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Class 4A Division I State Championship Preview
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Denton Ryan (15-0) vs. Lake Travis (13-2) Saturday 12:00pm Cowboys Stadium, Arlington:
Two powerhouse programs who have gotten things done with the offense in the past this year have taken a more defensive role in 2010.
Lake Travis is after their fourth straight state title, while Denton Ryan is playing for their first state title since losing the title game to LaMarque in 2003.
Ryan also lost the title game in 2000, but managed wins in 2001 and 2002.
Last week Ryan jumped out to a 25-7 lead in the fourth quarter against Wylie, but the Raiders had to hold on for dear life as Wylie cut the lead to 25-20.
Ryan's offense kept with the script doing just enough to get by as Kaylon Alexander ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Lake Travis QB Michael Brewer was 50/50 on his chances to play, but he led the Cavs to their 23rd straight playoff win 24-3 over Friendswood. Brewer threw for 144 yards and a touchdown along with one score on the ground. The story of the game was the LT defense led by LB Austin Williams that held a potent Friendswood offense to just 220 yards.
I expect a low scoring hard fought game as Lake Travis will be laying it all on the line for title number four. This Cavaliers team more than any other seems vulnerable and I expect the Ryan defense with a bit of a home field advantage to turn the heat up, Mario Edwards and Ty Hook will both be major factors as they could be in Brewer's face a lot on Saturday.
Matt's Pick: Denton Ryan by 4
Class 4A Division II State Championship Preview
Aledo (15-0) vs. La Marque (11-3) Friday 8:00pm Cowboys Stadium, Arlington:
It's a matchup of the team who was a year away last year against the team who is a year away now.
Aledo who is on a 28 game winning streak escaped a valiant effort from Mesquite Poteet but prevailed 29-27.
The Bearcats have struggled on offense the last two weeks as blue chip RB Johnathan Gray has been hampered by a knee injury.
The Bearcats have managed to get it done with the passing game as junior QB Matthew Bishop and junior WR Michael Mann have been able to make plays when teams have over committed to slow Gray.
La Marque is one of the premier programs in the state and in the 90's and early part of the 2000s, the Cougars were one of the most feared teams in the state.
Former Dallas Kimball Head Coach Darrell Jordan now has them on the brink of another title and the scary part is this team is very young and just missed the cut off to drop to 3A. Last week the Cougars went to San Antonio and proved once again to be a thorn in the side of Corpus Christi Calallen with an easy 42-18 win.
Junior quarterback Emmanuel Williams threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns last week on just nine completions as the Cougs speed proved to be too much for a slower Calallen team to contain.
Timothy Wright ran for 176 yards and a score along with 95 receiving yards and a score to give La Marque some nice balance.
The key to this game for Aledo is handling the speed of LaMarque, the Cougars have a major advantage there. Aledo has the edge up front and an edge with big game experience.
The "X" factor is Gray's health, if LaMarque can not "cheat" to stop him they'll be in this to the wire. If Gray's back to better health and can rip off the big play, I think Aledo's got too much balance. I don't believe Gray will be healthy enough to threaten the La Marque defense and I think this will come down to the wire and intangibles make the difference. The edge there is to Aledo.
Matt's Pick: Aledo by 7