The Cooldown- Week Four

Another week of the 2021 football season has come and gone as most teams in the metroplex get ready to start district play. I want to lead off The Cooldown this week by taking a minute to congratulate Duncanville coach Reginald Samples on his 300th win as a Texas High School football head coach! Samples is just the 13th coach to reach that milestone in the great state of Texas. Congratulations, coach Samples!

Duncanville beats DeSoto in District 11-6A opener

That 300th win for coach Samples was always going to be special, but it’s a little sweeter when you beat a rival. Duncanville raced past DeSoto 42-21 after falling in a 14-0 hole to open the game. Duncanville and DeSoto operated in different ways on offense. The Panthers had two 100-yard rushers in Malachi Medlock, who finished with 160 yards and two scores, and Caden Durham, who finished with 120 yards and two scores.

DeSoto tried to get it done through the air. Matt Allen completed 19 of his 32 passes for 247 yards and three scores and was also the Eagles leading rusher with 21 yards. Johntay Cook II caught three passes for 124 yards and a score and Stephon Johnson Jr. added seven receptions for 38 yards and a score. Jaylan Bean caught five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

It was a slow start for Duncanville, but a 21-point second quarter and a 14-point third quarter helped power the Panthers past DeSoto with ease. This game could be the confidence boost Duncanville needs to propel it on a deep playoff run after a tough non-district schedule.

Highland Park downs Rockwall at home

Remember last week when Rockwall was leading a shootout against Lake Travis at home? Then the Yellow Jackets boat raced Lake Travis in the second half? Well, that’s exactly what Highland Park did to Rockwall this past weekend. Highland Park beat Rockwall 52-31 after outscoring the Yellow Jackets 28-7 in the second half. The Scots made a statement on Friday night, beating a quality opponent by a mile and erasing any doubts left from the season opener against Southlake Carroll.

Brennan Storer was impressive for Highland Park, completing 17 of his 19 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson Heis was the leading receiver with 72 yards and a score. Luke Herring and John Rutledge followed with 47 and 46 yards respectively and a touchdown each. Storer also rushed for 33 yards and a score. Christian Reeves was the leading rusher with 114 yards and a score on 17 carries to give the Highland Park offense a balanced attack.

Rockwall quarterback Braedyn Locke completed 16 of his 24 passes for 133 yards and a score. Caden Marshall finished with 33 receiving yards and a score while Aiden Meeks added 49 yards and Noble Johnson finished with 36 yards. Zach Hernandez finished with over 100 yards on the ground again- going for 163 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Rockwall will have to recover quickly as the Yellow Jackets take on Rockwall Heath this week. Highland Park starts district play as big favorites on the road at Sherman.

Denton Guyer tops Humble Atascocita

Denton Guyer emerged as a potential title contender on Friday night with a big win over Humble Atascocita. That’s the same Atascocita squad that beat Allen by 21 points in Eagle Stadium a few weeks ago. The Wildcats downed Atascocita 46-35 despite being out gained by 70 yards on offense.

Denton Guyer scored on the ground four times despite finishing with just 35 rushing yards. B.J. Phillips led the way with 30 yards and two scores. Jackson Arnold starred with 337 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-41 passing. His favorite receiver was Grayson O’Bara, who finished with nine receptions for 164 yards and a score. Jace Wilson caught six passes for 52 yards and Sutton Lee added a 45-yard touchdown reception. Denton Guyer forced two turnovers and didn’t turn the ball over itself.

Gavin Session had another big night for Atascocita with 205 yards passing and another 71 yards on the ground. Session finished with four total touchdowns. Chase Sowell was the leading receiver with 135 yards and two scores and Keith Wheeler chipped in 52 yards. This Atascocita squad will likely make a deep run in the playoffs, so Friday night might not be the last time a metroplex area team has to face the Atascocita Eagles this season.

Games to Watch

Thursday 9/23

North Garland @ Lakeview Centennial

Both of these teams are 3-1 and opened district play with a loss last week. North Garland lost to Naaman Forest 40-14 and Lakeview Centennial lost to Sachse 56-27. If the Lakeview Centennial defense doesn’t improve this week, North Garland quarterback Godspower Nwawuihe has the capability of doing what Sachse quarterback Alex Orji did to the Patriots last week. I will have more on that later.

This game is important for each team to get back on the right track, but also for playoff seeding. Garland is the clear favorite to win the district and Sachse and Naaman Forest figure to make the playoffs as well. North Garland and Lakeview Centennial will be fighting one another and maybe Rowlett for the final playoff spot, making this game a must watch.

Frisco Wakeland @ Denton Ryan

Frisco Reedy hung with Denton Ryan two weeks ago before Ryan pulled away for a 28-10 win. I am interested to see how close Wakeland can play Denton Ryan this week. Denton Ryan is favored to win this game, and the district, but Wakeland is looking like a strong candidate to make the playoffs and has played well so far this year. This is a measuring stick game for Frisco Wakeland to see how close it is to the district leaders.

Trinity @ LD Bell

It’s that week again. Trinity is looking to extend its winning streak over L.D. Bell once again and the Trojans are favored to do so. It should be a big first half for Ollie Gordon and Gary Maddox on the ground. Trinity should win this one handily.

Friday 9/24

Rockwall @ Rockwall Heath

The defenses for both teams will be under duress in this one. Rockwall has scored as many as 75 points in a game this year and averages 51.75 points-per-game. Rockwall Heath has scored as many as 70 points in a game this season and averages 55.75 points-per-game. Braedyn Locke, Noble Johnson and Zach Hernandez will put up big numbers for Rockwall. Josh Hoover, Jay Fair, Jordan Nabors and Zach Evans will put up big numbers for Rockwall Heath. There will likely be over 100 points scored. I have Rockwall by a field goal, but this game could go either way.

Flower Mound @ Flower Mound Marcus

Flower Mound is 1-2 and coming off a 41-37 loss to Mansfield Timberview two weeks ago. The Jags had a bye week to prepare for Marcus last weekend. The other Flower Mound loss came to Highland Park 28-24. Neither loss was a bad one. The Jaguars opened the season with a 30-14 win over Mesquite but haven’t won a game since. Marcus went 2-1 in non-district play with the loss coming in the season opener to Dallas Jesuit 38-34. The Marauders have since beat McKinney 28-21 and Keller Central 41-14. Marcus has two capable quarterbacks and likes to use both of them, but Flower Mound will have the best quarterback on the field in Nick Evers on Friday night. That being said, I think Marcus wins this game by a touchdown.

Garland @ Naaman Forest

Naaman Forest opened its season, and district play, with a win last week over North Garland. The defending district champs will have to take on a red-hot Garland squad this week. The Owls have scored no less than 48 points over the course of four games so far this season. I think this will be a good game, but I am picking Garland by two scores, putting the Owls in the driver’s seat for the District 9-6A Championship and leaving Naaman Forest to compete with Sachse for the second playoff seed.

McKinney Boyd @ Denton Braswell

McKinney Boyd improved to 4-0 with a 28-26 win over Byron Nelson last week. Denton Braswell is 3-1 after a 38-28 win over Eaton last week. I think these are two evenly matched teams and this one could go either way. Ultimately, I am picking Braswell in a close one. With the top two playoff spots likely going to Denton Guyer and Allen, this game becomes important for playoff seeding. There isn’t a bad team in District 5-6A as all seven teams have a record of at least 3-1. The district record is all that matters to these teams though. Only three of these teams will miss the playoffs, but it will likely be a lot of close games that decide which three miss out on the postseason.

Arlington Martin @ Arlington

Arlington Martin is looking to bounce back from a loss to Southlake Carroll to round out the non-district schedule. Martin is 2-2 after a 40-28 loss to Lake Travis to open the season and a 31-7 loss to Southlake Carroll last week. The Warriors dominated Hebron and beat Midland Legacy 43-37 in between the losses. Arlington, on the other hand, is just 1-3 and hasn’t played the same quality of opponents Martin has. The Colts beat Skyline by a touchdown to open the season before losing to Cedar Hill 36-26, Keller Fossil Ridge 49-42, and Mesquite 49-35. The good news is, Arlington scores a lot. The bad news is, the defense allows a lot of points. Martin should win this one by a few scores, but the Colts offense will do their best to keep Arlington in the game.

Keller @ Keller Central

Keller is 4-0 for the first time in decades and the Indians have impressed in all four wins. Keller dominated Abilene Cooper, LD Bell and North Mesquite, and got a quality 27-23 win over a good Denton Braswell team. Keller has a shot to improve to 5-0 with a win over rival Keller Central on Friday night. Central is 2-2 with wins over Birdville and Wylie to open the season and losses to Flower Mound Marcus and Sam Houston the last two weeks. Central is looking to get back on track as district play opens. I have Keller improving to 5-0 with a win over Central on Friday night.

Richland @ Colleyville Heritage

Colleyville Heritage showed a lot of fight in its only loss of the season to 6A power Euless Trinity. The Panthers showed they are one of the best 5A teams in the state in a 30-27 loss to the Trojans. Couple that loss with two dominating wins and Colleyville Heritage is looking poised to go on a deep playoff run. The Panthers don’t get any favors to open district play having to face dynamic playmaker C.J. Nelson and the Richland Royals. Richland is 3-0 and beat a 6A team in Keller Timber Creek 34-30. Timber Creek isn’t the same quality of opponent as Trinity is, but it’s an impressive win, nonetheless. Colleyville Heritage should win this game by a few scores, but anything is possible with a playmaker like Nelson on your squad.

Offensive Player of the Week

My Offensive Player of the Week is Sachse quarterback Alex Orji! When you score eight total touchdowns and account for over 400 yards of offense, there really isn’t another choice! Orji passed for five touchdowns and rushed for three more in true dual-threat fashion to power Sachse past Lakeview Centennial 56-27 in an important game for playoff seeding!

Defensive Player of the Week

My Defensive Player of the Week is Sam Houston linebacker Jacoby Hildreth! Sam Houston keeps notching come-from-behind wins and Hildreth is a big reason why. Hildreth finished last week’s 24-21 win over Keller Central with 14 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack, according to the Dallas Morning News. That’s the kind of performance that allows your team to come from down multiple scores to win the game and it’s also the kind of performance that wins you Player of the Week honors on the Cooldown!

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