It will be the first time for the Trophy Club Nelson football team to play at Dragon Stadium on Friday night, and it will be the first time its head coach will coach against his former team.
The Bobcats, who have won two straight District 5-6A games, including their 38-21 win over Lewisville last week, have put themselves into playoff contention.
Now, they’ve put themselves in a four-way tie for third place along with Trinity – a team they’ve beaten – Marcus and Flower Mound.
This week, they’ll go to Southlake to take on district leader Carroll (6-1, 4-0) and make a return visit for their head coach, Travis Pride.
“It will be the first time I’ve coached against them, and the first time we’ve played them,” Pride said.
Pride was the Carroll offensive coordinator in 2004-2005 when the Dragons won two consecutive Class 5A titles under then head coach Todd Dodge.
“It’s going to be fun,” Pride said, as he acknowledged his first-year experience at Nelson has been full of unknowns.
“Until a coach has been through a season with a team, it’s hard to know the intangibles and character of a team,” Pride said. “Experience is the only way to know. This season is not quite how I planned (starting off 0-5). If you want to be in the hunt, you have to perform on Fridays. And that’s what we are going to do. We have to ‘win the day,’ as the old coaching cliche goes,” he said.
“I’m super proud of the kids,” Pride added. “They’ve put down their guard and come out and competed. It’s a big testament to their character.”
While Pride will set up shop on the opposite sideline from what he’s used to, so will Keller ISD teams.
Central will use the opposite sideline but same locker room on Thursday as the Chargers play host to Fossil Ridge after having beaten Keller as the visiting team seven days earlier.
The Chargers, Panthers and Timber Creek are all locked at 2-1 in District 3-6A. But not for long.
After Central and Ridge battle, Timber Creek and Keller will take to the Keller ISD Stadium stage on Friday night.
The pressure mounts each week at this part of the district schedule and Central head coach Bart Helsley knows what they’re up against.
“Ridge is having a good season and they’re always tough,” Helsley said. “They’ve been putting it on people pretty good. I think it’ll be an exciting game.”
Central (3-4, 2-1) picked up a win over Keller last week, while Ridge (5-2, 2-1) had a bye.
Helsley said his squad has been playing well lately in all three phrases but can still reduce offensive mistakes.
“The defense played well, and as the season goes, you want to be getting better and better. I think we have been but we have to be moving up. We can’t be satisfied. There’s still a lot of football to play,” Helsley said.
“We’re the home team this week, so we just need to remember which side to go to,” Helsley joked.
It was a good off-week for Fossil Ridge, said head coach Tony Baccarini. The Panthers normally had their bye in the fourth week of the season, so the break was welcomed.
“It was good to get a break, mentally and physically,” he said.
Baccarini said he expects the typical rivalry game.
“We can see their school from our front door,” he said. “They always play their best and they’re playing well. It will be a close matchup, as always.”
The key for the Panthers will be an introspective approach.
“We’re better when we concentrate on us,” Baccarini said. “It’s how we approach it every time. We make a plan and spend time on it, but we’re better when we focus on us.”
Timber Creek (5-2, 2-1), beat Haltom last week 29-21 and will be the visitor at Keller (1-6, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m.
Abilene is the district leader at 4-0. It is off this week before hosting Keller next Thursday.
Justin Northwest, (7-0, 4-0 in District 6-5A) will play at Saginaw Chisholm Trail on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Texans disposed of Boswell 31-21 last week and will look to keep their undefeated record intact to set up their anticipated showdown with perennial power Aledo next week at home.
Haslet Eaton (1-6, 0-4), will play at Azle (2-5, 2-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.