Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Matt Strasen
It is officially playoff season in the great state of Texas! The playoff brackets are set and each team that qualified for the postseason now knows the road it must travel to Arlington. Champions will survive and advance while losers will watch the rest of the playoffs from home. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Before we preview some of the best playoff matchups this weekend, let’s recap the last weekend of the 2021 regular season.
Flower Mound beats Coppell to Claim a Playoff Spot
The playoff implications in this game were as straight-forward as possible: win and advance to the playoffs or lose and watch the playoffs from home. Flower Mound beat Coppell 45-21 to claim the final playoff spot in District 6-6A.
Flower Mound jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Quarterback Nick Evers passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 145 yards and four more scores on just 10 carries! Walker Mulkey caught three passes for 41 yards and both touchdowns and Cade Edlein led the receivers with eight receptions for 82 yards.
Coppell quarterback Jack Fishpaw did his best to keep the Cowboys in the game. Fishpaw ended his season with 270 yards and three touchdown passes. Charlie Baker carried the ball 15 times for 85 yards and also caught seven passes for 87 yards and a score. Zack Darkoch and Dylan Nelson caught the other touchdown passes.
Flower Mound will have to face a tough Denton Guyer squad in the first round of the 6A DII bracket. If the Jaguars were able to win that game, the winner of Arlington and Dallas Jesuit awaits in the second round.
Lewisville defeats Hebron
Keeping it in District 6-6A, Lewisville and Hebron faced off on Friday night with the winner claiming second place in the district and the top seed for the district in the 6A DI bracket, and the loser finishing in third place in the district and getting the second seed for the district in the 6A DI bracket.
Hebron jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and maintained that lead throughout most of the game. Lewisville quarterback Ethan Terrell passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns and receiver Armani Winfield completed a pass that went for 48 yards and a score. Winfield also caught 10 passes for 103 yards and a score. Kye Stone led the receivers with nine receptions for 206 yards and two scores- including the pass from Winfield and the game-winning touchdown reception from Terrell. Viron Ellison led the way on the ground with 106 yards and a score.
Hebron quarterback Jacob Buniff passed for 311 yards and three touchdowns, including a touchdown pass to Cobye Baldwin with :15 seconds left to give Hebron a 35-31 lead. Buniff also rushed for 44 yards and a score. Takoda Bridges led the receivers with 11 receptions for 135 yards and a score and Baldwin added four receptions for 87 yards and two scores.
Lewisville has a tough playoff road with a game against McKinney Boyd in the first round and a potential playoff rematch with Arlington Martin in the second round. Southlake Carroll would then likely await the Fighting Farmers in the third-round if Lewisville made it that far. Hebron will have to face Allen in the first round and the winner of Lake Highlands and South Grand Prairie in the second round. Euless Trinity will likely be the third-round opponent for the team that makes it out of that group.
Denton Ryan beats Frisco Lone Star by One Point
Denton Ryan and Frisco Lone Star faced off for the District 5-5A DI Championship. Denton Ryan beat Frisco Lone Star 7-6 and gets an easier playoff road as a result. Khalon Davis passed for 142 yards and the only touchdown of the game to MarQuice Hill II. Kaleb Hicks rushed for 114 yards for the Raiders and that was enough offense to get a win thanks to a stingy Raider defense.
Frisco Lone Star tried to win this game on the ground and almost pulled it off. Ashton Jeanty was fantastic, rushing for 231 yards on 35 carries. The Rangers were driving late in the game and were in field goal range when Jeanty was stripped by Anthony Hill Jr. trying to fight for extra yards. A field goal would have given Frisco Lone Star a 9-7 lead, but Denton Ryan was able to kneel out the clock instead.
Denton Ryan gets W.T. White in the first round before potentially facing the winner of Magnolia West and Tyler. If Denton Ryan goes on a deep playoff run, it will likely have to face the winner of Lancaster and Longview before advancing to the Regional Final. Frisco Lone Star opens the playoffs against Dallas Adams before having to face the winner of College Station and McKinney North. College Station finished the season 10-0 beat Magnolia West 41-20. Make no mistake, the Cougars are for real. If Frisco Lone Star won that game, it would likely face Highland Park in the third round before a likely rematch with Denton Ryan with a trip to the State Semifinal on the line. That is one of the toughest playoff roads in the state.
Frisco Liberty beats Lovejoy on National TV
Frisco Liberty beat Lovejoy 27-24 to force a three-way tie for first place in District 7-5A DII. Frisco Liberty, Lovejoy and Frisco all went 1-1 against one another to tie for first place (6-1) in the district.
Frisco Liberty quarterback Keldric Luster was fantastic, passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 102 yards and two more scores. Jack Bryan led the receivers with 11 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown and Lawson Towne added 10 receptions for 92 yards and a score.
Lovejoy quarterback Alexander Franklin passed for 132 yards and a score and Noah Naidoo had another impressive night on the ground, rushing for 133 yards and a score on 26 carries. Kyle Parker finished with 68 receiving yards and Jaxson Lavender added 37 receiving yards while Parker Livingstone caught three passes for 27 yards and two touchdowns. Franklin was picked off in the end zone by Liberty defender Sam Wenaas to seal the game.
Frisco Liberty will get a first-round matchup with Forney before a potential showdown with Aledo in the second-round. Frisco will likely be the third-round opponent for either Aledo or Frisco Liberty. Lovejoy matches up with Crandall in the first-round and will avoid the Aledo, Frisco and Frisco Liberty group until the Regional Final.
Games to Watch
Thursday, November 11
Boswell @ Eaton
Eaton (8-2) hosts Boswell (5-4) at home on Thursday night. The winner will take on the winner of El Paso Eastwood and Abilene. Boswell’s season got off to a rough start before recovering to finish 4-1 in its last five games. Eaton’s only losses were to Southlake Carroll and Denton Braswell. Eaton should win this game and advance to the second-round.
North Garland @ Rockwall
Rockwall (8-2) hosts North Garland (6-4) at home on Thursday night. The winner of this game will take on the winner of DeSoto and Killeen Harker Heights. North Garland snuck into the playoffs with a win over Wylie last week and Rockwall had an impressive season finishing as the runner-up in its district.
Killeen Harker Heights @ DeSoto
DeSoto (8-2) takes on Killeen Harker Heights (9-1) at Waco ISD Stadium on Thursday night. The winner of this game takes on the winner of North Garland and Rockwall. The only loss for Harker Heights came against Temple 44-34 and the Knights have won five straight games since. DeSoto’s losses came to Duncanville and Converse Judson but the Eagles haven’t lost a game since the middle of September. This should be a great game.
Friday, November 12
Hebron @ Allen
Allen (8-2) hosts Hebron (5-5) on Friday night at home. The winner of this game will take on the winner of Lake Highlands and South Grand Prairie in the second-round. Hebron is much better than its record suggests. The Hawks went 0-3 over a tough non-district schedule and lost district games to Marcus (28-14) and Lewisville (37-35). Allen’s losses came to Humble Atascocita (41-20) and Prosper (28-23). Both teams played Denton Guyer. Hebron lost 46-17 and Allen beat the Wildcats 38-31. This could be a high scoring shootout, but Allen should win.
McKinney Boyd @ Lewisville
Lewisville (9-1) hosts McKinney Boyd (8-2 at home on Friday night. The winner of this game will take on the winner of Irving Nimitz and Arlington Martin. McKinney Boyd lost to Allen and Denton Guyer in district play but went undefeated in its other games to secure a third-place finish in District 5-6A. Lewisville was undefeated just a few weeks ago before a loss to Flower Mound Marcus. The Fighting Farmers rebounded with a win over Hebron last weekend to head into the playoffs on a high note. This should be a great game between two talented teams.
Prosper @ Flower Mound Marcus
Flower Mound Marcus (8-2) hosts Prosper (6-4) at home on Friday night in a rematch of a first-round game from last season. Marcus hosted a talented Prosper squad but did so without star quarterback Garrett Nussmeier and Prosper won and proceeded to go on a deep playoff run. The winner of this game will take on the winner of Grand Prairie and Richardson Berkner. Marcus has its chance at revenge and the opportunity to be the team from this game that goes on a deep playoff run. This should be a competitive game between two good teams.
Byron Nelson @ Weatherford
Weatherford (7-3) hosts Byron Nelson (7-3) at home on Friday night. The winner of this game will face the winner of El Paso Eastlake and San Angelo Central. These two teams are evenly matched and even have the same record. Weatherford beat North Crowley 42-41 to claim second-place behind Trinity in District 3-6A. Byron Nelson lost three straight games in the middle of the season before rebounding with four straight wins against the Keller schools to finish third in District 4-6A.
Azle @ Mansfield Summit
Mansfield Summit (7-3) hosts Azle (8-2) on Friday night at home. The winner of this game will take on the winner of El Paso Chapin and Amarillo Caprock. Azle won the District 3-5A DI Championship with a 39-36 win over Northwest last weekend. Azle has only lost to Fort Worth Brewer and Keller Fossil Ridge so far this season. Mansfield Summit barely made the playoffs last season before going on a run to the 5A DI State Semifinal and was competitive against Denton Ryan. The Jaguars will look to capture that same magic again this season after a solid 7-3 season. Mansfield Summit won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season though. This should be a great game.
Offensive Player of the Week
My Offensive Player of the Week is Frisco Liberty quarterback Keldric Luster! Frisco Liberty upset Lovejoy 27-24 on Thursday night to force a three-way tie for the District 7-5A DII Championship! Luster completed 31 of his 50 passing attempts for 303 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball 26 times for 102 yards and two more touchdowns! Most importantly, Luster didn’t turn the ball over. The difference in the game, aside from Luster’s performance, ended up being an interception for the Liberty defense to end the game.
Defensive Player of the Week
My Defensive Player of the Week is Denton Ryan linebacker Anthony Hill Jr.! Denton Ryan has an easier playoff road as a result of its 7-6 win over Frisco Lone Star on Friday night. Hill Jr. finished that game with 18 tackles, three quarterback pressures and a forced fumble. The forced fumble came late in the game with the Frisco Lone Star offense in the red zone and looking to take at least a 9-7 lead on a field goal. Hill Jr. ensured the Rangers wouldn’t score by forcing Ashton Jeanty to fumble the ball. Denton Ryan picked up a first down and kneeled out the clock to secure a 7-6 win and a District 5-5A DI Championship!
Cover Photo of Flower Mound quarterback Nick Evers courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Special Contributor Matt Strasen.