Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Smiley N. Pool
There is just one week left in the regular season. Yet another season has flown by as we say goodbye to teams that miss the playoffs at the end of this week. Last weekend was packed with interesting matchups with playoff implications. A rain-soaked Friday night lent an advantage to teams with efficient ground games. Let’s recap some of the best games and preview the last weekend of the regular season. Note: there will be more Thursday games than normal this week due to inclement weather forecasted for Friday night.
Southlake Carroll defeats Byron Nelson
We’ll lead off with the game I was at on Friday night. Teams across the metroplex have mantras and slogans, but I’m not sure any of them mean more than Protect the Tradition at Southlake Carroll. All the hype in District 4-6A was around Byron Nelson, but the Dragons didn’t allow that to distract them from winning a fifth straight district championship. Not even a 13-0 deficit could do that. When it mattered the most, Southlake Carroll put together its best game for a 38-23 win over Byron Nelson. That’s what Protect the Tradition is all about.
Southlake Carroll quarterback Graham Knowles completed four of his seven passes for 86 yards. Knowles didn’t attempt many passes but came up with a pair of big completions when the Dragons needed a big play. Owen Allen had a banner performance on his senior night at Dragon Stadium. Allen rushed for 216 yards and scored all five Southlake Carroll touchdowns. James Lehman also carried the ball 10 times for 91 yards. Jacob Jordan caught two passes for 59 yards to lead the Dragons in receiving.
Byron Nelson quarterback Jake Wilson completed 24 of his 33 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Darden carried the ball 13 times for 131 yards and Landon Farco gained 19 yards and scored on two carries. Gavin McCurley led the receivers with eight receptions for 112 yards two touchdowns. Landon Ransom- Goelz caught eight passes for 60 yards and Darden added three receptions for 21 yards.
Riley Dodge won with the top quarterback recruit in the country. He won with another Division 1 talent at quarterback in Wyoming commit Kaden Anderson. Now, he’s winning with a backup quarterback. On top of that, the Dragon defense really showed me something against Byron Nelson. It gave up a lot of yards, but the Southlake Carroll defense got Byron Nelson off the field when it mattered. Tradition may not be enough for Southlake Carroll to beat a team like Duncanville, but don’t count out the Dragons when the playoffs kick off next week.
Duncanville defeats DeSoto
Duncanville’s win over DeSoto was even more dominate than Southlake Carroll’s win over Byron Nelson. The Panthers showed off the pride and tradition their program has in a 41-17 win over DeSoto. If there was ever any doubt Duncanville might have a hard time getting back to the State Championship Game, that was erased on Friday night.
Duncanville quarterback Keelon Russell completed nine of his 15 passes for 146 yards. Caden Durham was the star of the night, carrying the ball 19 times for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Durham out-gained DeSoto’s entire offense by himself. Lontrell Turner led the Panthers in receiving with four receptions for 64 yards and added 53 yards on the ground on two carries. Kaleb Kenney caught a pass for 45 yards as well.
DeSoto quarterback Darius Bailey completed 17 of his 33 passes for 91 yards. Deondrae Ridden led the Eagles on the ground with 18 carries for 73 yards and a score. Marvin Duffey added three carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. Dahlyn Jones led DeSoto in receiving with eight receptions for 27 yards and Johntay Cook added three receptions for 23 yards.
Duncanville’s defense deserves a ton of shine for its performance in this game. The stout Panthers defense held DeSoto to just 2.7 yards-per-pass and 3.5 yards-per-rush. That’s a recipe for success and the kind of performance that could win Duncanville a state championship.
Prosper takes down Allen
Prosper took down Allen after midnight thanks to a lengthy lightning delay. The Eagles of the Prosper variety handed Allen its first back-to-back losses in the same season since 1998. Prosper beat Allen 29-24 and will face McKinney this weekend for second place in District 5-6A.
Prosper quarterback Harrison Rosar completed nine of his 17 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. The passing game wasn’t always pretty on the rain-soaked night, but Rosar got it done. Hunter Summers caught three passes for 31 yards and a score to lead the Eagles in receiving. Summers beat double-coverage on a fade route in the end zone for the touchdown. Trevor Montayne carried the ball 17 times for 128 yards and a touchdown and Prentice Sanders added 58 yards on 11 attempts. Luke Johnson scored on two short touchdown runs in the win.
Allen quarterback Mike Hawkins Jr. completed 12 of his 31 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. Messiah Washington led the Allen receivers with five receptions for 119 yards and Davon Mitchell added five receptions for 114 yards. Dustin Kellison caught a short touchdown pass for his only reception of the night. Micah Ellis performed well in his first start since the injury to Kayvion Sibley. Ellis carried the ball 20 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
District 5-6A might be the deepest district in the state as far as the top four teams are concerned. Denton Guyer might be the best team in the state while Prosper, Allen and McKinney could all go on deep playoff runs.
Frisco Reedy beats Frisco Heritage
Frisco Reedy capped off an undefeated regular season in unbelievable fashion. The Lions trailed Frisco Heritage 31-26 with :23 seconds remaining. Josef Fuska made the play of the regular season, blocking a Frisco Heritage punt and recovering it in the end zone. That play gave Frisco Reedy a 32-31 win over Frisco Heritage in dramatic fashion.
Frisco Reedy quarterback Caleb Deal completed 15 of his 25 passes for 181 yards. Kaleb Smith was Deal’s favorite target, catching seven passes for 82 yards. Dennis Moody led the Lions rushing attack, carrying the ball 23 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Moody also added three receptions for 46 yards. Devin Hardy carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards and a score.
Frisco Heritage quarterback Devan Calvin completed 12 of his 27 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Vincent Hooper led the Coyotes in receiving with two receptions for 51 yards. Houston Brookshire added three receptions for 45 yards and what would have been the game clinching touchdown reception had it not been for Fuksa’s heroics. Nick Clark carried the ball six times for 40 yards and a touchdown to lead Frisco Heritage in rushing and Calvin added 20 yards and two scores in the ground.
Frisco Reedy’s reward for the hard-fought win and the undefeated season is a much-deserved bye week this week to rest and prepare for the playoffs. Going undefeated is hard enough. Doing so by playing 10 weeks in a row before eventually getting a bye week on the last week of the regular season is even harder. For that accomplishment, Frisco Reedy should be celebrated, especially considering the difficulty of District 6-5A DI.
Games to Watch
Frisco (6-3) @ Frisco Wakeland (5-4)
This game is a fantastic matchup and has major playoff implications. The only scenario in which the playoff picture gets murky and goes to tiebreakers to determine which team goes home is if Frisco Wakeland beats Frisco and Frisco Lone Star defeats Frisco Heritage. The winner of this game will clinch a spot in the playoffs while the loser will need help to get in.
LD Bell (6-3) @ Trinity (3-6)
As it stands right now, six teams are eligible for the four playoff spots in District 3-6A. Of those six teams, only one has clinched a playoff spot. District Champion North Crowley can relax this weekend with its playoff seed clinched. LD Bell hasn’t beaten Trinity since 1997. The Blue Raiders would love nothing more than to end that losing streak and their playoff drought on the same night. Trinity would love to keep the streak alive and make a return trip to the playoffs.
Hebron (5-4) @ Lewisville (8-1)
Hebron and Plano are fighting for the last playoff spot in District 6-6A. Hebron needs a win to make the playoffs. It is as simple as that. Lewisville, Coppell and Flower Mound Marcus have all clinched a playoff spot. It will take a win over Lewisville and a Plano loss for the Hawks to claim the last playoff spot.
Plano (4-5) @ Coppell (8-1)
Plano can clinch a playoff spot with a win. If the Wildcats lose, but Hebron loses to Lewisville, Plano still claims a playoff spot. Flower Mound (2-4) can force a three-way tie if it beats Plano West and Plano (3-3) and Hebron (3-3) lose to Coppell and Lewisville. In that scenario, Plano wins the tiebreakers and Hebron and Flower Mound are eliminated from the postseason. The only way Plano doesn’t make it in is with a loss and a Hebron win. Plano won’t have to worry about Hebron’s result if it beats Coppell on Thursday night.
Frisco Independence (8-1) @ Frisco Emerson (8-1)
Frisco Independence (4-1) and Frisco Emerson (4-1) are tied for second place in District 3-5A DII. Frisco Independence lost to Argyle 35-10 and Frisco Emerson lost to the Eagles 24-10. Both teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs, but Thursday night’s game will decide which team gets to host a playoff game and which has to go on the road.
Red Oak (8-1) @ Midlothian (9-0)
This is the de-facto District 4-5A DI Championship Game. The winner wins the district and secures the top playoff seed while the loser finishes in second place. Midlothian is seeking its first district title since 1984 and still has a shot at an undefeated regular season.
Denton (4-5) @ Lake Dallas (6-3)
Keeping it in District 3-5A DII, there is still one more playoff spot up for grabs. Lake Dallas (2-3) and Denton (2-3) are tied for the last playoff spot. The winner of this game clinches a playoff spot while the loser stays home. The stakes don’t get much higher than that.
Richardson Berkner (4-5) @ Irving MacArthur (4-5)
Richardson Berkner (4-3) has an advantage over Irving MacArthur (3-4) for the last playoff spot in District 7-6A. According to our DFW Insider, Matt Diggs, Richardson Berkner can clinch a playoff spot with a win OR a loss by three points or less. This should be a great game between two evenly matched teams with playoff implications on the line.
Offensive Players of the Week
My Offensive Players of the Week are Southlake Carroll running back Owen Allen and Duncanville running back Caden Durham! Both had big performances in games against the next best team in their respective districts to clinch district championships.
Southlake Carroll clinched a district championship behind 216 yards and five rushing touchdowns on 34 carries from Allen. Byron Nelson sold out on the run most of the night as Southlake Carroll started its backup quarterback in wet conditions. The Bobcats still couldn’t slow down Allen as he carried the Dragons to a fifth straight district championship!
Duncanville clinched a district championship behind Durham’s 309 yards and five touchdown runs on just 19 carries! The Panthers are going to run the ball a lot and opponents know that. Keeping Durham out of the end zone is about as easy as getting him to the turf in open space. In other words, it’s almost impossible. Durham carried Duncanville to another district championship and will need to have a string of great performances in the playoffs if Duncanville is to return to the 6A State Championship Game.
Defensive Player of the Week
My Defensive Player of the Week is Prosper linebacker Adam Due! Prosper’s defense has shined all season and Due has contributed to its success. Due recorded eight tackles, four of them solo takedowns, three tackles-for-loss and a sack to go with an interception and a blocked punt that was ended up as a safety for Prosper’s first points of the night! He also recorded four pressures to help propel Prosper past Allen 29-24 after starting the game in a 14-0 hole! Due and the Prosper defense will have to continue to play well as the Eagles head into the 6A DI playoffs.
College Player of the Week
My College Player of the Week is Boise State quarterback Taylen Green! The former star at Lewisville HS put together his best game of the season in Boise State’s 49-10 win over Colorado State! Green completed 24 of his 31 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns and added 13 yards and a score on the ground! Green is now the full-time starter for a Boise State squad that is 6-2 on the season. Also, freshman running back Ashton Jeanty (Frisco Lone Star HS) got nine carries for 37 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos in this game. Stefan Cobbs (Keller Fossil Ridge) was Green’s favorite target, catching four of his six targets for 91 yards. Boise State hosts BYU this weekend.
Cover Photo of Duncanville running back Caden Durham courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Staff Photographer Smiley N. Pool.