Houston’s best Week 1 matchups to watch

Week 1 of the Texas high school football season has finally arrived and the Houston area schedule is loaded with great matchups. The non-round action has allowed some of the top teams in town to meet on the gridiron and give themselves strong early tests. Here’s a look at some of the best games.

Thursday’s games to watch

The Woodlands on the North Shore
7pm at Galena Park ISD Stadium

This is the main game of the week in the Houston area. North Shore enters the season as the No. 2 in the state after winning the Class 6A Division I title last December. Coach Jon Kay and the Mustangs will get a good test right out of the gates against No. 18-ranked The Woodlands. North Shore leads the all-time series 5-2, including the 2003 state championship game. The programs were last met in 2007 when the Mustangs won 35-17. Perhaps the biggest game to watch this time around is how Woodlands quarterback Mabrey Mettauer and his offense stack up against a loaded North Shore team. With talent all over the field, this should be an exciting opener.

Dickinson and Atascocita
7pm at Turner Stadium

This matchup also features a pair of state-ranked teams. Atascocita comes in at No. 11 and Dickinson isn’t far behind at No. 19. Adding to the drama is the fact that Atascocita ended the Gators’ 2021 season with a last-second field goal in the Division 6A Area I round of the playoffs Nov. passed. Dickinson had a 14-0 halftime lead in that game before the Eagles rallied and pulled out the win. Atascocita also knocked the Gators out of the postseason in 2017 and 2019. The Eagles enter the season with a talented roster, led by quarterback Zion Brown, but they are also young in many spots. Dickinson, which returns half its starters from a 9-3 team, should provide a good test early on.

Tompkins at Cypress Ranch
6:30pm at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium

This will be the first matchup between Tompkins and Cypress Ranch, two programs that have experienced a lot of success in recent years. The Falcons have gone 42-8 over the past four seasons under head coach Todd McVey. Meanwhile, the Mustangs have produced eight straight winning campaigns, including the program in the state championship game in 2014. Needless to say, expectations are high on both sides entering the 2022 season. Tompkins averaged more than 41 points per game last season, so it will be interesting to see how the Falcons fare on offense against a Cypress Ranch defense with six starters and returning players at every level.

Other matches to watch on Thursday: Cinco Ranch to College Park, Angleton to Lake Creek, Klein Forest to Alief Taylor, Summer Creek to Klein Cain, Klein to Fort Bend Marshall, Travis to Spring.

Paetow finished the 2021 season with a run to the Class 5A Division I state championship game, but moves up to Class 6A this season.

Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Friday matches to watch

Conroe to Paetow
6pm at Legacy Stadium

Paetow reached the top of the mountain last season, winning the Division 5A state championship during his fourth varsity season. But the Panthers, ranked 24th in the state in 6A, will have a new look this year with coach BJ Gotte now at Pearland. New coach Lonnie Teagle, who previously served as Denton Ryan’s offensive coordinator, makes his debut against a Conroe program aiming for its second straight playoff berth. This will be the first game between a pair of teams that have just two weeks of non-district action to prepare for their league play. Paetow returns just four starters on his defense, but also added one of the best players in the country in David Hicks Jr., a transfer from Allen.

Katy to Clear Springs
7pm at Challenger Columbia Stadium

Katy re-enters the season with state championship aspirations and the state ranking of no. The Tigers’ 5 suggests they have the talent to make another deep run. The Tigers have played Clear Springs five times since 2009 and have won all of those games by no less than 15 points. That includes last year’s dominant 40-7 home triumph. This time around, the Chargers have home field advantage and are looking to make a statement about their intentions for the new campaign. Clear Springs is expected to be a top contender for the District 24-6A title, and facing Katy in Week 1 will certainly be a good test. To pull off the upset, Clear Springs will need to slow down 2,000-yard rusher Seth Davis.

Manvel at Shadow Creek
19:00 at Freedom Field

It doesn’t get much better than this for a season opener – two successful programs in the same school district facing off for the first time on a live telecast on Bally Sports Southwest. Manvel comes in at No. 8 in the Division 5A preseason rankings, while Shadow Creek sits at No. 24 in 6A. That being said, this matchup has the potential to be an exciting one. The Mavericks and Sharks combined for a 19-6 overall record and three playoff wins last season. With only three returning starters, this contest will be important for Manvel, which has just two non-district games before diving into a challenging league. For Shadow Creek, it’s a chance for 13 returning starters to build on last year’s momentum.

King of es in Crosby
7pm at Cougar Stadium

After two consecutive state semifinal playoff appearances, Crosby loaded up its non-district schedule before its jump to 5A Division I. The two-game sweep begins with a big test at home against a CE King program that advanced to the semifinals 6A Division II regional last season and brings a lot of talent. Crosby, ranked No. 6 in the state, will also face perennial power Fort Bend Marshall next week. However, first things first. The Cougars will have to protect quarterback Cyrin Myles from a CE King pass rush that includes Texas’ Dylan Spencer and Colorado’s Kam Bizor. For the Panthers, this game will serve as a teaser for an even bigger road game next week against state-ranked Allen. 13.

Cypress Park in Westfield
19:00 at Planet Ford Stadium

Two reigning district champions will clash in this match. Westfield is one of the most established and successful programs in the Houston area under head coach Matt Meekins. Cypress Park, meanwhile, has shown growth every year under coach Greg Rogers since his inaugural varsity season in 2018. Westfield may very well be the toughest opponent the Tigers have faced, including the playoffs. The Mustangs are ranked No. 9 in the state and return 10 starters from a team that went 12-1 and handed state champion North Shore its only loss last season. This will be the first of three non-district games for Westfield, which will also take on Hightower and North Shore, respectively.

Ridge Point at Austin Westlake
7:30pm at Chaparral Stadium

Make no mistake about it – Ridge Point has its hands full this week. The Panthers will travel three hours to face Austin Westlake, the defending Division 6A II state champion and the No. 7 in place. Ridge Point has won eight or more games in nine straight seasons, including last year when the Panthers finished 11-2 and reached the regional semifinals. This game will serve as a barometer for where the program stands against the best in the state. Westlake was historically good last season, outscoring its opponents 892-142. With new head coach Tony Salazar leading the way and a slew of top-ranked recruits filling the roster, the Chaparrals are poised to make another championship run.

Other games to watch on Friday: Hightower in Dawson, Berbers Hill in Magnolia West, George Ranch in Foster, Friendswood in Texas City, Pearland in Clear Falls, Stratford in Tomball, New Caney in Montgomery, Cuero in El Campo, St. Thomas in St. John’s, Second Baptist at St. Pius X.

Yates and Dallas Carter, two storied programs, reignite their rivalry on the court with a non-district clash on Saturday.

Yates and Dallas Carter, two storied programs, reignite their rivalry on the court with a non-district clash on Saturday.

Wilf Thorne / Contributor

Saturday’s games to watch

Dallas Carter at Yates
6pm at Delmar Stadium

This historic rivalry between Houston and Dallas was reignited in 2018 after a 24-year drought. Carter won that game and again in 2019, but the two teams haven’t played each other since. Yates’ 1985 team and Carter’s 1988 team are widely considered among the best in Texas high school football history, so a rematch of this matchup is certainly a welcome sight for both bases. the fans. Yates has a new coach in Rafael Thomas, who was previously an assistant at Marshall. The Lions will aim for a third straight playoff berth after being knocked out in the first round last season. Carter, meanwhile, is going for her sixth straight postseason appearance.

Cy-Fair in Bridgeland
6pm at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium

These programs met for the first time in 2020 for a non-district game during the final week of the regular season. Bridgeland came away with a decisive 41-29 win, improving to 10-0 in the process. This was year two of the Conner Weigman era, but the Bears’ five-star quarterback is now gone. Both teams have district title ambitions this season, so this contest will provide a good early test. Perhaps the most interesting storyline to watch is how the Bridgeland offense performs against the Cy-Fair defense. Despite the loss of Weigman, the Bears have eight starters back from a unit that averaged more than 35 points per game. The Bobcats’ defense, meanwhile, returns nine starters from last year’s 7-4 team.

Other Saturday games to watch: Eisenhower at Morton Ranch, Strake Jesuit at Fulshear, Magnolia at Klein Collins, Tomball Memorial at Langham Creek.

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