Saturday December 17 4 p.m.
Surprising that a program with the rich history of pumping out Division I talent has never graced a title game, but the Eagles are making their first appearance at State. TCU commit Shawn Robinson is the truth. Robinson might be the best quarterback in the state. He's set to excel at the biggest stage. Colorado verbal KD Nixon is Robinson's favorite target, averaging almost 20 yards a catch. If Nixon isn't open then fellow Buff commit Laviska Shenault Jr. and Wisconsin verbal Emmet Perry can find openings. The Eagles offensive line may be the best in the state with three players committed to Power 5 schools including Texas pledge Xavier Newman.
On defense Kolby Watts leads the Eagles, he's a ballhawking linebacker. Though he's undersized, Watts is ultra productive and he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Wesley Green and Viramontes Pippens anchor the defensive line. Nevada commit Isaiah Stewart leads the secondary in picks and is second on the team in tackles.
All told Desoto has 20 plus athletes that hold either FBS or FCS offers, one of the highest numbers in the state. They've also made an undefeated run through one of the toughest schedules in the State including Cedar Hill twice, Denton Guyer, Duncanville, and previously undefeated Klein Collins.
Cibolo Steele 14-1:
The Knights are looking for their second state title in the school's brief history. The Knights only loss was a double overtime thriller at the hands of Lake Travis. Steele's quarterback and Texas Tech commit Xavier Martin is a legit threat with his arm and his legs, though he's been hampered a bit by a high ankle sprain this year.
Among a number of great defenses making their way to AT&T, Steele's may be the best. Minnesota commit Josh Croslen and Quincy Williams clog the middle and make running a real bear. Croslen checks in at 6'1 275 and has good quickness to go with his bulk. The backend of Steele's defense is led by LSU commit and safety Caden Sterns. The Knights defensive starters have yet to give up a point in the playoffs.
Steele's first varsity season was 2006, they went 3-7. They're 125-17 since with a title in 2010. The Knights caught on quick.
Saturday December 17, 8 p.m.
Lake Travis 14-1
Lake Travis lost their opener to Converse Judson by seven and the next week beat Cibolo Steele by three, since then the Cavs haven't let anyone near them, outscoring opponents by a total of 702 to 104 or 54 to 15 per game. The Cavaliers are a dominant offensive football team with SMU commit Charlie Brewer at the helm. Brewer's thrown 52 touchdowns this season with no sign of slowing down. He's also got a chip on his shoulder from last year's state title game that saw Katy slow down a similarly lethal Cav offense. This season Brewer is completing 77.9% of his passes and just two picks. If he's not throwing it then Maleek Barkley is running it, averaging 95 yards a game.
But the Cavs aren't one dimensional, their defense has been incredibly effective at shutting down opponents. Austin Westlake's potent offense scored a grand total of 10 points in two games vs. the Cavaliers. At the center of it all is safety Austin Hiller, a Northwestern commit who quarterbacks the defense. He's joined in the secondary by Jake Foster and Michael Mast to form a cohesive, tough back end. Mateo Lopez and William Lisenby are solid at linebacker and defensive tackle Sammy Ochoa has fully recovered from injuries sustained in a car wreck last year to have a productive senior season.
Lake Travis is seeking its sixth state title. The Cavs won an unprecedented five straight from 2007 to 2011. They'd like to start a new streak.
The Woodlands 15-0
The Woodlands makes its second appearance at the state title game. The other appearance was a loss to North Shore at Bobby Reid back in 2003. Bobby Reid, for trivia sake, was the focus of the epic Mike Gundy "I'm 40, I'm a man!" tirade.
The Highlanders beat Allen, one of the perennial powers in the state, in the semis. It wasn't even close. No one beats Allen like the Highlanders did on Saturday afternoon. The Woodlands relies on quarterback Eric Schmid, a versatile quarterback who can make plays both in and out of the pocket. Schmid, the son of head coach Mark Schmid, is Sam Houston commit and has demonstrated a big play proclivity with receivers Dylan Casey and Kesean Carter finding holes in secondaries. On the ground Carlos Ramos give the Highlanders a pretty good option. The Highlanders start three seniors on the offensive line and averages 6'3, 272 pounds per man.
The Woodlands' defense is without a doubt the unit that the Highlanders rely on the most. Up front Michael Purcell is a dynamic playmaker and Air Force commit. At 6'5 he provides a matchup issue that offenses have to account for. Linebacker Cole Sichley provides the glue that holds the defense together. The Highlanders secondary has been bend but don't break, allowing multiple 400 yard passers but also disrupting enough plays to be effective.