Now that the hoopla of the ‘Todd Dodge returns’ feel-good story is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to get back to this space where it really counts – the weekly high school football picks.
This week’s version is going to be done totally on faith with no knowledge of what happened on Friday – we know Keller lost a heartbreaker against Midland Lee last Thursday – and Saturday with the other eight area teams. We had early press deadlines for Labor Day. But no worries, we’re not concerned about who did what in the first game and who could be hurt and unavailable to play. We are fearless in the face of the unknown. But if you want to know how we did in the first week, go check this column online.
Still, let’s get it started.
Colleyville Heritage vs. Grapevine, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: This rivalry did a 180 from the 2013 meeting. There are new coaches, new classifications and even a new music system called GameTime in the scoreboard. Each played on the road in the first week. Both programs are still trying to find their way since both Randy Jackson and Darren Allman started so late. But you have to go play. The Mustangs haven’t won this heated rivalry game since 2009. And they probably won’t win it this year; Colleyville Heritage still has more players.
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Prediction: Colleyville 30, Grapevine 18
Flower Mound at Keller, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: You have two evenly matched squads between Carl Stralow’s Indians and Dane Johnson’s Jaguars. Keller was sloppy against Midland Lee in its first game but missed a two-point conversion that would have sent the game into overtime. As disappointing as that was, the Indians should be inspired for the home opener and find a way to win it.
Prediction: Keller 25, Flower Mound 20
Keller Central at Arlington Lamar, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cravens Field, Arlington: Jake McClurg is a solid quarterback for the Chargers and has taken this program to the playoffs. But the Vikings have a very talented quarterback in Shane Buechele, son of former Rangers third baseman Steve Buechele. He has a great arm and pretty solid precision. I have a hard time thinking the Chargers can win this.
Prediction: Arlington Lamar 34, Keller Central 20
Burleson at Keller Timber Creek, 7 p.m. Thursday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: The Falcons have never had a winning season but have made the playoffs. The Elks were down for several years before they finally broke through in 2013 as they went to the Class 4A playoffs. It’s not unusual for a lower classification team to beat a higher. I think that’s going to happen, as a 5A beats a 6A.
Prediction: Burleson 23, Keller Timber Creek 20
Keller Fossil Ridge at Mansfield Lake Ridge, 7:30 p.m. Friday, R.L. Anderson Stadium, Mansfield: It’s a short week for the Panthers, who open Saturday at Tyler Lee. The quarterback situation may still not be all the way solved but the overall talent is good. Lake Ridge can score a lot of points. It also has trouble stopping people.
Prediction: Keller Fossil Ridge 38, Mansfield Lake Ridge 24
Byron Nelson vs. San Angelo Central, 11 a.m. Saturday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington: Brian Polk’s Bobcats are finding out how life is making the transition to a higher classification. Expectations are very high for the other Bobcats in West Texas. Quarterback Braden Hucks is a dual threat. Really, this game could be determined on both the offensive and defensive lines. That’s where Nelson could come up short.
Prediction: San Angelo Central 35, Byron Nelson 20
Justin Northwest vs. Prosper, 8 p.m. Saturday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington: The Texans and Eagles are the nightcap in the Southwest Showcase on Saturday. It’s very frustrating for teams who have to wait all day to play. Northwest’s quarterback-receiver combination of Jesse Drummer-Emmanuel Moore might be the best combination in the area. Prosper was predicted last in its 5A district.
Prediction: Justin Northwest 30, Prosper 19
Carroll vs. Tulsa Union, 8 p.m. Friday, AT&T Stadium Arlington: The Dragons should have the advantage here because they will have played a game. This Southwest Showcase is Union’s season opener. The Redskins have several interesting players including physical running back Lorenzo Thomas (6-2, 220) and defensive end Malon Al-Jaboori (6-3, 215). What will be interesting here is if Carroll’s wide receivers and unknown offensive line make strides from the Austin Westlake game.
Prediction: Carroll 27, Tulsa Union 24
In my opening week picks, I went 7-2. I lost on Grapevine at North Crowley and, surprise, Keller Central got me again. Nice to know some things never change.