While it appeared the Grapevine football team had clinched a playoff berth last week, that’s not the case.
As bizarre as it sounds, Fort Worth Eastern Hills – Grapevine’s season finale opponent – is still alive. The Mustangs (6-2, 3-1 in District 6-5A) control their destiny for their final two games. All head coach Randy Jackson’s team needs to do is beat either Birdville (3-5, 3-1) on Thursday or Eastern Hills (1-7, 1-3) on Nov. 6. They can also clinch if they lose to Birdville but Fort Worth Dunbar beats Eastern Hills on Saturday.
But the focus will be the Hawks. There are implications with this game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mustang-Panther Stadium in Grapevine. Both the Mustangs and Hawks are headed toward being the Division I representatives in 6-5A. This game is about who earns the top seed.
“When I took this job, I looked at Birdville as a program to pattern ourselves after,” Jackson said. “This is a big game for us. It’s a measuring stick for us.”
The Hawks went winless in non-district play but didn’t duck anyone. The combined record of Prosper, Mansfield Summit, Northwest Byron Nelson and Abilene Wylie is 22-10. All four of those teams have either clinched a playoff berth or are in playoff contention.
“They’re a top 20 program in 5A in the state, but their record doesn’t show it because of who they’ve played,” Jackson said of Birdville. “They practice on Thanksgiving a lot. That’s what we ultimately want to do.”
Birdville’s rushing attack doesn’t focus on one ball carrier like it usually has. It’s distributed between Cameron Hollie, Donovan Franklin and Isaiah Weatherspoon. The trio has combined for 1,355 yards and 14 touchdowns.
This is going to be a challenge for the Grapevine linebackers led by Brennan Davis and John Seber. Davis just returned from his undisclosed injury last week against Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (a Grapevine 38-0 win). While not at his best, Jackson said Davis should be at full speed on Thursday.
Bowman to Polo
It’s unclear if it’s a record, but Grapevine senior wide receiver RalphLauren “Polo” McCauley set a personal best of four touchdown receptions on Thursday against Carter-Riverside. Sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman has thrown 22 touchdown passes, 10 to Bowman. But the 119 receiving yards aren’t a career high. McCauley had 153 in the season opener against North Crowley.
“Our passing offense is getting better,” Jackson said. “Polo is in that extra gear. In two of the scores, he wasn’t even the primary receiver.”
Colleyville Heritage update
The Panthers (4-4, 2-2 in 7-6A) are really in a position where this week’s game against Coppell doesn’t mean anything. Even if Colleyville Heritage wins, it’s still going to come down to the Nov. 6 season finale against Richland.
Coming off their bye, the Rebels play Euless Trinity. Should that game hold to form, the Panthers are still going to have to beat the Rebels in order to clinch. Richland’s problem is that it has lost Carroll and Coppell.
But Colleyville Heritage is going to have to shore up its rushing defense. Carroll had its way with 393 yards in the 49-14 loss. Coppell’s offense is pretty balanced. Quarterback Brady McBride has thrown for 1,282 yards and 17 touchdowns. Joe Fex is the leading rusher at 770 yards.
“We’re doing some things well, but there are some things we need to do better,” Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis said. “The important things we just have to do is get off blocks and finish tackles.”