Welcome to October! Believe it or not, the regular season is more than halfway over with and most teams have already taken a bye week. Next up is a five-week sprint to the postseason. Last week was another big week for bye weeks statewide, but there were a few rivalry games with playoff implications that I will recap, including a game I was in attendance for. Let’s recap some of last weekend’s action.
Colleyville Heritage wins the Red Rail Rivalry over Grapevine
When I chose to go to the 2023 edition of the Red Rail Rivalry, I thought I would get a better game. Instead, Colleyville Heritage seized control of the game early and never looked back. After returning the opening kick to the Panthers 10-yard line, TJ Golden forced a fumble into the end zone and Colleyville Heritage recovered. Instead of scoring the first points of the game, Colleyville Heritage ripped off 36 unanswered points before Grapevine finally got in the end zone in the third quarter. When it was all said and done, Colleyville Heritage defeated Grapevine 43-7.
Colleyville Heritage quarterback Luke Ullrich completed 18 of his 27 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns. He told me after the game getting wide receiver Braden Blueitt back was a huge boost to the offensive attack. Blueitt finished with nine receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns. The Grapevine defense had no answer for Blueitt, particularly in the red zone. Ryan Keleher also got free on what looked like a busted coverage for a 38-yard touchdown reception. Colin Bennett led the rushing attack with 12 attempts for 66 yards and Hayden Golden added the lone rushing touchdown from eight yards out. Ty Golden accounted for the other Colleyville Heritage touchdown in this game on a scoop-and-score.
Grapevine quarterback Harrison Hackbarth completed 14 of his 29 passes for 126 yards. Will Matheny led the receiving corps with two receptions for 37 yards. The Mustangs ran a pitch play and tried to establish the ground game all night, but just didn’t have much success. Rondale Carridine carried the ball six times for 46 yards and Connor Bell added 11 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. Colleyville Heritage figures to cruise to a District 4-5A DII championship while Grapevine will need to improve on both sides of the ball to finish as runner-up.
Flower Mound Marcus defeats Flower Mound in the Mound Showdown
Flower Mound Marcus took down Flower Mound 35-26 to win the Mound Showdown and improve to 2-0 in a District 6-6A playoff race that just got much more interesting. Marcus and Coppell top the district standings at 2-0 while other teams are in the playoff hunt and tied at 1-1. Plano is 0-2 and Flower Mound will also need to play its best football over the next month after an 0-2 start to district play.
Flower Mound Marcus quarterback Dane Parlin completed 10 of his 20 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. The Marauders were effective on the ground, led by Isaiah Keliikipi, who gained 204 yards and scored three touchdowns on 30 carries. Brock Golwas also added a touchdown on the ground. Rhett Garza led the receiving corps with three receptions for 92 yards and a score, while Karic Grennan chipped in five receptions for 46 yards in the win.
Three different quarterbacks attempted at least five passes for Flower Mound. Jake Watson led the trio, completing 18 of his 27 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Noah Erdman also passed for 91 yards and two scores. The Jaguars struggled to get much going on the ground as Erdman led the rushing attack with a total of 41 yards on 11 carries. Carter Massey caught six passes for 155 yards and Jason Welch caught 10 passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Flower Mound takes on Plano East this week in a game that could make, or break playoff hopes for either team. Marcus takes on Coppell in a battle of the last two undefeated teams in district play. The Marauders will need to cut back on penalties and turnovers in order to have a shot to beat Coppell this week.
Rockwall defeats Mesquite Horn
Our last game to recap isn’t a rivalry game but it was a thriller from start to finish. Rockwall took down Mesquite Horn 35-31 in a game that was as close as the final score would suggest. It’s been a tough start to district play for Mesquite Horn with back-to-back losses by four points. Rockwall and North Forney have seized control of the playoff race as the only two teams in District 10-6A to start district play at 2-0. Those also happen to be the teams Mesquite Horn lost to by a combined eight points, so don’t sleep on the Jaguars either.
Rockwall is still rocking with its two-quarterback system, and it was Landyn Locke getting the majority of the passing attempts this week. Locke completed 12 of his 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns while Mason Marshall added four completions on eight attempts for 69 yards and a score. Ashten Emory led the ground attack with 20 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown, and Locke also added a score on the ground. Emory led the receivers with two receptions for 78 yards, while Matthew Young, Jackson Stoner and Triston Gooch all caught a touchdown pass.
Mesquite Horn quarterback Legend Bey completed seven of his 13 passes for 51 yards and a score. Raheem Beck also threw a touchdown pass in his lone attempt. Kevin Magera and Levon Morton caught the touchdown passes, and Morton dominated on the ground with 247 yards and a score on 31 attempts. Bey also added 127 yards on 18 carries and Titus Muse gained 31 yards and scored a touchdown on eight carries. Mesquite Horn has an opportunity to bounce back against Mesquite this weekend while Rockwall looks to stay undefeated against Royse City before a showdown with North Forney the following week.
Games to Watch
Thursday, October 5
Southlake Carroll (5-0) @ Keller (5-0)
Southlake Carroll has historically had its way with Keller. The Indians have really improved over the last few seasons, particularly last year, and nearly pulled off an upset of the Dragons on the road last year, losing 38-35. The Southlake Carroll rushing attack has understandably taken a step back this year without Owen Allen, but Colleyville Heritage transfer Riley Wormley has finally been cleared to play by the UIL. That is a significant boost to the Dragons offense and Keller will be the first team to face Wormley as a Dragon. Regardless, this could be a good game. I’ll take Southlake Carroll until Keller can prove me wrong.
Mansfield Summit (3-2) @ Midlothian Heritage (5-0)
Midlothian Heritage and Mansfield Summit are both undefeated in district play and the two have combined to win four blowouts. This is the first real test in District 5-5A DII play for these teams and should play a big factor in the playoff race. This should be a good game, but I am taking Midlothian Heritage in this one.
Frisco Panther Creek (5-1) @ Dallas Carter (4-1)
District 7-4A DI currently features five teams with at least four wins and a record of no worse than 4-2. North Dallas and Carrollton Ranchview are the other two teams in this district. That means these two teams, along with Celina, Wilmer-Hutchins and Dallas Pinkston will contend for four playoff spots. Carter beat Pinkston 24-22 last week and Panther Creek beat Wilmer-Hutchins 38-21. This should be a great game between two good teams. It’s a toss-up, but I’ll go with Dallas Carter to pull off another thrilling win.
Friday, October 6
Coppell (5-0) @ Flower Mound Marcus (2-3)
Flower Mound Marcus is one win away from responding to an 0-3 start with three straight wins. A win over Coppell would also give the Marauders sole possession of first place in District 6-6A. That’s the payoff playing a tough non-district schedule can provide. Marcus has improved as the season has gone on, but it still needs to cut down on turnovers and penalties. Beating Coppell certainly won’t be easy, especially as the Cowboys are riding high following a big win over Lewisville. One of these teams is going to take control of District 6-6A, and I am taking Coppell in what should be a good game.
Richardson Berkner (4-2) @ Highland Park (4-1)
I wrote last week about how crazy and unpredictable District 7-6A has been so far this season. An already crowded nine team district currently has six teams with at least two wins in district play. After going 0-2 in non-district play, Richardson Berkner has reeled off four straight wins and is the last undefeated team in district play. I will take Highland Park in a close game, but I haven’t been able to predict this district all season. That’s just one more reason to keep a close eye on this game.
Offensive Player of the Week
My Offensive Player of the Week is Lake Dallas quarterback Cade Bortnem! Lake Dallas outlasted Frisco Memorial in a 40-37 shootout and Bortnem powered the offense all night long! Bortnem completed 13 of his 20 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Lake Dallas remained undefeated with the win and has an important showdown with Argyle looming this week.
Defensive Player of the Week
My Defensive Player of the Week is Colleyville Heritage defensive back Ty Golden! I got to see Golden put pressure on the Grapevine offense in a 43-7 win for the Panthers. Golden finished with three tackles, six assisted tackles, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble returned for a touchdown. Colleyville Heritage handled its rival and should win a district championship as a result.