By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – Everyone was already looking ahead to Week 10 of the Texas High School Football season before Week 9 had even begun, especially in Houston.
Looking ahead to this week there were matchups that could be huge on the schedule if everyone took care of business in Week 9.
Everyone did their job and because of that we are on the brink of arguably the biggest week of the season in Houston.
Potentially three District Championships are on the line and rivalry games mean more than just bragging rights in 2016.
New Caney vs Porter
Starting with the biggest surprise of the year in probably the State of Texas, New Caney (7-1, 6-0) takes on Porter (7-0, 6-0) in the annual Battle Line on 59 game on Friday at Texan Drive Stadium.
A day after New Caney dismantled Barbers Hill, 42-17, to keep their undefeated record in District 21-5A play, Porter utilized a 28-0 second half to beat Humble 35-6, setting up a monster Week 10 matchup.
Throughout this season, the story has been told time and time again about Porter’s amazing turn around under Jim Holley. Prior to 2016, Porter had gone a combined 9-51 in six seasons of existence and had never done better than 3-7 in a year or make the playoffs.
This season, Porter is already in the postseason with already its best season in school history.
Jake Hall has stepped up in his senior year passing for a district-leading 1,736 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Spartans, while Shane Carney leads the district in receiving with 769 yards.
For New Caney, the Eagles are experiencing their second-straight successful season, clinching a playoff berth again after missing the postseason for 12 years prior to 2015.
Enter Jordan Cooper, who has combined for 2,289 yards of offense (1,459 passing, 830 rushing) and 24 touchdowns, sprinkle in Marte Allison’s 963 yards and 18 touchdowns and on top of that a stout defense it has equaled a huge success. New Caney’s defense has surrendered just 18.37 points per game this season and just 14.3 in district play.
Now two of the hottest teams in District 21-5A clash.
In North Houston and for the New Caney/Porter communities this might as well be the Super Bowl.
For the first time in the short-lived rivalry this game means more than just bragging rights – now it’s potentially for a District Championship.
New Caney hasn’t won a District Championship since 1995. Porter has never won one, or for that matter never been in position to be in line for one.
Battle Line on 59 means more than it ever has and Friday should be arguably the most memorable one.
Cy Ranch vs Cy Ridge
Shifting over to another of the still remaining undefeated teams in Houston, Cy Ranch is in control of District 17-6A but now face potentially their final road block to a District Championship.
The Mustangs dismantled Cy Lakes on Saturday, leading 56-0 at the half, eventually winning 56-7 to move to an impressive 8-0 overall and 7-0 in district play.
Outside of a 24-17 victory against Cy-Fair on Sept. 22 and a 42-35 win against Cinco Ranch in the season opener, Cy Ranch has blown out every opponent in their path – the Mustangs have outscored district foes 321-187.
Now in the other corner standing in at 6-1 in District 17-6A are the Cy Ridge Rams. Entering this week the Rams are tied with the Bobcats of Cy-Fair for second place.
Arizona State commit Trelon Smith has played a key role in the Rams success this season, rushing for 1,293 yards and 19 touchdowns.
As Cy Ridge hangs its hat on the run game, as does Cy Ranch.
The Mustangs are led by E.J. Thompson’s 778 yards and eight scores as well as Holden Gourley’s 444 yards and six scores this season.
With a win and a Cy-Fair loss to Cy Falls on Friday, Cy Ranch would clinch the program’s second District 17-6A Championship since its inception in 2010.
If Cy Ridge defeats Cy Ranch and Cy-Fair wins, it would cause a three-way tie for first place in District 17-6A, meaning everything would come down to the final week of the regular season.
With all of the scenarios out on the table, besides Cy Ranch running the table and winning the District 17-6A title out-right with the undefeated season, there is a lot riding on this game to put it lightly.
Pearland Dawson vs Alief Taylor
“Welcome to the District 23-6A Championship Game” is what should be at the top of the public address announcer’s sheet come Friday night.
Pearland Dawson (7-1, 4-0) and Alief Taylor (8-0, 4-0) will finally meet with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Since the Eagles’ 47-34 loss to Summer Creek on September 8, Dawson has rattled off five-straight wins to set up this matchup of district unbeaten.
Zach Smith’s return at quarterback from an early season injury has played a key role in the Eagles’ success, along with Darrius Smith’s dominant running game and recent of Lance Charles as a big running threat.
Since returning against George Ranch, Smith has passed for 830 yards, nine touchdowns and just three interceptions and gone 4-0.
For Alief Taylor the season has been full of blowouts, outside of one close call against Pearland on Sept. 30, winning that one 19-14, the Lions’ smallest margin of victory all year.
Alief Taylor quarterback Dontay Warren has been key to the Lions’ success, passing for 1,467 yards, 21 touchdowns and throwing only two interceptions in 138 pass attempts.
Winner of this game most likely takes home the District 23-6A Championship and the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
So there you have it.
Three potential District Championship games all in one night. Can’t ask for a better week to be a fan of Texas High School Football, especially with these showdowns looming in just a few days.