High School Sports

Football Insider: Playoff site selections can get tricky

After each playoff game, the winning coach almost always knows when and where his team will be playing next.

But the process of scheduling playoff sites — from finding a neutral location to coordinating in advance to reserving a stadium large enough — can get tricky. That’s especially true in Region I, which often produces matchups between teams from the Metroplex and those hours away in West Texas and El Paso.

“A lot of times you worry that one of those El Paso schools would make you flip for home and home. They can do that,” Everman coach Dale Keeling said. “But most of them are the same way as us — they don’t want to come all the way to Fort Worth.”

Everman and Aledo are heading west for the second straight week. Everman is playing Canutillo, which is near El Paso, in Midland on Saturday. Everman beat El Paso Eastlake in Odessa last week. Aledo is playing Canyon Randall in Snyder on Friday, which follows a win against El Paso Del Valle in Midland.

But as Keeling pointed out, a neutral site isn’t guaranteed.

Per UIL guidelines, teams have the option of choosing to flip for home-field advantage instead of agreeing on a neutral site. “Neutral,” by UIL standards, means a location can’t be more than two-thirds the distance between the two schools.

That’s partly how Euless Trinity ended up with a home game last week against Odessa Permian.

Trinity and its second-round opponent Plano West agreed with Amarillo Tascosa to play in Wichita Falls, if Tascosa beat Permian in the second round.

But Permian wanted a shot at playing the Trinity-West winner at home. A few days before the second round, UIL athletic director Mark Cousins conducted a toss via conference call with the three teams’ athletic directors.

Permian won the first toss, determining that a third-round game involving them would be a home-and home. But then Trinity and West won the second toss, earning potential home-field advantage. Permian and Trinity ended up playing last Friday at Pennington Field in Bedford.

Hurst-Euless-Bedford athletic director Mike Fielder said it’s commonplace to coordinate locations in advance, even if things can go in several directions. Apogee Stadium in Denton, the host of Saturday’s Allen-Trinity game, was reserved early last week.

“You have to or somebody else is going to get the field,” Fielder said. “When you get this deep in the playoffs, fewer teams are playing and the crowds will get bigger and there’s very few available stadiums that are going to hold 20,000-plus fans.”

In Aledo’s case, athletic director Tim Buchanan has been working since Saturday with Randall, McKinney North and Tyler John Tyler to set up potential state semifinal sites.

“To get a stadium locked down, you have to get it so all four teams involved agree to play there,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s really, really easy when you’re talking about four Metroplex teams to match up But now you’re dealing with John Tyler or McKinney North playing Randall or Aledo.”

Brock rolls on

Brock pulled off its most unlikely feat yet with a 21-20 win over Wall last Friday. Wall finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Class 3A Associated Press poll. Unranked Brock is competing in its first UIL season.

The Eagles (12-1) plays Shallowater (12-1) 7:30 p.m. Friday at Abilene Wylie’s Bulldog Stadium.

Brock coach Chad Worrell said his team’s success has been simple.

“They play hard. I know it’s a coaching cliché, but they do,” Worrell said. “We haven’t made a lot of mistakes.”

Playoff numbers

Euless Trinity and Allen, which play at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Class 6A Division I state quarterfinals, have dominated the state’s highest classification the past decade.

They’ve combined to win six of the past nine Division I titles. Allen (13-0) has won the past two and rides a 40-game winning streak into Saturday. But Trinity (12-1) was the last team to beat Allen in the playoffs 28-21 in 2011.

Trinity also beat Allen 37-35 in the 2010 playoffs. Allen beat Trinity 34-21 in the 2008 postseason.

Southlake Carroll and Cedar Hill is the other power matchup Saturday in the 6A Division II quarterfinals. They swept the 5A titles in 2006, and each added another championship since then, including Cedar Hill’s Division II title last year.

Carroll, which won its 100th all-time playoff game last week, has beaten Cedar Hill two of the three times they’ve played each other in the playoffs.