TAPPS Football Championships Preview and Predictions

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Brought to you by one of our long-time readers, dcs07 previews the TAPPS state championships and offers predictions for your enjoyment.

Previous: 76-24
Quick Hits: 103-26

Division I — Saturday 7:00

Bishop Lynch vs. Bishop Dunne — The Friars and Falcons took a very twisty road to get to the championship game. There are not many football championship games between teams with 5 losses, but here we are. My early season predictions had Dunne and Lynch in 1st and 3rd respectively in the district standings. It did not play out that way as they found themselves in 5th and 6th. The playoff resurgence has been clear for both. The Falcons have leaned on their defense all year, going 8-1 in games they held the opposition to 24 or less and 0-4 in games the opponent reached 25. The offense has frequently been good enough to win but not spectacular. The Friars have been much more impressive on offense, particularly in their current 4-game winning streak scoring 40, 42, 62, and 48. For comparison, the Falcons three playoff wins saw them score only 29, 35, and 23. How do these factors fit together in a head-to-head rematch is pretty much anyone’s guess. The Falcons won the district opener for the two teams at home way back on September 23rd by a score of 28-21. This looks to be a bit of a slog, especially if the weather turns out to be wet like it appears it might be. If the Friars can find the endzone 4 times I think they can win, but that is a tall task against the Falcons. Dunne scores just enough for its 2nd title in 3 years. Falcons win 27-22.

Offensive Leaders
Bishop Lynch
Jagger Laroe (80/135, 1335 yds, 6TD, 4 INT)
Jaire Moore (181 rushes, 1378 yds, 27 TD)
Jerek Broussard (44 rec, 830 yds, 9 TD)

Bishop Dunne
Stacy Conner (125/243, 1688 yds, 21 TD, 16 INT)
Jordan Butler (224 rushes, 1328 yds, 10 TD)
Ricky Rollerson (36 rec, 599 yds, 6 TD)

Defensive Leaders
Bishop Lynch
Landry Kershaw (248 tackles, 5 sacks, 15 TFL)
Warren Walls (87 tackles, 7 sacks, 17.5 TFL)
Jeremy Harris (4 INT, 66 tackles)

Bishop Dunne
Calvin Avery (61 tackles, 12 sacks, 15 TFL)
Damion Daniels (73 tackles, 9 sacks, 23 TFL)
Shane Hailey (86 tackles, 2 sacks, 11 TFL)
Brian Williams (8 INT, 73 tackles, 5 TFL)


Division II — Friday 7:00

Grapevine Faith vs. Austin Regents — What for me always feels like the main event (because of my allegiances) features two newcomers to the Division II final. The Knights last reached the state final in 2011 in Division III falling to Brook Hill after beating them in the 2010 title game. The Lions only state final appearance came in the 2007 Division III game as they fell to Reicher. So either way its been a while but both have been clearly upward movers in the Division II scene for the last few seasons. The two schools last met in the 2014 playoffs when Faith went to Regents and took a 1st round victory. Now that we have the history lets look at bit closer at these two teams. The Knights have dominated the “South” of Division II from the opening kickoff in August. Holy Cross was very competitive in its 2 meetings, but Regents pretty well thrashed the rest of its opposition. The Lions appear to have played tougher opposition (we North elitists always think so anyway) but the record also shows that. Faith was able to avenge the MCS loss from district play, and may have the best looking win in the Division from their road drubbing of FWC. Certainly no shame for the Lions in dropping a close game to Brock in non-district. Both teams are reasonably multiple in their offense, neither being overly reliant on one way of moving the ball. The Lions perhaps are a bit more run focused with their quality at running back. Regents blowout wins makes looking too much deeper pretty challenging from afar. The Regents defense has allowed 20 or more only 3 times in 13 games. Twice to Holy Cross and once to St. Michaels (Interestingly the same St. Michael’s team that opened the season with a 49-0 loss to the Lions). If Regents can hold the Faith running game in check it will be close to the end. If the Lions get loose on the ground they will control this one. I’ll say Faith continues the 17 year run of the North in Division II. Though I think I’d like Regents to win just for the variety. Lions win 38-30.

Offensive Leaders
Grapevine Faith
Deuce Hogan (96/185, 512 yds, 21 TD)
Keyshawn Wyatt (257 rushes, 2793 yds, 38 TD)
Jake Mitchell (30 rec, 550 yds, 6 TD)

Regents
Jace Frankin (154/252, 2770 yds, 41 TD, 3 INT)
Conner Allen (163 rushes, 1201 yds, 21 TD)
Russell Hine (40 rec, 893 yds, 14 TD)
Will Fisher (42 rec, 868 yds, 16 TD)

Defensive Leaders
Grapevine Faith
Max Norris (96 tackles)
Grant Cobb (5.5 sacks)
Casey Wasserman (6 INT)

Regents
Matthew Dickey (66.5 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 2 sacks)
Cal Long (32 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks)
Warren Brown (6 INT, 16.5 tackles, 3 PBU)


Division III — Saturday 12:00

Houston Northland Christian vs. Colleyville Covenant Christian — The Cougars have dominated the DIII competition on there schedules. That applies to both Cougars in this case. Covenant has the only loss between the two, opening the season against SPC Cistercian. Northland has demolished the opposition with the closest margin coming in a season opening defeat of Division II Lutheran South. After a Division II semifinal a year ago, Northland was definitely a projected favorite in Division III this year. I’m not sure we thought they would win all 12 Division III games by 26 or more, and 11 of those by 33 or more. Reicher did score first last week though. Covenant appears to be the best opposition Northland has seen this season having only played one close game against Division III competition, last week against Willow Park Trinity. It seems both teams have the offensive capability to score in bunches. How will the defenses respond to one of their toughest tests? Northland has been the dominant force all year, so I’ll go with them. Houston based Cougars win 42-28.

Offensive Leaders
Northland Christian
Michael Massarella (141/222, 2568 yds, 36 TD, 4 INT; 138 rushes, 1361 yds, 30 TD)
Christian Lovick (124 rushes, 1052 yds, 17 TD)
Hunter Pace (63 rec, 1481 yds, 15 TD)

Colleyville Covenant
Josh Stith (97/171, 1654 yds, 17 TD, 7 INT; 107 rushes, 967 yds, 11 TD)
Alan Maldonaldo (131 rushes, 1044 yds, 15 TD)
Niven Raj (33 rec, 785 yds, 8 TD)

Defensive Leaders
Northland Christian
Colby Buckhanan (9 INT)
* additional stats not available

Colleyville Covenant
Chris Wesley (135 tackles, 1 sack, 9 TFL)
Josh Turner (48 tackles, 9 sacks, 9 TFL)
Jack Reed (4 INT, 49 tackles)


Division IV — Friday 12:00

Arlington Grace Prep vs. Shiner St. Paul — The Lions find themselves in a state championship game for the first time since winning Division II in 2005. They were always a threat before that though. The Cardinals are the little engine that can. St. Paul has a smaller enrollment than most of 6-man Division I and not only plays 11-man football, but plays it at a high level. There was some concern about the Cardinals after a loss to Boerne Geneva, but the injury bug seems to have bit them against a really good opponent and they’ve responded quickly and looked good in the playoffs. Grace Prep has reinvented itself as a small school and finds itself here after avenging a district loss to FW Temple Christian. There is not a ton of commonalities to base a pick on for this one, but the Cardinal offense has scored 42 in 6 straight weeks and 8 times overall while Grace Prep has done so only 5 times. The Lion defense that allowed 12 to Muenster Sacred Heart will be in this game, the Lion defense that allowed 27 to Shelton and Pantego will likely struggle. I don’t think the Grace offense is as strong as the Brazos team that St. Paul saw last week, but the Cardinal defense did allow 38 in that semi. I’ll go with the experienced Cardinals to win on their stage, but this is a tricky comparison. St. Paul wins back-to-back titles 38-20.

And so ends another season of the picks. Thank you all for reading and hopefully we’ll see you next August. Good luck, safe travels, and here’s to hoping everyone’s heater works in the gym