Only one football team in each classification can hoist a state championship trophy at the end of each season.
Unfortunately for all of the area’s private school squads, that was not to be their destiny this year.
The Lutheran High North Lions and St. Thomas Eagles both saw their seasons come to an end last weekend in the TAPPS regional finals. LHN lost 28-8 against Tomball Rosehill Christian, while St. Thomas dropped a 21-7 decision to Midland Christian.
LHN finished the season with a 6-3 record, while St. Thomas ended with a 7-3 mark. St. Pius X had fallen 64-28 to Midland Christian on Nov. 21 to end its season at 4-4.
Trailing 14-0 after the first quarter last week, St. Thomas got a 33-yard scoring strike from Maddox Kopp to Drake Martinez late in the second to pull within 14-7 at halftime. However, the Eagles were unable to muster anything else against the Mustangs. St. Thomas had multiple second-half possessions reach the Mustang red zone, but came up empty with a fumble and turnover on downs.
St. Thomas will graduate 26 seniors, including top skill players in Kopp, Martinez, receiver Cameron Bonner and running back John Fontenot.
Kopp, a University of Houston pledge, finished his St. Thomas career with a 16-7 record in two seasons as a starter, throwing for more than 6,000 yards and 59 touchdowns. Martinez, who is committed to Colorado State, racked up more than 1,400 receiving yards in four seasons. Bonner amassed more than 2,000 receiving yards in three seasons and has 19 major-college offers. Fontenot, meanwhile, had more than 1,700 total yards in three seasons.
LHN got an 85-yard touchdown pass from Kamare Shorts and two-point conversion from Jaaron Henderson to pull to within 21-8 early in the second quarter against Rosehill Christian, but an interception returned for a touchdown just before halftime stymied any momentum.
In the second half, the Lions’ comeback attempt was snuffed out by a red zone interception early in the fourth quarter.
Looking ahead, however, the future seems bright for the Lions. Xavier Neal, their leading receiver, will return, as will quarterback Shorts and leading rusher Zach Menefee.