Any team that wins a 5A Division I state title can’t be considered a fluke, but if there was any question about defending champion Pearland’s staying power, it’s been answered.
Pearland (11-2) absorbed two nondistrict losses early in the season but has since gone on a roll, defeating its three playoff opponents – Fort Bend Elkins, Deer Park and Houston Lamar – by a combined score of 123-21.
The Oilers play Fort Bend Hightower (11-2), which knocked Pearland out of the playoffs in 2008, in the 5A Division I Region 3 final at 4 p.m. Saturday. The winner plays the winner between Harlingen (13-0) and San Antonio Madison (9-4) for a berth in the state title game.
*Rematches are the theme of the playoffs this year. The region finals feature six rematches among 16 games, including three in the 4A Division II bracket.
*All four of last year's 4A and 5A state champions -- Pearland (5A Division I), Cibolo Steele (5A Division II), Austin Lake Travis (4A Division I) and Aledo (4A Division II) -- are still alive in their respective brackets.
*The Division II bracket got shaken up last week when La Porte (12-1) upset No. 1 Katy, 9-7. La Porte will take on Port Arthur Memorial (12-1) in the Region 3 final in a rematch of La Porte’s 24-20 win over Memorial in district play.
In Region 4, defending Division II champion Steele (13-0) takes on San Antonio Reagan (12-1). Steele has won 26 straight games, the longest active streak in the state.
*Four-time defending state champion Lake Travis (13-0) will face district rival Cedar Park (13-1) for the sixth time in four years in the 4A Division I Region 4 finals Friday.
Lake Travis is 4-1 against Cedar Park in that span, including a 21-20 win in the region final last year.
The winner will take on the winner between Angleton (13-0) and Pearland Dawson (12-2) in the Region 3 final.
*The 4A Division II bracket has produced few surprises. State finalist La Marque (11-2) is making another run, but Manvel (13-0), which handily defeated La Marque 29-14 in district play, stands in its way. The two face off at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Region 3 final.
The winner will play the winner of the Region 4 final between traditional powerhouses Corpus Christi Calallen (12-1) and Kerrville Tivy (11-2).