In its third year of its ascension, Grapevine’s football program has put together a schedule that should be challenging, yet balanced.
Randy Jackson’s program went 8-3 in 2015. Whether or not the Mustangs will equal, surpass or fall a little short of that record in 2016 may not matter. Grapevine should be a better team because of the challenges in front of it.
There is a defense that could be one of the best in Class 5A. The offense has a seasoned leader in junior quarterback Alan Bowman. If the forecast playoff teams pan out – Grapevine, Colleyville Heritage, Birdville and either Fort Worth Dunbar or Richland – the Mustangs will be in Division II.
We break down the Mustangs’ weekly opponents. The bye week is Sept. 16.
Aug. 26 at Azle, Hornet Field, Azle – Devon Dorris’ program missed the playoffs in 2015 and has felt the impact of heavy graduation. Only one offensive starter returns. The Hornets are considered a borderline playoff team in District 6-5A. Azle is going to have to pin its hopes on its defense. That will be a good test for Grapevine’s inexperienced wide receivers.
Sept. 2 vs. Abilene Cooper, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – If Jackson had it his way, he would have played this game at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene to simulate a playoff scenario. However, logistics meant it had to be played in Grapevine. Cooper coach Todd Moebes has 15 returning starters, including several offensive cogs in quarterback Austin Smith and running back Devin Johnson.
Sept. 8 vs. Frisco Heritage, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – A short week for the Mustangs as they play on Thursday night. Heritage is making the GCISD tour as it played Colleyville Heritage the previous week. Eight starters return from the 5-5 2015 team and is led by quarterback in Amare Jones. The Coyotes are projected to fight for a playoff spot in District 13-5A.
Sept. 22 at Fort Worth Poly, Handley Field, Fort Worth – The District 8-5A opener for the Mustangs. The schedule works well for Grapevine. It’s coming off a bye, can get back into its schedule a day early, faces an opponent it should handle and then gets an extra day to prepare for the following week.
Sept. 29 vs. Fort Worth Dunbar, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – The Wildcats are the smallest school in the district. Remember, Dunbar has the UIL’s blessing to stay in 5A despite having less than 900 students. Todd Lawson’s team will be explosive because of dynamic quarterback Nakkia Cox.
Oct. 7 vs. Fort Worth Carter-Riverside, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – Homecoming for the Mustangs against a team in the Eagles who were pretty respectable in 2015 at 5-5. Carter-Riverside doesn’t really have the depth to match the upper echelon of 8-5A. Head coach Jim Jeffries needs to find a quarterback to run the offense.
Oct. 14 at Richland, Birdville Fine Arts & Athletics Complex, North Richland Hills – This is going to be a pretty interesting road test for the Mustangs. Typically, the Rebels have the size across the offensive and defensive lines to hold up. What Ged Cates’ team has to do is find those who can make plays against Grapevine’s defense.
Oct. 21 vs. Colleyville Heritage, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – Arguably the game of the year in District 8-5A, and it could be for the district championship. This GCISD rivalry resumes with something at stake. Facing this very explosive CHHS offense led by quarterback Cam Roane, the Mustangs defense will have a lot of work to do.
Oct. 27 at Fort Worth Eastern Hills, Clark Stadium, Fort Worth – The Highlanders have really suffered. Keep in mind, this team scored only 26 points in all of 2015. They were shut out in eight games.
Nov. 4 vs. Birdville, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine – Lon Holbrook is in his second year running this program. He has a pretty solid team with 14 returning starters, including nine on the offense. QB Clayton Beeter is one of the top three quarterbacks in this district, along with Bowman and Roane. Both of these teams should be in the postseason.