Battle off the Beltway, Region III-6A Friday Night Lights

Humble ISD Athletics – Football
Humble ISD Bulldogs and Eagles battling it out for second place in the district - 2023. Bulldogs for the win this year 45-28.
Humble ISD Bulldogs and Eagles battling it out for second place in the district – 2023. Bulldogs for the win this year 45-28.
Humble ISD twitter

Humble ISD-Region III arguably can be listed as one of the most difficult districts to play Texas football in. This year, this district is coming away again with four strong high school teams in Region III-6A leading into the playoffs with North Shore (1), Summer Creek(9), Atascocita (20), and CE King.

This was my first year to take more of an active interest and join the fans in person. I also had the opportunity, through the NFHS Network, to watch some of our incredible teams leading the way and the other teams in this district that have to hold their own playing against many of these powerhouse football programs that some might call the “little SEC.” CE King was that team this year that showed up to their games ready to play and made each of these teams work twice as hard. The Kingwood Mustangs had a new running back in their roster with Marquez Davis, who has come out strong against some tough teams to be recognized at the district level. Each of these schools is within a 30-mile radius of each other and has some recognizable talent. 


“Atascocita defeated Katy 42-34 on Friday for the program’s first-ever victory over the Tigers!” (Humble ISD Twitter)

Atascocita started with a hopeful season opener against Katy in a non-district game, defeating Katy 42-34. Sophomore running back Cardae Mack had 14 carries for 167 yards with three touchdowns, leading his team to beat Katy for the first time. Early on in the season, Atascocita showed that they had an offense, including receivers Kyran Lee, Kyran Pate (3-star), Cameron Glenn, and LSU commit Jelani Watkins. The Eagles are led by Zion Brown, who has the poise and confidence to carry his team through a great season and playoff run. Let’s not miss 4-star running back in the class of 2025, Tory Blaylock, who rushed for 1,204 yards and 10 TDs last year and continues to be a leader for the Eagles with key carries as a playmaker for the team. Other memorable players this year were Nate Kibble (UT commit) as right tackle and Michael Muquiz as left tackle for the powerhouse offense. Watching the games this season, you could see the defense struggle against the tougher competition in the district. Key players on defense this year, Hunter Sowell and Braylon Conley (4 star – USC commit), continue to be difference-makers in the games. 


“Atascocita quarterback Zion Brown (1) tries to escape the tackle of North Shore defensive lineman Nicholas Gains during the first half of a high school football game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, in Houston.” – Houston Chronicle (Eric Christian Smith/Contributor)

Building from the Katy win, the Eagles played consistently well and hit a few roadblocks up against a surprisingly tough game offensively and defensively versus CE King, only winning in overtime. Conley played a great game against CE King, reading the ball well to make a key interception to seal the win for the Eagles’ 28-21 during overtime. Coming off that game, the Eagles went into a tough loss against North Shore, where they gave up 61 points. Notable highlights from that game were an 84-yard run to the end zone by Zion Brown and Brown again to Tory Blaylock for a 56-yard TD in the second quarter. Zion Brown had a great game for Atascocita with 361 yards, resulting in 3 TDs. Kyran Lee also had a great showing for 112 yards and 3 TDs. The next game could not have come any quicker against Summer Creek, and the Eagles did not fare well with another significant loss. The Eagles had some missed opportunities both offensively and defensively in that game.


Summer Creek team photo. The Creek is Rising! (Summer Creek Football)

The ‘Creek is Rising’ and Summer Creek has been playing consistently well, game after game, only losing to North Shore in the end. The Bulldogs also finally beat the Eagles for second place in the district and bragging rights in Humble ISD. Summer Creek is led by junior QB Blake Thomas and junior rusher Chad Woodfork, who is a 4-star uncommitted prospect. The Bulldog offense has strength and maturity on the line with running back Lloyd Avant (3-star, Tulsa) and linebacker Xavier Atkins (4-star, LSU). Lloyd Avant has been quietly playing his game all season and came out against the Eagles with 31 carries, 297 yards, and 3 TDs. Blake Thomas, who started the season as the backup quarterback, has proven himself to be a player to watch in the playoffs and as a senior next year. 

“Summer Creek’s Collin Irving (12) breaks up a pass to North Shore’s Terrence Guillory (4) in the first half of a high school football game at Galena Park ISD Stadium, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 in Houston.”- Houston Chronicle (Kirk Sides/Staff photographer)


Summer Creek was not hiding their cards against the Eagles and came out strong in the first quarter with a 35-yard TD on a quarterback scramble followed by a pick-six by Brandon Jones, ending in a 43-yard TD to set the tone of the game. Summer Creek was the team to watch on how they played against North Shore early in October. Lloyd Avant finished the North Shore game with 15 carries for 148 yards with two TDs for Summer Creek, who only lost by 10 points to the North Shore Mustangs and only gave up 31 points. Summer Creek’s defense with Xavier Atkins had a key interception that resulted in Lloyd Avant scoring and keeping North Shore on their toes. The Summer Creek Bulldogs are poised to win their bracket and is a team that will show that they can and will compete at each level in the playoffs. 


Last but not least is favored North Shore, who has carried the torch of winning year after year in our district. This year, they had some competition in games against Summer Creek, CE King, Atascocita, and even Kingwood, who put up a few points in the game. North Shore, led by junior QB Kaleb Bailey, rarely turned over the ball and delivered five total touchdowns in the game against the Eagles for a total of 371 rushing yards. Bailey, Guillory, Barnes, and Hardeman are players to watch this year in the playoffs who showed up against the Eagles to be difference-makers in the game, creating the 61 points the Mustangs walked away with. 

What’s Next?

Cardae Mack, with one of his many carries in the game against Pearland as offensive player of the game. (BUI Media)

North Shore and Atascocita could meet again for the final game of the Division I playoff bracket. Both teams have had strong showings in the playoffs with key playmakers for the Eagles. The Eagles will need to regroup and bring their best game to compete against the North Shore Mustangs. Meanwhile, Summer Creek continues to rise and quietly show the world what they are made of this year with some strong players both offensively and defensively. The Bulldogs are poised to win their division if they continue to play with the tenacity and consistency that they brought to the regular season games. So far, all four teams are advancing, winning their games in round 2 this past week (Summer Creek 42-0, Northshore 35-21, Atascocita 61-36, CE King 37-20).

Atascocita had a great game offensively, with Mack (4 TDs) as the offensive player of the game and nominated SB Live’s Texas Offensive high school football player of the week. Conley led the defense and held Pearland back at the right time, at a time when there were significant opportunities to change the pace of the game.


Rain doesn’t stop this team for their second playoff Bulldog shutout beating Clear Creek 42-0. (Summer Creek Twitter)

Summer Creek had a team win again in the playoffs with a beautifully executed game and their defense holding Clear Creek to zero points in round 2. Senior, Lloyd Avant was able to close out this game with an impressive 5,000 career rushing yards and will be a key player to keep watching in this year’s playoffs.


It was not the cleanest game for nationally ranked North Shore in the 2nd round, with a win and score of 49-21 against Clear Springs. Clear Springs held their own for the first three-quarters of the game, going into halftime tied 14-14 and surprisingly again in the third quarter 21-21. D’Andre Hardeman, junior RB, came back in the 4th quarter to close the deal with 3 TDs, one of those a 90-yard touchdown. Sophomore Kaleb Maryland came in for Kaleb Bailey in the third quarter, leading the offense to its nail-biting victory for this team that should have dominated the game this past week. 

Enjoying the game they love. (Atascocita HS Football)

Both Humble ISD teams, Summer Creek and Atascocita, have some outstanding student-athletes as leaders on and off the field. We asked a few of them to reflect on their takeaways from this season as well as how they are getting ready for each game of the playoffs. Check out the responses from the players that responded to our questions.


Kyran Pate, (3-Star WR) Atascocita Eagles vs. North Shore Mustangs 2023 district game.
Kyran Pate
“A big takeaway from the season would be how proud I am of this team, we took a couple losses but we managed to pull it together and bounce back in time for playoffs. It teaches you how to handle adversity and that sometimes things may not go according to the plan but you have to be able to adjust and adapt.
My focus getting ready for the next game and playoffs is to take it one day at a time, don’t get too ahead of myself worried about the outcome of the game, and just control what I can control. When everyone just does their job, I believe we are the best team in Texas.” – Kyran Pate, Atascocita High School – Junior


Chad Woodfork (4-Star DE/OLB) in the game of the season against Atascocita. (Summer Creek)
Chad Woodfork
“One big takeaway personally is just seeing all the hard work we put in off-season actually paying off. Our team focus is just 1-0 every week and if we do that we will keep this up.” – Chad Woodfork, Summer Creek High School- Junior 


“Atascocita  sophomore running back Cardee Mack (14) touchdown run in the Katy non-district game.”- Houston Chronicle (Michael Wyke/Contributor)
Cardae Mack
“Our biggest focus with playoffs is to just look at it as a new season, this is where it really counts and we have accomplished nothing yet. So our biggest focus I would say is to reset and go out and earn our stripes.” – Cardae Mack , Atascocita High School – Sophomore


Xavier Atkins (4-Star LB) in district matchup against the North Shore Mustangs. (Summer Creek)
Xavier Atkins
“My focus is just one game at a time, just continuing to push my teammates and making sure we do the little things right because we can’t make mistakes anymore! We have to be dialed in on the little things, so that is my focus as we prepare for each game and the playoff bracket.” – Xavier Atkins, Summer Creek High School – Senior


Tory Blaylock, Junior (4-Star RB) (Atascocita Football)
Tory Blaylock
“I feel that we play as a family through the ups and downs. We got each others backs and having that type of bond and brotherhood means a lot to our team. We also have a really great staff that we trust week in and week out and they put us in positions to make plays.
We just have to stay focused on doing our jobs and working to get better. Being in the playoffs doesn’t mean you can’t improve anymore. So our main focus is to earn a practice every week and use that week to build and get better.” – Tory Blaylock, Atascocita High School, Junior


Humble ISD’s eyes are on Summer Creek and Atascocita High School this week and the weeks to come as they continue to battle it out to have that chance at the State finals representing Region III and our district. This picture and message from the Summer Creek Coaches encapsulates what it is all about in the end during this critical time of playoffs where the win is anyone’s game.

“CORRECT your attitude, your preparation and the small things if we’re going to get where we’re trying to go! Two down four to go! Sweet 16, here come the Bulldogs.” – Coach Harrison, Head Coach Summer Creek Bulldogs (@SC_BulldogFB Twitter)

“After a 42-0 victory over Clear Creek, our leader kept the message simple but it was loud and clear.” (Summer Creek FB Twitter)

Good luck to all the teams as they continue to be contenders in the playoffs and especially our own Humble ISDs Summer Creek Bulldogs and Atascocita Eagles!


Houston Chronicle
SB Live – Partnership with Sports Illustrated
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football
Rankings Texas 6A Varsity Football (i.e. rankings going into the start of playoffs)
Max Preps, NFHS Network
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