Every week through the football season, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson and Max Olson will break down five things they learned while on the road at Texas high school football games. From the latest on Longhorn commits and offers to game observations to players who caught their attention, they've got you covered. Here’s what they saw this weekend:
William’s game: Lancaster vs. Tyler John Tyler
Max’s game: Bastrop vs. Gonzales
1. Fantastic finish in Lancaster
The Tigers felt disrespected coming in to this one. There were some out there, they said, that had them losing to Tyler (Texas) John Tyler by over 30 points on their home field. But Washington State athlete commitment DeMarcus Ayers, Washington defensive end commitment Daeshon Hall and 2014 athlete Nick Harvey, who has a Texas offer, proved doubters wrong with a thrilling 26-21 victory.
Long story short, Lancaster held that lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter as John Tyler inched closer to the goal line. The Lions converted a fourth-and-2 with 28 seconds left inside the 15 and looked like their running back may have crossed into the endzone as time expired on the scoreboard. But one side referee marked the ball down at the inch line, which prompted Lancaster to rush the field thinking the game was over.
However, the main official cleared the field and announced that he had given John Tyler a timeout with two seconds left. Lancaster’s sideline went from overjoyed to nervous in the snap of a finger.
All John Tyler had to do was move the ball an inch forward for the game-winner but Houston-bound quarterback Greg Ward fumbled the snap in the shotgun prompting Lancaster to celebrate all over again.
– William Wilkerson
2. Davis making most of senior season
We’ll have more on Antwuan Davis on HornsNation later this week. For now, know this: He’s back.
The ESPN 150 cornerback and Texas commit did a little bit of everything for Bastrop in the Bears’ 28-27 win over Gonzales on Friday night.
Davis grabbed a critical interception in the fourth quarter, on the first play after Gonzales had recovered a Bastrop fumble. It was only the second pick he’s made since the start of his junior year, at it came at a big moment.
The 6-foot, 180-pound corner also recovered a fumble and recorded four tackles. And he got four carries for 16 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run on a key fourth and goal.
After a back injury cost him much of his junior season, Davis says he’s 100 percent healthy and highly motivated to make the most of this year.
With all the Texas commits or target that have suffered injuries lately, though, I had to ask Davis how much he worries about his health.
He admitted he hadn’t heard about Ricky Seals-Jones, Darius James and Erik Huhn going down. Davis was a bit taken aback by the news. But he’s not going to play cautious or fearful. Not after missing so much time last season.
Every snap matters to him this year, and he’s as motivated as ever to prove he’s one of the nation’s best cornerbacks.
- Max Olson
3. Alexander goes catchless
It’s no secret to the type of talent Class of 2014 wide receiver Nick Alexander possesses. He wouldn’t have offers from the Longhorns and Sooners if his abilities as a playmaker were in doubt.
But his numbers at the end of this season might not be what you would expect from one of the best receivers in the state given Lancaster’s offensive philosophy.
The Tigers are predicated by the run, which often stems from DeMarcus Ayers’ quarterback keepers or the bruising running ways of Joseph Paden, who rushed for 125 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown.
They don’t throw the ball much at all. In fact, through two games, Lancaster has put it in the air 28 times.
Alexander didn’t catch any passes against Tyler (Texas) John Tyler and only had two receptions for 14 yards a week earlier.
There wasn’t any noticeable frustration on Alexander’s face after the game. He was as excited as anyone that Lancaster had survived a late scare from the Lions.
You just wonder if that will continue to be the case if he doesn’t get more involved as the season progresses. I expect he will. He’s too good not to become a major factor, especially if Lancaster wants to fulfill its goal of contending for a state championship.
– William Wilkerson
4. Hall a haul
You can’t help but look at the somewhat slender frame of Class of 2013 defensive end Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) and just imagine what kind of speed-rushing demon he can become once he spends some time in a college weight room.
I say “somewhat slender frame” even though he is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. But if you’ve seen Hall in person you’d probably agree with me. He’s going to be a headache for years to come.
Think about this for a second: Hall isn’t from Texas. He’s from Washington. So unlike the majority of the players that grew up in the Lone Star State with a football in their crib, Hall grew up as a basketball player.
This past offseason was his first full offseason devoted to football. It was his first true summer spent in a weight room. He’s only just beginning to tap into his talents, which goes to show just how naturally gifted he is at defensive end given his performance on Friday.
Hall bullied John Tyler’s defensive line. He had at least three sacks and countless quarterback hurries. Washington is going to have to fight to keep him committed. But if it does Steve Sarkisian is going to be one happy coach.
– William Wilkerson
5. Unusual Bastrop offense leaning on stars
Antuwan Davis is going to Texas to play cornerback. His four-star teammate, Paul Whitmill, has committed to TCU to play linebacker.
In Bastrop’s offense, though, they get the ball as much as they possibly can.
The Bears are operating a flexbone triple-option attack this year similar to the one Georgia Tech is known for. Awful similar, in fact, since Bastrop’s coaches went to a Yellow Jackets clinic to learn the intricacies of the system.
Against Gonzales, Davis lined up as a “A” back -- the running back who typically lines up off tackle and motions into the play. He didn’t get many carries but plays a good decoy to set up others.
Whitmill is Bastrop’s “B” back, the one lined up behind the quarterback. He ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries. Not bad for a linebacker.
Playing both sides of the ball limits both recruits’ snaps on defense a bit, but the Bears have no choice: They offenses needs to get its best players on the field.
Davis’ role should expand going forward. He’s got the speed, there’s no doubt about that, and this new role will only make him more well-rounded when he arrives at UT.
- Max Olson