NEW CANEY — The Battle Line on 59 trophy remains with New Caney.
The Eagles won their fourth consecutive district title and completed the first undefeated regular season in program history on Friday night with a 37-0 victory over crosstown rival Porter at Randall Reed Stadium.
New Caney (10-0, 7-0) is now 10-0 all-time against the Spartans (8-2, 6-1) and are headed into the playoffs with plenty of momentum and the outright District 9-5A (Div. I) championship in tow. The Eagles will face off against Foster (6-4), the fourth-place team from 10-5A, in the bi-district round next week.
“What a big game for our program,” New Caney coach Brady Pennington said. “Ten wins in a row is really big, and the Battle Line game. But more than anything, just 10-0, district champs, and that didn’t come easy. We worked our tails off. Those kids have really been a good group with their work ethic. That’s what you tell them — that’s going to pay off for you down the road if you just keep grinding. Our kids have done that.”
Porter, meanwhile, will take on Fort Bend Hightower (6-4) in the first round of the postseason. The Spartans have already set the program record for wins in a single season, and now they are aiming for their first-ever playoff victory. Hightower took the No. 3 seed out of 10-5A after defeating to Foster 14-10 on Thursday.
“Second half, they just made a lot more plays than we did,” Porter coach Jim Holley said. “Give them credit. We’ve got to do a better job coaching and preparing, and hopefully next week we can bounce back and get a ‘W.’”
Neither team was able to get on the board in the opening quarter, but Porter had the best opportunity after moving into New Caney territory on its first drive. The Spartans lined up for a 43-yard field goal attempt from Josue Acosta, but the snap was high, and the kick missed low and to the left.
The Eagles finally broke the stalemate with 10 minutes on the clock in the second period, capping an 85-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Zion Childress to Isaiah Akin.
The Eagles created the only turnover in the first half with an interception from Kaylye Jackson with under two minutes remaining to spoil some good field position for the Spartans.
New Caney started the third quarter with a huge play on special teams as Phillip McDaniel took the kickoff back 82 yards for a touchdown. The senior speedster then broke the game open midway through the quarter as he took a swing pass from Childress and sprinted 61 yards up the right sideline for the score.
“It gave us a big momentum change,” McDaniel said of his kickoff return. “Coach gave us a good speech at halftime, said we had to pick it up — game was too close. Had to turn up.”
That touchdown came on the very first play after a fumble recovery by C.J. Sanders in New Caney territory. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Eagles with a 20-0 advantage.
McDaniel wasn’t done there, however. Early in the fourth quarter, he reached paydirt on a 29-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass to extend the lead once again. Childress then hit Akin for the two-point conversion.
McDaniel finished the game with 250 all-purpose yards, including seven catches for 168.
“He just got some opportunities,” Pennington said. “He made some great runs, and he is very explosive, but I’m going to tell you, there was some great blocking going on out on the edge for him, too.”
Childress scored on a 55-yard touchdown run later in the fourth, and Israel Oregon booted a 22-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining. Childress finished with 123 yards rushing and 200 passing.