Panthers reach the playoffs for the 7th season running

Posted Monday, Nov. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Grapevine-Colleyville school district hired Mike Fuller away from Coppell because it believed he could bring consistency and success to the Colleyville Heritage football program.

After seven seasons, Fuller has taken this program to the playoffs every season and won at least seven games in each. The Panthers (7-2, 5-1 in District 6-5A) are postseason bound and will be in the Region I Division II bracket.

“It’s a great accomplishment for what the players and coaches have been able to do over the years,” Fuller said. “Our kids have met every challenge that they have faced. But maybe we’ll look back on it years from now (and think) about that run and what it meant.”

The immediate task is to beat Hurst L.D. Bell (7-2, 5-1) in the regular season finale at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mustang-Panther Stadium. It is Colleyville Heritage’s Senior Night.

There are stakes to this game because the Blue Raiders are going into the Division II bracket as well. The winner of this game claims the top seed. That means a lot, because the Blue Raiders and Panthers likely will oppose Denton Ryan and Lewisville Hebron in the Class 5A Division I bi-district round. Last year, Colleyville Heritage faced Hebron. Bell played Denton Ryan.

But L.D. Bell probably feels like it owes the Panthers. Colleyville Heritage has won the last five meetings. The last two games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

“Every game with Bell is a great game,” Fuller said. “We’ve had to come from behind on a couple times. I suspect we’re going to have that kind of game again.”

Bell comes in with a pretty balanced attack. Quarterback Colson Romano has thrown for 1,927 yards and 14 touchdowns while the running back combination of Fua Sapoi and Daniel Dorsett has rushed for 1,166 yards and 15 touchdowns.

But Fuller is pretty pleased with the way his offense has come alive in the last three weeks against Irving, Irving Nimitz and Carrollton R.L. Turner. While the Panthers clearly had the talent edge, they’ve dominated scoring 167 points. Quarterback Griffin Pickler has thrown 15 touchdowns in that time.

Panthers notables

Running back Demarco Corbin (undisclosed) had more playing time last week against R.L. Turner and appears to be closer to being 100 percent, Fuller said. “The better he is, the better we are,” Fuller said …. Junior linebacker Colton Neid is done for the season with a knee injury, Fuller said. However, linebacker Braxton Miller (undisclosed) did return last week and appears to be in better physical shape …. Continue to look for more Ryan Phillippe on offense. He’s caught three passes in the last two games for 108 yards and two of those have been for touchdowns. And Phillippe’s 68-yard punt return for a touchdown against R.L. Turner is the sixth non-offensive touchdown in the last five games.

•  Grapevine (1-8, 1-5 in District 6-5A) at Irving Nimitz (3-6, 2-4); 7 p.m. Thursday, Irving Schools Stadium: The Mustangs are trying to end the season on high note after losing a tough one against Irving MacArthur, 31-29. Pressed into duty because Adam Sandy was out with a lower body injury, Sam Barry had a solid game, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns. A win over Nimitz would eliminate the Vikings from postseason contention. Grapevine won the 2012 meeting, 31-15.

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