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09/13/21

The Cooldown- Week Three

Cover Photo via The Dallas Morning News/ John F. Rhodes
Welcome back to the Cooldown! There were a ton of close games across the metroplex last weekend as most area teams played one final non-district game before beginning district play. We’ll recap a few of those games and look ahead to the upcoming football weekend!

Rockwall routes Austin Lake Travis

Rockwall dominated Lake Travis in what was maybe the most impressive win in the state so far this season. The Yellow Jackets downed Lake Travis 59-35 and racked up 667 yards of total offense. The first half was a shootout with Rockwall taking a 31-28 lead into half time. I expected more of the same in the second half, but the Lake Travis offense couldn’t keep up with Rockwall’s pace as the Yellow Jackets outscored Lake Travis 28-7 in the last half of the game.

Braedyn Locke had an incredible night for Rockwall, completing 30 of his 43 passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns. Zach Hernandez was dominant on the ground once again, rushing for 135 yards and a score on 19 carries. Noble Johnson was the go-to receiver, catching 12 passes for 249 yards and four scores. Brennan Ray added 133 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions. The Rockwall defense stepped up, picking off Lake Travis quarterback Bo Edmundson three times and holding star receiver Caleb Burton to just two receptions for 33 yards.

Rockwall has one last non-district game against Highland Park before a showdown with Rockwall Heath to open district play. That rivalry game with Rockwall Heath on September 24th will likely decide which of those two teams wins District 10-6A.

Eaton rallies to beat Hebron

The Eaton Eagles trailed Hebron by as many as 26 points last Friday night. Then, quarterback Tyler Fussell found his rhythm and Eaton came back from down four scores to beat Hebron 35-34. A Lane Haworth field goal gave Hebron a 34-8 lead with around five minutes remaining in the third quarter. That’s when Fussell kicked the Eaton offense into overdrive.

Fussell found Christopher Anderson for a touchdown pass and then got the ball back just before the end of the third quarter. The next Eaton drive ended early in the 4th quarter with a Fussell touchdown pass to Jaden Platt.

Eaton’s next scoring drive was capped off Fussell touchdown pass to Charles Whitebear to cut the Hebron lead to 34-28 with 1:25 remaining in the game. The Eagles recovered the ensuing onside kick and a few plays later Fussell found Ben Roberts to give Eaton its first lead of the night with :49 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Chase Whitebear picked off Hebron quarterback Jacob Buniff to seal the win for Eaton.

Fussell passed for 217 yards and four touchdowns and J.B. Brown rushed for 100 yards and a score. Four different receivers caught touchdown passes and Platt was the leading receiver with 121 yards. Eaton remains undefeated with the win but will be tested again this week against Denton Braswell. Eaton then opens district play with Keller Fossil Ridge the following week.

Despite the interception, Buniff still had a good night for Hebron, passing for 271 yards and three scores. Takoda Bridges was impressive, catching nine passes for 192 yards and two scores. Fred Ware rushed 12 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Hebron played well but didn’t finish in the 4th quarter. The Hawks drop to 0-3 but open district play favored to beat Plano East.

North Garland outlasts Richardson Berkner

North Garland gave us another great come-from-behind win last week with an overtime victory over Richardson Berkner. North Garland actually led this game for a good chunk on the first half before trailing by as many as 16 points in the 3rd quarter. North Garland overcame its 37-21 3rd quarter deficit with a Godspower Nwawuihe touchdown run with :36 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter to tie the game 51-51.

Richardson Berkner got the ball first to start the overtime period and went for it on 4th-and-2 from the North Garland five yard-line. The Raiders defense held and only needed a field goal to win the game. Nwawuihe did better than that- scoring a touchdown from a yard out to power North Garland past Richardson Berkner 57-51.

Godspower Nwawuihe did it all for North Garland in the win. The Raiders quarterback passed for 223 yards and four touchdowns to two interceptions and rushed 26 times for 170 yards and four more scores. That’s eight total touchdowns! Nwawuihe accounted for every North Garland touchdown! De’Aundre Johnson was the leading receiver with 75 yards and a score and Isaiah DeLeon added 55 receiving yards and two scores. North Garland improved to 3-0 with the win and opens district play next with Naaman Forest.

Richardson Berkner quarterback Thomas Landry played well in the loss, completing 12 of his 16 passes for 199 yards and three scores. Matt Randle caught four passes for 59 yards and a score while Jamary Williams added 55 yards and two scores. Omarion Barnes led the way on the ground with 151 yards and two scores. Berkner drops to 0-3, though all three loses were close, and opens district play next with Irving.

Games to Watch

Thursday 9/16

McKinney Boyd @ Byron Nelson

Two teams looking to stay undefeated heading into district play will square off on Thursday night. McKinney Boyd beat Richardson Pearce 30-7 last week and the Pearce touchdown came late in the 4th quarter. McKinney Boyd almost got its second shutout of the season in three games. Ryan Shackleton, Carter Whitefield and Peyton Shaw form a formidable three-headed attack for the McKinney Boyd offense. Byron Nelson raced past Irving MacArthur 50-13 behind big nights from Jacob Wilson and Aaron Darden. This figures to be a close game between two teams that will be fighting for playoffs spots in their respective districts.

Naaman Forest @ North Garland

I recapped North Garland’s thrilling win above, but can Godspower Nwawuihe power North Garland to a win to open district play? Naaman Forest still hasn’t played a game this season after all of its non-district games ended up being canceled. The Naaman Forest Rangers are the defending District 9-6A Champions. This will be a really tough game for North Garland to win and the Raiders will need to start fast and take advantage of a team playing its first game of the season. Naaman Forest should win this one but I will have my eyes on this game.

Frisco Heritage @ Frisco Reedy

Frisco Heritage and Frisco Reedy opened district play last week with the two toughest teams in its district. Heritage fell to Frisco Lone Star 51-24 after Easton Swetnam tossed three interceptions. On the other hand, Swetnam passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Heritage is 2-1 this season and Swetnam is a big reason why the offense is humming along. The Coyotes won’t get one of the top two playoff spots, but they will challenge for the last two playoff spots. Frisco Reedy is 0-3 but only lost to Denton Ryan 28-10. The season opener was a heart breaking 50-49 loss to Frisco Liberty. A.J. Padgett was the leading passer and rusher for Reedy last week and he figures to have Reedy squarely in position for one of the last two playoff spots as well. The winner of this game will have a leg up in the playoff picture, making Thursday night’s showdown an important one.

Friday 9/17

Duncanville @ DeSoto

Duncanville takes on DeSoto in a tasty early season district matchup. The Panthers are 1-1 after a win over South Oak Cliff two weeks ago. Duncanville is favored slightly over DeSoto on the road, but this isn’t the same Duncanville team from years past. DeSoto opened its season with a 35-28 road loss to Converse Judson before rebounding to beat Arlington Bowie and North Crowley. Matt Allen is coming along nicely at quarterback and he has plenty of skilled playmakers to get the ball to. This game has Game of the Week potential and I think DeSoto puts a pressure on Duncanville that the Panthers haven’t felt in the regular season for several years.

Arlington Martin @ Southlake Carroll

Arlington Martin opened the season with a 40-28 loss to Austin Lake Travis. That should put the Rockwall win in perspective, by the way. The Warriors rebounded with wins over Hebron and Midland Legacy (formerly Midland Lee). Arlington Martin has one last big test before it starts district play. I expect coach Bob Wager to dig deep in his bag of tricks and use Martin’s speed and athleticism to try and win this game. Southlake Carroll has looked as impressive as anyone so far with a big win over Highland Park, a come-from-behind win over Rockwall Heath, and a shutout victory over Prosper. I think Southlake Carroll wins this one, but it will be close.

Humble Atascocita @ Denton Guyer

Yes, that team from Houston is headed north again. Atascocita played Allen on the road in 2020 and lost. Then the Eagles made a return trip to Allen two weeks ago and handed Allen its first loss at Eagle Stadium. Now Atascocita is back for more and looking to assert dominance over District 5-6A. We will see if Denton Guyer fairs any better than Allen did, but quarterback Gavin Session and receiver Chase Sowell form one of the best combinations in the state. The Denton Guyer defense will be under duress, but I think the Wildcats offense has enough playmakers around Jackson Arnold to keep up with Atascocita. This one should be a great game with plenty of points.

Rockwall @ Highland Park

The Highland Park defense struggled to stop Southlake Carroll in its season opener. The Scots defense followed that up with a good performance, holding a good Flower Mound offense to 24 points. Rockwall’s offense is a lot closer to Southlake Carroll than Flower Mound though. Brennan Storer and the Highland Park offense should be prepared to score 50 if the Scots want to have a chance to win this one. Rockwall has scored no less than 42 points this season and I don’t see that number dipping any lower this weekend.

Eaton @ Denton Braswell

This has the potential to be a great game. I think these teams are evenly matched and both will be fighting for a playoff spot in district play. Eaton is 3-0, as I mentioned above. Braswell is 2-1 after a win over Sachse. The only Braswell loss was a four-point loss to a Keller squad that Eaton will be competing for a playoff spot with. I will have my eyes on this game for sure.

Lakeview Centennial @ Sachse

Lakeview Centennial’s matchup with Sachse this Friday will be an important one for playoff positioning. Those two teams along with Garland and Naaman Forest figure to make up the playoff teams in District 9-6A. I think Garland wins the district but after that the teams could be in any order. The winner of this game will have the advantage for playoff seeding going forward and this is a great matchup to open district play. I think Lakeview Centennial wins a close one.

Kimball @ Seagoville

Kimball is 1-1 after a season opening loss to Garland and a rebound shutout win over Conrad. Seagoville is also 1-0 in district play after a forfeit win over Adamson. This game is important for playoff seeding. Kimball and Seagoville will both be fighting for a playoff spot in District 6-5A DII with South Oak Cliff and Mesquite Poteet. I think Kimball wins a close one over Seagoville.

Player of the Week

My Players of the Week are North Garland quarterback Godspower Nwawuihe and Eaton quarterback Tyler Fussell! I couldn’t choose between the two after both led big comebacks to keep their teams undefeated! Nwawuihe accounted for eight total touchdowns while Fussell threw touchdown passes to four different receivers to spearhead the comeback!

Cover Photo of Denton Braswell quarterback Keegan Byrd courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and photographer John F. Rhodes.