For the first time in a long time HISD still has a rooting interest in the high school football playoffs.
With Lamar’s 24-14 win over Fort Bend Travis Saturday, the Redskins reached the 5A Division I Region III finals. The Elite 8 in the high school playoff bracket. It’s also rare air for the Houston Independent School District which hasn’t had a team reach the region finals in 4A or 5A in nearly a decade.
To find the last state champion from HISD in class 4A or 5A, you need to go all the way back to 1985 and the historic Yates team that beat Odessa Permian 37-0 for the 5A title (back when there was no Division I or II). That Yates team, which had the state's top recruit in linebacker Melvin Foster and future NFL players Johnny Bailey and Santana Dotson, is on the short list when conversations turn to the best Texas high school team ever.
Yates is also the last HISD school to reach the state finals, making it in 1992 before losing to Temple.
Vince Young was in high school the last time a HISD won Region III in high school. Young’s 2001 Madison Marlins beat Yates, Katy and North Shore and Hightower to win the 5A Division II Region III title. The game with North Shore is remembered as one of the all-time great games with Madison surviving the shootout in the Astrodme 61-58. Madison wound up losing in the state semifinals to Austin Westlake.
Lamar’s last trip to the Region finals was also the last time a HISD school won advanced that far in 5A. That 2003 Redskins team faced the same opponent in the region finals this year’s squad does, North Shore. North Shore came out on top in that game 42-19. Those 19 points Lamar scored on North Shore nearly matched the 21 points that the Mustangs other four playoff opponents scored combined. 2003 was the year North Shore last won the state title, beating The Woodlands at Rice Stadium 23-7 for the Championship.