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Texas high school football playoff roundup: 10 best 2023 UIL Class 5A regional semifinal games

Everything you missed in third round of UIL state football playoffs
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The regional semifinal round of the Texas high school football playoffs wrapped up a busy, matchup-laden first day on Friday.  As games finish up Saturday, SBLive is taking a closer look at the top finishes across all 12 UIL playoff brackets.

Next, we're turning to examine the top games in Class 5A, spanning the Division I and Division II brackets.

The regional semifinal round finishes Saturday, the regional finals is Nov. 30-Dec. 2, which sets up state championship week: semifinals and finals Dec. 7-9 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Here are 10 Class 5A area round games you should not have missed:



John Hamilton and Isaiah Champagne had fourth-quarter touchdowns to help San Antonio Pierper pick up a 53-46 win over Alamo Heights on Saturday In a Class 5A Division II regional in San Antonio.

The game was tied at 39-39 going into the fourth quarter following a 96-yard kickoff return by Parks Zunker for Alamo Heights. Michael Terry hauled in the 2-point conversion from the 8-yard line to tie the game.

Hamilton had a 5-yard touchdown pass with 9:57 left to break the tie. Champagne's 58-yard score with 6:40 left gave the Warriors a two-score lead. Zunker hauled in a 14-yard touchdown catch with 3:30 left to pull the Mules (12-1) within a score.

Hamilton had four touchdowns for the Warriors in the win.

A second-year program, Pieper is now 12-1 after going 2-8 in the debut season. The Warriors will play Liberty Hill (9-4) next week. Liberty Hill beat Corpus Christi Flour Bluff, 49-28, on Friday.


A showdown of state-ranked foes went in favor of No. 3-ranked Port Neches-Groves, which upset No. 1-ranked Montgomery Lake Creek, 30-27, on Friday night in Sheldon.

The Indians, last year’s Class 5A Division II’s runners-up, will return to the regional finals.

Quarterback Shea Adams scored the game-winning touchdown in the third quarter for the Indians (12-1). Lake Creek (12-1) scored first but then fell behind 23-7 to the Indians.

Adams added a touchdown in the first half as well.


Dallas South Oak Cliff rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat No. 2-ranked Midlothian Heritage, 42-31, on Friday night in a Class 5A Division II game.

Four of the five scores in the second half belonged to the Golden Bears (11-2), winners of 10 in a row.

Danny Green ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, while Khalil Ewell ran for another as well. Quarterback William Little threw a touchdown as well — to Rickey Evans — during the 28-0 surge against the Jaguars.

Carter Rutenbar threw a touchdown with less than 2 minutes left for the Jaguars (12-1). Rutenbar threw a pair of scores and 206 yards while rushing for 80 and another score.

Green had four touchdowns and 119 yards on the ground, while Ewell ran for 196 for South Oak Cliff.


At one point this season, Lancaster was 2-5.

Now, the Tigers are in the regional finals after a 27-24 upset over No. 2-ranked Longview on Friday at City Bank Stadium in Forney.

Andres Castro booted the game-winning 37-yard field goal with three seconds. Longview (11-2) fumbled with 38 seconds left, which set up the winning drive.

The win was the sixth in a row for the Tigers and provided a bit of revenge after losing to Longview, 52-35, on Sept. 22.

Uncommitted senior Kewan Lacy ran for 177 yards and a touchdown — 87 yards — for Lancaster. Carter Joens threw a touchdown to Kameron Robinson with 5:10 left to allow the Tigers to tie the game at 24.

Kelvin Washington had a 1-yard run and a 94-yard kickoff return for the Lobos — who played without Oklahoma pledge Taylor Tatum, who was banged up in the Lobos' area round win over Frisco Reedy.


Huntsville survived another close playoff game, escaping with a 14-13 win over Richmond Randle on Friday at Woodforest Bank in Shenandoah in a Class 5A Division II game.

The Hornets have won four of the past five and the lone setback in that stretch was a 35-6 loss to Randle on Nov. 2.

In the rematch, the Hornets snapped the Lions’ 7-game winning streak.

TraeSahwn Brown had a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austin Taylor with 3:57 left. Joseph Mejia’s PAT broke the 13-all tie.

That scoring drive was set up by an interception by Kenneth Scott III, giving the Hornets (8-5) the chance to tie the game.

Boyd finished with 100 yards of total offense in the win.

Randle freshman Landon Williams-Callis had 136 yards and a touchdown and his touchdown made it 13-7 with 9:17 left.

Earlier in the postseason, Huntsville beat Texas City, 10-7.

Huntsville is in a regional final for the first time since 2018. The Hornets now face Port Neches-Groves next week, the state runners-up last year.


Oklahoma recruit Michael Hawkins threw four touchdowns and ran for another in Frisco Emerson's 55-42 win over Wichita Falls Rider on Friday in a Class 5A Division II regional semifinals game in Mineral Wells.

The second-year program will play Colleyville Heritage in the regional finals next week. Hawkins, a transfer from Allen, connected with Texas State pledge Kylen Evans for two of his four touchdown passes.

Emerson (11-2) led 35-14 at the break. The Raiders (10-3) rallied despite the 40-point deficit early in the fourth and scored four times over the final 11 minutes.

Kenji Johnson ran for 168 yards and a pair of scores for Rider. Quarterback Joe Castles threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.


Kyle Crawford threw four touchdowns and Javion Osborne ran for four to help Forney beat Richland 60-41 on Friday at Birdville ISD Fine Arts and Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills.

The Jackrabbits advance to a Class 5A Division I regional final against Lancaster, which upset Longview on Friday. That game is set for Friday at Ford Center in Frisco.

The trip to the regional finals is the first since 2002 for Forney (12-1).

The No. 8-ranked Jackrabbits used a big first half to pull away from the No. 10-ranked Royals. Up 7-6 at one point, Forney scored 27 unanswered to pull away for the victory.

Crawford was 11 for 14 passing for 337 yards and three of his four touchdowns went to Kofi Eduful — who had 141 yards on five catches.

Osborne, a sophomore with 10 Division I offers, ran for 165 yards on 22 carries and scored twice in the fourth quarter.

Richland (12-1) closed the season with the most wins in school history. Quarterback Drew Kates threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Turner ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, while also catching a touchdown pass.


In another top-10 showdown, No. 4-ranked Smithson Valley defeated No. 9 College Station, 26-21, on Friday in a Class 5A Division I showdown in Hutto.

The Rangers jumped ahead 19-0 and then held off the Cougars (11-2) in the second half. College Station was looking to reach a third straight state title game.

Brad Sowersby had a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:24 to account for the final touchdown for the Rangers. He had a touchdown run earlier in the game and finished with 118 yards on 20 carries.

Smithson Valley continues its College Station tour, facing A&M Consolidated at 7 p.m. Friday at Gupton Stadium in Cedar Park.


No. 8-ranked Colleyville Heritage scored twice in the final 5 minutes to beat No. 7 Argyle, 38-34, on Friday night.

Heritage (12-1) led by four at halftime but the deficit was at 10 points following a touchdown pass by Argyle’s Maguire Gasperson to Will Krzysiak for 44 yards with 5:49 left, 34-24.

Luke Ullrich connected with Hayden Golden for a 34-yard score with 4:32 left to pull the Panthers within three points.

Argyle (9-3) went three-and-out and punted back to Heritage. Seven plays later, Ullrich hit Braden Blueitt for a 20-yard score with 41 seconds left for the game-winning points.

The loss snapped Argyle’s 9-game winning streak after losses to Melissa and Lucas Lovejoy to open the season.


Veterans Memorial became the first Brownsville school to reach the fourth round of the UIL football playoffs after a 45-28 upset over No. 7-ranked PSJA North in a Class 5A Division I game on Friday in Pharr.

The Chargers (11-2) got four touchdowns from Gilbert Trillo, who also added an interception on defense. PSJA North (12-1) beat Brownsville Veterans Memorial, 35-15, last year in the same round.

The Charges face undefeated Corpus Christi Miller (13-0) on Friday in Brownsville.


Alexander ‘Hondo’ Franklin threw for three touchdowns as No. 5-ranked Lucas Lovejoy beat Texarkana Texas High, 43-21, in a Class 5A Division II regional game at Pirate Stadium in Longview.

Franklin completed 11 of 20 passes for 141 yards, while the rushing game also added three scores for Lovejoy (12-1). Junior Daylan McCutcheon, a 6-foot target with 27 offers, had two of the touchdown catches for the Leopards.

Texarkana (11-2) tied the game at 14 in the second quarter but Dante Dean’s 67-yard run gave Lovejoy the lead back for good.

Three of the four touchdowns in the second half were by Lovejoy. Texas High pulled within a touchdown, 28-21, after a touchdown pass from David Potter to Shavante Montgomery with 4:18 left in the third.

The Leopards got touchdown runs from Ohio State pledge Payton Pierce and Khalin Williams in the fourth to ice the win.

Montgomery had five catches for 125 yards and scored twice for the Tigers.

The Leopards — winners of 10 in a row — will face South Oak Cliff next week in the regional finals.


The Abilene Eagles won their ninth in a row with a 27-16 win over Justin Northwest on Friday at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls in a Class 5A Division I regional semifinals.

The Eagles (11-2) raced out to a 17-0 lead and then held off the Texans, who scored twice in the fourth quarter.

Chad Lara’s 11-yard touchdown run with 4:13 provided the final margin for Abilene. Lara ran for 117 yards on 16 carries.

The Texans (10-3) got a safety late in the game, but couldn’t get another score after throwing an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Tre Sharp picked off the pass for the Eagles, who then took three knees to ice the win.

Dylan Slack threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns for Abilene.

Abilene moves on to face Aledo at 7 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.

-- Cody Thorn | @sblivetx