The Texas high school football season is quickly winding down with the Class 6A and 5A UIL state title games starting Friday night with Aledo and Corpus Christi Calallen in 5A Division II.
Three more games take place on Saturday with the 5A Division I, 6A Division I and II finals beginning at noon.
Can Calallen dethrone Aledo? Can John Stephen Jones win a state title for Dallas Highland Park in the stadium his grandfather built? Can DeSoto finally get over the hump and win its first football state championship?
Class 5A Division II: Aledo (15-0) vs. CC Calallen (14-1), 8 p.m. Friday
Aledo: The Bearcats seem unstoppable with six players who gained more than 900 yards this season – not to mention quarterback Dillon Davis, who has accounted for 45 TDs on the year. Then there’s the defense where eight players have 80 or more tackles, making for an all-around balanced attack. Aledo is trying for its seventh UIL state football title, and sixth in eight years.
Calallen: The Wildcats last reached the state final in 2005 and are still looking for that first football championship. They lost the second game of the season, but since have reeled off 13 straight wins, including a 31-30 victory last week over previously unbeaten College Station. The strength of this year’s team is the rushing attack that has scored 67 of 77 TDs.
Class 5A Division I: Temple (12-3) vs. Highland Park (13-2), noon Saturday
Temple: The program is now tied for ninth all-time with its ninth state title appearance after knocking off state-ranked and unbeaten powers Manvel and Richmond Foster in back-to-back weeks. It sounds like destiny for the Wildcats as they look for their first state title since 1992. Temple beat Highland Park in their only playoff meeting, 28-14 in the 1976 Class 4A quarterfinals.
Highland Park: This is another team looking to end a state title drought – the Scots haven’t won since 2005 – and what better way than to be led into AT&T Stadium by quarterback John Stephens Jones, the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Like Temple, Highland Park won’t wow the fans with their offense, but they sure do get after it on defense. The Scots have held opponents to single digits in nine of 15 games.
Class 6A Division II: DeSoto (15-0) vs. Cibolo Steele (14-1), 4 p.m. Saturday
DeSoto: Talk about a team of destiny, the DeSoto Eagles are making their first state final appearance. Dual-threat quarterback and TCU commit Shawn Robinson was recently named Gatorade Texas Football Player of the Year, and a finalist for The Landry Award, and for good reason. He’s accounted for 4,463 yards and 44 TDs as the Eagles are averaging 48 points per game this season.
Cibolo Steele: Making its 10th-consecutive playoff appearance, Steele’s only loss came to 6A Division I finalist Lake Travis 59-56 in overtime in the season’s second week. The Knights are giving up 14.8 points per game, but can they stop DeSoto’s explosive offense? The teams are meeting for the first time in the playoffs, but have met the past two seasons. Steele won 35-33 in 2015 while DeSoto won 29-24 in 2014.
Class 6A Division I: The Woodlands (15-0) vs. Austin Lake Travis (14-1), 8 p.m. Saturday
The Woodlands: The Highlanders last made the state title game in 2003, and are looking for their first championship. They are here after knocking off state powerhouse Allen 36-28 last week in the semifinals. Do they have enough to knock off another power in Lake Travis? The Highlanders are scoring 45.7 points per game.
Lake Travis: A state regular, Lake Travis won five-straight state titles from 2007-11. Now in the state final for the second-consecutive season, the Cavaliers are riding a 14-game winning streak after dropping the opener 35-28 to Judson. The numbers are eye-opening with a plus-594 scoring differential. They average 52.6 points per game while the defense holds opponents to 13 points per game.