HS Football: The Woodlands Wins High-Scoring Matchup With New Caney

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 09/14/2023


The Woodlands Highlanders (2-2) defeated the New Caney Eagles (2-2) in an offensive, tense game to kickstart week two of district play.

After last season’s 14-7 defeat at the hands of the Eagles, the Woodlands sought to make a statement in the opening moments of Thursday night’s game.

New Caney’s offense, fresh off their staggering defeat to Willis, came out flat against the Woodlands. The first two offensive drives stalled out before gaining traction, putting the ball into the hands of a well-equipped Highlander squad.

The Highlanders were able to notch scores on both of their opening drives. Striking efficiently through the air and eating up large chunks of yards on the ground pushed the Woodlands up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

In need of a response, New Caney opened the floodgates in the second quarter. The first play from scrimmage saw the Eagles reach the endzone for the first time and signaled the beginning of a response-filled second quarter.

Highlander returner Parker Stewart took the kickoff to the house on the ensuing kickoff, bringing this team back up by 14 points. Not to be outdone, New Caney replied with another effective drive for a touchdown. After the dust settled in the second quarter, a total of 42 points had been scored by both teams and the Woodlands led 35-21, with the team set to receive the second-half kick.

Disaster struck for the Highlanders as an unconventional kick caught the returner off guard, which gave New Caney a chance to jump on the loose ball. Eagle quarterback Hunter Taylor used his legs to find the endzone and bring his team within one possession of tying the game.

The Eagles would dominate the third quarter following the opening drive with a defensive shutout opening the door for New Caney to eat the clock by running the ball with ruthless efficiency.

The fourth quarter began with Taylor using his arm to find a receiver for the tying touchdown at 35 points apiece. Both squads would trade points down the stretch and lead to a 42-42 game with time winding down.

With a chance to push his team ahead in the clutch, Woodlands kicker Scott Starzyk pushed his field goal wide right, affording New Caney a chance to win the game with a score. Intense tackles from Woodlands defenders forced a three-and-out on New Caney’s drive and put the ball back in the hands of Mabrey Mettauer and the Highlander offense. With determination, the offense drove into New Caney territory and capped off the drive with a rushing touchdown from Jackson Bolender, his third overall on the night.

With the missed kick likely still on his mind, Starzyk sent a squib kick toward New Caney, only for the ball to be misread. The Highlander coverage team came away with the football and sealed the redemption for Starzyk and the win for the Woodlands.

The Highlanders came away with a 49-42 win in a hard-fought contest from both sides.

The Woodlands now soldiers on to face the Conroe Tigers on Sep. 22 while the New Caney Eagles look to make a statement against Oak Ridge for the team’s first potential district win.

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