Football Insider: Some surprises, some no-brainers among unbeatens in football

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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With two weeks remaining in the UIL regular season, 14 DFW-area football teams, public and private, are still undefeated: Aledo, Fort Worth All Saints, Fort Worth Dunbar, Granbury, Allen, DeSoto, Ennis, Sachse, The Colony, Dallas Carter, Celina, Argyle, Dallas Christian and Dallas First Baptist.

Some of those teams’ records are less surprising than others. Aledo, the state’s No. 1 4A team, is 8-0. The Bearcats have yet to be challenged in a game, with their closest margin of victory coming in a 44-3 win over Highland Park in the opening week.

Fort Worth All Saints, which has won 20 consecutive games, is 9-0. The Saints have scored no fewer than 42 points in a game. Coach Aaron Beck has been impressed with the way his team has handled expectations.

“This year, the challenge has been trying to tune all that out,” Beck said. “What’s made me so proud of this year’s team has been the approach. There have been a few trap games along the way and they just came out and never missed a beat.”

The defending SPC Small School champion Saints face Houston St. John’s (5-3) in the semifinals Saturday, and a victory would put them in the state championship game against Houston Christian or Irving Cistercian.

Perhaps more surprising are the unblemished records of Dunbar and Granbury. Dunbar (8-0) has used a big-play offense to overwhelm opponents, but had a few close calls along the way. The Wildcats squeaked by Dallas Lincoln in the season opener 20-19 and beat Birdville 49-44, scoring on the final play.

Granbury has also slipped by a few opponents on its way to 8-0. The Pirates needed a late field goal to beat Mansfield Lake Ridge 44-41 in Week 3, then beat Fort Worth South Hills by a field goal a week later.

Granbury will no doubt face its toughest test to date when it travels to Aledo on Friday.

3-5A playoff fight

Arlington Sam Houston quarterback Ervin Hill has exceeded his coach’s expectations this year, but Anthony Criss and his Texans are fighting an uphill battle to get into the playoffs.

After falling to Arlington Bowie last week, Sam Houston (3-5, 2-3) faces Martin on Thursday. The Texans are 0-3 against other AISD schools in district play. Criss told his players before the season they’d need at least one victory against the other Arlington schools to have a shot at the postseason — and this is their last chance.

Playing Martin means dealing with Warriors defensive end Myles Garrett.

“Myles Garrett is just great,” Criss said. “I think he’s probably the best football player in the state of Texas. He’s basically unblockable.”

Sam Houston does have the advantage of watching film of Arlington Lamar’s upset win over Martin on Friday to see what worked for the Vikings.

“The one thing Lamar did was get the ball out quickly to take away his pass rush,” Criss said. “We’ll assign two, sometimes three people to him. If we can keep the quarterback upright and get it out quick, then we might be able to throw it a little bit.”

It also helps that Hill is very mobile. He has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and has 14 rushing touchdowns.

“I’m just proud of the way he’s handled the team, especially being a junior,” Criss said.

Criss also thinks dealing with Bowie’s defensive line last week will give his offensive lineman a taste of what’s coming this week.

“I think playing Bowie has helped us,” he said. “Bowie’s complete defensive line is outstanding, so having played against a great defensive line, the guys will kind of know what to expect and what to do going into this game.”

A rare title

Temple Christian, a TAPPS Division III school on Fort Worth’s east side, is on the cusp of earning its first district championship since 1989.

Under first-year coach Steve Hohulin, who coached at Pantego Christian for 20 years, the Eagles (6-2, 4-0 District 1) host Lubbock Christian (3-6, 3-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A win clinches Temple Christian’s first home playoff game in at least 25 years.

Player of the Week

In the fan vote for top performances from Oct. 24-26, Arlington Bowie defensive back Niko Small won with 1,056 votes. Almost 2,200 votes were cast.

Visit the site Monday to see who’s in the running for this week’s games.

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