Analysis: Prosper knocks out The Woodlands from playoffs, wins Regional Semifinals

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Analysis: Prosper knocks out The Woodlands from playoffs, wins Regional Semifinals

Quarterback Jackson Berry, No. 5, and receiver Cameron Harpole, No. 9, celebrate a 46-yard pass touchdown.

Quarterback Jackson Berry, No. 5, and receiver Cameron Harpole, No. 9, celebrate a 46-yard pass touchdown.

Ana Arredondo

Quarterback Jackson Berry, No. 5, and receiver Cameron Harpole, No. 9, celebrate a 46-yard pass touchdown.

Ana Arredondo

Quarterback Jackson Berry, No. 5, and receiver Cameron Harpole, No. 9, celebrate a 46-yard pass touchdown.

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The Eagles (11-2) received a gold trophy at McLane Stadium in Waco as they clinched the Regional Semifinal title with a win over The Woodlands (8-5) 38-14. They are heading to round four of 6A (Div. I) playoffs for the first time since 2009.

After a full week of practice during Thanksgiving break, the players showcased their preparation to the spectators and fans that showed up to support, despite the two-hour commute to Baylor University. Fans and families walked out of the stadium with hope of a long playoff run. 

Key to strength

Prosper’s 565 total offensive yards were unmatched as the Highlanders ended their night with only 162. Prosper took control of both sides of the ball from Tyler Bailey’s kick-off return.

From the start, the Eagles established this would clearly be a passing game, and Jackson Berry, the receivers and the o-line did not fall short of that. 

The on-fire offense consistently put up points on the scoreboard. Berry threw 312 yards and completed 22 out of 32 passes. He carried the ball into the Highlander’s red zone for Prosper’s first and last touchdowns. Hayden Metcalf proved to be a strong receiver as he finished with 123 yards of his own and a 13-yard touchdown. Junior Cameron Harpole’s 46-yard run was also good for an Eagle touchdown. 

The offensive line created holes for J.T. Lane to rush 115 yards and with the line backing him up, Tyler Bailey broke the tie as he entered the end zone to put Prosper back in the lead. With a field goal from Brad Larson, a reliable source for points, the Eagles headed back into the locker room at half time 17-7. 

The defense was a strong component on the field and only let in two touchdowns. Herman Lee, Tate Nichols and Aidan Siano all had dominating tackles to put stops to the Highlanders’ offensive drives. 

As the Highlanders entered Prosper’s red zone, they stood on the Eagles’ own 6-yard line. Siano managed to intercept the ball to keep them ahead. The crowd also witnessed interceptions from seniors Josh Graham and Jordan Miles. Additionally, Devin Leith-Mathis caught a pass to mark his first interception of the season. 

Round four bound

The Eagles will face off against Rockwall (11-2) as they battle for the State Quarterfinal title Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at The Star in Frisco. The Eagle Touchdown Club has confirmed the venue will only sell 12K in tickets, therefore fans should buy their own as soon as possible before the venue sells out. 

The Yellow Jackets are entering the matchup with a win against Klein Oak, 37-27. While they headed into the half down by a field goal, Rockwall scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to come back on top.

The Eagles’ defense needs to be on the watch for junior Brenden Bayes, as he appeared to be a strong receiver. He contributed two touchdowns and caught two passes from quarterback Braedyn Locke. Ohio State-commit and standout-receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba put the Jackets in the lead in the fourth quarter. He has been their strongest player with 30 touchdowns and 1,870 receiving yards.

Per MaxPreps national rankings, Rockwall secured the No. 49 spot, while Prosper is placed at No. 11o. In terms of Texas standings, the Jackets are No. 9 and the Eagles are ranked No. 24.

Considering Rockwall knocked out powerhouse Allen, the Eagles will have to face off in a dog fight to secure the state quarterfinal title.

 

2019 Football State Championships 2019 Football Conference 6A D1