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Rickey Girouard

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Sugar Bowl Preview: Texas vs Georgia

Despite having just lost one of the top quarterbacks in the last recruiting cycle, Georgia is now preparing to take on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl. Both teams are on the rise, and both must be disappointed with the way their most recent games turned out. Georgia lost to Alabama in the SEC conference championship, while Texas lost against Oklahoma in a rematch for the Big 12 championship.

Texas

Expectations were low for Texas this year; reaching the Sugar Bowl at all makes the season a success. This is the Longhorns’ second year under Tom Herman and the second season since their infamous loss to Kansas. Many publications questioned whether they could make a bowl game at all after losing so much talent on the defense last year (such as Holton Hill, Poona ford, Malik Jefferson and DeShawn Elliot). Instead they gained a top-five recruiting class and used it to get hard-fought wins throughout the season, ultimately reaching the Big 12 championship game. A win in the Sugar Bowl would mark Texas’s first 10-win season in almost 10 years, with the most recent in 2009.

Texas has the talent to compete with a Georgia team. This might be the last game Texas fields the dynamic duo of Collin Johnson and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, as both are eligible to declare for the draft, having their stock high after great seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brennan Eagles get some playing time this game, as he looks to be the Longhorns’ top wideout next year if both of this year’s starters move to the NFL. My biggest concern for Texas is a lack of experience; they will be starting as many as three true freshmen in their secondary.

Georgia

Georgia comes into this game having just lost their playoff spot to Alabama. The coaches have to make sure the team is motivated after a tough loss and the transfer of their star backup QB. Starter Jake Fromm has gone through some tough times this season, with many fans hoping Justin Fields would take over full time next year. Georgia has the top defense in the SEC and the pride that their conference isn’t just offense (a criticism the SEC constantly makes against the big 12). They will face off against a Texas QB who doesn’t turn the ball over, but Georgia won’t have a problem putting up points. Their star wideout Riley Ridley and the running backs D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield are dynamic playmakers. Georgia runs the ball 41 times a game, which should get them the win.

Final predictions

While I hope Texas wins, I’m also not going to be biased in my work. Everything points to Georgia taking out their anger at missing the playoffs on the Longhorns. Sam Ellinger will have a good game for Texas, committing no turnovers and starting a Heisman campaign for next year, but Georgia’s offense will be a powerhouse. The only way I see the Longhorns winning is if Jake Fromm regresses to his early-season form, and if the Bulldogs start off slow and unmotivated after the loss to Alabama.

The Sugar Bowl kicks off January 1st at 7:45 p.m. inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Follow live game coverage on my Twitter account: @RickeyGirouard.

Rematch: North Shore HS vs. Katy

This weekend is the rematch we have all been waiting for: it’s finally time for Katy to revenge the first game loss to Galena Park North Shore. These two teams have been in the top two spots of my rankings

from the start of the season, throughout the season, and into the playoffs. Max Preps has Galena Park North Shore as the number one team and Katy as the number seven team in Texas. North Shore (12-0) is currently undefeated, while 11-1 Katy’s only loss was the first game of the season against North Shore.

The first match-up was a close game, with the final score of 35 to 21. Katy’s star running back, Deondrick Glass, carried the ball 29 times for 148 yards but no touchdowns. Katy's quarterback, Bronson McClelland threw for 110 yards and one touchdown while also carrying the ball 3 times for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns. North Shore’s star running back, Zachary Evans, had a day, starting off with an 18-yard rushing touchdown to put them on the scoreboard first. Then McClelland scored a 53-yard rushing touchdown to tie up the game early in the first quarter. Zachary Evans of North Shore followed up with a 4-yard touchdown to take the lead late in the first quarter. Zachary Evans would also have an one yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter to make the score 21 to 7 at halftime.

The second half started off with Katy having a 3 and out; their series ended with a blocked punt by North Shore to set up a 16-yard passing touchdown from Dematrius Davis, Jr. to “AJ” Carter. Katy would answer back with Bronson McClelland’s 17-yard rushing touchdown. The last score of the game would be a Zachary Evans 1-yard rushing touchdown to give North Shore the lead 35 to 21 over Katy.

That was 11 games ago. Neither team has lost since that game and they meet up in the third round of the playoffs inside NRG Stadium at 7 PM Friday. It promises to be a great matchup of Titans from the Houston area with both teams looking for a state championship. The two teams have great offensive lines, top ranked running backs, and quarterbacks who can finish the game on any play. One thing is for sure, Katy’s Head Coach, Gary Joseph, will have his team looking to get revenge on the top-ranked North Shore Mustangs with hopes of making it to the next round in the final 4 of the Texas 6 A Division One State Championship.

Check out live coverage from the game by following my Twitter account: @RickeyGirouard and also my co-host, Jules Jefferson: @Jeffbear80.

Also check out our radio show, LET’S TALK HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS, live on KTXF-db Houston Preeminence on the free TuneIn app and on our SoundCloud page under Houston Preeminence.

RICKEY’S TOP 25 HOUSTON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS

RICKEY’S TOP 25 HOUSTON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS

By Rickey Girouard

Here begins a weekly review of the Top 25 Houston high school football teams based off of UIL Region 3 alignment (Houston metropolitan area). I am judging off of play on the field, the talent of players, and strength of wins versus losses. Below are my rankings, along with the record of the teams. There will be some changes to come to this list as we are halfway through the season and many of these teams start facing each other.

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Top 2 Teams

North Shore once again takes the top spot as king of Houston, thanks to an undefeated season, loads of talent, and coaches that keep it all together. Check out #Recruitnorthshore on Twitter as it has everything you need for proof. Katy still only has one loss (against North Shore) while taking out the other Katy area teams. I will stand by my approach for these two teams, as they will not move until someone else beats them.

3-10 Teams

The top 10 teams have been devouring the competition in their respective districts. Pearland has been constantly beating out the other teams in my top 25. South Houston area is well represented on this list with Pearland, Dickinson, and Shadow Creek all fighting it out in that area. Pearland defeated who was my #3 team in my rankings two weeks ago in Strake Jesuit in a hard-fought rainy game.

11-25 Teams

Every team on my list is great, but most of the last 15 have losses to the Top 10 teams only. Since my first rankings came out, it has started to cannibalize itself with Tompkins losing to Katy and several teams losing to Strake Jesuit. Atascocita blew me away two weeks ago with some of their playmakers. (You can find my live game report of the Atascocita @ South Houston game here.) Every team in the last 15 has a high chance to move up here, as major match-ups are coming soon.