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The Dotted Line: Sanders wins state title, Klubnik outduels Ewers

Denton Ryan's Ja'Tavion Sanders celebrates his touchdown catch in the 59-14 win over Cedar Park in the Class 5A Division I state championship game.

Ja’Tavion Sanders added a state championship to his five-star résumé on Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington when Denton Ryan knocked off Cedar Park 59-14. Sanders is Texas' highest-ranked member of the 2021 class. The early signee also was the only Texan in the Longhorns' class to win a state title. Tight end Gunnar Helm helped Cherry Creek win a Class 6A championship in Colorado. 

“Winning a state championship was the only thing this team cared about this season,” Sanders said after the win. “The loss last year in the title game hurt us. We worked the entire offseason to get back to the game and close. We did that.” 

Sanders won’t arrive at UT until this summer, but his future position will be a topic of conversation for new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Sanders starred at wide receiver and defensive end during his prep career. At 6-3, 220, he was pegged as the heir apparent to Joseph Ossai at defensive end by many recruiting sites and onlookers.

He loves to play offense, however, and his potential on offense was on full display throughout the season.

“I’m going to play wherever I can get on the field and make an impact,” Sanders said earlier in the season. “It’s fun to create turnovers and making plays on the offensive side of the ball is amazing.” 

He caught a team-high five balls for 77 yards and a touchdown in the win over Cedar Park. He didn’t record a defensive statistic despite logging a handful of snaps on that side of the ball. For the season, he recorded 63 catches for 1,156 yards and 16 touchdowns. He played a vast majority more on offense than defense as a senior. Sanders recorded 20 sacks in his previous two seasons on varsity. 

Klunick outduels Ewers: The Texas high school season concluded Saturday night when Westlake outlasted Southlake Carroll in a matchup between the two best junior quarterbacks in Texas. Ewers, a five-star from Southlake who flipped his commitment from Texas to Ohio State during the season, was the headliner, but it was Klubnik, a four-star from Westlake, who emerged victorious.

Both players hold offers from Texas, but everything is up in the air with Sarkisian now in charge. 

Klubnik and his Westlake teammates earned a spot in the Class 6A Division I state championship by knocking off two-time reigning champions Galena Park North Shore and senior quarterback Dematrius Davis. Davis, who signed with Auburn in December, is a member of the 2021 Fabulous 55. Klubnik then beat Ewers a week later. 

Klubnik completed 18 of 20 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown in the win over Carroll. He added 97 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 carries. 

Ewers was 23 of 39 for 351 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. He added 15 yards on eight carries against a stingy Westlake defense that came into the game allowing only 5.5 points per game.