St. Pius X shuts out Episcopal to remain undefeated
The Houston area’s top two private school teams brought plenty of star power into their non-conference matchup Sept. 14 at Simmons Field.
No. 1 St. Pius X and No. 2 Episcopal brought as many as ten players ranked between two to five stars by popular national recruiting services, with a trio already committed to college programs.
Panthers quarterback Grant Gunnell added five more touchdowns to his remarkable totals, throwing for three and rushing for two. But it was the St. Pius X defense creating opportunities with four first-half turnovers, paving the way for a 42-0 victory.
It was their first shutout since the previous September and a key part of a complete performance that kept the Panthers undefeated at 3-0.
“When the whole team comes together and everything clicks like that, there’s nothing better,” senior defensive end Lucas Robertson said. “It’s all the extra work we did in practice leading up to that. That just showed up in the work we did on the field tonight.”
Both defenses made their mark in the first half, due in part to a soggy field. The Knights made a fourth-down stop near their end zone in the opening quarter and forced consecutive punts in the second quarter.
In between, Gunnell found Kaleb Ducros for a 45-yard touchdown to break the scoreless tie with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
An interception by the Panthers’ Lucas Robertson did not result in points but helped pin the Knights at their own one-yard line after a punt. A fumbled handoff was recovered in the end zone by Jagger Pagano for a 14-0 lead.
Episcopal fumbled again on its next possession after reaching Panthers territory. Ja’kouvis Griffin recovered and big gains by Tate Jernigan and Chase Lane set up a 15-yard touchdown from Gunnell to Boobie Curry.
Gunnell followed another Knights fumble with a 14-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left in the half. Episcopal drove to the St. Pius X three but could not complete a pass, entering the break trailing 28-0.
Gunnell and linebacker Bruno Forestieri rushed for second-half touchdowns, while the defense finished a fine performance against a perennial SPC finalist.
“It was outstanding,” senior defensive tackle Thommy Good said. “Our team was going 11-3, 11 men to the football, 3 and out. We gave it our all every play.”
The Panthers have outscored opponents 162-42 thus far, including wins against Beaumont United and La Marque. They continue non-district play Sept. 21 at home against Manor, then travel to Plano for a TAPPS state final rematch with Prestonwood Christian on Sept. 28.
Episcopal took its first loss of the season, entering the game as one of the few 3-0 squads in Texas due to an Aug. 25 victory in North Carolina.
The Knights followed with a 34-28 win against Navasota and a 42-14 win against Sam Rayburn. They begin SPC play Sept. 21 at Episcopal School of Dallas.
WEEK 3 SCORES
Marshall 47, Milby 0
Van Vleck 67, Kashmere 6
Hargrave 34, Worthing 12
North Forest 50, Washington 7
Wisdom 31, Christo Rey Jesuit 6
Baytown Sterling 28, Austin 7
Stratford 49, Spring Woods 7
Elkins 48, Chavez 31
Manvel 68, Sharpstown 0
Madison 22, Northside 20 (OT)
Sterling 36, Waltrip 21
Royal 48, Scarborough 0
Beaumont Westbrook 28, Lamar 14
Aldine 41, Sam Houston 27
Wharton 43, Yates 28
Brenham 13, Heights 12
St. Pius X 42, Episcopal 0
Houston Christian 34, The Village School 7
KIPP Northeast 24, Lutheran North 2
Austin Hyde Park Baptist 34, St. John’s 23
Kinkaid 77, St. Thomas 63
Strake Jesuit 34, Eisenhower 3
St. John XXIII 24, Westbury Christian 21
Second Baptist 28, Concordia Lutheran 21
Morton Ranch 21, Westside 14
Cy-Fair 70, Northbrook 0
Lumberton 54, Furr 23
Davis 49, Westbury 7
Bellaire 41, MacArthur 27
WEEK 3 STARS
A.J. Abbott, Houston Christian
Abbot accounted for four touchdowns in a 34-7 win against The Village School, connecting with Max Williams for two scores. Abbott added 104 yards and two more on 14 carries.
Josh Johnson, Second Baptist
In addition to passing for 152 yards, Johnson carried 19 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns, the last of 52 yards with 6:50 left that proved to be the game winner in a 28-21 victory against Concordia Lutheran. Christian McMillan added 121 yards on seven catches for the undefeated Eagles.
Mohamed Kabre, Wisdom
The Generals ended a 20-game losing streak with a 31-6 victory against Christo Rey Jesuit. Kabre led all backs with 174 yards on 20 carries, including touchdown runs of 38 and 30 yards. Shonquez Whiting and Josue Martinez added touchdowns during a 28-point second quarter.
Joseph Cochran, Stratford
Cochran gained 128 yards and a touchdown on only nine carries as the Spartans opened district play with a 49-7 rout of Spring Woods. Andrew Nwagbo added three touchdowns, Keaton Klasing returned a pick 70 yards for another score and Willis Graham notched 10 tackles and a sack.
Darius Reed, Bellaire
Reed had an efficient passing night to help the Cardinals to their first win, 41-27 against MacArthur. Reed was 12 for 17 for 178 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He added a rushing touchdown, while Willie Branch scored twice including a 76-yard kick return.
Josh Williams, Kinkaid
Williams had a night for the ages with an astounding 471 yards, and the Falcons needed every one in a 77-63 victory against St. Thomas. The Falcons begin SPC play this week against St. Mark’s.
WEEK 4 SCHEDULE
Seven Lakes vs. Heights, 6:30 p.m., Legacy Stadium
Stratford vs. Cypress Ridge, 7 p.m., Pridgeon Stadium*
Milby vs. Northside, 7 p.m., Barnett Stadium*
Morton Ranch vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m., Rhodes Stadium
Northbrook vs. Cypress Falls, 7 p.m., Tully Stadium*
Willowridge vs. Waltrip, 7 p.m., Hall Stadium*
Chavez vs. Clear Lake, 7 p.m., Barnett Stadium
Bellaire vs. Clear Falls, 7 p.m., Butler Stadium
Furr vs. Hempstead, 7 p.m., Cowart Stadium
Washington vs. Yates, 7 p.m., Delmar Stadium
Scarborough vs. Hitchcock, 7 p.m., Dyer Stadium
Lamar vs. Hutto, 7 p.m., Cub Stadium, Brenham
North Forest vs. Brazosport, 7:30 p.m., Hopper Stadium
Westside vs. Angleton, 7:30 p.m., Wildcat Stadium
Westbury vs. Bay City, 7:30 p.m., Black Cat Memorial Stadium
Stafford vs. St. Thomas, 7:30 p.m., Stafford MSD Stadium
The Village School vs. Legacy School of Sports Science, 6 p.m., Village School Field
Episcopal vs. Episcopal School of Dallas, 7 p.m., Jones Family Stadium*
Houston Christian vs. Greenhill, 7 p.m., Brinkman Field*
Kinkaid vs. St. Mark’s, 7 p.m., Barnhart Stadium*
Lutheran North vs. Beaumont Legacy Christian, 7 p.m., Richter Stadium
Westbury Christian vs. Boling, 7 p.m., Husky Stadium
St. Pius X vs. Manor, 7:30 p.m., Parsley Field
Second Baptist vs. Van Vleck, 7:30 p.m., McKinney Stadium
Memorial vs. Cy-Fair, 6 p.m., Tully Stadium*
Sterling vs. Sharpstown, 6 p.m., Barnett Stadium*
Kashmere vs. Wheatley, 6 p.m., Delmar Stadium
Emery/Weiner vs. Brazosport Christian, 7 p.m., Slade Field