Football Insider: Unbeaten Dunbar thinks it has turned a corner

Posted Monday, Sep. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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To outsiders, the resurgence of Fort Worth Dunbar might come as a surprise.

The Wildcats, who went 5-6 last year, are 4-0 this season and 2-0 in District 6-4A.

And they’re coming off a 49-44 win last Friday over Birdville, a team they lost to 42-17 a season ago. But their early season success hasn’t been a shock to those within the program.

“Believe me, [beating Birdville] is a good win,” Dunbar coach Todd Lawson said. “But like I always say, Dunbar controls their own destiny. All we have to do is ask our guys is to be focused and be coachable.”

Still, Lawson didn’t understate the importance of beating Birdville (2-2, 0-2 in 6-4A), an annual contender for the district title.

“Overall, this was a playoff game for us,” Lawson said. “Basically, all the Fort Worth city teams have had trouble with teams outside of the [820] loop. Last year, we could give them some fits, but we were kind of short-handed.”

That hasn’t been the case this year. Dunbar features a handful of talented skill players on offense, two of whom clinched Friday’s game in the final seconds.

LaQuarrian Peoples connected with DaVonta Kinney for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4 seconds left to give Dunbar the win over Birdville. It was a wild end to a game that had more than 900 yards of combined offense and eight turnovers.

Xavier Turner’s 1-yard touchdown run with 41 seconds left seemed to seal it for Birdville, giving the Hawks a 44-43 lead.

At that point, Dunbar needed a quick drive to get into field-goal range. That wasn’t the biggest hurdle to overcome for a Wildcats offense that was effective all night, scoring touchdowns on one-play drives three times.

“We had our playmakers on the field and they were going to do what they were going to do,” Lawson said. “We were really comfortable with it.”

In the end, it came down to Dunbar’s talent against Birdville’s talent. Lawson said that’s a position his team wants to be in.

“It was going to come down to our guy vs. their guy,” Lawson said. “We’ve been preaching to them just to stay focused and be coachable. If you do those two things, you’ll be fine.”

Trinity avoids 0-3 start

Euless Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver knew last Friday’s game at Bentonville, Ark., wouldn’t affect the Trojans’ shot at a district title.

But the 61/2-hour drive back to Texas felt a lot better for Lineweaver and his team after they beat Bentonville 21-13 for their first win of the season.

“I don’t know how you can put this on paper, but it’s just like a tremendous exhale,” Lineweaver said.

“It sure helps the spirit when you come home on a positive note.”

Christian Hammack connected with Inoke Langi for a 7-yard touchdown pass that put Trinity (1-2) up 21-10 with 2:55 remaining.

Trinity’s victory followed losses to Jenks (Okla.) and DeSoto to open the year.

Now the Trojans turn their attention toward District 6-5A play, which begins Friday against Colleyville Heritage (2-1).

“We can go clean slate now,” Lineweaver said. “We’ve got to clean up our play.”

Tigers bounce back

Mansfield coach Jeff Hulme said he and his staff kept preaching patience to their team Friday against South Grand Prairie.

The Tigers practiced that, and it paid off in the form of a 14-7 win over the Warriors.

Caleb Evans connected with Braylon Royal for a 39-yard touchdown pass to break a tie with 3:08 left in the game.

Mansfield moved to .500 (2-2) and 1-0 in District 7-5A. Hulme said his team put the so-so start to the season behind it and embraced the chance to start district play in the right direction.

“Some teams buy into that, and some don’t,” Hulme said. “Our guys definitely have.”

Mansfield plays Mansfield Timberview (4-0, 1-0 District 7-5A) on Friday.

All-American teammates

Mansfield Timberview defensive backs Edward Paris Jr. and Brandon Simmons will receive their U.S. Army All-American jerseys at a school ceremony on Thursday.

Paris and Simmons were among 90 players from across the country selected to play in the annual all-star game on Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Thursday’s ceremony starts at 2 p.m.

Paris, an LSU commitment, and Simmons, a Stanford commitment, are highly touted among recruiting services. Both are four-stars on Rivals, ESPN and Scout. They each hold more than 20 FBS offers.

Voting continues

Be sure to check out the fan vote for Player of the Week at The winner will be named in Thursday’s section.

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