After opening the Class 6A football playoffs with a 47-7 bi-district pounding of Harker Heights last week, the Rockwall Yellowjackets will step up a level in classification and in competition on Friday.
The 9-2 Jackets will take on the 11-0 Allen Eagles in an area playoff game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the home stadium for the Dallas Cowboys.
Allen has won five state football titles in the past 11 years and is ranked No. 3 in 6A by “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.” The Jackets are ranked No. 22.
Rockwall rolled up 433 total yards against a Harker Heights team that finished the season with a 4-7 record.
Jacket quarterback Braedyn Locke was 16-of-27 passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns and also ran a yard for his first rushing TD of the season. Locke ranks among the top passers in the state, completing 187 of 316 attempts for 3,168 yards, 38 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Two more Jackets also threw the football against Harker Heights. Caden Marshall threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Kahlil Catlett and freshman Lake Bennett was 2-of-2 passing for 31 yards as the Jackets passed for 342 yards.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Ohio State commit, led the Jacket receivers with four catches for 119 yards and two TDs. Smith-Njigba ranks among the top receivers in the state with 71 catches for 1,523 yards and 24 TDs. He’s caught 258 passes in his career for 4,775 yards and 53 TDs.
Brenden Bayes caught a team-high six catches for 92 yards. Also catching more than one pass were Catlett (2-64), Trevor Munson (2-14), J.J. Williams (2-14) and Jax Johnson (2-26). Williams ranks second on the team with 32 catches for 489 yards and four TDs while Munson has 19 for 247 yards and one score.
Zach Henry led the Rockwall rushers against Harker Heights with 68 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Henry leads the Jackets with 1,115 yards and 15 TDs on 150 carries. Catlett has rushed for 590 yards and five TDs on 118 carries.
Allen won its bi-district game 55-20 over Sachse. The Eagles, who were the District 9-6A champions, are averaging 42 points per game while giving up an average of 18 points per game.
Quarterback Raylen Sharpe directs the Eagles’ offense. Sharpe has passed for 2,344 yards and 19 touchdowns and has rushed for 457 yards and 11 TDs. Sharpe is 145-of-221 passing with five interceptions.
Backup quarterback Drew Cerniglia is 32-of-43 passing for 453 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Blaine Green leads the Allen receivers with 51 catches for 972 yards and eight TDs. Bryson Green has caught 36 for 503 yards and two TDs. Derrion Sherfield has caugh 20 passes for 356 yards and two TDs and Touray Green has caught 17 for 204.
Jordan Johnson leads the Eagle rushers with 735 yards and nine TDs on 75 carries. Celdon Manning is next with 659 yards and nine TDs on 85 carries and Sam Hunter’s rushed for 315 and five TDs on 38 carries.
Allen beat Rockwall in the area round last year, 52-40, on the way to the state finals. Smith-Njigba caught 14 passes for 267 yards and three TDs in that game and Henry ran for 118 yards and two TDs.