Video: The Woodlands Goes to State
Updated: December 10, 2016
Photos: Steve Thomas
Allen falls in state semifinals for second-straight year
Saturday’s UIL Class 6A Division I semifinal featured a clash of titans. The 14-0 The Woodlands Highlanders took on the 14-0 6A powerhouse the Allen Eagles at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. For Allen, the game marked the fifth-consecutive year the Eagles reached the state semifinals.
During the first three years, the Eagles advanced to the state championship game en route to three consecutive state titles. Last year, the Eagles lost to eventual 6A Division 1 runner-up Austin Westlake snapping a 52-game winning streak.
For The Woodlands, the game marked the opportunity to reach the state championship game for the first time since 2003. The Highlanders had additional incentive playing for teammate Grant Milton. The senior linebacker suffered a brain injury in the team’s game two weeks ago and remains in a coma. A Gofundme fundraiser (https://www.gofundme.com/grant-milton- woodlands-21) has been set up to help his family with extensive medical costs.
In the first half,The Woodlands was in complete control on both sides of the ball. The defense blocked Allen’s 32-yard field-goal attempt on the opening drive and responded with a seven-yard touchdown by running back Carlos Ramos to take a 7-0 lead. Kicker Lockhart West then extended The Woodlands lead netting a 39-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
After forcing The Woodlands to turn the ball over on downs, Allen got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter courtesy of kicker Michael Ewton’s 27-yard field goal. The Woodlands, however, responded on the ensuing drive when quarterback Eric Schmid connected with receiver Dylan Casey on a 68-yard touchdown pass. West added another field goal before halftime to give the Highlanders a 20-3 lead.
On the opening drive of the second half, Schmid extended the Highlanders’ lead to 26-3 on a 72-yard touchdown pass to Kesean Carter. After both teams traded punts on the next two possessions, Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke connected with Theo Wease on a 30-yard touchdown pass to narrow the gap to 26-10. Michael Ewton then added a 37-yard field goal late in the third quarter to bring the Eagles to within 13.
Early in the fourth quarter, Schmid connected with receiver Grant Murphy on an eight-yard touchdown pass to give the Woodlands some cushion at 33-13. Allen was able to respond, however, with quarterback Mitchell Jonke’s two-yard touchdown keeper. With about three minutes remaining in the game, West gave the Highlanders a 36-20 lead on a 30-yard field goal. The Eagles gave themselves a chance on the ensuing drive when Jonke connected with Theo Wease for Wease’s second touchdown and then with Tevyn Stevenson for the two-point conversion. Similar to last year’s semifinal loss to Austin Westlake, though, the Eagles were unable to recover the onside kick preserving the win for The Woodlands.
With the win, The Woodlands improves to 15-0 and will face the Austin Lake Travis Cavaliers in the UIL Class 6A Division 1 Championship game. The Cavaliers enter the game at 14-1 following a 63-21 drubbing of Humble Atascocita in the other semifinal game. The Championship game will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 17 at 8:00pm.
by Steve Thomas