The Woodlands Highlanders face off against Klein Oak Panthers Friday night at Woodforest Bank Stadium

By: Carlos Gosselin, Woodlands Online Sports
| Published 09/26/2018

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Coming off a true rivalry classic with The College Park High School, The Highlanders are now 2-2 and picking up back-to-back wins. They now face their next toughest challenge against undefeated perennial powerhouse Klein Oak High School Friday Sept 28 at Woodforest Bank Stadium.

Klein Oak comes into the season perfect with a 4-0 overall record and a 2-0 district record. Coach David Smith looks to keep his Panthers from slipping as they travel to The Woodlands to face Jim Rapp and his Highlanders.

The Highlanders are coming into this week 2-2 and 2-0 in district play. Starting the season 0-2, The Woodlands was pressed early in the season to make adjustments, which already have been on display since the Oak Ridge High School victory. The goal for this team is consistency and playoff appearance. With the state playoffs on everyone's mind, the Highlanders are itching for extending their winning streak and achieving their third district win.

Woodlands Head Coach Jim Rapp and his offense have shown dramatic changes. They started off the season playing the defending state champions and they were a run-first offense. Keep an eye on Breyton Gilford, their returning running back who had a game-winning touchdown late Friday against College Park High School. Also keep an eye on P.J Villarreal, Malik Johnson, Fabrizio Pinton, Casey Sunsari, Austin Winfield, Orrin Bizer, Cody Johnson, Luke Rizzo, Abb Acuff, Brandon Wheeler, Scott Cole, Caleb Fox, Tommy Long, Ben Langston, Sean Stavinoha, Mettauer McKade and Garrett McGurrin.

The Woodlands Highlanders first-year head coach Jim Rapp gave Casey Sunsari the keys to the offense, even with up-and-coming talent Ben Mills, who is a true junior in waiting. Casey Sunsari has found success in the past two weeks finding receivers such as P.J Villarreal who caught four touchdowns in one game against Oak Ridge High School this season. Becoming the true senior captain, Villarreal is the offensive engine for the Highlanders, aside from running back Breyton Gilford.

The constant motor in the Woodlands offense is Mettauer McKade, a 6’4", 280-pound offensive lineman. He is currently committed to The University of California, declining offers from UT, Oklahoma State, Texas State, SMU, Perdue University, Nebraska University, Missouri University, Memphis, Kansas, UH, Illinois University, Boston College and Arizona University. If junior running back Breyton Gilford wants to have success against Klein Oak, he’s going to have to work with McKade to open up gaps and run through the stout defense of the Panthers.

With Klein Oak consisting of perfection this season, they will come in to this game not knowing defeat and looking to show off their vigorous defense. With star defensive tackle Gerald Irons III coming off the line, The Woodlands High School will have their hands full. Irons III, who committed to Army University in July, chose the university over Air Force, Boston College, Columbia, Indiana, Kansas, Ragin Cajuns Louisiana, Louisiana Monroe, New Mexico, North Texas, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Yale, Arkansas, Duke, UH and Nebraska. The Panthers look to flaunt their star defensive linemen and will send pressure at all costs.

The Woodlands Highlanders will face off against the Klein Oak Panthers September 28th, 7:00 pm Friday @ at Woodforest Bank Stadium. Friday nights "Game Highlights" will be presented by Hal Watson Air Conditioning Company.

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