Arlington Heights has a chance this week to do something no Fort Worth school hasn done in 14 years.
The Yellow Jackets (11-0) meet Wichita Falls Rider (7-4) in the Class 5A Division I area round Friday in Mineral Wells. A win for Heights would send them to the third round, which hasn’t happened to a Fort Worth school since Wyatt reached it in 2000.
Heights beat Burleson Centennial 70-28 last Friday behind another strong performance from quarterback Deion Hair’Griffin. The junior had a hand in eight touchdowns. He ran for 216 yards and six touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets outscored Centennial 35-6 in the second half.
Heights coach Phil Young hasn’t looked beyond Friday. The Yellow Jackets made it to the second round in 2011, too, but lost to Killeen 60-25.
“They know what we have to do, but they know they can’t for one second to get caught up in the moment,” Young said. “My staff is so caught up in swinging as hard as we can this week. This is it.”
Young said he expects Rider to key on Hair’Griffin, who has sparked Heights to its two biggest wins of the season. He rushed for 393 yards and six touchdowns in a 66-48 win Oct. 24 against Fort Worth South Hills.
But Heights also has a stable of options at skill positions. Kevin Bowie, Kerrion Graves and Terrence Gilliam have each rushed for more than 450 yards and nine or more touchdowns.
But Young and his players aren’t dodging the obvious: They’re a Fort Worth team trying to go further than a Fort Worth team has gone in years.
“I just think that there’s, even with our record the way it is, I feel like we struggle to get respect from schools outside the area,” Young said. “I still feel like we have a chip on our shoulder.”
On the other end of the spectrum of tradition sits Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity.
The perennial state title contenders had to come back from big deficits last week.
In the Class 6A Division II bracket, Carroll beat Mansfield 38-31, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left. Mansfield had led 24-7 in the third quarter. The Dragons (11-0) play Denton Guyer (10-1) at 8 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
In Class 6A Division I, Trinity scored 25 unanswered points to beat South Grand Prairie 32-29 in overtime.
Coach Steve Lineweaver’s pregame video turned out to be timely.
“We showed them a film of all the [Trinity] players who made plays and come from behind,” he said. “We told them it’s in your DNA. You’re wearing the Trinity jersey. We told them to never give up and you might have to come from behind.”
On a roll
After losing its first two games — to DeSoto and then Dallas Skyline — it’s been a quiet past two months for Arlington Martin.
In a good way.
The Warriors have won nine straight, including a 43-14 win over Midland last Friday in the Class 6A Division I bi-district round. Martin (9-2) meets Amarillo (10-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.
The Warriors have had to adjust along the way, though, most notably at quarterback. Junior Eric Walker, who started last year, broke his ankle Oct. 3 against Arlington Sam Houston.
At first, Martin resorted to a by-committee approach, rotating Tre Brown, Noah Bondurant and Josh Watson. But Brown has emerged as the primary signal-caller.
Against Midland, he was 6-of-11 passing for 146 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s getting better and better,” coach Bob Wager said. “He’s a dual threat. We’re getting a better grasp of what his capabilities are and trying to play to his strengths. It’s almost a different game plan when he’s under center.”
A win Friday would earn Martin a matchup against Allen or DeSoto, which play Saturday. Martin lost to DeSoto 55-30 to start the season and scrimmaged Allen in preseason.
Texans coach honored
Arlington Sam Houston coach Anthony Criss was nominated for The Landry Award, which honors the top player and coach in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Other coaches are Highland Park’s Randy Allen, Wylie’s Bill Howard, Garland’s Jeff Jordan and Frisco Wakeland’s Marty Secord. Fans can vote at LandryAward.com.
Criss led the Texans to a 6-5 season and a berth in the Class 6A Division I bi-district round. The Texans lost to Odessa Permian, but were making their first playoff appearance since 2003.