The first round of the high school football playoffs turned out as expected, with the exception of a couple of contests.
Argyle and Guyer look like legitimate contenders to reach the state championship game, while Ryan’s defense did just enough to help the Raiders advance to a big showdown against Waco Midway this week. Sanger and Pilot Point both dropped close contests, while Krum had the unfortunate task of playing Argyle in the first round.
You know the drill. Adam Boedeker and I look back at the initial slate of playoff games and look at what’s ahead in the second round.
Class 5A Division II Region I bi-district
Ben Baby: This was a weird contest all around. For a second, it looked as if Ryan was on easily on its way to the next round after the Raiders went ahead 34-14 with 8:13 to go in the third quarter.
Nope. Instead, Heritage rallied and knocked Ryan back to the ropes with a flurry of points heading into the fourth quarter. But Ryan survived to face Midway this Saturday.
Ryan head coach Joey Florence picked up his 150th win as Ryan’s head coach and his 203rd overall. He said after the game that his offense was just trying to eat up clock in the second half and that the offense’s struggles weren’t indicative of what the team was capable of. The Raiders couldn’t move the ball well against Hebron or Coppell (both losses) and against Heritage. But Ryan scraped by last weekend to face Midway at the home of the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday.
Adam Boedeker: Hearing from my esteemed colleague Ben, it sounds like the Raiders didn’t have their offensive mojo working on Friday night against his alma mater, but the Raiders got enough done and got a huge boost from their special teams and defense (much like another area team’s game).
Frankly, the game was one Ryan should have won, and I guess for a brief time it seemed that might not happen, but the Raiders put Heritage away. Heck, the fact that Ryan won the game by just 10 points despite Heritage turning the ball over five times speaks to the Raiders’ struggles.
But you know what? Good teams win games when they aren’t at their best. And Ryan did just that on the big stage of the postseason. Judging by the way Waco Midway throttled a decent Mansfield team, Ryan better get its game on point though come this week.
Class 4A Division I Region I bi-district
Baby: A lethargic start plagued the Wildcats again, but a look at the box score wouldn’t indicate that. When the fourth quarter started, it was already 55-0. Jerrod Heard completed eight of 13 passes for 163 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also added two rushing touchdowns in the win.
Be honest – nobody thought Guyer was losing this game or even let Saginaw hang around. Saginaw was no match for Guyer, which the final score indicated. I don’t know if Waco will be able to give the Wildcats a good game, and there’s a possibility Amarillo or El Paso Chapin might in the next round. Maybe.
Boedeker: For about eight or nine minutes on Friday, it seemed the Wildcats were going to be plagued with the same opening-round rust they had last year at this time, against this same Rough Riders team. Last year, Guyer led just 14-7 with under a minute remaining in the first half before tacking on a TD before halftime and cruising to a 42-14 win. Saginaw wasn’t nearly as fortunate this time around despite Jerrod Heard throwing a bad interception on his first pass attempt of the night.
Like Ryan, Guyer’s defense and special teams were huge in this game. Derek Watson and Tevin McAdams (both defensive linemen) had pick-6s and D.J. Breedlove’s 73-yard punt return set up an easy 2-yard TD run from Heard.
Heard rebounded with a nice final stat line after his early pick and the Guyer starters were out after one second-half series. Things will get a lot tougher this week against a Waco team that Walsh said looks like Cedar Hill … looks being the key word there. Let’s be honest, Guyer shouldn’t be challenged seriously until the state semifinal, possibly even the state title game. This thing is to the point where anything short of AT&T Stadium on Dec. 20 is a huge disappointment.
Class 3A Division II Region II bi-district
Baby: The drama around this contest did not involve the final outcome. Instead, it was about Argyle kicker Cole Hedlund chasing the state and national record for most career field goals made. Hedlund knocked down five field goals as the state’s No. 1 Class 3A team knocked Krum out of the playoffs. Don’t think the Eagles didn’t want to get Hedlund’s record chase out of the way before this week’s game against Melissa and a potential showdown with Gilmer.
One of my favorite parts of the game was seeing Krum RB Brennan Ellis score on a 78-yard touchdown run. Ellis started the year at wide receiver and switched to running back after Dane White went down for the year.
Ellis deserved that score and the ovation he received from Krum’s fans.
Boedeker: The Argyle pain train rolls on for its opponents after a dismantling of Krum, the fourth-place team out District 9-3A. This is what happens when you start putting four teams in the playoffs in all classifications. But Argyle would’ve done this to a lot of people.
You really have to think Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers was trying to get Cole Hedlund the career national field goal record as he made good on five field goal attempts in the game, which was a blowout. Doesn’t take anything away from a great accomplishment, just kind of odd that you’d kick five field goals in that game. But why not get the practice?
Class 3A Division I Region II bi-district
Baby: Earlier this season, Sanger handed Lone Star its first loss of the season. The Indians couldn’t repeat the feat in the Class 3A Division I Region II bi-district game. Sanger running back Tre’von Jackson churned out 219 rushing yards and four touchdowns, but he and the Indians were bested by Lone Star running back Ramon Harris, who had 280 yards and two touchdowns.
A late fake-punt attempt backfired on Sanger and Lone Star capitalized with the game-winning touchdown. But, it’s a risk that’s worth taking, especially if your defense has struggled all night. Sanger did well to respond from last year’s winless season and have some positives to take away from the 2013 campaign.
Boedeker: The Indians deserve a ton of credit for a big turnaround this year. After starting the season 0-2, they ran their losing skid that dated back to 2011 to 14 games before snapping it. Now, their 2013 season is over, but it ended in the postseason and Sanger has a lot to look forward to down the road with the key cog of its offense returning next season in running back Tre’von Jackson.
Class 2A Division I Region II bi-district
Boedeker: This loss had to hurt for the Bearcats, who saw their comeback effort fall short after junior quarterback Travis Garrett tossed four interceptions. That’s a tough pill to swallow when you turn the ball over that many times and are still in a game. DaCoven Bailey had a huge game for the Bearcats with two touchdown receptions and 136 yards on five catches.
Baby: This looked like a pretty good contest, with both teams going back and forth throughout the night. But mistakes in the playoffs are magnified, and the Bearcats couldn’t overcome four interceptions by Garrett. However, the junior quarterback carried Pilot Point’s offense with 386 total yards. The Bearcats’ defense was gashed for three touchdowns of 40-yards or greater.
TAPPS Division I Round of 16
Baby: Based on the game story, Liberty was clearly looking ahead to this week’s game against Austin St. Michael. I guess when you beat a team by 46 points, you can do that. Drew Hunnicut had a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown, one of Liberty’s three interceptions.
Boedeker: Colby Moore had probably his best passing game of the season with an efficient 19-of-22 passing day for 315 yards, a touchdown and a pick. He also had two rushing touchdowns as the Warriors rolled to a convincing win over the Buttons.