Friday Night Lights, Houston-Style: Hightower-Dulles, And Ranking The Best

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Hair Balls watched a game about a month ago between two old HISD rivals, and we noticed that the stands were a little empty and the game play was a little soft. We found an old Madison coach, Richard Blair, who told us that he thought Houston high school teams have been watered down while suburban schools -- particularly in Fort Bend County -- have grown.

So this weekend we decided to check out the best Fort Bend has to offer, the Hightower Hurricanes. Unfortunately, Hightower played perhaps the worst Fort Bend team, the Dulles Vikings. Hightower dominated, leading 35-0 at halftime and winning the game 38-12. But seeing Hightower play was worth the trip, and the school's band and drill team put on a great halftime performance.

So now we've seen games between teams from the Fort Bend, Houston, Katy, Spring and Spring Branch school districts, and with the season about half way finished, we decided to offer our take on the best these districts have to offer.

1. Stadium: Does every school district have a massive high school stadium now? We think so, but the best super stadium we've visited is Spring Branch's Darrell Tully Stadium, for its sheer size and design. There's probably not a better place to experience a high school game, however, than Katy's Rhodes Stadium, but that probably has to do more with Katy's fans than the stadium.

2. Fans: Katy High School, hands down. We've called this school's fans "devoted if sometimes oppressive," and we haven't found a more devoted group yet. Or more oppressive. If you want to check out a Katy home game, it's probably a good idea to buy tickets as soon as possible, because the games sell out. When the entire stadium, including the grassy hills behind the end zone, is full of fans wearing Katy red, it's quite a scene.

3. Band and Drill Team: Spring's Westfield High School put on the best show we've seen, but Hightower comes in a close second. Westfield had a stage for singers and dancers, and the band was flawless. And, even though Westfield was the visiting team, the band and drill team performed for the home crowd, something that doesn't happen enough. Hightower wins the originality award for its live "BandTube" performance featuring a fake Lady Gaga.

4. Football team: The best two teams we've seen are Westfield and Hightower. Westfield's quarterback, Jacoby Walker, can probably keep his team in any game. Hightower seems to have the best group of athletes and hasn't missed a beat despite losing All-Everything quarterback A.J. Highsmith to graduation and the University of Miami. Of course, Katy High School, after losing its second game to The Woodlands, has won four straight games and will probably win another state championship.

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