Travis L. Brown and Ryan Osborne of the High School Huddle sound off on the games of the week. Visit dfwvarsity.com to catch the show and to find photo galleries from many area games.
Birdville (9-2) vs. Crowley (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, FW Brewer
Travis: Xavier Turner is one of the best running backs in North Texas this season, and Birdville will certainly have to ride his legs to make a deep playoff run. To beat Birdville, all Crowley has to do is contain the 2,345-yard, 46-touchdown back. Crowley will not be able to handle the task and Birdville will advance another week into the 4A Division I playoffs
Ryan: The key to beating Birdville is limiting Xavier Turner’s production to 3 or 4 yards a carry. Let them hand it to him 30 times. Let him get his 175-200 yards. But limit the big play. Crowley is the most physical team Birdville has faced, and Matt Marner is good enough as a passer to challenge the Birdville secondary. This should be one of the better — if not best —area matchups this week. And while I think Birdville might be the better team, I’ll go with Crowley to get the upset and win by a touchdown or less.
Midland Lee (9-2) vs. Southlake Carroll (10-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Saginaw’s Chisholm Trail Stadium
Travis: This is an easy pick as Carroll already beat Midland Lee in decisive fashion earlier this season, 63-14 in Southlake. Both teams certainly will be better heading into this area-round matchup, but Carroll was a near-complete team to begin the season and impressed me with its ability to run the ball this past week against Arlington Bowie. Carroll should take the two-game season series against Lee and advance.
Ryan: As Travis mentioned, Carroll made quick work of Midland Lee in the second week of the season. Lee has improved, coming in at 9-2. But I still see Carroll winning comfortably in this one, which will be played at Chisholm Trail Stadium, giving Carroll a distinct home-field advantage. I see quarterback Ryan Agnew continuing his torrid touchdown pace (46 total, entering this week), and the Dragons moving on to face Euless Trinity or Mansfield Timberview.
Euless Trinity (9-2) vs. Mansfield Timberview (8-3), 5 p.m. Saturday, Arlington’s AT&T Stadium
Travis: Both teams have similar, ground-heavy offensive attacks, with Timberview even mixing in a little bit of the veer. However, Trinity is simply bigger, stronger and faster than Timberview and should move on from the area round easily. It should also be a good opportunity for Trinity to work on its passing game, which it might need in later rounds.
Ryan: This is an intriguing matchup because of the physical nature of both Trinity and Timberview, which has one of the better defenses in the area. I see Timberview slowing this game down and limiting Trinity at times on offense. But ultimately, Trinity will win this one. And as Travis said, it should provide a good litmus test for the Trojans’ passing attack against a solid Timberview secondary. Chrstian Hammack has been consistent most of the season, but is he explosive enough as a passer to prevent the Trojans from becoming one-dimensional against better teams? I think we’ll find that out a little bit on Saturday.
San Angelo Central (10-1) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (8-3), 1 p.m. Saturday, Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium
Travis: The easiest way to compare these teams is their games against Midland Lee and Southlake Carroll, who played each other earlier this year. Carroll beat Lee 64-14 and Central also beat Lee, but by a much smaller margin, 37-27. Fossil Ridge came around and put up a good fight against Carroll, losing 31-27. Central has a good offense, so it could turn into a shootout, but I will give the benefit of the doubt to Fossil Ridge, which has faced a much tougher schedule through the season in the Metroplex and not in West Texas.
Ryan: Fossil Ridge is playing as well as anyone in the area right now, and I think they’ve been all along a dark horse to make a solid playoff run. They nearly knocked off Southlake Carroll a few weeks ago, and they dominated Arlington last week. Most important, Fossil Ridge has a gamer in quarterback Jacob Gnacinski. His numbers aren’t always explosive, but he finds ways for the Panthers to be successful. I think they continue their winning ways against Central.