You want to talk about bragging rights?
Arlington and Arlington Lamar will face off on Thursday in perhaps the biggest game in the history of Arlington ISD. After all, this is the first time ever - EVER - that two schools from the school district are 9-0.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at UTA’s Maverick Stadium.
Winner claims the District 4-6A championship.
Somebody’s 0 has to go.
“It’s very special for the community,” Arlington coach Scott Peach said. “These are two really good football teams and it’s going to be an epic battle.”
Arlington last started 9-0 in 1988. Lamar last accomplished the feat in 2003.
It’s the first time two undefeated Arlington schools are matched up with at least seven wins since Lamar and Sam Houston played with 7-0 records in 1973.
“It’s exciting because we know a lot of those guys,” Lamar quarterback Jack Dawson said. “It would be a great feeling to win and to know we beat our rivals. It would also give us a big boost going into the playoffs.”
Thursday’s game has a bit more meaning to Peach. His father, Lamar’s hall-of-fame coach Eddy Peach passed away in December. Peach played receiver and defensive back for his dad from 1990-92.
“He was a big part of my career and my No. 1 fan really for the past seven years after he retired,” Peach said. “It’s definitely a hard year being the first season he’s not here.”
Prior to a team meeting during the season opener, Arlington presented Peach with a peach-shaped sticker with Eddy in the middle to put on the football helmets.
“I was very appreciative of that,” he said. “It was a way to honor dad.”
Eddy Peach was Lamar’s first football coach when the school opened in 1970. He remained there until his retirement in 2010. After 39 years, Peach had a 309-124-6 record, the first coach in history to win 300 games at the state’s highest competitive level.
His teams won 16 district titles and he led the Vikings to the playoffs in 13 consecutive seasons from 1988-2000 with a trip to the Class 5A Division II championship game in 1990.
“My family got close to Eddy. Shortly after I got the job at Lamar I reached out and we’d have lunch once a month,” Lamar coach Laban DeLay said. “Eddy embodies everything Lamar Viking football and we’re just trying to uphold the standards he started.”
Lamar, which has already secured the No. 1 seed in Division I, is off to its best start since reaching the state semifinals 15 years ago.
“We have gone under the radar, but we use that as fuel,” DeLay said.
The Vikings enter Week 11 averaging 50 points per game. They’ve scored 51 touchdowns.
“Lamar is the most complete team we’ll play all season long,” Peach said. “They are really good in all three phases of the game.”
Dawson has thrown for 1,749 yards and 30 TDs. Running back Jordan Williams, who has rushed for games of 400 and 288 yards, is up to 1,484 on the season with 17 TDs. Receiver Trevon West has 732 yards and 13 TDs.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know if you can limit those guys. Jack and Jordan are two special football players,” Peach said. “We’ll have to do a great job at tackling their skill players and we can’t give up those extra yards. Lamar’s passing game has been great so we’ll see how we measure up. We feel confident on what we’ve accomplished in the secondary this year.”
Arlington defensive back Kyron White, a San Diego State commit, and the Colts’ defense have allowed 19 points per game.
“We all know what’s at stake – a district title and bragging rights,” he said. “We’ve prepared like every other week, but this one is obviously the most important. We’re just trying to go to 10-0 and as far as we can in the playoffs.”
Looking across the field, Lamar has its own committed DB in DeShawn Gaddie, who picked North Texas in September.
“For us two schools to be both undefeated – it just shows that we can compete with the best and we’re just as competitive as anyone else,” he said. “It’s going to be one for the books.”
“I’ve seen growth the past 11 weeks. I like where our defense is right now,” added DeLay, whose defense is allowing 13.3 points per game with three shutouts. “In this day and age with the offenses finding new ways to be creative, it’s special to post a shutout. They’ve done a great job minimizing opponents and giving us a chance to win.”
The Colts, meanwhile, have already locked up No. 1 in Division II. They’re averaging 46 points per game.
Arlington has scored 52 TDs while quarterback Jahari Rogers has thrown for 2,120 yards and 27 TDs. He’s added nine TDs on the ground. Texas Tech commit Trey Cleveland has 881 yards receiving and 10 TDs.
“It would be a dream come true for the coaching staff and players to win a district title for the first time since 2009,” Peach said. “This doesn’t happen too many times. We have a goal board with nine goals and we’ve hit four of them. The fifth one is to win a district championship. It would be an amazing feat.”
Lamar, which beat Bowie 49-14 in Week 10, has the edge in the series 25-21-1, but Arlington, which has won the past two meetings, is 9-8 against the Vikings at Maverick Stadium.
“We’ve been taking it one game at a time throughout the season,” Dawson said. “We’re going to have to execute better than we have all season long.”
“They’ve done a tremendous job and I have a lot of respect for that staff,” DeLay added. “They have great athletes, but we just have to prepare like we always have. We get ready the same way whether it’s Arlington or Byron Nelson 10 weeks ago.
“It’s huge any time you can win a district championship. It’s not only good for the program, but for the school and community. It’ll be big for North Arlington on Thursday night and we’re looking forward to it.”