HS Football: College Park wins first-ever district championship
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The highly-anticipated showdown between rivals more than lived up to its expectations. College Park and The Woodlands both came into Friday’s game at 4-0 in District 13-6A. With a district championship on the line, Dylon DeAngelo’s 14-yard touchdown run gave the Cavaliers a 35-31 win, their first win over the Highlanders since 2007, and the program’s first-ever district title.
This game produced highlight after highlight as both teams combined for nearly 900 yards of total offense. However, the defenses were the center of attention to start the ball game. College Park DB Joseph Golden picked off The Woodlands on their opening drive to set the Cavaliers up with an opportunity to open the scoring. Two plays after the turnover, The Woodlands got the ball back by forcing a fumble near the goal line to keep the game scoreless early.
After punts by both sides, The Woodlands set off the first round of fireworks on the night. QB Connor Dechiro put up a 50-50 ball to WR Teddy Knox, who high pointed the ball over the DB and raced off for a 93-yard touchdown.
Two receptions on third down by TE Cody Mladenka and a 38-yard pass from QB Hank Hudson to WR Holden Rook set up College Park in the red zone to end the first quarter. Three plays later, the Cavaliers tied the game at seven thanks to a tough two-yard run by WR Alex Brigman.
The Cavaliers defense stepped up again and forced another turnover. LB Harrison Helton picked off the Highlanders to give the College Park defense their fifth INT in three weeks. Hudson and the Cavs would cash-in the turnover for a 45-yard TD pass to Rook to take the lead for the first time tonight. College Park recovered a fumble on the following possession, but the Highlanders defense stepped up to force a punt and avoid any damage.
Dechiro’s 50-yard pass to WR Cade Moore flipped the field and put The Woodlands back in business late in the first half. Three plays later, freshman QB Mabrey Mettauer sliced and diced his way into the end zone for an eight-yard TD run that sent the game into halftime tied at 14.
Two punts each by both squads was how the second half got underway. CP took advantage of a short field and finally broke through with just under four minutes to go in the third quarter. Hudson tossed a great ball to Mladenka who did a great job of getting his feet down in the back of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown.
Highlanders WR Ben Ferguson sent his team into the fourth quarter tied at 21 after he made multiple defenders miss and turned a short catch into a 44-yard TD pass from Dechiro. The Woodlands’ first possession of the fourth quarter was a five-play drive that ended in a 25-yard touchdown run by Mettauer to give the Highlanders a 28-21 lead with 10 minutes to go.
As they did all night, College Park responded in a big way to tie the game at 28. A 19-yard catch by WR Carson Nolen put the Cavs just inside midfield. Then, after losing 10 yards, College Park regrouped to make another huge play. Hudson threw his third TD pass of the game to FB Michael Perry on a 59-yard wheel route with eight minutes to play.
Costly and uncharacteristic mistakes by The Woodlands turned a third and goal from the two-yard line into a third and goal from the 12-yard line. The Highlanders were unable to convert and were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Trey Harrison.
Everything College Park had worked for this season was just 80 yards away. The first play of the drive was a 49-yard catch by Mladenka from Hudson to electrify the CP side of Woodforest Bank Stadium. Penalties once again hurt the Highlanders as a pass interference penalty on 4th down kept the Cavaliers title hopes alive. Then, just 14 yards away from a district title, RB Dylon DeAngelo made the play that will forever be remembered by the CP community. Just days after his father passed away, DeAngelo burst through the Highlanders defense for the go-ahead TD with two minutes to go.
The Cavaliers’ defense sacked The Woodlands three times, including Perry Irchirl’s fourth-down sack to secure the win and the school’s first-ever district championship.
It was a phenomenal performance by both sides and definitely the game of the season in District 13-6A. Dechiro was 18-24 for 330 yards, two TDs, and two INTs. Hudson finished the game with 14 completions on 21 attempts for 304 yards and two TDs. Ferguson and Knox both went for 130 receiving yards and a score. On CP’s side, Rook and Mladenka were the leading receivers with 94 and 87 yards respectively, and a TD each.
College Park finishes the regular season at 8-1 and 5-0 in District 13-6A. The Woodlands drops to 5-3 and 4-1.