Panthers look to snap Grapevine’s win streak in opener

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The lineup of well-known returning talent on Fossil Ridge’s 2013 edition of the football team is deep, with names like cornerback Nick Foster and quarterback Jake Gnacinski.

However, it’s a new player coming over from the basketball team that has turned heads during fall practice and last Friday’s scrimmage.

Point guard-turned-wide receiver (for the fall) Ryan Parker lit up Birdville’s defense Friday, tallying 380 yards receiving and three touchdowns in the scrimmage.

And you better believe he caught the eye of Grapevine head coach Dave Henigan. Fossil Ridge’s season begins against the Mustangs at 7 p.m. Thursday at Grapevine’s Mustang-Panther Stadium.

“Honestly, he’s just a good as I’ve seen anywhere,” Henigan said. “He’s a big concern.”

Feeding him the ball is second-year starter and senior Gnacinski, who threw for 380 yards and the same three touchdowns in Friday’s scrimmage.

Henigan knows the key to staying in the game is eliminating Fossil Ridge’s ability to make the big play and to keep their offense in front of his defensive secondary, he said.

As far as his Grapevine offense is concerned, he is faced with the task of choosing between two quarterbacks, Adam Sandy and Sam Berry. However, it’s more of a blessing than a concern, Henigan said, as both will get snaps during Thursday’s game.

“A lot of people say if you have two, you don’t have any, but we feel like we have two good ones and they are still competing for the job,” he said.

These two teams have played twice in recent history, last year and back in 2009. Both contests were decided by one drive at the end of the game. Needless to say, both coaches are honed in on the turnover battle and doing whatever they can to come out on top.

“It’s really about us executing our assignments and protecting the football,” Fossil Ridge head coach Tony Baccarini said. “We had one fumble the other day after a long reception, so we have to take care of the football and just do our assignments.”

“I realize that this is what every coach says, but it’s about ball security,” Henigan said. “We have to take care of the football offensively and then win the turnover war.”

Grapevine holds a two-game winning streak against Fossil Ridge, dating back to the 2009 season.

The most recent, last year’s season opener, was won by Grapevine, 16-13, on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining in the game, more than earning the respect of Baccarini and his team.

“They got us on some trick plays and they played sound football,” he said. “They’re a perennially playoff team and they played hard on defense. It’s a good matchup.”

Also in action

•  Keller and the Texas bound Teuhema brothers host Prosper at 7 p.m. Thursday at Keller ISD Athletic Complex.

•  Keller Timber Creek takes over the Keller ISD Athletic Complex on Friday to face Trophy Club Byron Nelson at 7:30 p.m.

•  Keller Central takes its turn Saturday, hosting Flower Mound at the Keller ISD Athletic Complex for a 10:30 a.m. matinee opener.

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