We’re coming to that week in the 2016 Texas high school football season where the separation will start.
This is week No. 9. For several programs, they will clinch berths with wins, or wins coupled by other team’s losses. Other programs will be revealed as playoff pretenders or those who have a legitimate chance to make it.
They’ll never admit it publicly now. But rest assured that in the privacy of their offices, head coaches rummaged through the file drawer to find out where the district minutes were and pulled them out to look at what the tiebreakers are.
Hey, you have to do it. If your district tiebreaker is plus/minus whatever points it is – the popular choice is 14 – and your team is playing someone this week who directly impacts that, then you know what you have to do and what you have to avoid.
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Conversely, we’re in pretty good shape when it comes to picking these games where so much is at stake. We gambled and won on Northwest Byron Nelson (upset Lewisville) and thought that Keller Timber Creek was just a little better than Haltom (won).
We lost Grapevine-Richland (picked Grapevine 34-30 but Richland won 38-35), which was a tossup game anyway. Give credit to the 7-0 Rebels, who probably deserve more credit than they’re receiving.
Here we go! Everybody in our area is in action.
Last week: 9-1
Season/Percentage: 73-14 (.839)
Keller Fossil Ridge (5-2, 2-1) vs. Keller Central (3-4, 2-1); 7 p.m. Thursday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: The Central Chargers are proving it’s not how you start but how you finish. They’ve looked really good for the last month. Confidence is high. The defense is playing well. For the Panthers, they still remain explosive. That’s what the Chargers really have to guard against. They can slow them down, but for how long?
Prediction: Keller Fossil Ridge 32, Keller Central 22
Keller Timber Creek (5-2, 2-1) vs. Keller (1-6, 1-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: This is the Indians’ last stand to get themselves back into the playoff race, because they still have to play Abilene and Fossil Ridge in the final two weeks. It’s a little bit of the same for the Falcons, because they still have to play Central and Abilene.
Prediction: Keller Timber Creek 30, Keller 25
Haltom (4-4, 1-3) at Weatherford (1-7, 0-4); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Kangaroo Stadium, Weatherford: Playoff hopes aren’t gone for the Buffalos. But they’re really slim. This is a must win for two reasons. First, they keep themselves in the playoff chase. Second, they assure themselves of no worse than a 5-5 season. Considering that this program won one game in the previous two years, you want to at least get that .500 season.
Prediction: Haltom 38, Weatherford 31
Hurst L.D. Bell (2-5, 0-4) at Lewisville (3-4, 1-3); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Max Goldsmith Stadium, Lewisville: With their stunning loss at Byron Nelson last week, the Farmers are now looking up at the rest of the district. But if they are going to have a chance, they have to beat the Blue Raiders, who are suddenly in a world of trouble.
Prediction: Lewisville 28, Hurst L.D. Bell 17
Lewisville Hebron (5-2, 3-1) at Euless Trinity (5-2, 2-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pennington Field, Euless: Both of these teams look to be in pretty good position for the playoffs. The Trojans shook off the blues from the tough loss to Byron Nelson and took frustrations out on L.D. Bell. Hebron is just beating the teams it should to make the playoffs. This should be a really good game.
Prediction: Euless Trinity 26, Lewisville Hebron 20
Northwest Byron Nelson (2-5, 2-2) at Carroll (6-1, 4-0); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Southlake: The return of former Carroll assistant Travis Pride, who faces his old employer for the first time as an opposing head coach. The Dragons had to be resourceful when they lost all-everything Robert Barnes to a mouth injury. But he should be back this week.
Prediction: Carroll 35, Northwest Byron Nelson 17
Justin Northwest (7-0, 4-0) at Saginaw Chisholm Trail (3-4, 1-3); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ranger Stadium, Saginaw: The Texans took a few good blows from Saginaw Boswell last week and found a way to withstand them. Prince Mavula has really emerged into a very solid quarterback. Any successful team starts with a quality signal caller. A win puts the Texans in the playoffs.
Prediction: Justin Northwest 44, Saginaw Chisholm Trail 14
Northwest V.R. Eaton (1-6, 0-4) at Azle (2-5, 2-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hornet Stadium, Azle: Eaton coach Brad Turner understands that the first year of a varsity program will include some rough moments. There are some solid skill players with this program. There’s just not enough in the trenches yet. Azle has progressively improved since a rough start.
Prediction: Azle 37, Northwest V.R. Eaton 24
Fort Worth Dunbar (2-5, 2-2) at Birdville (4-3, 2-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, FA/AC, North Richland Hills: Suddenly, this is the game where Birdville needs to win in order to feel better about its playoff hopes. The Hawks weren’t exactly sharp last week in the win over Fort Worth Eastern Hills because of key injuries. The Wildcats know a win puts them in a great position to get to the postseason.
Prediction: Birdville 35, Fort Worth Dunbar 28
Grapevine (6-1, 3-1) vs. Colleyville Heritage (5-2, 3-1); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: The rivalry renews, and Grapevine would love nothing better than trying to unseat their district brethren, who have held the bragging rights since 2010. A win also keeps the Mustangs in the playoff race. But the Panthers’ overall team speed is just a little better.
Prediction: Colleyville Heritage 39, Grapevine 36
Richland (7-0, 4-0) at Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (3-4, 1-3); 1 p.m. Saturday, Farrington Field, Fort Worth: The Rebels clinch a berth to the postseason with a win. This shouldn’t take long. Richland QB Trae Self and wide receiver Landon Le have already connected for 11 touchdowns this year. They should add to it.
Prediction: Richland 56, Fort Worth Carter-Riverside 7
Let’s win them all!