There are two ways to look at Colleyville Heritage's 35-30 comeback victory over Hurst L.D. Bell last week to end the regular season.
One is the Panthers (9-1) showed tremendous resiliency this season in being able to overcome large first quarter deficits. The other is Heritage's pension for slow starts could end its playoff run, which begins Saturday in Class 5A Division II clash with Hebron (6-4), before it gets started.
"It was a major comeback, it was amazing," said receiver Kaelin Deboskie, who caught a 77-yard go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of last week's game. "We've been down big in like three games -- Denton Guyer, Irving MacArthur got up on us and Bell. We have to start out strong, which we haven't done, and we need to fix it in practice, but I think we'll get there."
Last week marked the sixth time this year the Panthers have trailed after the first quarter yet they won five of those games, losing only to Euless Trinity, 31-16, on Sept. 28.
They spotted L.D. Bell a 21-point cushion before roaring back behind star quarterback Cody Thomas, who threw five touchdowns to four different receivers.
"He's an incredible football player," Heritage coach Mike Fuller said. "With the demeanor he has, he's the guy you want as your quarterback, he's the guy you want to play with the game on the line. He's just a clutch player."
Aiding Thomas, who has passed for 3,407 yards and 38 touchdowns this season, in these comebacks is an explosive receiving corps. Nathan Crouch (18.8), Deboskie (17.8) and Daniel Farrington (16.9) all average over 16 yards per catch.
The defense is also coming up big in crunch time, as evidenced by last week's performance.
The Panthers picked off two fourth quarter passes -- one by Jacob Sisk, and another by Kamel Layne in the end zone to end the game. Sisk also intercepted a pass in the first half and made a huge fourth down stop in the final stanza.
"I couldn't be happier to work with a better group of kids who work their tails off every day," Fuller said. "They just trust in each other and just keep believing. Hopefully we can put something together this week and keep it going."
Leaving a legacy
Topped off with last week's 19-0 defeat of Keller Central, Justin Northwest (8-2) has had its best season since moving up to Class 5A in 2006.
"The kids were excited after the win," said Northwest coach Bill Patterson, whose 2012 team has already won as many games as the past three seasons combined. "Keller Central is somebody that's our rival anyways, so it was fun to beat them and get to eight wins. They knew and talked all week about getting to eight wins and going into the playoffs with positive momentum."
Thursday's Class 5A Division II bi-district matchup against Arlington Lamar (5-5) will mark the third time Patterson has led a school to multiple playoff appearances after taking Canyon (1996, 1998-99), Garland Naaman Forest (2003, 2007-08) and now Northwest (2010, 2012).
Thursday will be just the Texans' sixth playoff appearance (1989, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010) in the last 25 years.
New national record
Davidson Day (N.C.) quarterback Will Grier set a national record for passing yards in a single game after throwing for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in a 104-80 win over Harrells Christian last week in the North Carolina state playoffs.
Grier overtook David Koral of Pacific Palisades (Calif.) who threw for 764 yards in 2000.
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