A program emerging toward respectability has to keep defining how it handles watershed moments.
Grapevine’s football program languished in the shadow of Colleyville Heritage for years before last Friday night. Forcing four interceptions and making big plays with its offense, the Mustangs finally broke the spell with the 49-34 victory over the Panthers.
Thus ended six years of frustration. Grapevine had not won this game since 2009. While relief blended with excitement, head coach Randy Jackson needed to put this in perspective. The Mustangs (7-1, 4-1 District 8-5A) still have more football to play and more goals to accomplish.
“As much as we talk about going 1-0 each week and winning plays, mentally this game was big for us,” Jackson said. “I’m so happy for our seniors who have helped turn this program. In our community, this win is a ‘the football program is really back’ type of win.”
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Oddly enough, the Mustangs haven’t clinched a postseason berth. But they are expected to on Thursday against Fort Worth Eastern Hills (3-5, 1-3) at 7 p.m. at Handley Field. Grapevine is likely headed to the Division II bracket, because the district’s two Division I (big school) teams will be Richland and likely Colleyville Heritage. Grapevine will also be expected to be the top seed in Division II because it would hold the tiebreaker over Fort Worth Dunbar (should the Wildcats clinch a playoff berth).
The short week may do Grapevine a favor. Players and coaches can’t bask in the glory for long following what happened last week.
“It’s a blessing we play on Thursday,” Jackson said. “We cannot have a mission-accomplished mindset. Win or lose, one game can’t define your season. We still have things to fix. We had too many penalties (16-147). Each day of each week, the goal is to get one percent better.”
Colleyville Heritage: The Panthers (5-3, 4-1 8-5A) have to put the disappointment of the loss to Grapevine behind them and move forward. They take on Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (3-5, 1-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mustang-Panther Stadium. It is senior night.
The Panthers remain in the middle of the district championship race. Should they handle Carter-Riverside, they will clinch a playoff berth for the 11th consecutive season. If they beat Richland in the season finale on Nov. 4, they should earn at least a share of the championship.
Carroll update: While a playoff berth is already secured for the 17th consecutive season (Carroll last missed in 1999), the Dragons (7-1, 5-0 District 5-6A) still have more work to do. They play at Hurst L.D. Bell (3-5, 1-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pennington Field with a chance to clinch a share of the district championship.
Senior quarterback Mason Holmes has seen his completion percentage increase from the 50 percent range to closer to 61 percent. Because of the diversity of the offense, he doesn’t have to throw more touchdown passes. He only has 10 through the first eight games. Carroll’s running game has accounted for 26 touchdowns.