Central vying for 2nd place in finale

Posted Monday, Nov. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Heading into the regular season finales, the only thing for certain is that Carroll will be the District 4-5A champion.

And, although the playoff slots are filled by Northwest, Central and Fossil Ridge, which order they will appear in the final district standings hinges on the outcome of the Chargers and Texans when they clash on Thursday night at the Keller ISD Stadium.

All three teams have identical 4-2 district records.

With a win by Northwest, the Texans would finish second, Fossil Ridge third and Central fourth, given a Panthers win over Timber Creek (1-5 in district play). A Central victory would put them in second, Fossil Ridge in third and Northwest in fourth.

Central (5-4 overall) owns the tiebreaker over Fossil Ridge due to their win over the Panthers, and Ridge has the advantage with its win over Northwest.

The placement within the district becomes a moot point the next week, though, when the bi-district playoffs start with Carroll and Central moving to Division I and Northwest and Fossil Ridge going into the Division II brackets.

Chargers head coach Bart Helsley isn’t as concerned about the seeding result from the Northwest game as much as he is with the consistency in which his team executes before entering the playoffs.

“All other things aside, we haven’t played our best game yet,” Helsley said. “We need consistency for four quarters. Northwest is a good football team and this is an important game for us. We need to play well for our confidence going into playoffs.”

Central is coming off a 24-15 win over Haltom last week and began to see some of the consistency Helsley is seeking in the second half.

“We ran the ball well against Haltom, with (Justin) Manuatu and (K.T.) Semby having some good yards,” Helsley said. “Jake (McClurg) was efficient, throwing the ball 7-for-11, and he made some key throws. It was a better performance offensively. I’m proud of them. When we needed to at the end, Jake got the TD at the end to seal the game.”

Central was up just 17-15 into the final quarter before McClurg scored from seven yards out to extend the margin of victory.

The Chargers defense is playing well, Helsley said.

Cutting down on key penalties, especially inside the red zone, is another aspect the Chargers will look to eliminate.

“It’s a step in the right direction and I feel good about our kids,” Helsley said. “We had a rough one against Richland for a couple of different reasons and it’s my responsibility to get them ready. “We bounced back. In our district, if you mess up in any particular week you’re going to get beat,” Helsley added.

Regardless of the district finish, going into Division I pairings with District 3-5A, Central looks to face Arlington Bowie in the first round.

•  Fossil Ridge, 6-3, 4-2, gave Carroll all they wanted last week before dropping a 31-27 decision to the Dragons. The Panthers had a 27-17 lead at the half, but couldn’t register points in the second half.

Jacob Gnacinski had a stellar night throwing the ball, completing 40-of-60 for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He did have four interceptions on the night, though.

The Panthers registered more total yards (446 to 342) and first downs (25 to 21) than the Dragons.

•  Keller will face the up-and-down but solid Richland club on Friday night at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletic Complex. The Indians are coming off a win over Timber Creek, 31-13.

“We’ve already combined for more wins than last year,” Keller head coach Carl Stralow said. Finishing with a winning record is “all we have an opportunity to do this week,” he said. “We have a chance to finish 6-4.”

The Indians got a strong performance from sophomore receiver Cameron Johnson who caught five passes for 111 yards and two scores. Running back Dalton Mills also had two touchdowns and 156 yards rushing.

“Our quarterback (Hunter McEachern) and running back (Mills) did a great job of taking over in the second half,” Stralow said.

“Our defense had a great first half and I was very pleased with how they played,” Stralow added.

•  Timber Creek’s Konnor Pittman threw for 95 yards and rushed for 87 while Amon Lindsey led the Falcons with 89 yards on the ground and a TD. Anthony Milsap scored the other Falcons touchdown.

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