With two weeks left in the regular season, there is still plenty left to be decided in District 12-6A. Much of that puzzle could come into focus on Friday night as The Woodlands Highlanders look to lock up the district title while the other three spots could be officially decided.
The Woodlands simply needs a win over Montgomery to claim the district title. Meanwhile, the playoffs would be set if Lufkin beats Conroe at home and Beaumont West Brook beats Oak Ridge.
That scenario would leave The Woodlands, Beaumont West Brook, Lufkin and Montgomery as the four playoff teams. An Oak Ridge win over Beaumont West Brook could open up the race headed into the final week.
Here is a look ahead to another pivotal week in District 12-6A.
Conroe (3-5, 0-4) at Lufkin (5-3, 2-2) – As Lufkin started the fourth quarter against the Oak Ridge War Eagles, the Panthers faced an uphill battle just to make the postseason. A strong 12 minutes that were keyed by a revived defense now has Lufkin on the verge of another playoff run.
The Panthers now control their playoff fate and could wrap up a postseason berth this week. Lufkin would need a win combined with a Beaumont West Brook win over Oak Ridge in order to clinch a playoff berth. Lufkin would also clinch a playoff berth with wins in its last two games.
The Panthers got their fifth win of the season despite their high-powered offense being held in check for the first time this season.
Lufkin was held to a season-low 294 yards in the win as Kordell Rodgers threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-34 passing.
Dhaillon Phillips added 10 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.
However, it was the defense that told the story in holding Oak Ridge to 320 total yards and making every pivotal play down the stretch on Friday night.
Isaiah Phillips, who keyed that defensive effort, also came in to run for a game-clinching 21-yard run.
The Panthers will look to build on that momentum on Friday night against a Conroe team that has been officially eliminated from the playoffs.
The Tigers are coming off a 48-7 loss against The Woodlands.
In that game, Kelly McFarland led the Conroe offense with nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The Tigers avoided the shutout when Colby Kizzie hit McFarland for a 48-yard touchdown pass.
Conroe played without the district’s leading running back Donaven Lloyd. In his absence, Ameer Patten carried the ball 17 times for 63 yards.
Montgomery (6-2, 3-1) at The Woodlands (8-0, 4-0) – A district title seems like a mere formality for a Highlanders’ team that has yet to be tested in district action.
On Friday night, The Woodlands used another outstanding defensive effort to overwhelm Conroe in a 48-7 win.
The Woodlands held Conroe to 31 first-half yards and didn’t allow a score until the game had long been decided.
On the offensive side, Eric Schmid threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out the final quarter.
His top target was Kesean Carter, who caught four passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Ramos added 51 total yards and Jordan Talford and Schmid each ran for touchdowns.
The Woodlands will look to wrap up the district title against a Montgomery team that has specialized in winning close games. Since a blowout loss to Beaumont West Brook, Montgomery has won its last three district games by a combined 14 points.
That inclues Friday night’s 24-21 win over College Park.
In that game, Jordan Hood threw for 195 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-28 passing. He also ran for 32 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with 56 seconds left.
That play capped off a 13-play, 88-yard drive after College Park had taken a 21-17 lead.
After falling in a 7-3 hole, Hood hit Alex Nunn for a 30-yard touchdown pass and Vincent Sheffield scored on a nine-yard run for a 17-7 lead.
However, Conroe answered with two touchdowns to set up Hood’s late heroics.
Jody Miller added six catches for 80 yards for Montgomery.
Oak Ridge (4-5, 2-3) at Beaumont West Brook (7-1, 3-1) – The Oak Ridge War Eagles gave the Panthers quite a scare before fading late in a 31-21 loss on Friday night.
The War Eagles used a strong pass rush to hold the Panthers to a season-low 294 yards. However, that effort wasn’t quite enough as Lufkin’s defense rose to the occasion.
In the loss, Reinard Britz threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-39 passing but was derailed by throwing four interceptions.
Grant Stuard added 68 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries while Kyle Townsend had nine catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Oak Ridge has the chance to throw the district into chaos with a win over Beaumont West Brook. A War Eagles’ win could leave four teams fighting for two playoff spots entering the final week of the season.
That won’t be an easy task against a West Brook team that has had a week off after winning a 70-63 track meet over Lufkin.
West Brook would be locked into the top seed in the Division II playoffs with a win over Oak Ridge.
College Park (1-8, 1-4) – The Cavaliers’ playoff hopes took a devastating hit with a 24-21 loss to Montgomery.
In that game, College Park fought back from a double-digit deficit for a late lead before Montgomery scored in the game’s final minute and a late Hail Mary attempt fell to the ground.
Jordan Turnquest led College Park’s offense with 159 passing yards while Chase Lane had four receptions for 84 yards. Their hookup on a 48-yard touchdown gave College Park a 21-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
Turnquest also had a 66-yard touchdown pass to Evan Kelly earlier in the contest.
College Park has the week off before its finale against The Woodlands.
Team Overall District
The Woodlands 8-0 4-0
Beaumont West Brook 7-1 3-1
Montgomery 6-2 3-1
Lufkin 5-3 2-2
Oak Ridge 4-5 2-3
College Park 1-8 1-4
Conroe 3-5 0-4
Lufkin 31, Oak Ridge 21
The Woodlands 48, Conroe 7
Montgomery 24, College Park 21
Beaumont West Brook, bye
Conroe at Lufkin
Montgomery at The Woodlands
Oak Ridge at Beaumont West Brook
College Park, bye