For the second week in a row, the new artificial turf at Reliant Stadium will receive a heavy workload of high school football playoff games.
This weekâ€™s schedule included a Nov. 30 game featuring Pearland Dawson, the stateâ€™s No. 1-ranked Class 4A school, taking on Nederland from the Golden Triangle area.
On Saturday (Dec. 1), the stadium will host a playoff tripleheader. In the first game, Katy will face La Porte in a repeat of last seasonâ€™s Region III-5A Division II semifinal that La Porte won 9-7. Katy is the top-ranked Class 5A school in Texas and ranked among the top five in every national prep poll. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
The second game will feature state-ranked North Shore against Alief Elsik in a Division I 5A regional semifinal at 3 p.m. The nightcap at 7 p.m. has perennial powerhouse Houston Lamar squaring off against upstart Fort Bend Travis in a Class 5A Division I Region III semifinal.
â€śItâ€™s a great surface and itâ€™s just a great environment,â€ť said Katy running back Adam Taylor. â€śMy teammates and I are lucky to be playing in here for the third time this season.â€ť
Katy opened the 2012 season against Klein in Reliant Stadium. However, the Tigers played on the same grass field that the Texans play on back then. Reliant Stadium installed the new turf in time to host two playoff tripleheaders last weekend.
â€śI had to get used to this turf a little bit,â€ť said Lamar quarterback Darrell Colbert, who passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his teamâ€™s 30-14 area round playoff victory over Alief Taylor at Reliant Stadium. â€śI slipped at first, but once I got used to it, I was all right. Itâ€™s a beautiful field and a wonderful venue to play at.â€ť
Reliant Stadium hopes to compete with Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the Alamodome in San Antonio for future high school football state title games. The Texans will continue playing on a natural grass field at Reliant Stadium.
DARRELL K. ARDISON