Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser January 15, 2020
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Page 2 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Sharks own copy rights to best two-year start in history STEPHEN COLLINS Sports Editor Lubbock Estacado (1968) and Beaumont West Brook (1982) own the best starts in UIL history with state championships in each of the program’s inaugural campaigns. Let it be known now that Shadow Creek is officially the two-year king in the start department. After coming close to joining Estacado and Brook’s company with a state finalist defeat against Highland Park the year before, the Sharks’ 28-22 Division I crown triumph over Denton Ryan sealed the deal. All Brad Butler’s squad has done over their first two years is accumulate a staggering 31-1 re-
cord and back-to-back state finalist appearances. By comparison, Estacado fell in the bi-district round the year after their incredible feat, while Brook was eliminated in the area playoff round in 1983. “It was just a culmination of things coming together,” Butler said following the game. “You had coaches believing in each other and players believing in each other. It doesn’t always end the way you want it to, but it sure feels good when everyone sets goals and everything ends unfolding in the right direction.” The thing that amused me the
most the few days heading into the contest, though, was how the Sharks suddenly turned into the underdogs against Ryan. After they completed another dominating undefeated regular season, they were immediately installed as the favorites among most of the pundits to win the state title. However, the tide quickly turned on Shadow Creek after a slow start quarter-and-a half beginning against Manor in the state quarterfinals and a roller coaster first half against San Antonio Wagner in the semifinals. Add in the Raiders’ impressive 35-7 semifinal rout over No. 1 ranked Frisco Lone Star and Ryan suddenly became the experts’ flavor of the week. Everybody is entitled to change their minds on particular subjects and you see it all the time when the stakes are the highest at the pro, college and high school gridiron ranks in Texas.
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It’s hard to beat a team who never gives up!
Flash back the week heading into the Ryan-Lone Star affair, though, and the thought centered around the Raiders being an unknown commodity because of their soft schedule in Region I. Can we just call it what it actually was? Most experts jumped the shark on the basis of one game. That being said, Shadow Creek and Ryan gave every one at AT&T Stadium and a national TV audience a state title game to remember for years to come. There’s no doubt this could have gone either way. While the Sharks’ speed burning defense gave Raiders’ quarterback Seth Henigan fits throughout, Ryan hung tough and refused to go away. Give the never stop playing award to Randy Masters. While most players on the field stood in utter confusion of what to do after Ryan punter Riley Nozzo illegally kicked the ball off the ground from his own end zone, the sophomore didn’t hesitate a tad. Masters alertly scooped up the loose ball and 37 yards later, delivered one of the most shocking special teams’ TD’s in UIL history. The clutch gene belongs to junior signal caller Kyron Drones. It was hardly a comfortable position for him to be in to start 2019. Drones replaced Jamarian George, who guided SC to the title game in 2018. George then delivered the longest rushing TD in state championship history. Like the few early weeks during the regular season, Drones experienced his rough moments. However, the junior shook them
off each time and ultimately left defenders in the dust with the help of his line, as he was always quick to credit first. Drones simply refused to get rattled, as well, by two first half interceptions in Arlington. He came right back and guided Shadow Creek to the end zone on the first possession of the second half. After the Sharks’ defense stopped Ryan on downs midway in the final period, Drones then exploded for the most important 55 yards of his high school career to set up the eventual deciding points for Shadow Creek. “Nobody really thought we were going to be able to get here last year and we got kind of shook up in the moment,” the junior quarterback said. “We knew what it took to get here this year and we all bought in as a family. We had to get the win this time. “I just saw there was nobody in the hole and I just took it (on the 55-yard run) and ran.” Tense moments indeed followed. When Henigan’s “Hail Mary” pass sailed towards the end zone on the game’s final play, one couldn’t help but flash back to Manvel’s Jalen Preston being stopped inches short of the goal line on the other end two years earlier. Knocking the ball away from Ryan’s Drew Sanders, though, SC’s T.J. Marshall tore up another potential heartbreaking title game script for an AISD football program. The script instead reads best two-year start in UIL history and Shadow Creek owns the copy rights.
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 3
Congratulations State Champs! Our county is proud of your amazing season of success!
The Sharks power their way through the pregame run through poster, prior to the state championship game against Denton Ryan.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
Sharks crush Summer Creek, 64-14 in opener By Stephen Collins Sports Editor
HUMBLE - They were hit with the typical opening season bugaboos. That being said, the Shadow Creek Sharks still picked right back up where the left a historic inaugural gridiron campaign last December. The Sharks started their second season off by exploding for 23 first-quarter points and ended with 41 unanswered tallies in a convincing 64-14 triumph over Summer Creek Saturday night at Turner Stadium. Kyron Drones (13 completions in 21 attempts) passed for 249 yards and four touchdowns in his varsity starting debut under center, while Seth Jones (six receptions for 136 yards) grabbed a pair of scoring receptions from the junior signal caller. However, it was the Sharks’ defense making the biggest statement on this humid evening by accounting for 23 points with two C.J. Brown interception returns for TD’s and a long fumble return by end Alec Bryant. The Sharks also sacked Bryan Bush four times with Bryant trapping the Bulldogs’ junior QB in the end zone for a first period safety. “You always have a little bit of jitters in the first ball game and not knowing exactly how the guys will respond,” Shadow Creek head coach Brad Butler said following the game. “We got a nucleus of guys back, but we also have some new faces and you could see that at times tonight. “I’m proud of the way we started. The heat got after both teams a bit. The speed we play with on defense is hard to handle, especially when the guys are flying around like they are. We will clean some stuff up offensively and see where we will go from here.” Butler’s crew wasted little time getting on the scoreboard after holding Summer Creek to a three-and-out on the game’s opening series. Drones hooked up with Jones on the Sharks’ first play from scrimmage and the senior turned a short pass route into a 34-yard run-and-catch ramble to the end zone with 10:11 left in the first period.
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Page 4 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T
Shadow Creek too hot for Angleton to handle in 10-5A opener By Stephen Collins Sports Editor ANGLETON – The AC unit may have strangely not been in working order inside the Shadow Creek dressing room for Friday’s huge 10-5A Division I gridiron opener between a pair of state-ranked teams, but that didn’t stop the Sharks from bringing their own brand of heat for 48 minutes. Quarterback Kyron Drones passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more scores, as the Sharks delivered a emphatic 42-14 message to Angleton at Wildcats’ Stadium. Also moving their record to 4-0 overall after non-district wins over Magnolia and Elsik, Shadow Creek held the Wildcats to 213 total yards and forced five turnovers. While the Wildcats cut a 28-0 deficit in half with a pair of second-half touchdowns, the Sharks ultimately sealed the contest on Jay`Veon Bell’s seven-yard run and Drones’ 11-yard scramble late in the fourth quarter. “We wanted to concentrate on getting out here and getting off to a fast start,” said SC head coach Brad Butler, who only mentioned the AC incident briefly following the contest. “We did that. We came out a little flat in the second half. I was proud of the way the guys regrouped, though, and we finished off with another pretty good punch. “Hopefully, we learned from it and learned that we can never let our guard down. We were concerned about tonight after having last week off, but we’re just glad to get out of here with a win.” Shadow Creek wasted little time establishing the momentum, marching 82 yards in six plays with the opening kickoff. Drones hooked up with Greg Hancock for a 45-yard pass play to the Angleton 29, while dashing 20 yards to the one-yard line to set up his own short TD run on the next play with 9:34 left in the opening period.
Just as they did against Ryan in the state championship in Arlington, the Sharks’ defense also put the clamps on against Angleton in week four.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
Drones (11 of 24 for 208 passing yards, 67 rushing), who gave Wildcat defenders fits throughout the evening, accounted for 275 of the Sharks’ 401 total yards. “We had to get this win,” Drones said. “They were talking and we were talking. It was a big rivalry, so we had to get the W.” Angleton managed to get a quick first down on their first series on runs by Jordan Jones and JT Anderson, only to have Jones cough it up on the third play with SC’s C.J. Brown making the recovery at the Wildcats’ 45-yard line. Kelvon Brown promptly busted loose for 15 yards to the 34 and after Drones motored 29 yards inside the red zone, the junior signal caller found Hancock (four receptions for 86 yards) with a five-yard scoring fling with 7:26 remaining in the period. Matt Allison booted the extra point through the uprights for a 14-0 Shadow Creek lead. The SC defense added to Angleton’s woes on the next possession with Jaylen Lane picking off Justus Mayon’s pass and returning it 15 yards to the Wildcat 45. Drones converted the miscue into points four plays later, nailing C.J. Guidry on a slant route and the junior receiver rambled 34 yards to the end zone to make it 21-0 with 1:36 still left in the first. Despite not being able to capitalize on both another Lane interception and good field position inside the Angleton 40 following a Wildcat punt, the Sharks found success in taking the long route for their fourth first-half TD. Brown went in from a yard out to cap an eight-play, 83yard drive with the sophomore also turning in a 28-yard run in the series and Bell adding a 17-yard carry. The Wildcats moved to the SC 10-yard in the first half’s closing minutes. However, on fourth-and-one, Mayon’s pitch sailed over Anderson’s head with Sharks’ lineman Ronald Triplette falling on the loose ball at the 18 to turn the ball over on downs.
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 5
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Sharks erupt with big second half to blank Texas City, 34-0 By Stephen Collins Sports Editor IOWA COLONY – Coming off their big road win at Angleton the previous weekend, the Shadow Creek Sharks appeared to be flat in more ways than one for their homecoming contest against Texas City Friday night. However, the SC defense made sure an early tenuous lead stood up, while the offense finally settled in during the final 24 minutes to claim a 34-0 shutout victory over Texas City at AISD’s Freedom Field. The Sharks moved their record to a perfect 5-0 overall, while improving to 2-0 in the 10-5A Division I football standings, while Texas City dropped to 0-5. While holding the pesky Stings in check for the most part, Shadow Creek hurt its own cause with a pair of red zone turnovers and barely missed committing a third miscue in scoring range, as well. The Sharks’ defense picked up the slack by not allowing Texas City (51 total yards) to cross past midfield until the final period. “I’m happy to get a win and you got to hand it to Texas City,” SC head coach Brad Butler said following the game. “They came out and did a great job with clock management and really played hard. We just weren’t clicking on all cylinders and turned the ball over at some inopportune times. “We feel fortunate to have not played so well and still come away with a steady win. This was good for us, though, and it was a wakeup call.” The Stings took the opening kickoff and immediately provided fits by holding the ball for almost half the first quarter with three first downs. Despite being forced to finally punt, the Texas City defense also delivered some tenacity, limiting Shadow Creek to a quick threeand-out on its initial series. Shadow Creek managed to dent the scoreboard on its second possession, driving 92 yards in 12 plays. Jay`Veon Bell rambled for 22 yards, while signal caller Kyron Drones dashed for 20 yards on a quarterback scramble and Kelvon Brown also turned in a 17-yard catch-and-run reception to set up his own one-yard run with 8:02 remaining in the second quarter. Matt Allison booted the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Sharks’ lead. Shadow Creek had a pair of chances to increase the margin before the break, but the Stings’ defense rose to the challenge on both occasions to stay within a shocking touchdown deficit of the Sharks. Damond Cole-McCray intercepted a Drones’ fling at the goal line and after C.J Brown recovered a Texas City fumble on the next play, the Stings held SC without a first down to force a punt in the first half’s closing seconds. Shadow Creek totally dominated the second half and ultimately added the insurance tallies to put the game out of reach, but not before experiencing more anxious moments. A promising first drive by SC went unrewarded by a fumble into the end zone for a Stings’ touchback following a Sharks’ reception near the goal line. The Sharks then almost had the exact thing happen on the next series, but offensive lineman Greg Brown alertly recovered a teammate’s fumble in the end zone to increase the lead to 13-0 with 3:48 left in the third.
Shark fans packed AT&T Stadium for the state championship game and several home games at Iowa Colony’s Freedom Field during the 2019 season.
(Photo courtesy of Alvin ISD)
Page 6 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
2019 UIL Football State Championships’ Box Score Denton Ryan vs Alvin Shadow Creek (Dec 20, 2019 at Arlington, Texas) Denton Ryan (15-1) vs. Alvin Shadow Creek (16-0) Date: Dec 20, 2019 • Site: Arlington, Texas • Stadium: AT&T Stadium • Attendance: 18139 Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score Denton Ryan 8 0 7 7 22 Alvin Shadow Creek 7 7 7 7 28 SCORING SUMMARY DENTONRY-ALVINSHA 1st 07:12 ALVINSHA Kyron Drones 1 yd run (Eric Landaverde kick) 10 plays, 56 yards, TOP 3:44 0-7 06:59 DENTONRY Tra Smith 91 yd kickoff return (Drew Sanders rush) 8-7 2nd 05:43 ALVINSHA Randy Masters 37 yd punt return (Eric Landaverde kick) 8 - 14 3rd 07:58 ALVINSHA Kyron Drones 1 yd run (Eric Landaverde kick) 10 plays, 92 yards, TOP 3:52 8 - 21 03:24 DENTONRY Drew Sanders 2 yd run (Riley Nozzo kick) 11 plays, 73 yards, TOP 4:27 15 - 21 4th 03:08 ALVINSHA Kelvon Brown 8 yd run (Eric Landaverde kick) 5 plays, 77 yards, TOP 2:50 15 - 28 01:14 DENTONRY Ja’Tavion Sanders 26 yd pass from Seth Henigan (Riley Nozzo kick) 11 plays, 67 yards, TOP 1:49 22 - 28 Kickoff time: 7:12 pm • End of Game: 10:21 pm • Total elapsed time: 3:09 Referee: Lance Mathis • Umpire: Toby Rackley • Linesman: Ron Daniels • Line judge: Brad Frisby • Back judge: John Winn • Field judge: Scotty Allen • Side judge: Buddy Furqueron • Center judge: Alvin Wright • Temperature: INDOORS • Wind: • Weather: Offensive MVP: No. 1 Kyron Drones - Shadow Creek Defensive MVP: No. 11 Jeremiah Harris - Shadow Creek
Shadow Creek quarterback Kyron Drones (1) motors past a Denton Ryan defender during the Dec. 20 Class 5A D1 State Championship in Arlington.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 7
Sharks roll past Galveston Ball and Friendswood By Stephen Collins Sports Editor Sometimes a relentless assault stops a potential sneak attack in its tracks. The Friendswood Mustangs found that out the hard way Friday night, as Shadow Creek provided the above frame work for rolling to a 51-6 rout at AISD’s Freedom Field in Iowa Colony. The Sharks improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the 10-5A Division I football standings Friendswood (6-1, 3-1) was coming off a 34-32 upset of Foster a week earlier in Rosenberg, but the Mustangs were forced into an immediate contest of catch-up with Shadow Creek scoring on its first four possessions. “We had a week of good practices, good preparation and they came out ready to play,” said Shadow Creek head coach Brad Butler whose team was coming off a 49-6 rout of Galveston Ball the previous week. “It was important to get off to a good start, because that’s something we’ve been stressing to the kids all year. We were able to run the football and hit some big pass plays.” Sharks’ quarterback Kyron Drones torched the Mustangs’ secondary for 240 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 10 completions in 15 attempts, while the SC running game rushed for over 200 yards for the second straight week. Jay`Veon Bell racked up 106 yards on 16 carries and one TD and Kelvon Brown chipped in 89 yards on just six carries and two TD’s. “We try to stay pretty well balanced,” Butler said. “Kyron did a good job of buying time, hanging in the pocket and making some good throws. We knew he had potential going into the season. It was just a matter of him getting enough snaps. There’s no substitute for getting to do it. “I also can’t say enough for those two guys (Bell and Brown) being unselfish. One of them gets the hot hand and they do a great job of supporting each other.” Forcing Friendswood to punt on its opening series, the Sharks immediately established the momentum, driving 85 yards in seven plays. Brown exploded 34 yards up the middle on a misdirection gallop to the end zone with 7:23 left in the opening period for a 6-0 SC lead. The Mustangs attempted to answer with an impressive drive from their own 30-yard line to the Sharks’ 23. Friendswood signal caller Luke Grden hit Noah Palitz (19 yards) and Christian Lee (16 yards) for respective first down pass gains. Ryan Sweeney misfired on a 40-yard field goal attempt, though, which started a fatal theme for Friendswood during the evening. The Mustangs managed to drive into Sharks’ territory three times in the first half, only to come away without any points on each occasion. On the other hand, Shadow Creek cashed in on every early opportunity to expand its cushion. Just three plays following the Sweeney miss, C.J. Guidry grabbed a Drones’ fling over the middle and motored 64 yards with the catch-andrun reception to the goal line with 3:59 remaining in the first. Eric Landaverde booted the extra point through the uprights for a 13-0 SC lead. The Mustangs then came up empty on another drive deep inside Sharks’ territory. Receiver Matthew Kovacevich was tackled two yards short at of the sticks at the SC 33-yard line on fourth-and-4 to turn the ball over on downs. Shadow Creek wasted little time capitalizing again with Jahkin Middleton dashing 63 yards with a Drones’ pass to make it 20-0 with a 1:54 still remaining in the first. Drones added a third TD toss to Randy Masters from 16 yards out in the second quarter to increase the margin to 27-0 at intermission. The Sharks then tacked on two insurance scores to start the second half. Drones scored on a 15-yard keeper and Brown scooted 44 yards to the goal line. After Bell rambled 10 yards to make it 48-0 in the fourth, the Mus-
The Shadow Creek cheer squad was also strong in numbers in its support for the state championship Sharks’ football team during the 2019 season.
tangs finally got on the board on Nick Abowd’s 15-yard fumble return to avert the shutout.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
However, Landaverde drilled a short field goal in the closing seconds to get the Sharks over the
half century tally mark.
Page 8 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
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Sharks continue dominance over Foster By Stephen Collins Sports Editor ROSENBERG – When it comes to dealing with the Foster Falcons, just call the Shadow Creek Sharks down to the wire specialists. For the third time in the last two seasons, the two teams engaged in such circumstances with the Sharks prevailing in the tightrope battle. Quarterback Kyron Drones threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score, as Shadow Creek captured a 24-17 triumph Thursday night at Traylor Stadium. The Sharks (8-0 overall, 5-0 in 10-5A Division I) held a seemly comfortable 24-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, but had to survive a crazy finish during the final two minutes. After the Sharks stopped the Falcons on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with 2:30 left, Foster got the ball back again on a SC punt just 15 seconds later and quarterback Ryan Stubblefield went in on a five-yard keeper to cut the gap in half. Place kicker Nicholas Arellano then gave the Falcons another great opportunity by creating a high bounce on the ensuing onsides attSee week eight win, page 9
SC running back Kelvon Brown (3) attempts to break an arm tackle by a Ryan defender during the Dec. 20 state title contest.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 9
Week 8 win Continued from page 8
empt, but Shadow Creek’s Jorge Jones managed to emerge from the mad scramble pile at his own 30-yard line with the recovery to finally seal the victory for the Sharks. “I’m not surprised at all that this game ended up being a nail biter,” Sharks’ head coach Brad Butler said following the game. “We got a lot of respect for the job they (Foster) do and they got a lot of talented kids on that team.” Looking to avenge their two losses to Shadow Creek from a season ago, the fired up Falcons opened the contest with an impressive nine-play, 81-yard march, which was capped by Stubblefield’s five-yard keeper with 8:40 left in the first. Arellano added the extra point for a 7-0 Foster lead. Shadow Creek answered on their second possession by going 77 yards in 11 plays. Key plays in the drive included a defensive hold by the Falcons’ defense, which wiped out a third down sack and Drones’ 12-yard flip to Jay’Veon Bell to convert another third down in the series. Drones ultimately nailed Jared Jackson with a bullet at the goal line from 15 yards out and Eric Landaverde added the PAT to tie it at 7-7 with 8.9 seconds still left in the period. Both teams then committed respective miscues dur-
ing the second quarter, but with different results on the scoreboard. Foster’s Jayden Oliver intercepted Drones’ pass and returned it 42 yards to the SC eight-yard line. Shadow Creek managed to keep the Falcons from reaching the end zone, though, forcing Foster to settle for Arellano’s 25-yard field goal to put the Falcons back in front at 10-7 with 6:45 remaining. However, the Sharks delivered their own break a few minutes later with Terrance Cook blocking a Foster punt and Shadow Creek fell on the loose ball at the Falcons’ 33-yard line. Drones dashed 20 yards for the go-ahead score five plays later to give Shadow Creek a 14-10 lead at intermission. “I think for both teams, there was just a lot of emotion early on,” Butler said. “For us, it was just a matter of us settling down a bit and getting back to playing the way we needed to.” Shadow Creek cashed in on another Falcons’ turnover midway in the third quarter. Jones recovered a Stubblefield fumble near midfield to set up Drones’ 33-yard fling to Jackson to increase the margin to 21-10 with 2:13 left. Landaverde drilled a 25-yard field goal with 7:58 remaining in the fourth to make it 24-10, capping a six-minute plus drive for the Sharks.
Shark players Randy Masters (2) and Jaiden Scott (22) both get fired up during state championship pregame warm-ups at AT&T Stadium.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
Page 10 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
SC crushes Hightower to clinch league crown By Stephen Collins Sports Editor MISSOURI CITY - The Sharks crushed Hightower 53-9 on Thursday at Hall Stadium in Missouri City to clinch their second straight 10-5A Division I championship. Jeremiah Harris recovered a Hightower fumble on the game’s first play from scrimmage to spark a 24-point first quarter explosion for the Sharks (9-0 overall, 6-0 in 10-5A Division I). While the Hurricanes forced Shadow Creek to settle for Eric Landaverde’s 28-yard field goal following Harris’ recovery, the Sharks followed with three straight touchdowns in the opening period and never looked back. “We got off to a fast start and were able to keep them pinned down on their side of the field,” said Sharks’ head coach Brad Butler, who team will play the fourthplace seed from 9-5A. “I was real proud of the way the kids came out on a cold Halloween night and got off to the fast start. “We’ve been talking for several weeks about controlling our own destiny. We didn’t want to share the
district championship with anyone and be co-champions.” Hightower quickly discovered that SC wasn’t in a sharing spirit on either side of the ball during the initial 12 minutes. Quarterback Kyron Drones fired TD passes of 10 yards to C.J. Guidry and 16 yards to Greg Hancock, while T.J. Marshall returned an interception off Hightower’s Jakolby Longino 34 yards for a defensive score. The Sharks’ defense limited Hightower to only 153 total offensive yards and five first downs for the evening. “The fumble recovery gave us some early momentum that we just kept capitalizing on,” Butler said. “The defense continues to make plays and the offense is getting a little bit better all the time. We’re starting to click at the right time hopefully.” While the Hurricanes actually converted a Sharks’ fumble into Armando Ventura’s 26-yard field goal to cut the gap to 24-3 entering the second quarter, Shadow Creek answered with a pair of end zone trips to put the game out of reach by halftime. Hancock grabbed an eight-yard TD toss from Drones
Sharks’ quarterback Kyron Drones (center) proudly poses after receiv-
ing his award for offensive most valuable player of the Class 5A D1 state championship game on Dec. 20 in Arlington.
(Photo courtesy of Stacy Drones)
to cap an eight-play, 78-yard march and the junior signal caller later motored in with an eight-yard keeper to make it 38-3 at the break.
Drones completed 18 of 23 passes for 181 yards and three TD’s, while adding 79 yards on the ground and two scores.
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 11
PA Memorial no match for Sharks’ bi-district grinder By Stephen Collins Sports Editor IOWA COLONY – While Shadow Creek was forced to grind out a long scoring drive to open Friday’s Class 5A Division I bi-district football affair, it was Port Arthur Memorial, who soon found themselves material for the Sharks’ grinder. The Sharks totally dominated the Titans both during that initial possession and throughout the evening in a 49-7 romp at AISD’s Freedom Field. The victory advances Shadow Creek (11-0) in the area round of the playoffs, where Brad Butler’s squad meets Hutto in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Waller ISD Stadium. It also marked a stark contrast from SC’s first bi-district appearance a year ago when the Sharks had to pull off a second-half rally to edge Porter by a 37-30 count. Shadow Creek gave Butler and company no such reasons to worry about a slow start the second time around on Friday, though. “I’m proud about us coming out strong,” the SC coach said following the game. “Last year, we came out a little sluggish in the first round of the playoffs and had a tough ball game. But we started early this year. “We were able to make a few plays offensively when things broke down. There were a few times on defense that we weren’t as sharp as we usually are. But we advance to week two and got another week to clean things up. I wasn’t pleased with our ball security. We put the ball on the ground three times during our opening drive.” The Sharks were also forced to convert a pair of fourth down and one situations during their 13-play, 76-yard march, which ate up more than half of the first-quarter clock. Jay`Veon Bell powered his way for two yards on fourth and short from the PAM 36-yard line and four plays after Greg Hancock rescued the Sharks from coughing it up following teammate C.J. Guidry’s 35-yard reception inside the Titans’ five-yard yard line, quarterback Kyron Drones managed to make it across the goal line on a fourth-and-one sneak attempt with 5:20 left in the first period. Eric Landaverde booted the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Shadow Creek lead. A pair of holding penalties thwarted another golden scoring chance for the Sharks on their next possession. However, Drones (14 for 25 for 228 yards, four touchdowns) ultimately found holes in the Titans’ secondary for three TD flings in the first half. Kelvon Brown dashed 24 yards with a catch-and-run reception with 6:10 remaining in the first, while Randy Masters hauled in a 31-yard strike from Drones a few minutes later and Jared Jackson grabbed a 24-yard reception in the second quarter to increase the margin to 28-0 at the break. Drones then found Seth Jones from 23 yards out with 3:30 left in the third for a 35-0 advantage. Memorial averted the shutout on Adrian Hayward’s eight-yard run early in the fourth, but SC’s Jorge Jones recovered his own blocked punt in the end zone for a Sharks’ special team TD a little later and Drones capped things off with a 12-yard scamper in the closing seconds. Kullen Murrell and Dejuan Lewis both intercepted Memorial passes in the contest for the Sharks’ defense, while T.J. Marshall and Ronald Triplett each claimed a fumble recovery.
A pair of Shark defenders manhandle Denton Ryan’s Drew Sanders during the Dec. 20 state championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
(Photo by Michael Edmonds)
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Page 12 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Creek’s quick strikes bury Hutto in second playoff round By Stephen Collins Sports Editor Shadow Creek erupted for 42 first half points and never looked back against Hutto in a 63-14 victory in the Class 5A Division I Area Football Playoffs Friday night at Waller ISD Stadium. The Sharks (12-0) now advance to a rematch with Richmond Foster with the 10-5A gridiron rivals meeting on Nov. 29 at Challenger Columbia Stadium in League City at 2 p.m. Using the same formula that led to a 49-7 bi-district romp over Port Arthur Memorial the previous week, the Sharks forced the Hippos to play catchup throughout. The immediate turning point came with Shadow Creek being facing with a fourthand-20 situation on their second possession from the Hutto 33-yard line in the opening period. Quarterback Kyron Drones got Shadow Creek out of that dilemma by escaping the Hippos’ rush and hitting C.J. Guidry in the back of the end zone. Eric Landaverde added the extra point for a 7-0
Sharks’ lead. Drones passed for 161 yards and four touchdowns in the contest, while adding another score on the ground. The Sharks’ defense then intercepted a pass from Hutto signal caller Grayson Doggett deep in Hippos’ territory and the miscue was quickly converted into points, as Drones hit Seth Jones with a 12-yard scoring strike with 3:28 left in the period. Drones went on to combine with Jared Jackson for TD passes of 42 and 16 yards with the Sharks building a comfortable 42-7 cushion at the break. Linebacker Warren Shankle also had a big game for head coach Brad Butler with the senior recovering a pair of Hippos fumbles during the first half. Hutto committed six turnovers overall. Kelvon Brown, who rushed for 178 yards and two TD’s, got the Sharks off to another quick start in the second half with a 52-yard dash to the end zone on the third quarter’s first series and linebacker Beau Burns returned a Hutto fumble 62 yards for a defensive score late in the game.
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Sharks’ receiver Seth Jones (17) tries to hang on to a long reception with Ryan’s Austin Jordan defending on the play during the Dec. 20 state finals in Arlington.
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SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 13
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Sharks rally from 17-point halftime deficit to top Foster in region semis By Stephen Collins Sports Editor LEAGUE CITY – Having watched his predecessor under center direct a pair of dramatic rallies against Foster a year earlier, Kyron Drones decided to get in on the comeback fun against their 10-5A rivals Friday afternoon. Drones and the Shadow Creek Sharks overcame both a 17-point halftime deficit and a one-point fourth quarter gap to outlast the Falcons in a 36-31 Region III-5A Division I Football Playoff Semifinal thriller at Challenger Columbia Stadium. “I just had to take the team on my back and have us win it,” Drones said following the game. “We just kept saying to ourselves (in the locker room at halftime)
that we needed to keep going and keeping fighting. We were messing our own selves up in the first half.” As impressive as the 2018 finishes between the two talented Houston area squads turned out to be, Friday’s postseason epic might have proved even more improbable on the Sharks’ part. Brad Butler’s squad faced a quick 17-0 mountain to climb in the first half and later trailed again by 17 at 24-7 at intermission. “I didn’t expect anything less out of this match-up,” said Butler, whose 13-0 team advances to meet Manor in the state quarterfinals on Dec. 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. “It’s been a nail biter for both sides every time. They (Foster) played a great ball game and it’s a shame someone
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has to come up on the short end. It’s been a great series between these teams.” While the Falcons took advantage of SC miscues in building their early 17-point cushion, though, the Sharks turned the tables on Foster with a 23-point explosion in the third quarter. Shadow Creek cashed in on both a Falcons’ fumble and a fourthdown incompletion off a mishandled snap by punter Bryson Harrell. After Eric Landaverde booted a 22-yard field goal field to pull the Sharks within 24-10, Drones dashed 40 yards to the end zone following Cody Jackson’s fumble to make it 24-17 with 4:05 left in the third. The Sharks’ defense forced a See Rally, page 14
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Led by linebacker C.J.Brown, Shadow Creek defenders surround Denton Ryan’s Drew Sanders during Friday’s state title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. (File photo by Michael Edmonds)
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Page 14 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
Sharks’ 16-0 splash to state title
Rally Continued from page 13
Shadow Creek 64 - Summer Creek 14 Shadow Creek 49 - Magnolia 0 Shadow Creek 63 - Elsik 7
Shadow Creek 42 - Angleton 14
Shadow Creek 34 - Texas City 0 Shadow Creek 49 - Ball High 6
Shadow Creek 51 - Friendswood 6 Shadow Creek 24 - Foster 17
Shadow Creek 53 - Hightower 9 Shadow Creek 63 - Terry 0
Shadow Creek 49 - PA Memorial 7 Shadow Creek 63 - Hutto 14
Shadow Creek 36 - Foster 31
Shadow Creek 59 - Manor 14
Shadow Creek 45 - SA Wagner 21
Shadow Creek 28 - Denton Ryan 22
Shadow Creek head coach Brad Butler is interviewed by the statewide media following the Sharks’ 28-22 state title victory over Denton Ryan on Dec. 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
(Photo courtesy of Alvin ISD)
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three-and-out three out by Foster and Shadow Creek promptly tied it up at 24-24 on a perfectly executed 21-yard backside screen between Drones and tight end Trent McGaughey. The punt mishap came on Foster’s next series, paving the way for Seth Jones to grab a 41-yard touchdown pass from Drones in stride to give the Sharks their first lead at 30-24 with 10 seconds left in the period. A missed extra point following the Drones-to-Jones TD connection opened the door for Foster to regain the upper hand and they did exactly that at 3130 on Isaac Johnson’s four-yard run with 8:30 remaining in the contest. Shadow Creek then appeared to be in even more trouble, when they fumbled the ball away to the Falcons inside their own five-yard line a few minutes later. However, the Sharks stopped Foster on fourth-and-goal three plays later from their own one and proceeded to take it a classic 99 yards in 10 plays for the go-ahead score. Drones (18 of 31 for 316 yards, three TD’s) immediately hit Jones for 31 yards to get Shadow Creek out of trouble and later nailed C.J. Guidry, who made a clutch 14-yard sliding catch at the goal line to give the Sharks a 36-31 advantage with 2:30 left. “I saw when I rolled out, that he (Guidry) was open, I just threw it and he caught it,” said Drones, who also ran for 118 yards in the contest. The SC defense then stopped Foster on downs with Ryan Stubblefield’s fourth down pass falling incomplete and Drones motored five yards on fourthand-three to help the Sharks run off the remaining time on the clock. The Falcons built their 24-7 first-half lead behind Nicholas Arellano’s 24-yard field, Stubblefield’s TD passes of 36 and 33 yards to Johnson and Jackson, respectively, while Shadow Creek initially got on the board on Kelvon Brown’s two-yard run.
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 15
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Sharks recover from slow start to knock off Manor in state quarters By Stephen Collins Sports Editor Shadow Creek erupted for 24 points to erase a four-point deficit late in the second quarter and went on to dominate the Manor Mustangs the rest of the way in a 59-14 triumph in the Class 5A Division I State Football Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The victory sends the 14-0 Sharks into a Dec. 13 state semifinal meeting against San Antonio Wagner at Alamo Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Shadow Creek trailed the upstart Mustangs by a 14-10 count following Levonte Benford’s 47yard touchdown reception with 5:10 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Sharks answered right back on their next possession, as quarterback Kyron Drones hit Kelvon Brown on a 22-yard wheel route to give Shadow Creek the upper hand for good at 17-14 with 3:36 left. The Sharks’ defense then forced a quick threeand-out, paving the way for C.J. Guidry to haul in a 29-yard TD strike from Drones to make it 24-14. Manor attempted to get on the board just before the break, only to have more disaster strike. Jaylen Lane picked off a Matthew Hill pass for Shadow Creek and dashed 55 yards to the end zone to give the Sharks a 31-14 advantage at intermission. Shadow Creek continued its domination into the second half with three more TD’s in the third quarter. Drones went in from four yards out on a keeper
and also found Seth Jones with a 16-yard scoring pass, while Bell sprinted 22 yards to pay dirt to make it 52-14. Thomas Davis ultimately capped things for the Sharks with another interception return for a touchdown from 32 yards out late in the contest. After forcing Manor to punt on the game’s opening possession, Shadow Creek drove down for its first score with Jay`Veon Bell’s 39-yard run setting up Drones’ two-yard keeper for a 7-0 SC lead with 6:50 left in the first period. The Mustangs mounted their own impressive drive following the ensuing kickoff with Hill flings to Benford and Carl Chester setting up Che Nwabuko’s nine-yard rushing TD on the jet sweep to tie things at 7-7 with 4:22 still remaining in the opening quarter. Shadow Creek got the game’s first big break on Chancellor Byers’ interception at the Manor 32-yard line early in the second. Drones later rambled for 11 yards to give the Sharks a firstand-goal at the one, but Brown was dropped for a four-yard loss on the next play. Following two Drones incompletions, the Sharks were forced to settle for Eric Landaverde’s 22-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead with 10:40 left. Drones completed 10 of 25 passes for 214 yards and three TD’s, while Jones grabbed three receptions for 57 yards and one TD and Trent Mcgaughey collected two catches for 66 yards. Bell paced the Sharks on the ground with 85 yards on 10 carries and one TD.
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Page 16 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
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Shadow Creek defensive back Jaiden Scott (22) attempts to bring down Denton Ryan’s Ty Marsh during the Class 5A state championship in Arlington.
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SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 17
State 5A D1 Champs: The Road to AT&T Sharks upend SA Wagner for second straight year in state semis By Stephen Collins Sports Editor SAN ANTONIO - C.J. Guidry didn’t take it personally. The Shadow Creek Sharks’ junior receiver was simply on a mission to make a huge play for his team after watching San Antonio Wagner close the first half on such a dramatic note. Guidry wasted no time delivering the goods by returning the second half kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to spark a 21-point second half, paving the way for a 45-21 triumph by Shadow Creek in the Class 5A Division I State Football Playoff Semifinals at Alamo Stadium. The victory sends the 15-0 Sharks into the state finals for the second straight year, where head coach Brad Butler’s squad meets either Denton Ryan on Dec. 20 at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday’s affair also marked the second straight year that Shadow Creek eliminated the Thunderbirds in the postseason’s fifth round. Guidry’s kickoff return came after Wagner’s Avante Stevens galloped 75 yards for a score. Stevens fielded a squib kick by the Sharks’ Will Martin in the first half’s closing moments.” “I was thinking that I had to return this kickoff,” Guidry said. “When I caught it, I just followed my blockers and took it where I needed, to the end zone. “I didn’t take offense to it (Stevens’ return). He took it to the house, so I knew I had to do something.” Butler agreed with his junior play maker’s assessment. “We knew coming in that they (Wagner) were a difficult offense to stop,” Butler said following the game. “I was really concerned about the momentum after they returned the kickoff. Boy, for us to get the second half kickoff and return it for a touchdown helped us get back in control. “It was really big.” Shadow Creek got the game’s first big break on the second play from scrimmage, as end Alec Bryant recovered Derrion Johnson’s fumble at the Wagner 27-yard line. The Sharks took just three plays to capitalize on the miscue with Greg Hancock grabbing a three-yard touchdown reception from Kyron Drones with 10:30 left in the opening period. Eric Landaverde booted the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Shadow Creek lead. Drones completed 11 of 22 passes for 219 yards and three TD’s. Wagner immediately answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Joerell Brown’s 22-yard run. Drones then climaxed a sixplay scoring series for Shadow Creek with a 24-yard TD dash on fourth-and-10, where the junior signal caller initially escaped a pair of tackles at the line of scrimmage to make it 14-7. The first quarter’s furious pace continued with the Thunderbirds reaching the end zone again on Jordan Patterson’s 14-yard run with 5:15 remaining. Wagner’s Rafael Zertuche banged the extra point attempt off the left upright, though, to leave it at 14-13 and Landaverde added a 25-yard field goal on the ensuing possession to give the Sharks a 17-13 edge into the second quarter. Both teams’ defenses settled in for most of the second with the Sharks stopping Wagner twice on downs and combining with the Thunderbirds to force five punts. Shadow Creek managed to get on the board following the final kick despite having only 12 seconds before the break to work with. Guidry hauled in a perfect 55-yard strike from Drones in the end zone to increase the margin to 24-13.
Shadow Creek’s C.J. Guidry (19) weaves his way through San Antonio Wagner defenders and returns the opening kickoff of the second half 82 yards for a touchdown in Friday’s Class 5A Division I State Football Semifinal at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio. (File photo by Prentice C. James/ImagoHouse)
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Page 18 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
Sharks capture Class 5A D1 State crown over Ryan By Stephen Collins Sports Editor ARLINGTON - The resume is now complete. Shadow Creek added the only chapter Friday night that had been missing from already one of the most remarkable runs for a second year program in Texas high school football history. The Sharks outlasted Denton Ryan in a 28-22 Class 5A Division I State Championship game thriller at AT&T Stadium to capture both the first state team championship in school history and also the first football crown in Alvin ISD history. The historic triumph caps a perfect 16-0 season for head coach Brad Butler’s squad and also gives the Sharks an amazing 31-1 record over their first two varsity seasons. “It was just a culmination of things coming together,” Butler said. “You had coaches believing in each other and players believing in each other. It doesn’t always end the way you want it to, but it sure feels good when everyone sets goals and everything ends unfolding in the right direction.” Avenging their only loss in last year’s title game didn’t come without some anxious late moments for Butler and company, though. Ryan moved from their own 19-yard line to the Shadow Creek 25-yard line and almost pulled off a miracle on the game’s final play with two seconds remaining. Just as the Raiders’ Drew Sanders was about to come down with a “Hail Mary” heave from Seth Henigan in the end zone, however, Sharks’ linebacker T.J. Marshall jarred the ball loose from Sanders’ grasp to preserve the victory. “It was rough, I was definitely holding my breath,” Butler said about the final play. “I was just hoping that thing would end up on the right side.” Sharks’ quarterback Kyron Drones earned offensive player of the game honors, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 185 yards through the air with 10 completions in 18 attempts and two interceptions. Shadow Creek linebacker Jeremiah Harris collected the top defensive player nod, compiling 5.5 tackles and two sacks. The Sharks’ defense held Ryan to a season low 250 yards of total offense. “Both sides came in playing great defense and I don’t think either side disappointed,” said Butler, whose team will move to the 6A ranks next fall. “It was tough sledding for both offenses all night. They played a tough ball game and we didn’t expect anything different.” Drones admitted the return trip to AT&T was much different than the Sharks’ inaugural encounter in 2018 with Highland Park, a 27-17 defeat. “Nobody really thought we were going to be able to get here last year and we got kind of shook up in the moment,” the junior quarterback said. “We knew what it took to get here this year and we all bought in as a family. We had to get the win this time.” Holding Ryan to three-and-out on the game’s first series, Shadow Creek immediately went to work with a 10-play, 56-yard opening drive. Drones completed first down passes See State Champs, page 19
Shadow Creek players proudly lift up their state championship trophy following their historic victory over Denton Ryan. (Bottom) - The Sharks’ bench erupts in mass celebration following Ryan’s incompleted pass to the end zone on the game’s final play.
(Top photo courtesy of Alvin ISD; Bottom photo by Michael Edmonds)
SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020 • Page 19
State Champs Continued from page 18
to Jared Jackson (20 yards), C.J. Guidry (16 yards) and Greg Hancock (17 yards) to set up his one-yard keeper with 7:27 left in the first quarter. Eric Landavede booted the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Sharks’ lead. The Raiders quickly responded, though, as Tra Smith took a handoff from a teammate on the ensuing kickoff and dashed 91 yards to pay dirt. Sanders then powered his way over the goal line for a two-point conversion run from the wildcat formation to give Ryan the upper hand at 8-7. Shadow Creek’s initial attempt to reclaim the lead was turned back on a Billy Bowman interception in the red zone. However, a miscue by the Ryan special teams then offset Bowman’s pick. A punt snap sailed over the Raiders’ Riley Nozzo into his own end zone. Nozzo illegally kicked the ball off the ground before attempting to pick it up, but Randy Masters alertly scooped up the loose ball and motored 37 yards for a 14-8 SC advantage with 5:43 left in the second quarter. The Sharks declined the illegal kicking penalty, so the Masters’ TD return stood. Despite having another Bowman interception derail a potential scoring drive a few minutes before intermission, Shadow Creek delivered an impressive nine play, 82-yard scoring march to start the second half. Drones went in from yard out again and Landverde added the PAT to increase the margin to 21-8 with 7:58 remaining in the third. Ryan countered with an 11-play series, capped by Sanders’ two-yard run to cut it to 21-15. The Raiders then had a chance to reclaim the lead after recovering a fumble at the SC 39-yard line midway in the fourth quarter. The Sharks’ defense held on downs at the 23, though, and Drones ripped off a 55-yard gain deep into Ryan territory to set up Kelvon Brown’s eight-yard run with 3:08 left for a 28-15 Shadow Creek lead. “I saw there was nobody in the hole and I just took it and ran,” Drones said about the 55-yarder. Ryan refused to fold with Henigan hitting Ja`Tavion Sanders with a 26-yard TD strike with 1:14 left to bring the Raiders within six at 28-22. The Raiders’ onsides kick attempt bounced out of bounds to give the Sharks the ball, but with Dave Henigan’s squad still having all three of its timeouts left, Ryan got the ball back with 49 seconds remaining following Shadow Creek’s punt.
Shadow Creek players C.J Guidry (19) joins Derrick Pittman and Terrance Cooks (33) in a state championship taste test of their gold medals following the Sharks’ 28-22 triumph.
(Photo courtesy of Alvin ISD)
Congratulations Sharks On An Amazing Season!
Page 20 • SHADOW CREEK WINS STATE • Supplement to the Alvin Advertiser • January 15, 2020
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