Weeks and weeks from the offseason football programs led to this. Adding five more pounds to the bench press, cutting the 40-yard dash by one-tenth of a second and shaving time in the shuttle had a purpose. Teams from all across Texas have seen dreams realized as they are in the high school playoffs.
There is no postseason tournament that draws more attention in the state than this one. Even if your team didn’t make it, there’s a part of you that will want to check weekly to see how others fared. We’ve seen some amazing finishes, some epic battles between state powers earlier than we had hoped, and upsets.
If you’re team is still practicing on Thanksgiving Day, then your program has had a great season. But there’s nothing better than preparing to play the Saturday before Christmas. Your team is playing for state championship.
In the Courier-Journal and H-E-B News area, Carroll has won eight in nine attempts. Euless Trinity has won three in five attempts. Grapevine has won two. Hurst L.D. Bell played for one.
There are other great subplots. Grapevine is playing its first game at AT&T Stadium. The UIL’s pilot program allows the higher 6A seed to host a bi-district playoff game. In this case, Carroll is playing host to Cedar Hill. Euless Trinity has a home game. Colleyville Heritage, Keller Fossil Ridge and Northwest Byron Nelson are on the road.
To win a playoff game, it will be the ultimate high. To lose it would be the roughest low. But no coach, player or fan would want it any other way.
Girls basketball season begins
Monday marked the beginning of the 2015-2016 girls basketball season. We’ll have more coverage once football season concludes. But here are a couple of storylines to track. Carroll will have to move on with a new point guard now that Kennedy Leonard is off to play at Colorado. The District 7-6A race will be fascinating, because Sue Cannon’s Trinity team is young but very athletic. Keller should be a playoff team. Justin Northwest has a new basketball coach in Cody Parris as Rusty Johnson moves on to Northwest Eaton. Grapevine experienced a major roster turnover.
The boys basketball season will begin next week.
High School Picks
I’m not going to jinx myself here. But I have to admit, I must be in a zone. Once in a while, you get lucky with an undefeated week. However, yours truly has had three this year and ran off consecutive perfection last week and this week. Admittedly, some of the matchups led to several no-brainer predictions.
However, we’re in the playoffs. Things can change. Seven of our area teams – Birdville, Carroll, Colleyville Heritage, Trinity, Grapevine, Fossil Ridge and Byron Nelson – are still wearing the helmets and shoulder pads.
Let’s see what happens.
Last week: 9-0
Keller Fossil Ridge (5-5) at Flower Mound Marcus (9-1); Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district; 7:30 p.m. Friday: The youth on this Fossil Ridge team might be a year ahead of schedule because this group made the playoffs. They can thank senior quarterback Bryce Baccarini. However, the Marauders are pretty balanced offensively and feature national tight end prospect Kaden Smith. He’s committed to Stanford.
Prediction: Flower Mound Marcus 38, Keller Fossil Ridge 23
Colleyville Heritage (5-5) at Mansfield (8-2); Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district 7:30 p.m. Friday, Newsom Stadium: This game is going to come down to the Panther defense being able to hold Mansfield RB Kennedy Brooks. I do think the Panthers can hang in there, but not all the way through.
Prediction: Mansfield 39, Colleyville Heritage 27
South Grand Prairie (6-4) at Euless Trinity (10-0); Class 6A Division I Region I bi-district 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pennington Field, Bedford: When you watch the Warriors, pay attention to their secondary. They have a great safety in Jeffrey Okudah. Greg Eisworth is a great athlete. SGP gave Trinity all it wanted last year. But the physical Trojans appear to be in a pretty good position.
Prediction: Euless Trinity 40, South Grand Prairie 24
Cedar Hill (9-1) at Carroll (8-2); Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Southlake: Maybe the UIL will do everybody a favor in February by making sure that these matchups don’t occur so early. But this is reality. For me, Carroll’s linebackers must be active and play great. Otherwise, Carroll’s season ends in bi-district for the first time in forever.
Prediction: Cedar Hill 35, Carroll 30
Northwest Byron Nelson (6-4) at Allen (10-0); Class 6A Division I Region I bi-district 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium: The Bobcats wanted to get into the playoffs in the worst way. They did. They just happened to draw the juggernaut in Allen, which has plugged in a new QB in Seth Green. He has already committed to Oregon. The Eagles are on the march for a fourth consecutive state championship. This is going to be tough one for the Bobcats.
Prediction: Allen 46, Northwest Byron Nelson 23
Birdville (4-6) vs. Saginaw Boswell (9-1); Class 5A Division I Region I bi-district 10:30 a.m. Saturday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington: The Pioneers are playing a really good brand of football this year. They can score in a variety of ways. Birdville has had a difficult season. When it played a non-Fort Worth ISD team, it struggled to score.
Prediction: Saginaw Boswell 44, Birdville 18
Denton (8-2) vs. Grapevine (8-2); Class 5A Division I Region I bi-district 9 p.m. Saturday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington: Like GCISD relative Colleyville Heritage, the Mustangs are going to have to find a way and make sure a running back doesn’t have its way. Bronco running back Xavier Scott can’t hurt them badly. If he is, they’re going home. But I’m playing a hunch Grapevine QB Alan Bowman breaks out with a big game.
Prediction: Grapevine 33, Denton 30