Breaking out the praise at the end of football season

Posted Monday, Dec. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The screeching halt you might have heard over the weekend was the conclusion of the 2013 high school football season for our coverage teams. Carroll’s season ended with a somewhat surprising 42-38 loss to Euless Trinity in the Class 5A Division I Region I semifinals. Keller Fossil Ridge couldn’t hold a commanding 31-7 halftime lead against Denton Ryan and fell 42-37.

By the way, with those two losses we finished our picks at 64-17 (79 percent). So with that season now in the past, let’s use this week’s segment to review the top moments of 2013.

Coach of the Year – Tony Baccarini, Keller Fossil Ridge: Is there a better candidate? People thought the Panthers were going to be pretty good. But there were several publications, including Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, which didn’t think they were even going to be a playoff team.

The primary questions were on the offense because quarterback Jacob Gnacinski had a lot to prove. Well, not only did he prove it, the Panthers advanced three rounds in the playoffs and played sound throughout the season. Gnacisnki threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The 9-4 record is a bit deceiving. The three regular season losses were to playoff teams in Lewisville Hebron, Keller Central and Carroll. Of course, there was the heartbreak to Denton Ryan, but at this stage, everybody is good.

Player of the Year – Ryan Agnew QB, Carroll: The former understudy got off to a rough start in his debut against Allen with two interceptions. But as the season progressed, he grew into the position and became more polished.

At one point, Agnew went through a stretch of four games where he had only eight incomplete passes. Agnew finished the season throwing for 3,176 yards and 32 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,255 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Dragons went 11-2 before falling to Trinity. The good news is that he has one more year to go in this offense. His 2014 season has the makings of being even better. We’ll also see what happens to him during this recruiting period.

Game of the Year – Carroll 31, Fossil Ridge 27: Halloween always brings out the odd. And so while many of us thought Carroll would get pushed a little by the Panthers, we probably didn’t expect the Dragons to be hanging on until the final seconds on that Thursday evening. Trailing 27-17 at halftime, Carroll rallied for two touchdowns in the third quarter and then got a defensive stop in the final three minutes at the Carroll 32-yard line to preserve the win. While Gnacinski threw for 367 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw four interceptions. Agnew and A.J. Ezzard combined to rush for 278 yards.

Final thoughts: The hardest team to figure was Keller Central (5-6). The Chargers never looked like they could be a playoff team. But they found a way to upset Fossil Ridge (14-9) and return to the postseason. Great job by coach Bart Helsley to return for the third consecutive year …. Our coverage teams’ composite record was 57-43.

The team that improved the most was Colleyville Heritage. The Panthers were dreadful in their first two games against Duncanville and Denton Guyer (a loss that turned into a forfeit win) but managed to win their last six games to finish the regular season at 8-2 before going out in the bi-district round. My disappointments were Keller and Justin Northwest. With Keller, I really thought this team had a chance to be in the playoffs. And they started that way at 3-0, with an impressive win over Mansfield, which turned out to be a playoff team. But when the Indians opened District 4-5A play at 0-3, that really took them out of playoff contention.

With Northwest, the disappointment only stems from the Texans failing to pick up that elusive first playoff win. By no means can you deny the 8-2 regular season. However, the turnover problems this team went through all year led to an early exit. You just hope the window for Bill Patterson’s program remains open. As for Grapevine (1-9) and Keller Timber Creek (2-8), you would like to think that people could see that Dave Henigan and Kevin Golden just didn’t have the players on the roster to really compete. Maybe you can blame the feeder programs. Maybe you could say when they started at each location, there wasn’t a lot of help coming from those schools. It’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about the Jimmys and Joes.

Don’t forget the spring football season is about five months away. But for now, it’s time to focus on basketball.

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