Clichés are so cliché.
When it comes to high school football coaches talking about the impact of the upcoming district season, you would normally find the following lines:
“We’re starting over at 0-0.”
“This is football at a different level.”
“We control our destiny.”
The list could probably go on. The season that starts between this coming week through Nov. 3-4 is where high school programs determine how much they want to play beyond that.
Carroll, Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage are done with the bye week and open district play Thursday and Friday. Grapevine (3-0) goes first Thursday with its District 8-5A beginner against Fort Worth Poly. Colleyville Heritage (1-2) meets Fort Worth Dunbar on Friday. Southlake Carroll (2-1) starts 5-6A play Friday at Flower Mound.
All three of these programs are heavily favored to start successfully. The talent gap between them and their opponents is noteworthy. Of course, nothing is a given.
“We want to maintain our positive momentum,” Grapevine coach Randy Jackson said. “We were playing very well in three phases and want to get back to it. The focus is on us this week.”
While it’s not a surprise that the Mustangs are playing well, it may be how they are doing it that is. Following a struggle in the opener at Azle (29-21), Grapevine has scored 124 points in the other two games against Abilene Cooper and Frisco Heritage.
Carroll seemed to shake the blues of the opening loss to Tulsa (Okla.) Union (21-10) and come up with solid wins against Arlington Martin and Rockwall. The Dragons are trying to uptick the tone they want to set.
Traditional powers have always had the mental edge. They know they’re going to win. They just don’t know how. Carroll did that with the Warriors. They found enough on the road at the Yellow Jackets.
“We got over the disappointment [of Union],” Wasson said. “When you see that you have a chance to get up on a team, the more your intensity should go up. It’s the killer instinct. We’ve got to get to that point. I think we’re getting there.”
Wasson put it a different way about the edge.
“When you don’t consistently play with that edge, you’re not hungry,” he said. “You don’t come disappointed that something didn’t get done. You’re doing to do what you can to make the difference.”
Carroll has had it. Grapevine appears to be getting it. Colleyville Heritage is building toward it. For Panthers head coach Joe Willis, he put together a practice late last week that he believes probably was tougher than any of the first three games. That includes tussles against Aledo and Euless Trinity.
But this isn’t about what Willis and his staff are going to see Friday against the Wildcats. He needed to see it earlier in the week.
“For us, it’s has to be about how do we focus and what are we going to do to make a championship run,” Willis said. “The first three games were a litmus test. They tell you what is true and false about your team, where you’re good and bad and where you need to change things.”
Colleyville Heritage junior defensive back Marcus Mosely (undisclosed), who did not play against Frisco Heritage or Trinity, is expected to return this week.