As the 2011-2012 completes its first full month, the football season is well underway and has drawn a lot of attention to the expected favorites and the surprise teams as well.
But, while football may have the highest profile among fall sports, it is only one of several that are well on their ways to determining regional and state champions.
On the gridiron, the Katy Tigers and The Woodlands Highlanders are not surprisingly out of the gate without a loss. But they’re joined by other teams who many didn’t expect to be undefeated midway into the season.
Klein Forest expected to get a lift from the return of senior quarterback Matt Davis from an ACL injury that cost him his junior year. But the Golden Eagles’ 4-0 start may be even better than expected. With big wins over Cinco Ranch and Klein, the Eagles are among the early leaders in District 13-5A, although they still have a tough schedule which includes Klein Collins, Klein Oak and Dekaney.
The Cypress Falls Golden Eagles and Cy-Fair Bobcats are atop District 17-5A and both undefeated thanks largely to strong defenses that have dominated district opponents to this point.
One impressive start that gone under the radar has been east of the metro Houston area, as the Port Arthur Memorial Titans have quietly opened their season 5-0 as they prepare for District 21-5A play next week. The Titans are led by three-year starting quarterback Terrence Singleton, who has already thrown for 1066 yards and 12 TDs while rushing for 500 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Titans will be tested right off the bat when 21-5A play begins as they face the North Shore Mustangs (4-1) in the district opener at Galena Park ISD Stadium on October 7.
Following this weekend’s games, five weeks of regular-season play remain in the 2011 football season.
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In volleyball, several 5A teams have emerged as legitimate contenders for long playoff runs and a spot in the state tournament.
In Region II, District 14-5A boasts two state-ranked teams. The No. 3-ranked College Park Lady Cavaliers (25-5) are led by Katie Mitchell, who is averaging over four kills per game, along with Michelle Griffith and Emily Lawlis, who have combined to average 9.5 assists per game.
The Cavs rolled through their first four district matches with sweeps against every opponent before losing a single game in their Tuesday night win over The Woodlands.
Even though the Lady Highlanders (27-6) lost to College Park, they are ranked No. 9 in the state by LoneStarVolleyball.com and have played well lately. Led by Emily Phillips (3.1 kills per game) and Maddie Slater (2.6 kpg), they also have state tournament experience to draw on.
In Region III, the Cypress Woods Wildcats (30-4) are again making a strong case as the best team in the region. In spite of playing the first couple of weeks without junior setter Chloe Collins, the Lady ‘Cats have earned a No. 4 state ranking and are currently 10-0 in District 17-5A play and have won 30 of the 31 district games they’ve played.
District 17-5A may also be the most competitive district in Region III, as Cypress Falls and Cypress Ranch are trailing Cy Woods closely.
District volleyball play will wrap up the third week of October and the race to San Marcos for the state tournament begins after that.
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Cross country and tennis seasons have also begun and are now just weeks away from their state meets.
In team tennis, the Houston Memorial Mustangs lead a group of six Houston-area schools that are ranked among the top 12 teams in the state.
The Mustangs are ranked No. 2 and are joined in the top six by The Woodlands (No. 5) and Seven Lakes (No. 6). No. 10 Clements, No. 11 Klein and No. 12 College Park also represent the area in the most recent Texas Tennis Coaches Association rankings.
Five Houston-area boys’ cross country teams are among the Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas current Class 5A state rankings. The Woodlands (2), Strake Jesuit (3), Kingwood (4), Klein Oak and Cypress Woods (9) have earned the recognition with their 2011 starts.
On the girls’ side, The Woodlands (2), Kingwood (3), College Park (4) and Cy-Fair (5) join top-ranked Southlake Carroll as the top five Class 5A teams. Katy is currently ranked No. 10.
In Class 4A, Brenham and Friendswood are ranked among the boys’ squads and Kingwood Park and Willis are among the girls’ top ten.
The team tennis state meet will be played in College Station the weekend of November 4-5. Regional cross country meets take place on November 5 and the state meet is the following weekend at Old Settlers Park, adjacent to Dell Diamond in Round Rock.