Star-Telegram writers Travis L. Brown, left, and Jarret Johnson of the High School Huddle sound off on the games of the week. Visit dfwvarsity.com to catch the show and to find photo galleries from many area games.
Allen vs. Southlake Carroll
7:30 p.m. Friday at Southlakes Dragon Stadium
Jarret: Arguably the mega matchup in Texas this week as Southlake Carroll hosts defending state champ and top-ranked Allen. These schools won the past two Class 5A Division I titles and are on the short list to take home the hardware this season. All eyes will be on Allen dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray, offensive MVP of the title game last season. Ryan Agnew takes the reins at quarterback for Carroll in his first career start and will face a very good Eagles defense. I like Allens experience to win the day in a close one in front of a packed house.
Travis: For two-plus years, Southlake Carroll has had the guy. Kenny Hill was the quarterback that was the talk of North Texas and finally took Carroll back to the promised land of a state championship two seasons ago. Now, the guy is calling snaps at Allen. Junior quarterback Kyler Murray took Allen to a 5A title last year as a sophomore and is widely considered the next generation of elite quarterback, with offers from Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M just to name a few. Allen will again beat Carroll, as it did in last years 24-0 opening of Allens new football palace.
Arlington Martin vs. DeSoto
7:30 p.m. Friday at DeSotos Eagle Stadium
Jarret: Another Class 5A heavyweight tilt featuring two of the top programs in the state. DeSoto quarterback Desmon White returns after amassing more than 4,800 combined yards and 46 touchdowns last year. DeSoto also returns a lot on defense, led by defensive tackle Bryce English and defensive back Nick Orr. The Warriors will counter with perhaps the top defensive end tandem around in Myles Garrett and Justin Hollins but will be very green on offense, led by promising sophomore quarterback Eric Walker. The experience disparity at quarterback and the friendly confines make DeSoto an obvious pick.
Travis: DeSoto is called The U for good reason. After shipping off many seniors to FBS football programs each season, another great athlete steps up and fills the void equally if not better than the starter before. So, losing star running back Dontre Wilson to graduation and Ohio State shouldnt faze the Eagles much at all. However, rarely have I seen a team buy into a program and a coach like Martins players do for head coach Bob Wager. I have a good feeling about this years squad and think Friday could be a defining win en route to a magical season.
Arlington Bowie vs. Mansfield
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfields R.L. Anderson Stadium
Jarret: Bowie is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, led by last seasons District 3-5A MVP Tony James and quarterback Keaton Perry. The defense looks just as nice with defensive backs Edwin Freeman and Nico Small, along with linebacker Roderick Winters leading the charge. They will have to contend with a prolific Mansfield ground attack featuring Julius Lewis, who rushed for 1,175 yards and 12 scores in 2012. Yet, Mansfield has a lot of holes to fill from last season and I wouldnt be surprised if Bowie jumps out early and runs away with it. Vols roll.
Travis: In talking to a source very close to these programs, I was told this shouldnt even be close, and I want to think this will be the case. Bowie returns one of the most complete squads from last season and will be led by an ultra-motivated Keaton Perry at quarterback, who has everything to prove his senior season after losing the last two to knee injuries. However, somehow Mansfield typically finds a way to get things done and runs an SEC-esque offensive system under Jeff Hulme that wins ballgames. Bowie wins, but it might be closer than many would believe.
Aledo vs. Highland Park (Tom Landry Classic)
7 p.m. Saturday at Allens Eagle Stadium
Jarret: Big surprise, Aledos very good again this season. Athlete Ryan Newsome, fullback Daythan Davis and running back Jess Anders give the Bearcats a dangerous mix at the skill positions. The offensive line is strong and the defense is expected to be improved from a season ago, especially up front, where Cory Stitle has moved over after starting at offensive line the past two seasons. Highland Park is always good, but lost a lot from a season ago and returns just one starter on offense from a season ago. I like Aledo by double digits.
Travis: Its a rite of fall. High school football season opens, the Tom Landry Classic is played and Aledo and Highland Park typically face off. Two teams with a great tradition of winning and outstanding past individual prospects. However, Aledo has always put a strong emphasis on defense and returns a great squad led by linebacker Jordan Mittie and will be enough to take down the typically offensive-focused Highland Park.
Fort Worth Southwest vs. Cleburne
7:30 p.m. Friday at Cleburnes Yellow Jacket Stadium
Jarret: Speed, speed, speed. Despite the loss of receiver Robbie Rhodes, Southwest will be one of the fastest Class 4A teams in the area once again. Jameion Williams is the complete package at running back, coming off a 1,268-yard, 12-touchdown performance in 2012. Cleburne lost a lot from its high-octane offense last season, but returns most of its defense, including potential stars in defensive tackle Tevin Boone and linebacker Brezuan Miller. Both teams still have a lot of questions heading into the game, but Ill take the Yellow Jackets at home.
Travis: Fort Worth Southwest has been the darling of Fort Worth ISD football the past couple of seasons, but took a big hit from graduation this season. It wont be the same Southwest team fans have become accustomed to, but they still have talent and it shouldnt be considered a full rebuild. This game is close almost too close to call but I agree that Cleburne wins from home-field advantage.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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