For several local teams, the area round of the playoffs brings back rematches from last year’s postseason. Birdville and Crowley face off in Round 2 again, as do Coppell and DeSoto.
For Birdville (9-2) and Crowley (10-1), it’s actually the fourth consecutive year the teams have met. The schools played nondistrict games in 2010 and 2011, with Birdville winning those, and they locked horns in the area round last year — a game again going to the Hawks 45-21. This fact is not lost on Eagles players.
“The seniors that we have now played them as freshman, played them as sophomores, played them as juniors and now as seniors are playing them again,” Crowley coach Chris James said. “So they’re very familiar with the kids; they know their names.”
One name they’re all familiar with is Xavier Turner. The Hawks’ standout running back has more than 2,300 yards rushing along with 46 touchdowns this season.
“It’s Xavier Turner against our 11 guys on defense,” James joked. “But honestly, the biggest challenge is going to be, can we match up with their offense? They do such a good job of making you play balanced on defense.”
Last year, Turner torched the Eagles for 196 yards and four scores on 30 carries. But Birdville coach Jim Skinner stresses that last year isn’t this year.
“It’s two different teams entirely,” he said. “We had a lot of seniors on our team last year that left, so it’s a whole new season. I don’t think what happened last year will have any bearing on what happens this year.”
The Hawks and Eagles play at Brewer High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Back again, again
Fort Worth Christian will see Dallas Christian in the regional round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season, but it will also be the second time these foes have met this season. The Cardinals and Chargers faced off in mid-September, with Dallas Christian claiming a 27-15 victory. The Chargers also won last year’s postseason meeting 28-20.
“We’ve come up short the last few times against Dallas Christian, so we know we’re going to have our hands full,” Cardinals coach Scott Smiley said.
This year’s regional playoff matchup will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at Midlothian ISD Stadium.
Fort Worth Christian was limited to only 127 yards of total offense in their Sept. 13 meeting, though the Cardinals were within 20-15 in the fourth quarter.
“We feel like we’re a better football team now, but I’m sure Coach [Mike] Wheeler and his team feels like they’re better, too,” Smiley said.
It’s often said that in a rematch, the team that lost previously has the advantage, but Smiley knows that doesn’t always hold up.
“Sometimes that holds true,” he said. “We’ve been on both ends of that, so I don’t know. We just prepare our kids for the next game, and the opponent will take care of itself. That’s not something we use as a motivational tool — that we came up short and now we’re going to beat them. We just don’t really have those conversations. Our focus is just on getting better for that week.”
Unlike many local teams, Keller Fossil Ridge (8-3) must travel out west for its Class 5A Division II area-round matchup. The Panthers will face San Angelo Central (10-1) at Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium. However, many of the players, including senior defensive lineman Bryan Baker, are looking forward to the trip.
“I feel like we’re all looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a good bonding experience. We get to spend the night together in a hotel and really get to know each other as a team. So I feel like we’re all looking forward to that. We play around the Metroplex all the time, so it’s a nice change of scenery to go play somewhere else.”
Not only will the scenery be unfamiliar, but so too will the opponent. Baker feels that not knowing much about the Bobcats can actually benefit Fossil Ridge in some ways.
“They’re apparently a powerhouse over there and everyone over there is afraid of them,” he said. “So it’s kind of like if we played [local powerhouse] Euless Trinity there would be this sense of ‘It’s Euless Trinity, oh my gosh.’ But I feel like with us playing [San Angelo Central] and not being very aware of what they are out there, that can give us a bit of an advantage because it’s just another team for us.”