High School Sports

Road to Arlington: Defending champs highlight Friday’s state title games

Barrett, Kennedale roll into first title game

The Kennedale Wildcats and Head Coach Richard Barrett will both be making their first trips to a state title game after a sound 54-28 victory against Stephenville. Kennedale piled up 543 yards rushing while limiting Stephenville to 28 yards on the
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The Kennedale Wildcats and Head Coach Richard Barrett will both be making their first trips to a state title game after a sound 54-28 victory against Stephenville. Kennedale piled up 543 yards rushing while limiting Stephenville to 28 yards on the

Day 3 of the UIL state championships is here and it only gets better and better.

Friday’s matchups feature three defending state champs in all three games, Carthage, West Orange-Stark and Highland Park.

Carthage and Kennedale begin the day at 11 a.m. while Highland Park and Manvel cap the night off at 7 p.m.

Class 4A Division I, 11 a.m. Friday

Carthage (Carthage, Texas)

Overall record: 15-0

Head coach: Scott Surratt

Defeated: Huffman Hargrave, 46-10; Freeport Brazosport, 45-21; Silsbee, 64-36; Henderson, 35-0; La Vega, 46-39

State championships: 5- 2016, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2008

The Bulldogs: With a win, Carthage will earn its sixth UIL state football title, which would be tied for ninth all-time. The defending state champs have made a state final six times in 10 years. The Bulldogs, who average 46.5 points per contest, have scored at least 40 points in all but one game this season.

Players to Watch

Keaontay Ingram, Sr., RB: Over 5,000 yards and 80 TDs in his career. Committed to Texas.

Dewaylon Ingram, Sr., WR: 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in 2016. Committed to Sam Houston State.

Mykel Gates, Sr., LB: District Defensive MVP in 2016.

Ahmad Brown, Sr., LB: First team all-district in 2016.

Mekhi Colbert, Sr., DB: First team all-district in 2016.

Kelvontay Dixon, Soph. ATH: Out since Week 2, but has offers from Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas

Kennedale (Kennedale, Texas)

Overall record: 14-1

Head coach: Richard Barrett

Defeated: Ranchview, 59-14; Van, 42-28; Midlothian Heritage, 45-43; Kaufman, 63-36; Stephenville, 54-28

State championships: 0- Didn’t reach a state semifinal prior to 2016.

The Wildcats: First state final for Barrett in 40-year coaching career, who’s been at Kennedale for 27 years, head coach since 2001. Kennedale runs the Wing-T formation and has stacked up 6,000 yards rushing this season. The Wildcats defeated Heritage on senior Kevin Tiero’s 40-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

Players to Watch

Andrew Flanagan, Sr., OL: Four-time All-State selection.

Jaden Knowles, Sr., RB: 2,200 yards rushing and 34 TDs in 2017.

Ector Rivera, Sr., LB: 148 tackles, 21 for loss, 6 sacks in 2017.

Larry Brooks, Sr., DB: 154 tackles, 15 for loss, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 4 FR in 2017. Committed to Tulane.

Devan Mason, Sr., DB: 62 tackles, 6 for loss, 5 INTs, 3 FR in 2017.

D.J. Kirven, Jr., RB: 2,191 yards rushing and 41 TDs in 2017.

Jalen Myers, Jr., LB: 90 tackles, 19 for loss, 8 sacks in 2017.

J.D. Coffey, Fr., DB: First team All-State, 88 tackles, 11 for loss, 6 INTs in 2017.

Class 4A Division II, 3 p.m. Friday

Texarkana Pleasant Grove (Texarkana, Texas)

Record: 15-0

Head coach: Josh Gibson

Defeated: Tatum, 21-7; Aubrey, 56-28; Celina, 33-14; Melissa, 55-14; Graham, 45-14

State championships: 0- Just the third time to reach the state quarterfinals this century (2009, 2001).

The Hawks: Pleasant Grove is outscoring opponents this season 44-16 per game. The Hawks rushed for 366 yards vs. Graham. Pleasant Grove has scored 40 or more points in 11 games and held opponents to 14 or fewer points 10 times.

Players to Watch

T.J. Cole, Sr, RB: 129 yards rushing and 2 TDs vs. Graham.

Carson Cox, Sr., WR: First team all-district in 2016.

Caleb Porchia, Sr., LB: First team all-district in 2016.

Austin Toler, Sr., DL: First team all-district in 2016.

Chauncey Martin, Sr., DB: First team all-district in 2016.

West Orange-Stark (Orange, Texas)

Record: 13-0

Head coach: Cornel Thompson

Defeated: Royal, 54-0; Mexia, 17-3; Madisonville, 28-26; Salado, 14-0; Wimberley, 30-21

State championships: 4- 2016, 2015, 1987, 1986

The Mustangs: Two-time defending state champs look for a third consecutive football title. WO-S is in the state final for the fourth-straight season and eighth overall. WO-S has posted four shutouts, two in the postseason. The Mustangs are allowing 9.2 points per game.

Players to Watch

Jarron Morris, Sr., WR, DB: Signed with Texas State. First team all-district in 2016 as a corner and punt returner.

Paul Ivory, Sr., OL, DL: First team all-district in 2016.

Kayven Cooper, Jr., RB, LB: Second team all district in 2016.

Class 5A Division I, 7 p.m. Friday

Manvel (Manvel, Texas)

Record: 14-0

Head coach: Kirk Martin

Defeated: Houston Madison, 49-6; Nederland, 51-26; Cedar Park, 56-17; Temple, 49-34; Angleton, 35-10

State championships: 0- Made the state final in 2011.

The Mavericks: Manvel has been No. 1 or 2 in the AP state poll all season long. The Mavericks defense has allowed 14.3 points per game and has given up 10 or fewer points seven times. Manvel has gained 6,000 yards of total offense and come in with three players who have rushed for at least 10 touchdowns this season.

Players to Watch

Deneric Prince, Sr., RB: 846 yards rushing and 10 TDs in 2017. Committed to Texas A&M.

Jalen Preston, Sr., WR: 7 TD receptions in 2017. Committed to Texas A&M.

Jalen Momerelle, Sr., OL: Committed to Texas State.

Kason Martin, Sr., QB: 2,500 yards passing and 34 TDs in 2017.

Kam Scott, Sr., WR: 8 TD receptions in 2017.

Cecori Tolds, Sr., DB: 5 INTs in 2017.

Depriest Taylor, Sr., LB: 86 tackles, 11 for loss, 4.5 sacks in 2017.

Charles Reed, Sr., LB: 81 tackles, 5 for loss in 2017.

Ladarius Owens, Jr., RB: 689 yards rushing and 12 TDs in 2017.

Garrison Johnson, Jr., RB: 655 yards rushing and 11 TDs in 2017.

Warren Laster, Jr., WR: 9 TD receptions in 2017.

Highland Park (Dallas, Texas)

Record: 14-1

Head coach: Randy Allen

Defeated: Texarkana Texas, 56-49; McKinney North, 73-20; Summit, 52-20; Lake Ridge, 37-35; Ryan, 45-35

State championships: 4- 2016, 2005, 1957, 1945

The Scots: Highland Park is making its eighth state final. The Scots are the winningest program in UIL state history. According to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the Scots have won 815 games. Highland Park has gained over 7,000 yards of total offense this season.

Players to Watch

John Stephens Jones, Sr., QB: Landry Award winner has 4,200 yards passing and 53 TDs. Offers from Arkansas, SMU and Texas Tech.

Conner Allen, Sr., RB: 12 rushing TDs in 2017.

Paxton Alexander, Sr., RB, WR: 1,900 total yards and 14 TDs in 2017.

Cade Saustad, Sr., WR: 1,400 yards receiving and 19 TDs in 2017.

Ryan Coxe, Sr., LB: 157 tackles, 6 sacks in 2017.

Noble Nash, Sr., LB: 148 tackles, 9 for loss in 2017.

Zak Folts, Sr., DB: 126 tackles in 2017.

Finnegan Corwin, Jr., WR: 650 yards receiving and 11 TDs in 2017.

Prince Dorbah, Soph., DL: 10 sackes in 2017.

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