Sometimes, it’s a good idea to press the reset button, take a deep breath or just take time to get away from it all.
High school football coaches have not only welcomed the bye week on their schedules, they’re probably wondering why they didn’t push for this sooner.
For most of our area teams, this coming weekend marks the bye. If teams are in eight-team districts, they are on cruise control. It’s a time to heal and take stock of where they are and what they must do to get ready for the playoff push. Teams in seven-team and six-team districts are playing.
Nevertheless, this is also a good time for us to take stock in what we’ve seen and what it could mean for the balance of 2017.
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Teams that make you go ‘Oh!’
Burleson (3-0): Picked fifth in District 9-5A, the Elks have dominated their competition (Saginaw, Fort Worth Paschal and Weatherford). Granted, those three teams are a combined 0-9, but head coach Gary McElroy has a team with 13 total returning starters moving in the right direction.
Aledo (3-0): No national running back recruit and Oklahoma commit Jase McClellan (broken wrist)? No problem. The defending state champions continue to show their depth in all positions with McLellan’s replacement, Tre Owens. This offensive line could be the biggest in recent years.
Keller Fossil Ridge (3-0): The Panthers play Thursday against Rowlett. But they love the track meets. They’ve scored at least 42 in their first three contests. Wide receiver Stefan Cobbs is healthy and productive after missing most of 2016 with a torn ACL.
Arlington (3-0): Senior running back Kenland McCray is on his way to a 1,000-yard season. The Colts have grown with quarterback D’Montae Davis. He’s taking care of the football, completing nearly 72 percent of his passes and has thrown only one interception.
Arlington Martin (3-0): Bob Wager’s team could be better than advertised. That 50-33 victory over Carroll wasn’t an accident. This team is physical and has the speed that could help it make a deep a run in the 2017 postseason.
Teams that make you go “Uh-oh!”
Euless Trinity (1-2): There are no issues with the rushing attack. The Trojans are averaging 225 yards per game. But they’re having trouble stopping and people on defense. The transfer of Cameron Jones to Mansfield has really hurt the back line of the defense.
Abilene (0-3): While the Eagles are not in our coverage area per se, they’re start has caught the attention of the rest of District 3-6A, the Keller schools, Weatherford and Haltom. They’ve been blown out in each of their first three games and are fighting it defensively. The 3-6A race could be wide open.
Arlington Bowie (1-2): Quarterback Ty DeArman, son of head coach Danny DeArman, has struggled, throwing five interceptions through non-district. If this team is going to make a statement that it is a playoff contender (10-3 regional finalist in 2016), it gets its chance on Sept. 29 when it plays Martin at Wilemon Field.
Arlington Lamar (1-2): The Vikings didn’t make the playoffs in 2016. By the looks of things, it’s going to take an incredible effort to get there this year. So far, Lamar has yet to score more than 17 points in any game. The defense, led by national recruit defensive end Bobby Brown, has kept them in their previous two contests against Keller Central and South Grand Prairie.
Everman (0-3): The Bulldogs surprisingly missed the 2016 postseason. This winless start is against solid competition – Mansfield Timberview, The Colony and Stephenville – but Dale Keeling’s offense is also struggling to move the ball much less score.
Teams on the bubble
Mansfield Legacy (2-1): This is a state championship-caliber defense that Chris Melson has put together. Junior safety Jalen Catalon is the man. But this team has to pick it up offensively, or else it could miss the playoffs.
Keller Timber Creek (3-0): Either this defense — which has allowed seven points in the last 10 quarters — is as good as head coach Kevin Golden believes it is, or it’s going to take a few more weeks to really know.
Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt (3-0): Quarterback Michael Franklin might be the best player you’ve never heard of. He’s accounted for nearly 900 rushing and passing yards. He also hasn’t turned it over. Can the Chaparrals challenge Arlington Heights and South Hills for the District 7-5A championship?
Birdville (0-3): Consider the Hawks have lost all three games by a total of four points. A play here or play there. This is a team that needs to move quickly beyond the disappointments. It is not predicted to make the playoffs.
Southlake Carroll (2-1): We know the offense can score. Coppell running back move-in T.J. McDaniel is a game changer. However, the Dragons defense, which has surrendered 88 points in the last two weeks, will tell the story of whether this team can return to playing playoff games on Thanksgiving. Carroll hasn’t made it out of the area round the previous two seasons.
Finally…a reason to smile!
The suffering in Johnson County has probably felt like it’s lasted an eternity. Joshua’s football program has suffered through 20 consecutive losing seasons dating back to 1997. In that stretch, the Owls have had seven winless seasons.
But head coach Mike Burt has stayed the course. Following a 43-3 win over Carrollton R.L. Turner, Joshua hits the break at 2-1. It’s the most wins a Joshua team has experienced since the 2009 team went 2-8. The last time a Joshua team had more than two wins? The 2008 team went 4-6.
Yes, it’s a big deal.