stable of quality, versatile talent on offense in senior QB Cam Harper, senior WR/RB Justin Hull, and senior RB Sanders Crawford IV, Seven Lakes has that on defense. The Spartans’ defensive front, led by lineman Tiago Sumbo and a quartet of playmaking linebackers led by premier recruit David Ugwoegbu, has been formidable all season long. Cinco Ranch’s offensive line versus Seven Lakes’ defensive line will be a matchup to keep an eye on.
Friday at 7 p.m. at Texan Drive Stadium
This one has nothing on the line other than good ol’ bragging rights between the two rivals. New Caney has clinched at least a share of the district title and can win it outright by beating Porter, which has never won against New Caney. Porter is in fourth in the district and headed to the playoffs well. New Caney is the district’s top offense, averaging 45.2 points on 391.4 yards per game, behind junior running back Zion Childress, who has 1,037 yards and 13 TDs. Porter, however, is second in the district in defense, allowing 15.8 points on 212.3 yards per game. Porter has 19 takeaways this season. Even more important against a talent like Childress? Porter allows just 121.6 rushing yards per game. Senior quarterback Zane Russell paces Porter’s offense, completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 2,232 yards and 23 TDs to four INTs.
Saturday at noon at Mercer Stadium
The fourth seed in District 20-6A comes down to Elkins and Austin. Each team is 3-3. Elkins ranks third in the district in offense (30.7 points on 365.1 yards per game) and defense (24 points on 246.1 yards per game), while Austin ranks fifth in offense (27.6 points on 340.8 yards per game) and seventh, or next-to-last, in district in defense (26.2 points on 409.7 yards per game). Elkins is a run-heavy team, while Austin is pass-happy. Austin has big-time playmakers in senior quarterback Trey Larsen (1,691 passing yards for 21 TDs to six INTs) and senior running back Moises Tezzo (620 rushing yards, seven TDs), but can the Bulldogs get stops against Elkins’ backfield tandem of junior quarterback Cameron George (583 rushing yards, seven TDs) and junior running back Jacory Lee (569 rushing yards, eight TDs)?