Burleson coach Gary McElroy was 29 in 2001 when he joined Tim Buchanan’s staff at Aledo, immersing himself in a program that already had one state championship and would eventually win three in a row.“I told Tim, ‘I’m coming here to Aledo so you can turn me into a head coach,’” McElroy said. “I’m going to sit in the back of the room and watch and listen.”Burleson (5-4, 4-2 District 8-4A) is far from playing for a state championship, but McElroy, in his second year on the job, has led the Elks to a playoff berth following an 0-10 season in 2012.Burleson beat Joshua 42-7 on Friday to seal the No. 2 Division II spot out of District 8-4A.“As soon as the game was over, it was a little bit of relief, a little bit of elation. It felt really good to accomplish that goal,” McElroy said. “It’s what we’ve been talking about since we took over here about 18 months ago.”Burleson’s two district losses — to Everman on Sept. 27 and Waco on Oct. 6 — were by a combined seven points. The Elks have since won four in a row.“Coming into the season, I felt like we were a contender for the playoffs, but I also had some fears on we need to win early so we know how to win, or it could be rough,” McElroy said. “I’m surprised a little bit at how we got here. We’re a few mistakes away from being an 8-1 team right now.”And, as fate might have it, Aledo is a potential first-round matchup for the Elks, said McElroy, who structures even small details of his program around what he learned while working under Buchanan.“It’s almost identical,” McElroy said. “People that know me probably get sick of hearing it, but I’m always referencing Aledo when we’re doing stuff.”Nelson back inMost seasons in most districts, seven wins will lock up a playoff berth.That wasn’t the case last year for Trophy Club Byron Nelson, which finished 7-3 overall and 4-3 in District 5-4A but lost in a three-way tiebreaker for the fourth playoff spot. The Bobcats (7-2, 4-2 District 5-4A) won’t be shut out of the postseason this year. They beat Azle 41-14 on Friday to clinch a playoff spot and the No. 2 Division I spot out of their district. “Our district was so competitive last year. It worked out a little better [this year],” coach Brian Polk said. “It’s certainly a good feeling.”Nelson sits in third place behind Denton Guyer and Wichita Falls Rider, the teams it lost to in district this year.Polk said he doesn’t feel the degree of difference between his team and teams such as Guyer and Rider is that significant.“I don’t think we’re far off from Guyer and Rider at all,” he said. “They’ve been there, done that and we haven’t. From a mindset standpoint, we make a few mistakes and they don’t make those mistakes. I think we’re right on par with those guys. I really do.”Six years and countingFort Worth South Hills’ playoff scenario is simple: Beat Fort Worth Southwest on Thursday, and the Scorpions are in. South Hills (6-3, 3-3 District 7-4A) hasn’t made the postseason since 2006. Coach J.J. Resendez said his team isn’t looking ahead to any playoff possibilities. “There is no ahead if you don’t win,” he said. “This is the last goal.”The Scorpions, who started district play 0-3, have won three straight, including a 56-28 victory last Friday over Fort Worth Western Hills.They are led by senior receivers Antwan Roberson and Treylon LaSalle, and, perhaps most notably, freshman twins Tracin and Tylan Wallace. Tracin Wallace, the quarterback, leads the team in passing (1,647) and rushing (658) yards and has 26 touchdowns.Tylan Wallace has five receiving touchdowns. “Both young men are of exceptional character,” Resendez said. “They want to play as many snaps as they can. There’s a fire in those young men to be perfect.”Voting continuesBe sure to check out the fan vote for Player of the Week at dfwVarsity.com. The winner will be revealed in Thursday’s section.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST