When Colleyville Heritage fans watch Justin Northwest’s offense, and when Northwest’s fans watch Colleyville Heritage’s offense, they’re probably going to say the following: “Hey, that’s what we do.”
No two offenses are alike. But the Panthers (8-3) and Texans (10-1) are about as close as it gets. The two meet in a Class 5A Division I Region I area playoff game at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Star in Frisco.
Northwest made history by breaking through with its first playoff win in nine attempts, a come-from-behind 31-29 victory at Denton. The Texans rallied from a 23-0 deficit. Colleyville Heritage won its first playoff game since 2012 when it handled Fort Worth Arlington Heights, 50-16.
“From everything they do, it does look like a mirror,” Northwest coach Bill Poe said. “Both of us have playmakers who can catch the ball. It’s a good thing for us that our defense sees that all week. But I don’t think it’s an overall benefit.”
Each team is built in similar fashion. The Texans have a diverse receiving corps spearheaded by senior Gavin Holmes (77-1,486 16 TD) complemented by Carson Hickman (30-470, 7 TD), Jordan Ames (42-470, 3 TD) and Leo Saldana (31-312).
Quarterback Prince Mavula has thrown for 2,961 yards and 31 scores. Then there’s the smallish but elusive running back in Syrus Moore (1,676 yards, 20 TD).
Flip over to Colleyville Heritage and its wide receivers are equally dangerous after the catch. If he’s well enough to play following an injury that’s bothered him for the last three weeks, Ke’Von Ahmad (661 yards, 9 TD) is as good as there is. Then there’s rising Kam Brown (609, 9 TD) and Germon Thothian (293, 3 TD). CHHS has seven different receivers averaging at least 14.5 yards per reception.
Quarterback Cam Roane has thrown for 2,247 yards and 26 scores. Running back Mario Ortiz (1,147 yards, 17 TD) is the Panthers’ version of that smallish yet elusive back.
“When you have successful running backs, it really makes your offense click,” Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis said. “Mario has probably been our most consistent and most valuable offensive player this year.”
Stress levels for the defense will probably reach an all-time high because this game has a chance to turn into big play after big play. As the Texans proved, they had the offense to come back from the big deficit and asked their defense to make enough stops.
Colleyville Heritage and Northwest have one common opponent – Aledo. Each played the Bearcats very well until an interception turned their fortunes. Despite the losses, each team recognized it could move the ball with some success against the Bearcats.
What each program has to develop is that intangible of learning how to win an all-or-nothing game. Adverse moments can’t be regarded as catastrophic. Momentum must be seized.
“It really comes down to which team can manufacture the big plays,” Poe said. “When you get to this point of the season, everybody is good. You just have to stick with what you do best.”
The winner advances to the regional semifinals and will play the winner of El Paso Chapin and Lubbock Coronado.