Keller Citizen

Ridge to fight for top spot

Keller Fossil Ridge receiver Max Akin gains yardage against Northwest in recent play. Akin had 82 yards and the go-ahead touchdown against Timber Creek last week.
Keller Fossil Ridge receiver Max Akin gains yardage against Northwest in recent play. Akin had 82 yards and the go-ahead touchdown against Timber Creek last week. Special to the Star-Telegram

In a pair of tightly-contested games amongst the Keller ISD football teams, the early shape of the district standings is forming.

At least, until this week’s games. Then the jockeying for position starts all over again.

A big game, though, has Fossil Ridge (2-0), again playing on Thursday, hosting Denton Guyer (3-3, 2-0) in a possible “take the inside-track” game.

Ridge got its second district win in a hard-fought game with Timber Creek last week, finally prevailing, 28-21. Timber Creek took an early 14-0 lead and a 21-14 halftime advantage. But the second half was all Fossil Ridge.

The Panthers held the Falcons to 95 yards in the second half shutout and put up 14 fourth quarter points to take the win.

“We started a little flat and don’t ever want to do that again,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Tony Baccarini.

“Timber Creek is a great team and it wasn’t decided until the end. The defense, offense and coaches did a good job. It becomes a lot of fun,” Baccarini said.

Ridge quarterback Bryce Baccarini atoned for an interception when he connected with Max Akin late in the game to take the lead.

Akin had four catches for 82 yards and the score, while Ryan Franklin caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. The other receiver, Stefan Cobbs, finished with six receptions and 90 yards.

The young Panthers – who play several sophomores and juniors – are eager to test themselves on Thursday.

“It’s homecoming against a state power,” Baccarini said. “It’s a good opportunity to match up with them. It’s refreshing as a coach to get these opportunities and it’s fun watching them get in there and have that opportunity.”

Timber Creek’s outstanding running back, Braxton Washington, was held in check as he gained 68 yards on 23 carries. Caleb Collins was effective for the Falcons, throwing for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Timber Creek (2-3, 1-1) will play at Denton Ryan on Friday.

The other big game was a low-scoring nail-biter, as Keller squeaked by Central, 17-14.

Dillon Smith came into the game in the second half at quarterback for Keller and played well, said Keller head coach Carl Stralow.

Smith finished with 85 passing yards and a touchdown after Caleb Griffin added 71 yards in the air.

“Dillon came in and played very well,” Stralow said, while also adding the entire team understood what it would take to win the second half.

Central had taken the halftime lead, 7-3.

Although the Central defense stacked the box to control Keller’s Tyler Tutt from running wild, Tutt still managed 101 yards on 25 carries.

“We were lucky to get out of there,” Stralow said of the win. “I like our group of kids and how they’re playing.”

Keller (4-1, 1-1) will host Byron Nelson on Friday.

Central slowed down the Indians’ attack, but were able to generate their own first downs, as well.

“We had opportunities and in a three-point game, you look at it and ‘what if’ it to death,” Central head coach Bart Helsley said.

“There was good stuff on offense,” Helsley said, “but not enough to get a victory. We’ll come out swinging this Friday night,” he said, as Central will play at Northwest on Friday.

Northwest is the only team which Central has played every year since the school’s opening.