By Tom Behrens
Marquee playoff matchups are typically hard to find in the first round of the UIL state football playoffs. And in a way, that’s by design. The matchup of the best teams should come later in the six rounds that are required to win an 11-man state championship.
How they got here: In the largest two classifications, 6A and 5A, after the top four finishers from a district are determined, they are placed based on enrollment with the largest two in Division I and the smaller two in Division II. From there, the team with the highest finish from one district plays its bi-district game against a lower finishing team.
Tickets at the gate for all these games are $10 for adults, and $6 for students.
Fort Bend Travis vs. Katy
The Katy Tigers meet the Fort Bend Travis Tigers at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Legacy Stadium. Katy finished first in District 19-6A with an 8-0 record. Travis finished fourth in District 20-6A at 5-4.
I hope I’m not wrong on this but this should be a blowout win for Katy. Katy’s premier running back, Deondrick Glass’s night should be over by halftime. Travis will test the Katy secondary with its passing game led by quarterback Amryn Jeffrey.
Cinco Ranch vs. Ridge Point
Cinco Ranch and Ridge Point come into their bi-district playoff match both with 8-1 overall records. they play at 7 p.m. Friday at Hall Stadium. The Cougars need a good running game from Brant Kuithe and passing game from Zach Eastery. Ridge Point will have Aaron Allen throwing with Mason McBride rushing.
On paper, this game is too close to call. In the past the Panthers have been a thorn in the flesh to several different Katy ISD football and volleyball teams. Let’s hope the Cougars can de-claw the Panthers.
Katy Taylor vs. Fort Bend Bush
The Taylor Mustangs, 5-4, take on the Bush Broncos, 7-1, at 7 p.m. Friday at Mercer Stadium in Sugar Land in a Division II playoff matchup. The Mustangs are clearly the underdog in this one, but as the cliché says, on any given day either team can win.
For Taylor to win Ean Beek, has to have one of his best nights. Beek has been averaging 230 yards per game rushing and 19.5 points. Brian Smith running and Wade Freeman III’s passing attack will test a depleted Taylor defense that has been decimated by injuries this year.
Hightower vs. Strake Jesuit
The Strake Jesuit Crusaders, 7-2, will face the Hightower Hurricane, 5-4, at 7 p.m. Friday at City Stadium. If the Crusaders can play their game plan, this could be another game where the starters will be on the bench at the start of the second half.