With its 2-0 start, Keller Fossil Ridge is already one win from matching its total for last season, and the primary reason has been an improved passing attack.
Quarterback Jacob Gnacinski is among the area leaders in passing after two weeks, having completed 34 of 48 passes for 668 yards with seven touchdowns, with only one interception. Wide receiver Niron Fields is averaging more than 20 yards per catch and fellow wideout Ryan Parker has nine catches — four for touchdowns — for 288 yards, an average of more than 32 yards per reception.
“Our offensive line is doing a great job, but Jake has worked hard,” coach Tony Baccarini said. “He was splitting time last year and only had half the reps throughout the spring. He’s worked hard all this past spring and summer and he’s trained to be great. He’s more accurate, making better decisions and reading defenses — he’s just a more complete quarterback.”
The Panthers will face their toughest test to date Friday against Hebron, but their victories over Dallas Jesuit and Grapevine have them feeling confident.
“Both those wins make things much easier,” Baccarini said. “A prepared team is a confident team, and our kids feel good about themselves and their plans and their execution, so it builds a lot of confidence. It’s a lot easier to build confidence at 2-0 than 0-2.”
No more tune-ups
While most schools have another week of nondistrict play, nine-team District 6-4A starts league play this week, and one of the matchups features the two teams many expected to compete for the district title — Saginaw Boswell at Birdville.
Even though the Pioneers come into the game at 0-2, Boswell isn’t intimidated by the 2-0 Hawks.
“Our goal is to be district champs,” Boswell coach John Abendschan said. “We know Birdville is a good team and has been for a long time. We scheduled two 5A schools that played us tough. We didn’t play good enough to win, but we were able to take out of it things that we weren’t doing particularly well. If we had played someone we could have handled easily, we may not know as much about ourselves. I think our kids keep that in perspective.”
Boswell was beaten 35-23 by Haltom followed by a 17-3 loss to Keller Central, but Abendschan insists his team’s record doesn’t affect itsmentality.
“Saturday morning after the [Keller Central] game, sitting 0-2, every kid showed up ready to work out and they had a great attitude. They understand the process. They understand those two games mean nothing in our district and that we’re all 0-0 going into the start of district. Our kids are excited about facing Birdville; our kids love the challenge.”
Vols QB injured
Arlington Bowie quarterback Keaton Perry left in the first quarter of last week’s victory over Mesquite with a knee injury. It was the second consecutive season that Perry was hurt in the second game. Last year, a torn ACL forced him to miss the remainder of the season, but in his absence a star was born. Sophomore Tony James stepped in and earned District 3-5A MVP honors. James will be asked to take over again indefinitely.
Perry is awaiting MRI results that will determine the severity of the injury, but the Volunteers know they have a dynamic playmaker to steer the offense while he’s out.
“Everybody is heartbroken and so disappointed and down that Keaton is hurt again,” Bowie coach Danny DeArman said. “We are lucky to have a kid that can come in and is as electrifying as Tony is, but it’s really hard for us to see that as such as positive when such a great kid gets hurt.”
Just a number
Aledo (2-0) is back atop The Associated Press Class 4A state poll for the first time since August 2011, when they entered the season ranked No. 1 but lost to Stephenville in the season opener.
Aledo has trounced Highland Park (44-3) and rival Stephenville (56-14), while previous No. 1s Denton Guyer lost a season opener to Cedar Hill and Cedar Park lost to Abilene Cooper last week.
“It’s fun for the kids to say they’re ranked No. 1, but we don’t put a whole lot of stock in it,” coach Tim Buchanan said. “If the kids start talking about it, then I make sure they realize it’s just a poll and just because you’re ranked No. 1 doesn’t mean you really are No. 1. We stress you’ve got to win games on the field, you don’t win them in polls.”
Martin senior honored
Arlington Martin senior Myles Garrett was selected as the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Player of the Week for Class 5A. Garrett recorded 41/2 sacks, six tackles for loss and blocked an extra point try in the Warriors’ 27-24 victory Friday over Dallas Skyline.
Player of the Week
In the dfwvarsity.com fan vote for performances Sept. 5-7, Fort Worth Paschal quarterback Dylan Thomas edged out Arlington Colts quarterback Michael Gray. More than 6,000 votes were cast for nine players. Visit the site Monday to see who’s in the running for this week’s games.
Fossil Ridge quarterback Jacob Gnacinski has completed 34 of 48 passes for 668 yards with seven touchdowns in two games
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