The Woodlands Stays Perfect
Updated: October 14, 2016
photos: Glenn McCarthy
There Can Be Only One!
Shenandoah Woodforest Bank Stadium- The Woodlands Highlanders are playing superb football! On Thursday night at home they tossed aside another 12-6A foe in Conroe Oak Ridge War Eagles 42-2 to remain undefeated. The Highlanders defense owned the War Eagle offense by not allowing a point.
Two weeks ago they beat their old nemesis on the other side of district realignment the Lufkin Panthers, 63-42. Last week they traveled to Beaumont in another battle of unbeaten squads. They destroyed the West Brook Bruins 72-7. Both of these wins came after the Woodlands beat two 2015 state champions in the Katy Tigers and the Richmond George Ranch Longhorns in back to back weeks. Super impressive Highlanders!!! Last time they were 7-0 was in 2010.
Is this the best Woodlands team ever??? I think so. They rank #5 in this weeks polls and are making a case to move higher. Lake Travis and Cibolo Steele sit ahead of them with 1 loss a piece. The Woodlands has no one on the schedule that can beat them until the playoffs (Conroe, Montgomery, then College Park). Then The Woodlands will come out of the North since they are in Region 2 and District 12. The last time a team from Houston played out of Region 2 and reached the state championship was these exact Highlanders in 2003. They lost to Galena Park North Shore in a matchup of Houston area super powers, 23-7. Last year they lost in the area round of the playoffs to Austin Westlake, 28-3. Look for them to make a deep playoff run this year.
Not only does Coach Mark Schimd have his best team so far in his tenure. He has a veteran senior signal caller leading the way. His son and newly committed last week (October 5th) to Sam Houston State Eric Schmid. Congratulations Eric!!!
Last years Woodlands team beat teams with their defense. This year they are beating people with their offense and defense which makes them all the more dangerous. They are averaging 43.4 points on offense and only allowing 13.5 a game. That’s almost a 30 point per game differential!!! Its debatable their next 3 games could be the easiest on their schedule.
Star linebacker and tackle machine Zach La Confora had this to say about his defense, “We have a lot of seniority on the defense, we’ve all grown up playing together, having a bunch of fun out there on the field. Right now its all clicking, kinda keep things going, right now its looking really good!”
6-5, 230 pound hulking defensive end Michael Purcell said this about the best unit in Houston, “Our defense is pretty solid, we practice together, we play together. We do what we are supposed to do and we do our jobs, we are a good fundamental team.”
Purcell added this about his offense, “Its pretty nice not having to go back out there every 3 plays, I’m really proud of our offense they have been dropping dimes, scoring points, I’m really proud of them.”
Linebacker Grant Milton said this about his 50 yard pick six 55 seconds before the half somewhat sealing the game and building a 26 point lead, “quite the adrenaline rush, it helped our defense, gain some momentum, get some hype going and I think we were able to build off.”
That #1 area defense held the War Eagles to 64 yards in the first half and 132 for the game. QB Schmid started the scoring with a 30 yard TD pass to fellow senior Dylan Casey, 7-0 Highlanders. Is this a senior laden team or what??? Should pay huge dividends come playoff time…………
Senior Chris Stewart added a 22 yard TD run before the War Eagles only points. Defensive end Gavin Franklin sacked Schmid for a safety with 7:15 left in the first half. Then senior Carlos Ramos broke a tackle and got in on the scoring from 24 yards out, 21-2 Woodlands. The Woodlands have 3 capable senior running backs.
Then Grant Milton had his big return as he snagged Reinard Britz’s pass and tightropped it down the right sideline for a big pick six, 28-3. He would also intercept another pass in the third quarter on a tipped ball.
The sweetest move of the night came on the Highlander first score in the second half. Schmid hit Kesean Carter for a 39 yard TD pass as Carter pirouetted around the defensive back and walked into the end zone with no one around him, 35-2. Carter had 4 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Schimd was an astounding 15-18 for 206 yards, 2 touchdowns and added the final score on a 2 yard keeper.
La Confora had this to say about the probability of facing DFW teams in the early rounds of the playoffs, “We just went to Beaumont last week and that was a two hour drive, our longest haul of the season. We are used to it, we are ready to play, when we are on that bus, we are ready to get on that field.”
Purcell added, “We just got out there and we ball, we do what we do! Whoever we play, we will do what the Highlanders do.”
Indeed!!! Expect to see these Highlanders doing a lot more come playoff time!!!
By Glenn McCarthy
Players of the Game
Offense- Quarterback Eric Schmid
Defense- Linebacker Grant Milton
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Woodlands 14 14 14 0 42
Oak Ridge 0 2 0 0 2