Background. This essay is intended as a continuation on a tour through dominant high school football programs operating within or near the Dallas-Austin-Houston triangle in South-Central Texas. Named below are four among the strongest, as reckoned by at least one panel of veteran analysts.
The Yellowjackets of Rockwall High School are not to be confused with their neighboring Hawks of Heath High. Now claiming the 14th station in the Texas ranks, the ‘Jackets scored in every Quarter enroute to a 42-29 opening week non-conference road win over Cedar Hill. This orange and white clad Division 6A power coached now in his second year by Trey Brooks will face Dallas Jesuits in a Week 2 home field collision with Dallas Jesuit, presumably a taller wall to scale. Few starters from last year’s 10-2 squad return, but an important exception is veteran senior QB Braedyn Locke. Now a Mississippi State commit, the 6’1” 195 pounder earned District 10-6A all around MVP honors in passing to a 68% completion rate, incurring a mere 6 interceptions in 336 attempts. His poise and all around savvy will be closely watched.
Holding onto #15 in current Lone Star ratings are the Spring Lions, located 217 miles southeast of Dallas in the Greater Houston area and home field opening week winners by a 38-17 margin over Fort Bend Travis. Another Division 6 force, the Lions bring their black, gold and white trimmed colors to the field under fourth year Trent Miller’s coaching, himself a former QB with Texas A&M. Team strength will also be amplified by the return of QB Bishop Davenport, who connected for 36 TD strikes on last year’s 9-1 regional finalists. His play garnered him the District 14-6A overall MVP award, with Utah State and Prairie View A&M leading candidates for his eventual commitment. Attention is not lost on a mere three interceptions from 336 passing attempts. Off and “throwing,” his 2021 opener was good for 301 yards and a pair of TDs.
About 240 miles south on I-45 in the Greater Houston area is Cypress, whose Division 6 Region 2 Bridgeland Bears evidently enjoyed a near flawless sense of direction in the 2021 regular season opener. Paced by 5-star Recruit QB Connor Weigman — 365 yards passing, 104 rushing, seven TDs including a 47 yard scoring reception — the Bears crushed Klein Cain 54-14 in a road game non conference rout. Weigman was teamed in stellar play by Senior WR Andrew Maleski’s 198 yards hauled in, good for 3 TDs and Player of the Game honors; by senior Defensive Back Terrance Cullivan’s all around solid effort including an interception and Defensive Player of the Game selection; and Special Teams Senior standout kicker Fisher Pratt. Coach David Raffield appears having every intent to build upon a 12-1 full season record from last year, and it should surprise no one if in coming weeks Bridgeland climbs a step or two higher from its current 16th place in statewide rankings.
Standing next at #17 are the Allen Eagles, whose campus and home field are gained a short drive north from Dallas along US Route 75. They appeared in mid-season flight with a home field 56-30 dispatch of Plano East. A half dozen or so major 2020 contributors on offense were graduated by the school, making the return of running back Jaylen Jenkins fully welcome. Maybe not the biggest in size at 5’8” and 180 lbs., Jaylen still punched out 10 TDs and an eye- catching 9.1 yards per carry in last season’s backup role. Also noteworthy and a reflection of the prestige attached to this School and its athletics was the replacement of a five year retired veteran Head Coach. Allen came away with no less than Chad Morris, formerly head man at both SMU and Arkansas and most recently Offensive Coordinator at Auburn. Now in charger of a young team with shortages at experience, Morris will need to apply his veteran skills to guide Allen into the playoffs. It is definitely an operation worth close week-to-week scrutiny. It must sadly be noted that Allen School mourns the loss of freshman coach James Shillam at age 56, reportedly a Covid victim.