HOUSTON – The Texas high school football playoffs could be best compared to a heavy-weight championship boxing match.
Whichever teams are still standing after six brutal rounds are the champions. That's it.
With the first two rounds in the books, every District 21-6A team – North Shore, Atascocita, C.E. King and Summer Creek – has taken their punches but are all still standing entering the Regional Semifinals.
"It just shows the competition in the district, and I think a lot of people realize that it was one of the toughest districts," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said. "Even though West Brook didn't make it, they would've probably made it in a lot of districts.
"It's hard to tell while you're in it because you're in the middle of it. But when you get out and start seeing other districts it says a lot about it. I think it's real important who you play."
As the playoffs push into the third round, District 21-6A is the only Class 6A District in the State of Texas that has all four playoff teams still in.
There are four districts that have three teams each (5-6A, 11-6A, 19-6A and 26-6A) and four with just two teams left (4-6A, 10-6A, 14-6A and 31-6A).
But none with four.
"It speaks volumes of the level of competition in our district," Summer Creek coach Kenny Harrison told VYPE via text. "Labeled as the toughest district in the state before the season began, and this district has prepared you to be sound in all three phases. It has prepared the four of us to be able to play at a very high level the first two rounds."
If you take the time and look at the history of the teams in District 21-6A, there is a reason many believe it is one of the toughest in the state.
North Shore has won three state championships since 2015; Atascocita is into the Regional Semis for a seventh-straight season and were State Semifinalists in 2016; and Beaumont West Brook – which finished 5th and out of the playoffs – was a state runner-up back in 2018.
District of Doom is a fair name.
"You don't have any weeks off," C.E. King coach Derek Fitzhenry said about the competition level of 21-6A play. "All the teams are capable of beating you with the slightest margin of error. A mistake here or there and the game is out of reach.
"You have to continually grow each week to keep up."
That experience has shown in the first two rounds.
In the Bi-District Round, every team scored 49 or more points – North Shore scoring the most beating Pasadena Dobie 62-14. In the Area Round, three of the four teams scored 35 or more points. With the wins, District 21-6A now boasts three 10-win teams (North Shore at 11-1), and a nine-win squad.
In 12 games played, every playoff team is averaging 39 or more points – Summer Creek leading with 45.416 per game.
"It says a lot about the quality of coaching and athletes we have in District 21-6A," Fitzhenry said.
With the way the bracket is set up, if every District 21-6A team wins this week, that will set up all-District 21-6A State Quarterfinals in Class 6A Division I – Atascocita vs North Shore – and Division II – C.E. King vs Summer Creek – in Region III.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch these 21-6A teams play throughout the entire year. I can’t say that I’m surprised by their success, and I truly hope it continues,” North Shore coach Jon Kay said. “I think it’s testament to the quality of football on the Eastside. I’m looking forward to seeing all of us compete this weekend against some incredible opponents.”