Orangebloods - Key games and notable players in the opening day of TXHSFB playoffs
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Key games and notable players in the opening day of TXHSFB playoffs

2023 4-star WR Johntay Cook and DeSoto kick off their run to the playoffs against Harker Heights.
2023 4-star WR Johntay Cook and DeSoto kick off their run to the playoffs against Harker Heights. (Sam Spiegelman)

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At long last, the 2021 Texas high school football playoffs are here. A fun season has featured bog wins, upset victories, surprising outcomes, and breakout performances all over the Lone Star State. That has created a ton of intrigue as the playoffs are set to kickoff tonight.

Southlake Carroll has not missed a beat despite losing 5-star quarterback Quinn Ewers to the collegiate ranks earlier than expected. Austin Westlake has looked the part of one of the top teams in the entire nation, evidenced by a top-5 ranking by MaxPreps.

Aledo and Lovejoy appear to be heading for a huge battle deep in the 5A playoffs. The Bearcats are loaded with talent and are familiar with playing in big games, while the Leopards are led by a ton of underclassmen and are looking to put themselves on the map.

There are a ton of storylines to get into and there are bound to be teams shock the world in the postseason. With that said, here is a look at some of the most interesting games of the first day of the TXHSFB playoffs.


Thursday, Nov.11 – 6:30 p.m. – Cypress Cy-Fair FCU Stadium (Cypress, TX)

A huge Houston-area matchup is set for the first-round on Thursday night in Cypress. Cy Park takes on Tomball in a game that features two teams with seven or more wins. The headlining prospect of the battle is none other than Rivals100 do-it-all standout Harold Perkins.

Perkins is a player that can impact the game on both sides of the ball, as he has rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season and is a force on the defensive side. Tomball will have their hands full trying to stop the Lions’ lethal rushing attack.

Running back and linebacker Nathan Livingston, defensive lineman Jarra Anderson, and running back Cameron King are other Tigers.

For Tomball, the Cougars have multiple D1 prospects in the trenches. Wyoming offensive line commit Luke Roaten, Tulsa offensive line commit Landon Roaten, Army offensive line commit Tyler Lee, and Colorado State defensive line commit Travis Bates will all make life difficult for the Tigers at the point of attack.


Thursday, Nov. 11 – 7:00 p.m. – Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium (Rockwall, TX)

Rockwall takes on North Garland in the DFW on Thursday night. The Yellowjackets hold a signature win over Lake Travis and have a high-powered offense that should strike fear into any defense. That gives them a chance to go deep into the postseason.

Mississippi State quarterback commit Braedyn Locke leads the charge. Locke recently passed Kyler Murray on the state’s all-time passing yardage list. He has 2023 wide receiver Noble Johnson to get the ball to. Johnson has emerged as a top receiver over the course of the season, picking up offers from SEC programs.

The Raiders, meanwhile, will be looking to play spoiler after ending the regular season on a two-game winning streak. Preventing big plays from the Yellowjackets offense will be crucial for the Raiders to have a chance the opening round upset.


DeSoto takes on Harker Heights in a very interesting game out in Waco. The Eagles are always a power with the ability to make a deep run, while the Knights are looking for a statement win in the first-round.

2023 Harker Heights running back Re’Shaun Sanford is the player to watch in this matchup. The three-star back holds offer from ULM and Texas Southern and should only heat up on the recruiting trail. Sanford presents a huge challenge for the Eagles out in Waco, as he is always a threat to score from nearly everywhere.

DeSoto, meanwhile, is led by 2023 Rivals100 wide receiver Johntay Cook. Cook is a major Texas target in next year’s class and is a game-breaking talent. Oregon receiver commit Stephon Johnson is another weapon for DeSoto to get the ball to. Baylor defensive back commit Devyn Bobby headlines the defense and will be tasked with helping defense Sanford.


Thursday, Nov. 11 – 7:00 p.m. – Justin Northwest ISD Stadium (Ft. Worth, TX)

Eaton takes on Boswell on Thursday night out in Fort Worth. The big prospect to know in this matchup is 2023 tight end Jaden Platt. Platt holds a Texas offer and has made it down to the 40 Acres. The talented prospect has also been offered by the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, and Texas A&M.

The Eagles finished second in its district and are looking to make some noise in the 6A DII bracket. The Pioneers, meanwhile, finished fourth in its district but did win its final three games of the regular season to find some momentum. Getting out to a quick start is key for the upset-minded Boswell squad.


Thursday, Nov. 11 – 7:00 p.m. – Ricebird Stadium (El Campo, TX)

El Campo hosts Houston Yates in a 4A DI matchup down in the Houston area. The big name to know in this game is 2023 Rivals100 running back Rueben Owens. A former Texas commit, Owens is the top-ranked all-purpose back in the entire junior class. The Longhorns are battling the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A&M for the standout athlete.

The Ricebirds rallied off eight consecutive victories to finish the regular season. Do-it-all Owens is a touchdown machine, giving El Campo a legitimate chance to win each games its plays. Yates will need to find a way to prevent Owens from taking over the game.

Yates won three of its final five games heading into the postseason. The Lions have the ability to put points up in bunches, as they scored 50 or more points multiple times during the fall. Keeping the ball away from the El Campo offense is critical to pull off the win.