Hightower runner-up Jeremy Payne may not have been a known good before the postseason for those outside of the Fort Bend football community.
But that may not be the case for long at its current pace, and it has made the Hurricanes a historic season so far. The second running back sped up the Hurricanes offensive on Friday night at Hall Stadium, charging for 225 yards and a 25-carry touchdown in Hightower’s 31-21 win over the Manvel Mavericks in a Division I regional class 5A semi-final.
Payne has now hit 662 yards and six touchdowns in three playoff games, with a minimum of 200 yards and a score in each competition.
Hightower (11-2) will face another district rival in Katy Paetow (12-1) at Rice Stadium in Houston in Katy Paetow (12-1) on Friday at 7pm. It’s the first time since 2011 that the Hurricanes have reached the regional finals when they lost to Southlake Carroll in the state championship game.
Second year quarterback KJ Penson threw over 200 yards and three touchdowns for a Hightower attack that amassed 430 yards of offense in the game and tossed a score to Kaleb Johnson, Caleb Douglas and Alijah Jones each. Douglas – to the USC – had a total of four catches for 73 yards while Johnson made five catches for 104 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Julian Payne led a defensive push that kept the Mavericks on a lone score and less than 100 yards in the second half, while Dailon Ellis had a fourth down sack late in the fourth quarter to effectively seal the Victory.
Ridge Point’s season ends in the regional semi-finals
It wasn’t all that rosy for the region’s other remaining playoff team as the Ridge Point Panthers dropped a 24-21 decision against Humble Atascocita on Friday night at the University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium. Quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. tossed Kerien Charlo and Wilson Batiste touchdown passes while adding a lavish score in the final game of his high school career.
Ridge Point finished the season with an 11-2 overall record.