Fossil Ridge earned a spot in the playoffs with a big win over a stubborn Keller team last week, and Timber Creek still has a scenario open to take the fourth spot heading into the final week of the regular season.
Keller was fighting for its playoff life before running out of time in the 48-41 loss to Fossil Ridge.
Fossil Ridge will be playing for seeding, season record and pride when it takes on Byron Nelson at home on Friday night. The winner will own third place in District 5-6A.
Nelson still has to play for a certain slot in the postseason, so there is still plenty on the line for the Bobcats.
“They’re very good with several Division I players and they’re getting better as the season goes on,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Tony Baccarini. “It’s our senior night and we want that spot in the standings. There won’t be any letdown.”
Baccarini said the win over Keller was key.
“It was one we really wanted – it was a chance to lock it up before Week 10,” he said.
Keller came back to score 24 points in the third quarter and put the Panthers’ 24-10 halftime lead in jeopardy. Keller tied the game at 41-41 before Ridge’s Anthony Smith scored with just over eight minutes to go.
“We knew it would be close and wild,” Baccarini said. “But our guys never wavered. It was what we expect and prepare for. In a rivalry game, no one is going to give up.”
Smith ended with 301 yards rushing and five scores. His average was over 11 yards per carry.
“He was phenomenal and very unselfish,” Baccarini said of Smith.
Quarterback Bryce Baccarini threw for 111 yards and rushed for another 75 for Ridge.
Keller’s star running back, Tyler Tutt, wasn’t far behind Smith. Tutt carried the ball 39 times for 270 yards and three TDs.
Keller also registered a rarity, having quarterback Dillon Smith throw a 90-yard scoring pass to receiver Dillon Z. Smith to close the gap to a 38-34 Panthers lead.
Keller will take on Northwest to close out the season on Friday at Northwest ISD Stadium. That game will be one of the keys to Timber Creek earning a playoff ticket.
A Northwest win over Keller and a Fossil Ridge win over Nelson would be just what the Falcons would need. But, they must beat a talented Central team on Thursday night.
Timber Creek is coming off a 52-14 loss to Denton Guyer, the district’s second place team, thanks to Central.
Central has pinned the only loss on Guyer thus far in district play.
“We’ll prepare for what we can and let everything fall where it lands,” said Timber Creek head coach Kevin Golden.
Timber Creek kept the game close early with Guyer, staying even with the Wildcats at 7-7 and then drawing to within 24-14 in the third quarter.
A key factor for Timber Creek had to adjust to an offense without Braxton Washington as a weapon. He finished with just four carries before leaving with an injury.
Central, although losing to Nelson, 41-10, saw some standout play.
“The kids play hard. Don’t doubt that for a minute,” Central head coach Bart Helsley said.
The game with Central will mean quite a bit for both teams, too.
“You have a chance to finish your season with a victory and carry some momentum into the off-season,” Central head coach Bart Helsley said. “This is what our circumstances are and we’ll make the most of it.”
“Any Keller team playing the other one normally turns into a dog fight and we expect the same thing here,” Golden said.