Blast From The Past

The 12-0 Allen Eagles will face the 9-3 Woodlands Highlanders for a memorable matchup in the Region final in the 6A D1 Texas high school football playoffs. This matchup will take place on Dec. 1 at McLane Stadium at 1 p.m.

The Allen Eagles went up against the Rockwall Yellowjackets in the Area Finals of the UIL football high school football playoffs, endin in a score of 52-40. This game was their closest of the year to date, so it was surely a fight to the finish for both teams.

“We knew that they were a dang good football team, and we knew we had a lot of challenges,” head coach Terry Gambill said. “But our kids rose to the challenge, and we took care of it when we had to.”

Leading the offense for the Eagles on the ground and in the air was senior quarterback Grant Tisdale. He totaled 352 yards of offense, tossing 202 yards on 11-of-13 attempts and 150 yards on the ground and four total touchdowns, two in each category, respectively. Junior running back Celdon Manning logged two touchdowns and 150 rushing yards. The leading receiver for the Eagles was sophomore Bryson Green who hauled in three catches for 50 yards.

“We tried to slow down the game a little bit and try to keep their offense off the field, but we just happened to score really quick on both sides of the ball,” Tisdale said. “We have a lot of unselfish guys on the team, and they just do whatever it [takes] to win.”

The Yellowjackets were a threat in air for the Eagle secondary, as they surrendered season-highs in both yards and points allowed. But as the game went on, the Eagles faced adversity and finished the game strong. The Eagles gave up 452 yards and 33 points in the first half. Leading the Rockwall offense was senior and Minnesota-commit Jacob Clark, who threw for 447 yards on 28-41 attempts and two touchdowns. Their leading rusher was junior running back Zach Henry who carried the rock 24 times and totaled 118 yards, averaging 4.92 yards per carry.

“This week, we knew that they had two threats on the offense, their quarterback and receiver, so we had to really key on them,” senior defensive back Mo Perkins said. “By halftime, we had to make a quick adjustment with our defense, and we were in their weak spots.”

A key on the Rockwall offense was junior and Ohio-State commit, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who on 14 receptions, hauled in 267 yards.

“They had great tempo, and that’s something you gotta take away from them, but you have to make it happen,” Gambill said. “I thought our kids had a great performance.”

To cap the game off, Tisdale threw a touchdown pass to Oklahoma-commit, wide receiver Theo Wease for 37 yards with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

“We knew it was a big play, it was either a third down or second-and-long,” Tisdale said. “We had to go to our top dawg Theo, so I know he was going to come down with it, and then you see what happened from there — touchdown.”

Looking forward to The Woodlands, Allen should have a couple of warning of lights on their dashboard.

The Woodlands handed Allen their last loss back in late 2016 in the semifinals with a score of 36-28. The Eagles have won 28 consecutive matchups since that loss, along with a state championship against the Lake Travis Cavaliers with a score of 35-33. Some players who were underclassmen at the time of the loss felt it was something more.


“It’s very personal,” Perkins said. “We’re coming for them.”


In their last playoff game, The Woodlands faced Cedar Ridge and won the game with a score of 53-50. As time expired, junior kicker Fabrizio Pinton — who is No. 2 nationally in the 2020 class according to Kohl’s Professional Kicking and Punting — kicked a 55 yard field goal to win it for the Highlanders.