Football coaches would make the worst weather forecasters.
They never want to look ahead. Instead, they insist their teams take everything one day, practice or game at a time.
But with two weeks left in the regular season, it's time to start planning for the playoffs.
With four teams in Class 5A and 4A districts qualifying for the playoffs, the two with the largest enrollments compete in the Division I bracket and the other two are in Division II.
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In Southlake, Carroll coach Hal Wasson, along with his coaching staff, is already looking at potential matchups.
"You have to pay attention to those things, not necessarily as a team, but with scouting and preparation," Wasson said. "You have to be ready for anything."
The Dragons (8-0, 5-0 in District 7-5A) control the top playoff position in the district but will have to win this week against Saginaw (1-7, 0-5), then against Denton Guyer (6-1, 4-1) to wrap it up.
It's the teams below Carroll in the standings that make the Dragons' situation interesting. Guyer is second, while Keller Central (6-2, 3-2) and Keller Fossil Ridge (5-3, 3-2) are tied for third. If those four teams make it, Carroll is in the 5A Division I bracket.
Coppell, which was once ranked in the state polls but has dropped to 5-3, 2-3, could potentially replace Fossil Ridge. That would put Carroll in Division II.
Fossil Ridge still has to play Guyer and Keller. Coppell finishes with Keller and Central. The Central Chargers play Justin Northwest (3-5, 2-3) on Friday, and the Texans can also get in with wins the last two weeks.
"There's nothing easy about either [of the divisions]," Wasson said. "The Metroplex is about the toughest place to play. It's hard to win games in this area. Teams here have the hardest route to winning championships."
Playoff qualifier Hurst L.D. Bell (6-3, 5-2 District 6-5A) finishes a 10-week stretch of games by facing Colleyville Heritage (7-1, 5-1) on Friday. Then the Blue Raiders will get their bye to rest as others play their final games.
"It's really worked out nicely," Bell coach Mark Smith said. "With a bye in the middle, most teams have a chance to heal some injuries. We really haven't had many of those, so we really like the way things are going."
Bell, third in 6-5A behind Euless Trinity (9-0, 5-0) and Heritage, can still climb a spot to second with a win Friday.
"It's going to be huge for us," Smith said. "The most important thing is just going in and playing to win. But we understand there is more importance to it. We're not going to talk to the kids about potential seedings and those things, but we know that they are important. There is still a lot to be determined."
Fourth-place teams Grapevine (4-4, 3-3) and Irving MacArthur (3-5, 3-3) meet Friday. Grapevine finishes with Richland (3-5, 2-4), and MacArthur ends with Trinity.
There are five District 4-5A teams with playoff aspirations. And no position is secured yet. Arlington Martin (7-1, 4-1) gave Arlington Lamar (5-3, 4-1) its first district loss last week to create a logjam for the top spot with Arlington High (5-3, 4-1).
"Now we control our own destiny after that win," Arlington coach Bob Wager said. "It was very important to us, and that was one of our goals."
Arlington Bowie (5-3, 3-2) and North Crowley (3-5, 3-2) are tied for fourth place. While Bowie has already defeated North Crowley, the Volunteers still play Fort Worth Paschal (0-8, 0-5) and finish with Arlington, a game that could propel or drop either team.
North Crowley must beat Arlington this week or Lamar in Week 10 to stay in contention. Martin finishes with Paschal, then Weatherford (2-6, 1-4).Wager waited until Saturday morning, after the Warriors beat the Vikings, to discuss possible matchups with his players.
"It's messy," Wager said of the potential scenarios.
Cedar Hill may have secured the 5-5A title with its big win at Mansfield (7-1, 4-1) last week. The Longhorns (6-2, 5-0) took over first place with the victory, and finishwith South Grand Prairie (3-5, 2-3) and Duncanville (5-3, 3-2).
The one-loss Tigers play Grand Prairie (0-8, 0-5) and Midlothian (3-5, 1-4) to close their schedule, but need Cedar Hill to lose twice to have a shot at a championship.
Mansfield Timberview (6-2, 3-2) is tied for third with Duncanville. Timberview plays Midlothian then Mansfield Legacy (2-6, 2-3).
By finishing 2-0, Legacy or SGP can also keep their playoff hopes alive.
Two-time 4A Division II champ Aledo (6-2, 5-0 5-4A) meets Birdville (7-1, 4-1) on Thursday, and ESPNU is televising the game live. Aledo closes with White Settlement Brewer (5-3, 2-3).
Birdville is tied with Trophy Club Nelson (6-2, 4-1), while fourth-place Saginaw Boswell (4-4, 3-2) needs to win one of its two remaining games to get in. Brewer can get fourth place by beating Azle (3-5, 1-4) then Aledo, and Boswell must lose twice.
In District 6-4A, composed of 10 Fort Worth school district teams, Southwest (7-1, 7-0) has locked up a playoff spot and Arlington Heights (7-1, 6-1) needs another win to qualify.
Wyatt (5-3, 5-2) and Dunbar (5-3, 5-2) meet Friday, while South Hills (5-3, 4-3) plays Southwest the same day.
Heights, Wyatt, Dunbar and South Hills could all finish 6-3 in district, so this one's far from settled.
Mansfield Summit (7-1, 5-0) has clinched a District 7-4A playoff berth. Burleson (5-3, 3-2), Everman (4-3, 3-2), Cleburne (4-4, 3-2) and Granbury (4-4, 3-2) share second place. Arlington Seguin (3-5, 2-3) still has a shot because it plays Summit and Cleburne.
Even Crowley (2-6, 1-4) can qualify for a playoff spot by beating winless Joshua and Burleson, if Burleson also loses to Granbury.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760