If the Bi-District round is any indication, the rest of the playoffs are going to be insane.
From the warm weather on Thursday to the bitter cold and windy conditions on Friday, the first round of the 2022 high school football playoffs delivered incredible drama and back-and-forth action on and off the field. KSAT 12′s Game of the Week was a prime example, featuring a pair of top ten teams battling the elements with back-up quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the top-ranked team in KSAT 12′s Top 12 was tested in their first playoff game, and Southside survived a pair of rallies to win at home.
On Instant Replay, we selected the best of the best, including highlights from Jourdanton, Davenport, Southside, Lago Vista and New Braunfels!
Be sure to check out all of the highlights from Week 12 as well:
The top four teams from last week’s list are still alive, but four members of that list lost their playoff openers. Who’s still in heading into the Area Round?
NEW BRAUNFELS 17, REAGAN 13
Before the game even kicked off on Friday evening, the Unicorns and Rattlers were both facing adversity. New Braunfels starting quarterback Leighton Adams was hospitalized after an off-field incident, while Reagan starter Caleb Cappuccio was held out due to health reasons. With a brutal cold front on the horizon, we expected a low-scoring battle that would be decided in the trenches. That’s exactly what we got.
Following a scoreless first quarter, New Braunfels surged ahead in the second quarter thanks to a pair of touchdown runs from running back Tyree Johnson. He carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards, which ultimately accounted for more than 50% of the Unicorns’ total offensive output, as New Braunfels led 12-0 at halftime.
Reagan found their footing on their first possession of the third quarter. Giuseppe Sessi capped a 5-minute, 35-second drive with a two-yard touchdown run on fourth down to make it a 12-7 game. After the defense forced a Unicorns three-and-out, a huge Luke Sasser punt return set up Jasyah Ross-Garcia for a four-yard touchdown that gave the Rattlers a 13-12 lead.
It was short-lived. In an effort to protect against a New Braunfels field goal, Reagan chose to attempt a two-point conversion. That’s when D’Andre Davis made the play of the game, intercepting the Rattlers’ pass and taking it back 100 yards the other direction for a game-changing two-point return that vaulted the Unicorns back in front 14-13. New Braunfels got the ball back and promptly extended the lead to four points on the next drive thanks to a 26-yard field goal from Kade Wenzel. Quarterback Clayton Namkin filled in admirably under center for the Unicorns, finishing 9-of-16 for 81 yards, while the defense stifled Reagan for the rest of regulation and handed the Rattlers their third straight first-round playoff loss.
STEELE 34, JOHNSON 17
After a sluggish start, No. 1 Steele pulled away from Johnson to secure a playoff win and remain undefeated.
Both teams traded field goals in the first quarter, but the Knights’ offense found their rhythm in the second. Moments after the Jaguars’ game-tying field goal, Jaydon Bailey ripped off a 24-yard touchdown run to give Steele a 10-3 lead. On their next offensive possession, quarterback Chad Warner hit Royal Capell for a 31-yard touchdown that gave the Knights some much-needed breathing room. Michael Patterson capped the half with a 35-yard field goal, and Steele entered halftime with a commanding 20-3 advantage.
Johnson made a game of it in the third quarter. On their first possession of the second half, Ty Hawkins found King Johnson for a 47-yard touchdown that made it a 20-10 game. Hawkins accounted for 300 total yards of offense, while Johnson caught five passes for 137 yards, but Steele promptly responded on the next drive. Bailey burned the Jaguars defense again with a 32-yard score, finishing the night with 18 carries for 193 yards and a pair of TDs, while Warner added a second touchdown pass to Avio Fareaux in the fourth quarter to help Steele punch their ticket to the next round.
SOUTHSIDE 37, VICTORIA EAST 36
Fresh off a record-setting nine-win regular season, Southside needed every second of regulation to knock off Victoria East at home on Friday night.
The Cardinals roared out to a pair of double-digit leads -- 23-7 in the first half and 37-23 in the second half -- thanks in large part to running back Matthew Castaneda. The senior finished the night with 241 yards and three touchdowns in an all-around performance. The Titans just wouldn’t go away. Victoria East clawed their way back to tie the game at 23-all at halftime, then appeared to tie the game again in the fourth quarter on a 75-yard touchdown pass. But the ensuing extra point was no good, and Southside’s defense held, earning the program’s 10th win of the season and their first playoff victory since 2020.
I’m going to preface this by saying I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for a combined eight years: Friday night’s weather was some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Gale force winds, cold rain and temps in the 40s made for brutal conditions, even for football.
That was never more evident than Friday night’s Class 3A Division II Bi-District battle between Poth and George West at Indian Stadium in Jourdanton. Luckily, the stadium itself had a dry place to shoot under an overhang above the press box. I barely had a chance to turn my camera on before Poth forced a fumble and scored a touchdown. Quarterback Zane Raabe knifed through the George West defense like it was butter, as the Pirates cruised to a convincing 64-0 victory. Hopefully their next matchup against Boling won’t feature the same kind of adverse conditions.
Good luck to the D’Hanis volleyball team! The Cowgirls will be the only team from the greater San Antonio area at the UIL State tournament this year. D’Hanis swept Neches in the Class 1A Regional Final on Saturday afternoon to clinch the program’s fourth state semifinal appearance in the last six seasons. They will face Benjamin in the UIL Class 1A State semifinals Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
Finally, one last huge shout out to Harlan, La Vernia and Yoakum. The Hawks made it to the regional semifinals for the third straight season since bumping up to Class 6A competition and finished with the deepest run of any Class 6A San Antonio-area team. Harlan defeated Warren 3-1 in the third round on Tuesday before bowing out against the eventual regional champs Dripping Springs on Friday night. La Vernia gave Bellville everything they could handle in the UIL Class 4A Regional Final at Littleton Gym on Saturday afternoon. The Bears came within four points of the program’s first-ever state tournament berth, but ultimately fell short in a five-set thriller. Last but not least, Yoakum concluded an incredible season with an appearance in the UIL Class 3A Regional Final Saturday afternoon, where they fell to Columbus in straight sets. Congrats to all of our area teams this season!
Here’s all the links to our high school sports coverage from the past week:
We’ll see you on Thursday night for the start of the Area Round!
Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter