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Longhorns Recruiting Road Trip: Playoffs Round 6

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Devon Messinger
Devon Messinger

Last weekend, I made my way to Arlington to cover the final games of the Texas High School football season. On Saturday, there were plenty of Longhorns pledges and targets in action, such as 2023 wide receiver Johntay Cook and 2024 five-star EDGE Colin Simmons, who were looking to win a state championship and be etched in history.

State Championships:

College Station vs Aledo

In the final day of action at AT&T Stadium, the Aledo Bearcats were featured in the opening game against the College Station Cougars. Namely for Texas's interests, Texas pledge 2024 four-star cornerback Jaden Allen looked to earn Aledo its eleventh UIL state football title. Additionally, the Longhorns have offered Aledo's freshman tight end Kaydon Finley, whose name may sound familiar because he is the son of former Longhorn great Jermichael Finley.

While Aledo was certainly the favorite heading into Saturday's action, they certainly did not hesitate to take care of business. In fact, Bearcats 2024 three-star athlete Davhon Keys was making plays all over the field on both defense and offense, rushing for two touchdowns and recovering a fumble on defense.

However, the key for Aledo offensively was 2024 quarterback Hauss Hejny who threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and added an additional 143 yards and two scores on the ground. Prior to Nebraska hiring new head coach Matt Rhule, Hejny had received an offer from Scott Frost's Cornhuskers staff.

Hejny's favorite target on the night, 2023 wide receiver Jalen Pope, absolutely had himself a day - scorching the Cougars defense on his way to 228 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Currently, the senior wideout is committed to playing for Air Force once he graduates.

Along with Pope's receiving production, Kaydon Finley also came away with a few receptions, tallying four for 21 yards. The freshman will certainly be one to keep an eye on in the future, especially considering the fact that state championships run their way through Aledo.

On defense, Jaden Allen kept things silent in the Bearcats secondary, finishing the game with six tackles and a pass breakup. Overall, things were very quiet for College Station on offense, as they were not able to crack the scoreboard until there was under two minutes remaining in the game.

Ultimately, Aledo ran away to a 52-14 victory over College Station in the UIL 5A D1 state championship game.

Vandegrift vs DeSoto

The second game on Saturday represented an important one for the Longhorns as two of their pledges, 2023 five-star wide receiver Johntay Cook and 2023 three-star running back Tre Wisner, looked to lead the DeSoto Eagles to a state title.

While Vandegrift has been a well-coached team which has been able to come up with a couple of solid playoff victories on their way to AT&T Stadium, the Vipers had not faced a team like DeSoto all season. As a result, the Eagles were able to dominate their way to a state title thanks to big performances from Cook, Wisner and Deondrae Riden.

To begin, Tre Wisner had a heck of a performance, accounting for 210 yards of total offense (primarily coming in the passing game) and two touchdown receptions. While Wisner will certainly have to fight his way up the Longhorns depth chart at the running back position, he certainly has great hands for a halfback and Steve Sarkisian will definitely have something to work with.

Along with his fellow Texas pledge Tre Wisner, Johntay Cook also soared his way to 103 receiving yards and a touchdown on offense as well. The Longhorns will undoubtedly welcome Cook to their the team with open arms, considering their desperate need for help at the wide receiver position. In high school, Cook has showcased an elite ability to scorch defenses on big receiving touchdowns, however we will see if he is able to translate this ability to the collegiate level.

Credit must also go to Eagles 2024 quarterback Darius Bailey who was putting the football on the money throughout the game, ending up with 297 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

On the ground, DeSoto 2025 running back Deondrae Riden rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 32 carries. Evidence of the sophomore's talent, the young halfback has already amassed 15 scholarship offers from notable programs such as Oregon, Texas A&M and USC.

Unfortunately for Vandegrift, the contest was never particularly close as DeSoto sailed to an easy 42-17 victory in the UIL 6A D2 state championship game.

North Shore vs Duncanville

Yes, it happened again - the North Shore Mustangs squared off against Duncanville, looking to extend their state championship winning streak to four games over the Panthers. However, would things change for Duncanville this time around?

Leading Duncanville on defense, 2024 five-star EDGE Colin Simmons looked to prove why he is one of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation. Simmons did just that on Saturday, producing two sacks in a nerve-racking title bout between two teams at the top of their game.

The star for North Shore this season has been no other than David Amador, the three-star wide receiver who has been filling in at quarterback following an injury to typical starter Kaleb Bailey earlier in the season. On Saturday, Amador continued to dive deep into his bag of tricks to give the Mustangs a shot against the Panthers. The UTSA commit rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and also threw for a touchdown as well.

While Amador kept North Shore in the game, Duncanville 2024 four-star running back Caden Durham worked to do otherwise, finding the end zone on three different occasions and rushing for 104 yards.

When it was all said and done, Durham's production was just enough for the Panthers, who were able to beat North Shore 28-21 in the UIL 6A D1 state championship game, following a final defensive stand.

Extra Point:

Let's keep an eye on the recruitment of Caden Durham, who has quickly seen his recruitment flourish with 18 scholarship offers despite not being the opening day starter at running back for Duncanville. Furthermore, Alabama has already shown interest in the junior running back, extending an offer back in July. I will be curious to see if the Longhorns opt to join in on the race for Durham's services as well.

Miles Logged:

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