The tune-up games are over. While a handful of districts have already started play, the majority of others begin this week, meaning almost every remaining game will impact the playoff fortunes of area teams.
Most schools in nine-team District 6-4A already have two district games under their belts, and that has already produced some surprises. Fort Worth Dunbar is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in district, while Birdville, which many figured to win that district, sits at 0-2 after losses to Dunbar and Saginaw Boswell. Dunbar and Boswell face off Oct. 4.
District 7-5A started last week. Mansfield and Mansfield Timberview joined Duncanville and DeSoto at 1-0, but each still has Cedar Hill and DeSoto left on their tough schedules. District 7-5A is full of Division I talent, and many consider it among the toughest districts in the entire state.
As for the other local districts, heres a quick preview and some games to circle on your calendar.District 3-5A
Perhaps the most surprising stat heading into district play is that the only 3-5A team still undefeated is Fort Worth Paschal. Of course, Paschals schedule will get tougher from here, especially Oct. 4, when the Panthers face Arlington Bowie. The Bowie Volunteers, along with Arlington Martin and Arlington, were expected to challenge for the district title. Bowie started strong with victories over Mansfield and Mesquite before running into a buzz saw in a 56-28 loss to Dallas Skyline. Tony James is back at quarterback for the Vols after a knee injury to starter Keaton Perry. Martin remains a bit of a mystery; the Warriors were dominated in their opener by DeSoto, but turned around to beat Skyline. The district championship could once again come down to the Bowie-Martin matchup in the final week. Arlington opened the season with a solid win against Flower Mound Marcus, but has since stubbed its toe against Timberview and Lewisville. A win over Martin on Friday could heal what ails Colts fans. Notable games:
Oct. 4: Arlington vs. Arlington Lamar at Cravens Field; Oct. 25: Paschal at Arlington at Maverick Stadium; Nov. 1: Arlington vs. Bowie at Wilemon Field; Nov. 7: Bowie vs. Martin at Cravens FieldDistrict 4-5A
The annual question is, can anyone in the district challenge Southlake Carrolls supremacy? After a season-opening loss to state No. 1 Allen, the Dragons have looked much like themselves, racking up a combined 101 points in victories over Midland Lee and Temple.
Both Keller and Justin Northwest have surprised in nondistrict play, each scratching out unblemished 3-0 records. The winner of their meeting this week could gain the inside track to the second seed in this district. Keller Fossil Ridge has shown its improved passing game can make it a threat. Panthers quarterback Jacob Gnacinski is among the leading passers in the area. Toss Keller Central into the mix, and this district after Carroll is up for grabs. Notable games:
Friday: Northwest at Keller; Oct. 10: Fossil Ridge at Keller; Oct. 18: Carroll at Northwest; Keller Central at Fossil RidgeDistrict 6-5A
When Euless Trinity started 0-2, many were asking what was wrong with the Trojans. But their losses came to DeSoto, which has looked unbeatable, and to Oklahoma superpower Jenks. Trinity got on track last week with a 21-13 victory over Bentonville, one of Arkansas top programs. The Trojans 1-2 start wont impact their playoff hopes and a state championship is still the bar for this program. Hurst L.D. Bell got off to a fast 2-0 start before a slip-up against Keller, and some Raiders fans think this might finally be the year to knock off rival Trinity. Colleyville Heritage stumbled out of the gates, surrendering 70 points in a loss to Duncanville, but young Heritage showed growth in its 45-7 victory against Flower Mound. An overall theme in this district is replacing departed lettermen, and the teams that grow up fastest will likely keep playing the longest. Notable games:
Friday: Heritage at Trinity; Oct. 17: Trinity vs. Bell at Pennington Field; Nov. 8: Bell at HeritageDistrict 5-4A
Defending state champion Denton Guyer entered the season as many observers favorite to win it all again. But the Wildcats have faced tragedy and adversity. After a season-opening defeat to Cedar Hill, a Guyer player died from what appears to be an accidental gunshot during a hunting trip. Guyer also had to forfeit its victory over Colleyville Heritage after the school self-reported the use of an ineligible player. Despite a 1-2 record, Guyer will likely be playing into late November again if it can keep its focus. White Settlement Brewer, Trophy Club Nelson and Lake Dallas all enter district play at 3-0. Brewers wins, though, have come against teams with just one combined victory, so district play will be a major step up in competition. Nelson is coming off a dominating 47-0 victory against Burleson Centennial. Azle opened the season with victories against Burleson and Joshua, but fell 34-14 in its final tune-up against Cleburne. The good news-bad news for the Hornets is that they open district play against Guyer this week. It will be a tall order for Azle, but at least the Wildcats game will be out of the way early. With Guyer and Wichita Falls Rider expected to take the top two playoff berths in 5-4A, the race for the remaining two spots is wide open. Notable games:
Oct. 4: Nelson at Lake Dallas; Oct. 25: Guyer at Rider; Nov. 1: Nelson at Azle; Nov. 8 Azle at Lake DallasDistrict 7-4A
On paper and likely in reality, this district is Aledo and then everyone else. The Bearcats have started impressively, with dominating performances against Highland Park and defending 3A state champion Stephenville. Their biggest challenge may be to avoid growing overconfident, but with a veteran coaching staff and a proud tradition, its unlikely Aledo will face many hurdles to the postseason. Granbury and Fort Worth South Hills are the other teams entering 7-4A play undefeated, but one of those teams wont be after this week. The Pirates and Scorpions meet Friday. Fort Worth Southwest has shown some high-flying offense. Quarterback Devin Williams has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in just three games, and the Raiders are probably the early favorites to earn the second playoff seed. Fort Worth Arlington Heights will hope district play brings a reversal of its fortunes thus far. The Yellow Jackets are winless, having scored just 35 points in three losses. Notable games:
Oct. 18: Trimble Tech vs. South Hills at Clark Field; Oct. 25: Aledo at Southwest at Clark Stadium; Nov. 1: Southwest vs. Arlington Heights at Farrington FieldDistrict 8-4A
Crowley is looking to extend its regular-season winning streak; the Eagles were 7-0 in district play last season and have started 3-0 this year. Dual-threat quarterback Matt Marner is averaging more than 12 yards per rush so far and defenses must find a way to slow him down if they want to prevent Crowley from winning a second straight 8-4A title. Burleson Centennial was expected by some to challenge for the district title, but the Spartans will need to rebound from a winless nondistrict slate that saw them surrender 167 points in three games. Across town, Burleson picked up its first win since October 2011 in its most recent game. Everman is hoping its ground game can return the Bulldogs to prominence, and the Oct. 4 matchup with Crowley could be an early pacesetter in this district. Notable games:
Oct. 4: Everman at Crowley; Oct. 25: Crowley at Cleburne; Nov. 8: Everman at WacoDistrict 15-4A
After marching to the 4A Division II state title game last season, Lancaster has started just 1-2 this year, but the Tigers hopes are still a district title and beyond. Their district opener against Mansfield Legacy may tell a lot about both teams. The Broncos are 3-0 but havent faced a foe of Lancasters ilk. A victory would legitimize the Broncos, who have three players on pace to rush for 1,000 yards on the season. After picking up the schools first-ever victory in Week 1, Mansfield Lake Ridge will set its sights on district wins. If you like offensive games, the Eagles are the team for you. Their first three games have featured 152, 85 and 99 combined points. Arlington Seguin is already one win away from matching last years total, and the Cougars are averaging more than 7 yards per rush. Notable games:
Thursday: Lancaster at Legacy at Newsom Stadium; Oct. 11: Lake Ridge vs. Summit at R.L. Anderson Stadium; Nov. 1: Lancaster at Ennis; Nov. 1: Legacy vs. Summit at R.L Anderson StadiumPlayer of the Week
In the dfwvarsity.com
fan vote for top performances from Sept. 19-21, Lake Worth linebacker Luis Gutierrez had the most online support, with 2,307 votes. More than 4,500 votes were cast for five players. Visit the site Monday to see whos in the running for this weeks games.
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