Northeast Tarrant

Mustangs, Panthers fighting for playoff berths in finales

Grapevine won three football games between 2012 and 2013. Now, the Mustangs not only have a chance to equal that total on Friday, they are also playing for a playoff berth.

Following a 48-23 loss to Birdville, the Mustangs (2-7, 2-3 in District 6-5A) play host to Fort Worth Eastern Hills at 7:30 p.m. at Mustang-Panther Stadium with a chance to go to the playoffs. The winner would advance to the Class 5A Division I Region I bi-district playoff and meet Wichita Falls Rider. That game may be played at Mineral Wells on Nov. 14.

Grapevine is looking for its first playoff berth since 2011.

What coach Randy Jackson likes about his team is that it didn’t give up despite falling behind 34-0 to the Hawks at halftime. The Mustangs scored on the first possession of the second half and added a safety on the ensuing kickoff. Plus, running back Jacobi White rushed for a career-high 177 yards and two scores.

“I told them that I knew they weren’t going to lay down,” Jackson said. “They were going to make something good happen. I’m proud of them. We still haven’t played our best football. But now, we’re in the playoffs. That’s really what Friday is. We need to enjoy every second of it.”

Online update: The winner of Friday’s game will face Wichita Falls Rider in the bi-district round at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. The site will be NISD Stadium in Justin.

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With quarterback Sam Barry no longer available, freshman Alan Bowman has handled the starting duties pretty well, Jackson said. However, this offense is going to be predicated how much White and RalphLauren McCauley are involved.

“It’s been an invaluable experience for Alan,” Jackson said. “I called Jacobi and RalphLauren in the Thursday before the Birdville game and told them we were going to use them a lot. They’ve responded.”

Colleyville Heritage update

For a first-year coach with very little offseason to work with, Colleyville Heritage football coach Darren Allman sees how close this program is to being a pretty good team.

But it’s a mixture of frustration and elation.

Last Friday’s 34-22 loss to Coppell didn’t eliminate the Panthers from the playoffs. But they play a win-or-go-home matchup with Richland (3-6, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mustang-Panther Stadium. The winner advances to the Class 6A Division II bracket as the second seed. Colleyville Heritage is looking to clinch its eighth consecutive playoff berth.

“We’re just so close that you can see it,” Allman said. “We had a breakdown at the goal line in the first half but we came back and got the game to 28-22 with 3½ minutes to play. We just got hurt by a big run (Coppell running back Charles West’s 56-yard TD).”

To understand where Allman is coming from, look no further than his quarterback situation. He hasn’t had starter Clayton Oliver (right hand) for the entire district season, and it’s not clear if Oliver will return this year.

Trevor Anderson has had some bright spots. He threw for a career-high 323 yards against Coppell. Plus, running back Demarco Corbin enjoyed a 111-yard receiving night. That added to the 75 on the ground.

“Trevor and DeMarco have been two of our best leaders,” Allman said. “DeMarco is so mature and his football IQ is extremely high. They just want to win and have been pretty consistent for us.”

Against the Rebels, the Panthers face a pretty solid dual-three quarterback in Eddie Thomas who has thrown for 1,008 yards and rushed for 561. Running back C.J. Hicks appeared to be on his way to a 1,000-yard season. He was at 703 yards three weeks ago. However, he’s only added 146 yards since then. Euless Trinity held him to 25 yards on nine carries.

If the Panthers can limit one of those two, then their chances would be favorable.

“Hick is great dual threat guys, and you’ve got to play responsibility,” Allman said. “We better stop the run. That’s where our mentality has to be.’

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At this point, it would appear the winner of this game will play Cedar Hill. The Longhorns must beat South Grand Prairie Friday to wrap up the top spot seed in District 8-6A … Wide receiver Jackson Zeledon (undisclosed) returned Friday and caught two passes for 73 yards and rushed once for eight yards. Allman believes Zeledon should be 100 percent for Richland … Playoff slots and times for games between Districts 5-6A, 6-6A, 7-6A and 8-6A could be known by the middle of this week. Those games will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

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