Prediction: Half of our playoffs teams will advance past bi-district

Posted Monday, Nov. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The excitement of making the playoffs should have subsided for our six covered playoff football teams – Byron Nelson, Southlake Carroll, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Justin Northwest and Colleyville Heritage.

Now each program is now facing elimination each week. That’s sobering. The drive to play on the Saturday before Christmas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington begins. This is why players play and coaches coach. In this six-week adventure, teams need to be good, take advantage of matchups and get some breaks.

Last week, we went 5-2 in our picks. You may not have seen the Colleyville Heritage-Hurst L.D. Bell pick for some reason, but I had Colleyville Heritage winning 34-26. So for the season, we are 57-14 going into these six region I bi-district round games.

Here we go with the postseason.

Keller Central (5-5) vs. Arlington Martin (8-2); 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Vernon Newsome Stadium, Mansfield (Class 5A Division 1): While Bart Helsley’s program is making its third consecutive appearance in the playoffs, the Chargers can’t catch a matchup break. And they’re facing a Warriors team that must feel like it has new life after the UIL overturned three forfeits and put it back in the playoffs. The Chargers offense really struggles to score, and going against a defensive lineman like Martin’s Myles Garrett, who has committed to Texas A&M, is difficult as it is. It’s going to have to be the perfect storm for the Chargers to keep their season going.

Prediction: Arlington Martin 37, Keller Central 14

Denton Ryan (8-2) at Colleyville Heritage (8-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine (Class 5A Region I Division II): I know CHHS QB Griffin Pickler has had a great second half of the season, but this game is going to come down to how tough the Panthers defensive front is against the Raiders running game. Pickler’s going to have to make some big plays and Demarco Corbin has to be a big factor. If only one is on, that’s a problem. If the Ryan running game gets off to a good start, that’s a problem. I just don’t like this matchup.

Prediction: Denton Ryan 34, Colleyville Heritage 27

Northwest Byron Nelson (8-2) vs. Birdville (8-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Southlake (Class 4A Division 1): Brian Polk’s team returns after missing in 2012 and faces former district foe Birdville. The Bobcats aren’t pretty on offense, but they don’t beat themselves either. Now, Jim Skinner’s Hawks, who went to the Region I finals last year, have some big numbers. But they came against some really bad Fort Worth teams. This is a really good matchup. Nelson sophomore QB Preston Haire has to deal with the pressure of the big stage. The defensive challenge is stopping Birdville RB Xavier Turner, who has rushed for 2,063 yards and 43 TDs. If it means anything, Nelson held explosive Denton Guyer to 34 points. And Guyer is better than Birdville.

Prediction: Byron Nelson 30, Birdville 27

Carroll (9-1) vs. Arlington Bowie (7-3); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cowboys Stadium, Coppell (Class 5A Division 1): The Dragons are making their bid for the ninth state championship in school history. Against the Volunteers, they have an offense that is executing at a pretty high level. The Volunteers limped to the finish, dropping their final two against Arlington and Arlington Martin. The Dragons should be in good shape here and will do what they always do.

Prediction: Carroll 38, Arlington Bowie 17

Keller Fossil Ridge (7-3) vs. Arlington (6-4); 7:30 p.m. Friday, UNT’s Apogee Stadium, Denton (Class 5A Division II): What you hope doesn’t happen here is that the Panthers exhale now that they’ve made the playoffs and just accept that that’s good enough. This is a good football team. But Arlington is a dangerous and hot team winning its last five behind quarterback Michael Gray. This is the chance for the likes of Nick Foster and Jacob Gnacinski to be the leaders they have to be. I think they get it done in what should be a very interesting game.

Prediction: Keller Fossil Ridge 32, Arlington 24.

Justin Northwest (8-2) vs. Arlington Lamar (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Birdville Fine Arts & Athletic Complex, North Richland Hills: This is a rematch from last year. By now, you know the story. Northwest has never won a playoff game in seven lifetime appearances. But this is three appearances in the last five years. I really think this program is in good hands. That said, the turnover problems this team has had in recent weeks are very unsettling to me. If the Texans keep giving it away, their season is over Friday. Lamar is solid and pretty balanced. I just can’t trust the Texans here.

Prediction: Arlington Lamar 31, Justin Northwest 24

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