Friday, November 24, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #177

Sadder news today than usual. Highland Park (and William Lawson, George Thompson, Chrispy Hoover and Ryan Ross) got knocked out of the playoffs by Texas High 40-24 in Shreveport this afternoon. HP Was ranked No. 1 and defending state champions. I'm sure the guys are feeling pretty down right now. Drop them a line via Facebook or MySpace if you can. Looking forward to Lacrosse season from them though.

William ends his senior season 1 for 1 passing for 59 yards and touchdown, and with36 catches for 588 yards and two TDs.

For the first time a many, many years, i'm stuck after only round two without a high school team to really root for.

On the other hand with Ag basketball ranked in the top 11 and with the football team having knocked off Texas today, i do have a bit of rooting to do for a while. Plus Tivy and ITM basketball are already a couple of weeks deep into the season and i can be rooting for Nathan Tiedemann, Coach Young, Tyler Brown, Wade King, and Jeff Achee for a while.


In Any State, Texarkana Too Much For HP
By TODD WILLS / The Dallas Morning News, 08:28 PM CST on Friday, November 24, 2006

SHREVEPORT, La. – It probably wouldn't have mattered where Highland Park played Texarkana Texas High on Saturday afternoon – Tyler, SMU or even Highlander Stadium.

The state's top-ranked Class 4A team was just too good.

Ryan Mallett made the key throws when he had to, and his running game complemented his passing more often than not in Texas High's 40-24 victory over No. 2 Highland Park in a Class 4A Division I area-round game. The game was played before an estimated crowd of 10,000 fans at Independence Stadium.

After seeing its 26-game winning streak and hopes of repeating as state champion end, Highland Park (11-1) faced a three-hour bus ride to think about all that went wrong, including four turnovers and wasted scoring chances.

"I don't think the field had anything to do with it," Highland Park coach Randy Allen said. "We knew they had a lot of firepower from watching film on them."

Texas High (12-0) unleashed that firepower early and often, building a 20-3 second-quarter lead before putting the game away with 20 unanswered points in the first 13 minutes of the second half. Mallett, who finished 9-for-17 for 181 yards and two touchdowns, provided the spark.

After Highland Park had taken a 3-0 lead, Mallett struck back with a big play, a 35-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Anderson.

Highland Park quarterback William Webb followed with the first of his three interceptions. Five seconds later, Rowland Smith's 9-yard run gave Texas High a 13-3 lead late in the first quarter.

Highland Park had a chance to answer early in the second quarter, but a 10-play drive ended with Alex Carroll being stopped on fourth-and-2 at the Texas High 9.

Texas High then marched 92 yards, aided by two defensive pass interference calls. John T. Johnson scored on a 6-yard run to make it 20-3 with 6:39 left in the first half.

Highland Park took momentum into the locker room after cutting the lead to 20-10 on Ryan O'Dwyer's 10-yard run with 26 seconds left in the first half.

But Texas High was relentless in the third quarter.

Mallett converted a crucial third-and-11 on a 14-yard pass to Johnson on Texas High's first set of downs. Mallett completed three more passes for first downs on the drive, including a 31-yard strike to David Allday that set up Mallett's 1-yard sneak for a 27-10 lead.

"We needed a stop and a score right there," Allen said. "Instead, they got a score and we got stopped."

Highland Park drove to the Texas High 37 on its first second-half possession but failed to convert on fourth down.

Texas High went to its ground game on the ensuing drive, with Smith rushing for 40 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run for a 33-10 lead.

Webb threw his final interception on a spectacular play by Anderson, who rarely plays on defense. Webb thought he had an open receiver, but Anderson came across the field for the pick at his goal line. He caught an 8-yard touchdown pass 36 seconds later for a 40-10 Texas High lead.

John Ellerman threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes for Highland Park, but it was too late to prevent Texas High's Louisiana-style celebration.


Aggies Gut Out Win Over UT
CHIP BROWN / The Dallas Morning News, 06:03 PM CST on Friday, November 24, 2006

AUSTIN – Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee threw up from heat exhaustion in the huddle on the Aggies' game-winning drive in Saturday's 12-7 upset of No. 11 Texas.

After he scored on an 8-yard run with 2:32 left to end a painful, six-game losing streak against the Longhorns, he hugged A&M coach Dennis Franchione. Told him he loved him. Franchione couldn't control his emotions. Tears of joy streamed down his face, even during a postgame television interview.

Nearly two-touchdown underdogs, A&M players flashed downward Hook 'Em Horns as they joined maroon-clad fans in a yell called "Farmers Fight" in the northwest corner of Royal-Memorial Stadium.

It was a maroon-and-white takeover, right down to defensive end Michael Bennett's helmet-to-helmet hit sending Texas quarterback Colt McCoy from the field on a cart with his head immobilized with 20 seconds left in the game.

McCoy had feeling in his extremities but was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

A&M fans took double-takes at Texas' hulking scoreboard, dubbed Godzillatron, just to make sure they had really beaten their arch rival in front of 89,102 mostly stunned fans wearing burnt orange.

That's what happens after losing back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Nebraska by one point and losing another game (against Texas Tech) with only seconds left on a long touchdown pass.

"People have said the rivalry was dead," A&M offensive lineman Kirk Elder said. "It feels great to get it going again."

A&M, which hadn't won in Austin since 1994, ended several UT streaks. The Longhorns had won 26 straight Big 12 games at home and hadn't lost back-to-back games in seven years. Texas hadn't lost a Senior Day game in 14 years.

"The implications were big for both teams," said A&M defensive coordinator Gary Darnell, who coached the Texas defense under John Mackovic from 1992 to 1996. "We're both 9-3. This levels the playing field, and it didn't take four or five years to do it. They have a little bit of a recruiting edge, but we're going to change that, too."

In the minds of many A&M fans, Darnell was a dubious choice to take over the defense. Texas fans snickered at his hiring, but Darnell's defense proved to be the difference.

Texas had the Big 12's No. 1 scoring offense entering the game, averaging, 37.6 points. But the Aggies' defense, which has dominated on third down all season, did so again.

UT converted only two of nine third downs, averaged only 2.8 yards per carry and saw McCoy picked off three times. He had totaled four interceptions in the Longhorns' first 11 games.

"This is going to change a lot of things for Texas A&M football," said Aggies safety Melvin Bullitt, who had an interception and a tackle for a 3-yard loss on a blitz.

Texas coach Mack Brown couldn't contain his disappointment in his team's inability to run. UT has failed to average at least 4 yards per carry in four of its last five games.

"We've got to re-evaluate our running game before the bowl and see why we're not running it better," Brown said.

The Texas defense came into the game ranked No. 1 nationally against the run, giving up only 42 rushing yards per game. But A&M ran for 244 yards, 72 of them on 14 carries in a decisive 16-play, 88-yard scoring drive that took 8:56 off the clock in the fourth quarter.

A&M converted five third downs on the drive and 10 of 16 for the game. The fifth third-down conversion of the drive was McGee's 8-yard touchdown run on third-and-3 with 2:32 left.

"We couldn't close the door on third down," Texas co-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said.

Brown said he expected his defense to play better.

"I really did. I'm just disappointed," he said.

Texas' fortunes seemed to change in two plays in the first half. On UT's opening drive, running back Henry Melton was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-inches at the A&M 8.

And late in the second quarter, receiver Limas Sweed caught an apparent 5-yard touchdown pass from McCoy but was flagged for offensive pass interference. The next play, McCoy was intercepted at the 1-yard line by Bullitt with 3:50 left in the half.

"Those two missed opportunities took the life from us," UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis said.

Texas A&M appears to have locked up a spot in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl against California or Oregon State, whereas Texas has sent its postseason outlook into a tailspin. The Longhorns need Oklahoma State to upset No. 13 Oklahoma today in Stillwater to back into the Big 12 title game against Nebraska.

If Oklahoma wins the Big 12 South by beating the Cowboys, Texas could end up in the Cotton, Gator or Alamo bowls.

"Any loss is bad," UT defensive end Brian Robison said. "But for us to lose a rivalry game and for them to come into your house and beat you, it does hurt more."


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