HS Football Playoffs: Willis Adds Area Champion to their Resume with Win over Tomball Memorial

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 11/17/2023


NEW CANEY, TX -- The Willis Wildkats kept the perfect run alive with a 42-21 victory in the Area Round of the playoffs against the Tomball Memorial Wildcats.

The game started with fireworks. Willis’ opening drive worked its way down the field before stalling at the Tomball Memorial 30-yard line for a field goal attempt. The attempt from kicker Justin Willis was blocked by an edge rusher and set up Tomball Memorial with a chance to notch the game’s opening score.

Just one play later, Willis’ defense stepped up and made a play that swung the opening momentum in their favor, as A’mauree Holmes intercepted a pass and returned the ball inside the 10-yard line. Jermaine Bishop Jr. breached the endzone on the following play and swung the momentum to Willis’ side.

With the momentum on their side, Willis’ offense racked up more scores via methodical drives constructed through the air. Every drive in the first half was punctuated by a touchdown pass from quarterback D.J. Lagway to young receiver Jermaine Bishop Jr.

The pair totaled three touchdowns during the first half, making for a lopsided score in Willis’ favor.

The lopsided score was aided by a Wildkat defense that feasted on the vulnerable passing game from Tomball Memorial. Sailed passes and missed opportunities from receivers were just a few of the issues that hurt Tomball Memoiral’s offensive production.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Willis Head Coach Trent Miller praised his defense’s ability to compound the misery experienced by their opponent.

“The headlines all week were talking about how it was going to be a shootout answer took that personally,” said Miller. “They showed up tonight, and they did more than their part. They put us in opportune situations.”

The halftime score was 21-0 due to the high-flying offense and the shutout-pitching defense, and the second half took the same beats from Willis.

A promising first drive from Tomball Memorial ended in a goalline stop from Willis, and the Wildkats took the opportunity to put the game away.

Multiple deep shots to Bishop Jr. highlighted the sophomore’s big play ability, as he ended a stellar night with five touchdowns.

“The kid is an absolute specimen,” said Miller about his young talent. “He’s a freak of nature, a phenomenal human being, and I am so glad he plays for the Willis Wildkats.”

Tomball Memorial refused to end their season quietly, as quarterback Aiden Martin found a second wind running the football for his offense. A dual-threat option kept the Willis defense on its toes during the second half, resulting in the first scores of the game for Tomball Memorial.

The first came on a rushing score, but some lengthy passes to receivers found Tomball Memorial notching scores late in the game. Martin ended his night with over 100 yards rushing and two touchdown passes, but it was an effort that fell short.

Late game scores from Willis kept the game out of reach during the second half, ending in a 42-21 victory for the Wildkats.

The win keeps the perfect season alive for Willis and improves the team to 12-0 on the season while adding the title of Area Champions to the team.

“We feel so good,” said Miller after the win. “These kids have worked their tails off all offseason and believing in what we are doing. I love these kids, I love this town, and I love everything about this community.”

Willis now turns its sights to the reigning State Champions of Region II, the Desoto Eagles.

“I think for the first time in nine weeks, the bull’s eye is on somebody else’s back,” said Miller on his upcoming opponent. “We know who they are, we know what they’re about, and we will be clicking on all cylinders next Friday.”

Another anticipated matchup awaits the Willis Wildkats with the hopes of taking home a matchup against one of the toughest teams in the state.

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