Senior Analyst, TheOldCoach.com
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THEOLDCOACH CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP INSIDER
Allen (15-0) vs. Pearland (14-1) Saturday 4:00pm AT&T Stadium, Arlington
What more can you say about Allen and their unreal come from behind win over DeSoto last week? Down 35-20 in the fourth quarter against one of the nation's top teams the Eagles rallied for 22 straight points to win dramatic fashion 42-35.
Junior QB Kyler Murray simply got it done in crunch time with a game winning touchdown run with under a minute left to propel Allen. He finished the day with 228 passing yards and two scores and he ran for 159 yards and a touchdown. But it's not the overall numbers that makes Murray so special, it's the big plays in the key moments that really set him apart.
Allen's is loaded with talent LB's Christian Sam and Tay Evans along with DB's Chad Adams and Mayomi Olootu Jr. all are committed to FBS schools.
But it's the depth Allen rolls out that is really impressive, they come at you in waves and don't seem to wear down.
Pearland has had questions about their strength of schedule and their loss to Manvel didn't seem to help things, but the Oilers seem like they've just been a team of destiny. Despite losing QB Kalen Johnson to an injury in the area round the Oilers defense the next two weeks stepped up big time holding Houston Lamar and Cy Fair to just sixteen total points in those two wins. LB Justin Phillips is the big name on that side for the Oilers.
Last week, Pearland got a big offensive effort as backup QB Connor Heath led the way in their 38-34 win over San Antonio Madison. However, it appeared Pearland's season was going to end as they trailed Madison 34-31 with little more than a minute left. However, Jacoby Lewis returned a kickoff 97 yards to propel the Oilers to their second title game this decade. Pearland's been a heavy underdog once before in the title game and they pulled off a big upset of Euless Trinity, doing it again will be a tall order though.
Stepp's Pick: Allen by 17
Cedar Hill (13-2) vs. Katy (15-0) Saturday 8:00pm AT&T Stadium, Arlington
There aren't many players who have had the kind of playoff run Cedar Hill junior WR DaMarkus Lodge has had. Even last week, while being held in check he still had a huge impact with two touchdown receptions in the Longhorns 19-10 win over Lake Travis.
However it was the Longhorns defense led by LB Richard Moore and DE Xavier Washington shut down the Lake Travis ground game in the win.
They'll need a similar effort this week to wrestle the state title from Katy who is playing as well as any team in the state. The Tigers were simply dominant in last week's 52-0 rout of San Antonio Johnson and they've been dominant throughout the playoffs.
Last week the defending champions outgained Johnson 503-86 as Rodney Anderson again led the Katy offense with 225 rushing yards and three touchdowns. This one much like last year will be a battle as Cedar Hill's speed vs. Katy's size and depth is fascinating matchup and contrast of styles.
Last year Katy was a consensus favorite and Cedar Hill nearly pulled the upset, Katy is still the favorite but most aren't predicting a blowout. Look for another battle, but Katy has the edge because simply they are playing better football than anyone else.
Stepp's Pick: Katy by 7