Denial is the action of declaring something to be untrue. It can also be seen as a river in Egypt, of course.
Where we’re going with this is that blasted frustration that comes with picking Keller Central games. It forever will be an experience unto itself. You pick them to win, the Chargers lose. You pick the Chargers to lose, they win.
Given the fact that we’ve picked the Chargers to lose the last two games against Abilene and Keller, most of their fans and followers are probably thinking, “Keep up the good work.” Central is on a four-game winning streak. At 5-2 and 3-0 in District 3-6A, the Chargers are tied for the lead with Keller Fossil Ridge. Those teams meet Friday.
Why is this team so hard to predict? Their style is unorthodox. They don’t have a flashy offense. The defense is pretty solid. The kicking game can be a great asset. The Chargers make opponents play the game like they’re in quicksand. They want to frustrate the beejeebers out of whoever they play.
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And they’re doing it. Look at how Central beat Keller last week. The Chargers returned two interceptions for touchdowns. They forced four Indian turnovers. They committed none.
Style doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, people only want to know if you won or not. Well, Central is winning and in good shape to clinch a playoff spot soon.
They’re also the reason why my Week 8 picks weren’t perfect. Oh well, you live to fight another day.
This is a great card for Week 9. Battles for first place are at stake. Abilene has the bye this week in District 3-6A.
Last week: 9-1
Season: 72-14 (.837)
Keller (3-4, 1-2 3-6A) vs. Keller Timber Creek (6-1, 2-1 3-6A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: An absolute must win for the Indians to stay in the playoff race because they still haven’t faced Fossil Ridge. They would also have the tie-breaker over Timber Creek. The Falcons haven’t been blowing people out. But they’ve been good enough to win. I think they’re going to have a little more this week.
Prediction: Keller Timber Creek 31, Keller 23
Carroll (5-2, 3-1 5-6A) at Trophy Club Byron Nelson (2-5, 2-2 5-6A); 7 p.m. Thursday, NISD Stadium, Justin: Give Nelson coach Travis Pride credit for keeping things in the right frame of mind despite a dreadful start. Quietly, the Bobcats are in the playoff chase. The former Carroll assistant gets another chance at the Dragons. Carroll’s passing game has been a little wobbly lately. However, running back T.J. McDaniel is enjoying a spectacular season at 1,127 yards and 13 scores.
Prediction: Carroll 34, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 21
Birdville (2-5, 2-2 8-5A) at Fort Worth Dunbar (2-5, 2-2 8-5A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Clark Stadium, Fort Worth: Well, this is the game that has everybody in the district holding their breath. If Birdville wins, the Hawks are in cruise control to make the playoffs and will be Division I. If Dunbar wins, then the Wildcats create havoc for Grapevine and Richland. Dunbar pulled this win off last year. This is going to be really tight. I think Birdville has a “We owe them” mentality.
Prediction: Birdville 28, Fort Worth Dunbar 23
Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (1-6, 0-4 8-5A) at Richland (6-1, 3-1 8-5A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Birdville FAAC, North Richland Hills: The sting of the loss to Grapevine is still there for the Rebels. They had a bad night. It happens. But they’re going to get into the playoffs and will get well against the Eagles.
Prediction: Richland 49, Fort Worth Carter-Riverside 7
Azle (3-4, 2-2 6-5A) at Haslet V.R. Eaton (3-4, 2-2 6-5A); 7 p.m. Friday, NISD Stadium, Justin: Now that the Aledo experience is behind the Eagles, there’s a playoff berth to chase. The next two weeks favor them. Facing the Hornets will not be easy. Azle struggles offensively. But its defense keeps it in every game. As Titus Swen goes, so does Eaton.
Prediction: V.R. Eaton 26, Azle 13
Weatherford (0-8, 0-4 3-6A) at Haltom (4-4, 2-2 3-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Birdville FAAC, North Richland Hills: The good news for the Buffalos is that the two teams they have lost to — Fossil Ridge and Timber Creek — are ahead of them in the district standings. They can’t do anything about that. What they can do is beat the teams that are behind them. The Kangaroos are one of those. It’s a must win for a team that needs to secure a playoff. A loss cripples the effort.
Prediction: Haltom 35, Weatherford 10
Keller Central (5-2, 3-0 3-6A) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (7-0, 3-0 3-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, KISD Athletic Complex, Keller: This is good stuff. The winner sits atop the district standings. This is the classic hare vs. the tortoise scenario. The Panthers want to run away from you. The Chargers want to slow you down. But The x-factor is Fossil Ridge’s defensive line. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves. So big thumbs up should be coming from Central fans.
Prediction: Keller Fossil Ridge 32, Keller Central 22
Lewisville (1-6, 0-4 5-6A) at Hurst L.D. Bell (1-6, 0-4 5-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pennington Field, Bedford: You feel for both of these programs, which have struggled mightily and know they are playing out the string in lost seasons. The question is who wants to keep playing. I think Bell is a little better.
Prediction: Hurst L.D. Bell 15, Lewisville 12
Euless Trinity (5-2, 4-0 5-6A) at Lewisville Hebron (6-1, 4-0 5-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hawk Stadium, Carrollton: We saw how the Trojans found some life with the come-from-behind victory against Carroll three weeks ago. But no one is talking about Hebron. The Hawks are really good. They’re two points away from being undefeated. The winner clinches a playoff berth and has sole possession of the district lead.
Prediction: Lewisville Hebron 23, Euless Trinity 20
Grapevine (6-1, 4-0) vs. Colleyville Heritage (6-1, 4-0); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: This is fun. A lot of fun. The GCISD grudge match. You have two great offenses. Grapevine has the better quarterback. Colleyville Heritage gets the edge at wide receivers. This is going to come down to whose defensive line has the better push. While Grapevine won this game in 2016, I’m giving a slight edge to Colleyville Heritage.
Prediction: Colleyville Heritage 38, Grapevine 24
Saginaw Chisholm Trail (2-5, 0-4 8-5A) at Justin Northwest (4-3, 1-3 8-5A); 1 p.m. Saturday, NISD Stadium, Justin: The Texans are pretty much out of the playoff hunt — they play at Aledo next week — because they’ve lost to the teams ahead of them in Eaton, Saginaw Boswell and White Settlement Brewer. The defense has a lot of holes. But the Rangers just don’t have enough as Northwest pushes for at least a winning season.
Prediction: Justin Northwest 41, Saginaw Chisholm Trail 15
Notable: We tweeted this out last Thursday. But just in case you missed it, there will be a Northeast Tarrant flavor in the World Series. Carroll product, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling, is playing in the Fall Classic. It starts Tuesday in LA when the National League Champion Dodgers face the American League Champion Houston Astros. Stripling made two appearances for one scoreless inning in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs. As of this publication, it was not certain if Stripling would be on the Dodgers’ World Series roster.
The Dodgers are making their 19th appearance and first since 1988. Houston is making its second, but first as an American League franchise.
Let’s win them all!