Fort Worth Wyatt left Clark Stadium on Friday night with turkey on its football players' minds.
Thanksgiving, you say? Well, in a round-about way.
The mantra of the Chaparrals is to play until Thanksgiving and that hope is still very much alive.
Wyatt (6-4, 4-3 District 7-4A) clinched a third consecutive playoff berth with a 26-14 victory against Fort Worth Western Hills (3-7, 2-5).
To no surprise, the Chaps' steady leader Ladell Marshall had his fingerprints -- not to mention his will -- all over this regular-season finale.
The senior blistered the Cougars in a game of one-upmanship with Western Hills' star runner, Aaron Stevenson, passing for 166 yards and three touchdowns -- including two to Byron Smith -- and running for another and 152 yards on 17 carries.
Stevenson didn't short himself a bit, carrying the ball 33 times for 218 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown that brought Western Hills to within a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Next up for the Chaparrals is a Class 4A Division II bi-district game against Waco at 7:30 p.m. Friday in DeSoto.
So, how does Wyatt continue playing until Thanksgiving? The simplest explanation is often the right one.
"Keep doing what we've been doing," said Zachary Criss, Wyatt's coach. "Keep working hard, keep the dedication, commitment and focus going."
Marshall, a three-year starter at quarterback, was 7 for 9. He threw touchdown passes of 84 and 15 yards to Smith, who hauled in the second one in the back of the end zone with 2.9 seconds left in the first half to give the Chaparrals a 14-0 lead entering the third quarter.
Western Hills and its rigorous ground game remained poised, taking the opening possession of the second half and marching 54 yards in 13 plays, capped by, of all things, a pass from quarterback A.J. Daniels to Monroe England that cut the Chaps' lead in half.
The Cougars ran 48 times for 278 yards. Daniels was 4 for 10 for 24 yards.
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