Tough early-season matchups are normally preferred tests for preparing teams for the arduous district schedule which lie ahead.
All four KISD teams have their work cut out for them after their season openers.
For Fossil Ridge, the tough going starts on Thursday, as the Panthers will host Mansfield’s Lake Ridge. The “Battle of the Ridges” will take place at Keller ISD Stadium at 7 p.m.
Fossil Ridge heads into the contest with the strong 5A program after posting an impressive 59-36 win over Tyler Lee last week.
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“It was a big win and what we expected it to be,” said head coach Tony Baccarini. “We knew we were in for a doozy.”
Early in the second half, the Panthers were able to score 21 points before Lee could even touch the ball.
The offense scored on the first five possessions, and a punt returned for a score and a fumble recovery leading to another score helped put the game out of reach.
Looking to Thursday, Baccarini and the Panthers will take on Lake Ridge, a team which played three rounds deep into the 5A Division I playoffs last year and has their first senior class.
Dual-threat quarterback Jett Duffey is back for the Eagles. He helped lead Lake Ridge to a convincing 52-36 win over Cleburne last week.
“They are very talented and athletic,” Baccarini said of Lake Ridge. “We plan on our conditioning and discipline to take over at some point in the game.”
It takes a certain amount of conditioning to amass over 500 yards of offense as the Panthers did last week in a balanced attack (266 rushing and 255 passing).
Anthony Smith rushed 20 times for 190 yards for Fossil Ridge, while Bryce Baccarini’s passing was 20-of-29 with two scores.
Keller will look to build on its 1-0 start when it plays at Neal Wilson Athletic Stadium on Friday taking on Flower Mound.
Keller staved off Midland, 35-28, to pick up its win last Thursday on the road.
The Indians had built a 28-10 lead heading into the final quarter as Midland staged a comeback which fell short.
“We are guilty of boarding the bus 12 minutes early,” Keller head coach Carl Stralow said of the harrowing final quarter for the Indians. “We played really, really well for three quarters and we didn’t turn the ball over.”
Stralow said the Indians played a “clean” game in keeping the penalties to a minimum and making no “game-changing mistakes.”
Tyler Tutt rushed for 185 yards and two scores for Keller, while Caleb Griffin passed for another 126 and two more TDs.
Now, Keller will look to turn around last year’s Flower Mound game result. Flower Mound kicked a field goal on the game’s last play to win, 19-17.
Flower Mound lost to Nelson in the opener, 28-20.
“They’re a good football team and it will be another Metroplex 6A test, and we didn’t pass that test last year,” Stralow said.
Noble Newton is the key to the Jaguars offense, and Stralow referred to him as a “warrior and a high school football player that is tough and courageous.” Newton threw to eight different receivers in the Nelson game.
Central had the most thrilling game of the week, going to overtime before beating L.D. Bell, 34-31.
The Chargers will look to use that momentum as they host Arlington Lamar on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Central had given up a touchdown and two-point conversion to allow Bell to take the game into overtime last week, but found a way to hold the Blue Raiders to just a field goal in the first OT possession.
The Chargers then turned an unlikely 3rd-and-19 into a winning score when Reece Robertson hit Carl Dorsey for the deciding 34-yard TD.
“We’re extremely happy and pleased that we figured out a way to win a game that was hanging in the balance,” head coach Bart Helsley said. “At the same time, we had a chance to put the game away and let them back in it. It’s resiliency that’s needed to win a game like that. We were physically and mentally drained at the end of the game.”
Robertson, a junior in his first varsity start, threw for 212 yards, two scores and no interceptions. He added 100 yards rushing.
Helsley noted all three running backs – Zion Purvis, D’antavian Blackshear and Brenton Perez – all ran well behind an offensive line which performed up to the hopeful expectations of Helsley.
Defensively, Tony Dracopoulos and Phillip Frost picked off two passes, while Austin Gaither blocked an extra point.
Central’s special teams also performed well, with the likes of punter Calem Sutherland, Logan Dierking’s extra points and even the new snapper, Ian McKiver.
“All those things you practice the least in full speed,” Helsley said, “so you’re always never sure how they’ll perform.”
Timber Creek held a 20-17 lead going into the fourth quarter against Irving Nimitz, but gave up 14 fourth-quarter points.
The Falcons also held a 13-3 lead in the second quarter before the Vikings scored two TDs in a 12-second span.
Timber Creek’s Braxton Washington rushed for 126 yards and a score, while quarterback Konner Pittman threw for 107 yards and two TDs, both to Recie Saunders.
Timber Creek travels to Burleson on Friday to play at 7:30. Burleson beat Western Hills, 58-12.