Weekend recap: One rivalry resumes, another begins (for wrong reason)

Denton Guyer High School running back Myron Mason (2) breaks off a big run during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer High School running back Myron Mason (2) breaks off a big run during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Ryan and Denton resumed their rivalry after a four-year hiatus on Friday. This time, Ryan was good (as usual) and Denton was good too (not the case the last time the teams played), but Ryan showed they are still above and beyond what anyone else in District 5-5A is.

Meanwihle, Guyer had a big win over Plano that wasn’t too aesthetically pleasing and was soured by a dirty, dirty play in the game that is sure to create some bad blood when the teams meet next year at C.H. Collins.

My buddy Steve and I take a look back on the area football weekend with our weekly recap, coming now…

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AP poll sweetens Ryan-Denton matchup

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas.  Jeff Woo/DRC

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas. Jeff Woo/DRC

The new AP poll is out, a little bit later than usual, and there isn’t much change to speak of in terms of our area teams.

Argyle, which drove all the way to Abilene for a much-hyped game with Wylie on Friday only to have it canceled due to lightning, remained strong at No. 2 in the Class 4A poll.

The only movement among area teams was Denton moving up a spot to No. 6 in the 5A poll, making Friday’s District 5-5A opener between Denton and Ryan a No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup.

Here is The Associated Press high school poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, points based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the team’s ranking in last week’s poll:

Class 6A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Allen (22) (3-0) 243 1
2. Converse Judson (2) (4-0) 211 3
(tie) DeSoto (1) (3-0) 211 2
4. Lake Travis (3-1) 145 4
5. Euless Trinity (3-0) 142 5
6. Austin Westlake (3-1) 117 6
7. Cedar Hill (2-1) 96 7
8. Cibolo Steele (3-1) 68 8
9. The Woodlands (4-0) 49 10
10. Galena Park North Shore (2-1) 43 9

Others receiving votes: San Angelo Central 30. Round Rock Cedar Ridge 5. Katy 5. Austin Bowie 5. Dickinson 3. Beaumont West Brook 1. Southlake Carroll 1.

Class 5A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Cedar Park (12) (4-0) 229 1
2. Aledo (5) (3-0) 222 2
3. Denton Ryan (4) (4-0) 206 3
4. Manvel (4) (3-0) 193 4
5. Richmond Foster (4-0) 137 6
6. Denton (4-0) 78 7
7. Lancaster (3-1) 70 8
8. Waxahachie (4-0) 69 10
9. Texarkana Texas (4-0) 64 9
10. Frisco Lone Star (3-1) 46 5

Others receiving votes: College Station 22. Grapevine 15. Lubbock Cooper 9. Dallas Highland Park 5. Port Neches-Groves 4. Dripping Springs 3. Canyon 2. Cleburne 1.

Class 4A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (15) (4-0) 237 1
2. Argyle (6) (3-0) 220 2
3. Carthage (3-0) 186 5
4. Waco La Vega (2) (4-0) 177 4
5. Cuero (1) (4-0) 136 6
6. China Spring (1) (4-0) 130 7
7. Gilmer (3-1) 77 3
8. Henderson (4-0) 69 10
9. Abilene Wylie (2-1) 46 9
10. Geronimo Navarro (4-0) 33 NR

Others receiving votes: Van 19. Celina 12. Liberty Hill 9. Sweetwater 8. El Campo 8. Kennedale 4. Stafford 3. Gladewater 1.

Class 3A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Brock (19) (4-0) 244 1
2. Newton (5) (4-0) 218 2
3. Franklin (1) (4-0) 200 3
4. Malakoff (3-0) 179 4
5. Sunnyvale (4-0) 136 5
6. Cameron Yoe (3-1) 104 7
7. White Oak (4-0) 88 8
8. Big Sandy Harmony (4-0) 61 9
9. Canadian (2-2) 28 10
10. Crockett (4-0) 26 NR

Others receiving votes: Wall 17. La Marque 16. Grandview 14. Cisco 10. Sonora 10. East Bernard 6. Elysian Fields 4. George West 4. Hallettsville 3. Mineola 3. Rockdale 3. Coleman 1.

Class 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Refugio (21) (3-0) 246 1
2. Bremond (3) (4-0) 212 2
3. Iraan (1) (4-0) 177 3
4. Albany (4-0) 162 5
5. Mart (4-0) 136 6
6. Tenaha (4-0) 113 7
7. Lovelady (3-0) 83 8
8. Shiner (3-1) 74 9
9. Stratford (2-1) 56 4
10. Wellington (4-0) 48 10

Others receiving votes: Price Carlisle 6. Muenster 5. Goldthwaite 5. Crawford 4. Evadale 1. Christoval 1. Mason 1.

Argyle, Denton, Ryan all hold steady in AP poll

Argyle sophomore quarterback Hayden Clearman (12) throws a pass during a down, Friday, September 9, 2016, in Argyle, Texas.  Jeff Woo/DRC

Argyle sophomore quarterback Hayden Clearman (12) throws a pass during a down, Friday, September 9, 2016, in Argyle, Texas. Jeff Woo/DRC

Another week, another set of rankings in the newest Associated Press Texas high school football state poll, and several area teams stayed steady in the rankings in their respective classifications.

In Class 5A, Ryan stayed put at No. 3, well behind Cedar Park and Aledo and just ahead of No. 4 Manvel. It’s hard to imagine that order changing at all as long as both teams keep winning, and it really doesn’t matter. The Denton Broncos moved up one spot in the poll from No. 8 to No. 7. Ryan’s matchup this weekend is a biggie, as Frisco Lone Star moved up a spot to No. 5.

In Class 4A, which for whatever reason isn’t broken up into Division I and Division II, still has Argyle solidly at No. 2 behind West Orange-Stark, which is a Division II school meaning the Eagles are the top team among Division I schools. The Eagles’ matchup this weekend against Abilene Wylie will be a top-10 game as Wylie is No. 9 in the poll.

Here is The Associated Press high school poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, points based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the team’s ranking in last week’s poll:

Class 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Allen (22) (3-0) 244 1
2. DeSoto (1) (3-0) 213 2
3. Converse Judson (2) (3-0) 211 3
4. Lake Travis (2-1) 148 5
5. Euless Trinity (3-0) 131 7
6. Austin Westlake (2-1) 128 6
7. Cedar Hill (2-1) 99 8
8. Cibolo Steele (2-1) 64 9
9. Galena Park North Shore (2-1) 44 10
10. The Woodlands (3-0) 40 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, San Angelo Central 27. 12, Katy 12. 13, Round Rock Cedar Ridge 7. 14, Dickinson 3. 15, Tyler 2. 15, Southlake Carroll 2.

Class 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Cedar Park (14) (3-0) 233 1
2. Aledo (5) (3-0) 222 2
3. Denton Ryan (2) (3-0) 200 3
4. Manvel (4) (3-0) 194 4
5. Frisco Lone Star (3-0) 142 6
6. Richmond Foster (3-0) 114 7
7. Denton (3-0) 65 8
8. Lancaster (2-1) 58 9
9. Texarkana Texas (3-0) 45 10
10. Waxahachie (3-0) 36 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, College Station 18. 12, Temple 11. 13, Lubbock Cooper 9. 13, Grapevine 9. 15, Crosby 5. 16, Highland Park 4. 17, Port Neches-Groves 3. 18, Dripping Springs 2. 18, Georgetown 2. 20, Canyon 1. 20, Cleburne 1. 20, Waco 1.

Class 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (16) (3-0) 236 1
2. Argyle (7) (3-0) 221 2
3. Gilmer (3-0) 176 4
4. Waco La Vega (1) (3-0) 175 3
5. Carthage (3-0) 155 5
6. Cuero (1) (3-0) 116 7
7. China Spring (3-0) 109 8
8. Liberty Hill (2-0) 53 9
9. Abilene Wylie (2-1) 36 10
10. Henderson (3-0) 28 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Geronimo Navarro 13. 12, Van 12. 12, Celina 12. 14, La Grange 9. 15, Kennedale 8. 16, El Campo 7. 16, Sweetwater 7. 18, Robinson 1. 18, Alvarado 1.

Class 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Brock (21) (3-0) 246 1
2. Newton (3) (3-0) 215 3
3. Franklin (1) (3-0) 194 4
4. Malakoff (2-0) 173 5
5. Sunnyvale (3-0) 125 7
6. La Marque (3-0) 96 8
7. Cameron Yoe (2-1) 95 2
8. White Oak (3-0) 79 10
9. Big Sandy Harmony (3-0) 25 NR
10. Canadian (1-2) 21 6

Others receiving votes: 11, East Bernard 16. 12, Grandview 15. 13, Crockett 14. 13, Wall 14. 15, Cisco 9. 15, Hallettsville 9. 17, Eastland 6. 17, George West 6. 17, Sonora 6. 20, Elysian Fields 3. 21, Mineola 2. 21, Coleman 2. 21, Bishop 2. 21, Waskom 2.

Class 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Refugio (22) (2-0) 246 1
2. Bremond (3) (3-0) 223 2
3. Iraan (3-0) 190 3
4. Stratford (2-0) 165 4
5. Albany (3-0) 149 5
6. Mart (3-0) 119 6
7. Tenaha (3-0) 102 7
8. Lovelady (2-0) 76 9
9. Shiner (2-1) 46 10
10. Wellington (3-0) 27 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Muenster 11. 12, Goldthwaite 5. 13, Price Carlisle 4. 13, Weimar 4. 15, Mason 3. 16, Alto 1. 16, Anson 1. 16, Christoval 1. 16, Post 1. 16, Yorktown 1.

Weekend recap: It’s not how you start…

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas.  Jeff Woo/DRC

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas. Jeff Woo/DRC

In a week that didn’t feature a whole lot in the way of big matchups in the area, there were a few that stood out in the gaggle of duds. Ryan remained unbeaten with a win over yet another quality opponent. Argyle avenged a crushing loss from last season, and Sanger got the best of Krum in a matchup of top-notch area Class 4A squads. Steve Gamel and I take a look back on the weekend in our weekly recap…

Ryan at Wylie East

AB: So the general theme surrounding Ryan so far this season has been the Raiders’ slow offensive starts. While that’s been true, the Raiders’ offense still has some players, most notably under center. When you have that, you’re usually going to end up being OK, and Spencer Sanders saw to it again on Thursday with a phenomenal second half to help Ryan run away with a convincing win over a good Wylie East team. The Raiders arguably have the toughest nondistrict schedule in the state in Class 5A, and they’ve got a 3-0 record with another big clash coming against Frisco Lone Star. Yeah, the offense has had its share of problems, but with a defense like that and the playmakers on offense, Ryan is going to be very tough to beat.

SG: Another great win for Ryan. While sitting in the press box prior to Thursday’s game, I overheard a few Mesquite Poteet coaches talking. Ryan had rallied the previous week in the second half to pick up the win, and those coaches kept saying their kids gave Ryan everything they could. That was a true statement, and it’s true for each of Ryan’s first three opponents. All of them are good teams, but they don’t have what Ryan has. People keep asking me what’s wrong with Ryan? Honestly, the Raiders are playing good teams, so it’s going to be a tough road. But their punishing defense wears teams down, and despite its slow starts, the offense has too many weapons to be held down for four quarters.

Guyer at Dallas Kimball

AB: There really wasn’t much to say about this game. Kimball was vastly overmatched, and while I commend the Knights’ coaches for wanting a matchup with Guyer, you have to wonder if it was even too much of a step up in weight class. Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine what good Kimball gets out of a 63-7 thrashing, and the same goes for Guyer. One thing Guyer did get was some confidence heading into its bye week and the subsequent District 6-6A opener against Plano. Luke Stillwell opened up the passing game that had accounted for 39 yards in two games by throwing for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns in one half of action. The Wildcats had shown they could throw the ball in a scrimmage against Euless Trinity, and they reaffirmed it Friday, albeit in a gross mismatch.

SG: Without having read my buddy Adam’s assessment of the Wildcats’ latest win, I’m sure I am echoing his thoughts when I say kudos should go out to Dallas Kimball for stepping up to ask Guyer for this Week 3 game. Most people may not know that. It was a tall order and a game Kimball was destined to lose, but it shows what type of program Kimball wants to be. As for the game, there’s really not much to say because the Wildcats dominated in every way possible. I hear Adam had his story written by halftime – must be nice.

The Colony at Denton

AB: The Broncos continue to find ways to win tight games behind a solid running game and a defense that won’t crack. The latest victim was The Colony, who couldn’t get a late big play to topple the Broncos. Denton will face another test this weekend against an upstart, unbeaten Keller Timber Creek that might be finding its identity after a few lean years upon the school opening. The Broncos should be favored, but going on the road on a short week won’t be easy for the Broncos.

SG: Denton found itself in another tight game going into the second half, but flexed its muscle in route to another solid win. The Broncos came into this week at No. 8 in The Associated Press’ Class 5A poll, and you have to believe they will stay ranked for the rest of this season. Caleb Osuofa is turning out to be a solid running back, and Colt Atkinson is doing some good things under center. Up next is a matchup against Class 6A Keller Timber Creek. I’ve never really thought too highly of Timber Creek as an opponent, but it’s a chance to build momentum heading into the District 5-5A opener against Ryan.

Braswell at Frisco Reedy

AB: To be perfectly honest, I was starting to wonder what I was going to write each week for Braswell’s games in these recaps after the Bengals were outscored 112-0 in their first two games. But they put on a good showing on Thursday night at the Ford Center at the Star — Frisco’s new monstrosity of a stadium. Cody Moore has still yet to find his high-flying passing attack he led at Mesquite Horn and Rockwall prior to starting the Braswell program, but he did find a 100-yard back in Ki’Andre Jackson. It’s going to be a lean year for Braswell, who saw its best chance at a win escape it, but with each passing week the Bengals seem to be improving.

SG: At 0-3, surely the Bengals’ coaching staff is looking at third-string quarterback Palmer Campbell as a realistic starter for this week’s game against Kaufman. Palmer stepped in against Reedy this past week as the starter due to injuries, and completed 16 of 25 passes for 88 yards. According to our Jimmy Isbell, coach Cody Moore lamented over not giving Palmer more chances to rack up yardage in a game the Bengals only lost, 28-12. There are no moral victories, but that’s a step forward for a team that had been outscored 112-0 coming in. Oh, and another thing – good job to Ki’Andre Jackson, who rushed for 160 yards and scored both touchdowns.

Celina at Argyle

AB: This one had to feel good for Argyle. True, Celina is obviously not the same team that walloped Argyle a year ago and went on to play in the Class 4A Division II state championship game — a game the Bobcats lost after starting quarterback Conner Pingleton broke his arm early in the game. Pingleton is still there, but something isn’t the same because the Bobcats aren’t nearly the team they were a year ago. However, with Argyle’s dynamic senior quarterback Dane Ledford out with a wrist injury, the Eagles are far from full strength either. And the Eagles put it on Celina in a big way to avenge last year’s loss and remain unbeaten on the year heading into a big road game at Abilene Wylie.

SG: Hayden Clearman, everybody. I don’t want to take away from a defense that did a tremendous job completely shutting down Celina’s offense, but the sophomore under center looked tremendous. And I can say that because I was there. Clearman threw just four incomplete passes while rolling up 226 yards and three touchdowns. That type of performance is just what the doctor ordered for an Argyle offense that soon enough will have Tulane commit Dane Ledford (wrist) back at quarterback. Until then, Clearman is no slouch.

Krum at Sanger

AB: This game lived up to the billing as one of the better matchups of the weekend as Sanger ended up pulling out a 14-6 win in what was expected to be a defensive clash. Krum will be just fine after a loss to a big 4A school, and Sanger rebounded nicely from a close loss to a big Class 5A school in Denton last week. Sanger’s offense is proving to be really versatile with CJ Jackson throwing for 300 yards one week and Dameon Moser throwing up 100-plus on the ground in a grind-it-out game the following week. With the Indians’ defense as good as ever, this team has a chance to be special later in the year.

SG: Neither Adam nor I got to see this game, which we pegged as a potential classic coming in. At 2-0, Krum looked red hot. Even Sanger’s wide-open passing attack appeared to be on-point. What ended up happening was a tight game that saw Sanger capitalize on a solid showing from Dameon Moser in a 14-6 win. Opponents really need to take Sanger a bit more seriously. As for Krum, one loss doesn’t break this season. They’ll be fine.

 

 

Associated Press state poll: Week 1

Denton senior wide receiver Chris Miller (14) stiff arms Lake Dallas senior line backer Jacob Schuster (35), Friday, August 26, 2016, in Corinth. Jeff Woo/DRC

Denton senior wide receiver Chris Miller (14) stiff arms Lake Dallas senior line backer Jacob Schuster (35), Friday, August 26, 2016, in Corinth. Jeff Woo/DRC

The newest edition of the Associated Press state poll is out after one week of games, and there was a little movement for the area teams in the poll after several big matchups and some upsets.

The biggest movement came from the Denton Broncos, who jumped from nowhere to be found in the Class 5A poll all the way up to the first team receiving votes (No. 11) after a sound beating of Lake Dallas, which opened the year at No. 14. Ryan remained at No. 3 in 5A while Cedar Park and Aledo traded places above the Raiders. Argyle stayed at No. 1 in Class 4A, and Guyer moved up one spot in the “ORV” to No. 13 and now have No. 3 DeSoto waiting for them this week.

Here is The Associated Press high school poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, points based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the team’s ranking in last week’s poll:

Class 6A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Austin Westlake (7) (1-0) 215 5
2. Allen (14) (1-0) 212 4
3. DeSoto (1) (1-0) 161 6
4. Converse Judson (2) (1-0) 134 10
5. Katy (0-1) 132 1
6. Galena Park North Shore (1-0) 103 8
7. Cibolo Steele (1-0) 101 7
8. Lake Travis (0-1) 70 2
9. Cedar Hill (0-1) 69 3
10. Euless Trinity (1-0) 67 9

Others receiving votes: 11, Richmond George Ranch 26. 12, Arlington Martin 14. 13, Denton Guyer 6. 14, Lufkin 3. 15, The Woodlands 2. 16, Tyler 1. 16, Mansfield 1. 16, Pearland 1. 16, San Angelo Central 1. 16, Cedar Park Vista Ridge 1.

Class 5A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Cedar Park (9) (1-0) 218 2
2. Aledo (10) (1-0) 215 1
3. Denton Ryan (5) (1-0) 195 3
4. Manvel (1-0) 151 4
5. Temple (1-0) 134 5
6. Frisco Lone Star (1-0) 120 6
7. Dallas Highland Park (1-0) 112 7
8. CC Calallen (1-0) 71 8
9. Richmond Foster (1-0) 50 9
10. Angleton (1-0) 11 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Denton 8. 11, Lancaster 8. 13, Texarkana Texas 7. 14, College Station 6. 15, Ennis 5. 16, Crosby 4. 17, Mansfield Timberview 2. 18, Georgetown 1. 18, Canyon 1. 18, Abilene Cooper 1.

Class 4A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Argyle (13) (1-0) 226 1
2. West Orange-Stark (10) (1-0) 221 2
3. Waco La Vega (1) (1-0) 187 3
4. Gilmer (1-0) 151 6
5. Carthage (0-0) 145 5
6. Abilene Wylie (1-0) 108 8
7. Kennedale (0-0) 70 10
8. Cuero (1-0) 42 NR
9. Navasota (0-1) 32 4
10. China Spring (1-0) 24 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Texarkana Liberty-Eylau 21. 12, Liberty Hill 20. 12, Celina 20. 14, La Grange 18. 15, Henderson 12. 16, Princeton 9. 17, Terrell 5. 18, Sweetwater 4. 19, Van 2. 20, Sinton 1. 20, El Campo 1. 20, Center 1.

Class 3A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Brock (19) (1-0) 231 1
2. Cameron Yoe (2) (1-0) 210 3
3. Newton (2) (1-0) 160 6
4. Franklin (1) (1-0) 154 8
5. Waskom (1-0) 152 5
6. Malakoff (1-0) 128 7
7. East Bernard (1-0) 72 10
8. Mineola (0-1) 56 2
9. Canadian (0-1) 32 4
10. Crockett (1-0) 27 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Sunnyvale 26. 12, Cisco 16. 13, Teague 14. 13, La Marque 14. 15, White Oak 8. 16, Wall 6. 16, East Chambers 6. 18, Rockdale 3. 19, Grandview 2. 19, Pottsboro 2. 21, Mathis 1.

Class 2A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Refugio (20) (1-0) 235 1
2. Bremond (4) (1-0) 207 2
3. Shiner (1-0) 192 3
4. Iraan (1-0) 160 4
5. Stratford (1-0) 124 5
6. Albany (1-0) 119 6
7. Mart (1-0) 83 9
8. Tenaha (1-0) 64 10
9. Muenster (1-0) 45 NR
10. Lovelady (0-0) 23 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Alto 16. 12, Wellington 15. 13, Post 8. 14, Goldthwaite 7. 15, Stinnett West Texas 6. 16, Crawford 5. 16, Mason 5. 18, Seagraves 2. 18, Thorndale 2. 18, Weimar 2.

Weekend recap: Let’s get it on

Sean Steffen / Amarillo Globe-News Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders throws a pass against Tascosa Monday, November 30, 2015 during a Class 6A Regional game at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo.

Sean Steffen / Amarillo Globe-News Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders throws a pass against Tascosa Monday, November 30, 2015 during a Class 6A Regional game at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo.

After all those lame practices and scrimmages, things got real on Friday (Thursday, actually) and we had our opening week of Texas high school football season. There were some upsets, some blowouts, some injuries, and more, and my esteemed colleague, Steve Gamel, and I take a look back in our weekend recap.

Ryan at Lancaster

AB: I figured Ryan would win this game, but I was interested to see how it’d play out knowing the athleticism Lancaster possesses as a big test for what is a loaded Ryan team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. True to form in games like that, Lancaster made it interesting for a while before Ryan eventually pulled away and proved to be the better team. The Raiders’ offense is going to be really tough to stop this year with Spencer Sanders and his stable of receivers, and everyone knows what that defense is capable of. For Ryan, it’s state title or bust, as far as I’m concerned. The Raiders are that good.

SG: Ryan did not look sharp early on against Lancaster, but let’s not forget this was a top 10 matchup between two of Class 5A’s elite teams. And it was a season opener, so crazy stuff is bound to happen. Ryan turned the ball over three times, but in the end proved it was the better team by forcing four turnovers and scoring 28-straight points to pull away. Couple of quick thoughts: That defense is amazing and the pressure they can inflict up front is unreal. Also, Gabriel Douglas (11 catches, 190 yards and two touchdowns) is an absolute monster at wide receiver.

Mansfield Lake Ridge at Guyer

AB: Yes, Lake Ridge lost 47 seniors from last year’s team that was a couple of key injuries away from being 16-0. Yes, the Eagles lost quarterback Jett Duffey and running back Duke Carter — more than 80 percent of their offense from a year ago. But they simply reloaded. There is some serious skill on that team out wide and in the secondary on defense. It was enough to lead Guyer, 15-3, midway through the second quarter before the Wildcats reeled off 21 unanswered points and never looked back in a 55-35 win. I said on many occasions Guyer might have the best 1-2 running back punch in Texas, and I’m standing by it after Week 1 as Myron Mason and Noah Cain rushed for nearly 400 yards combined. Guyer is going to be fine. Yes, even without Shawn Robinson. Speaking of… You know what’s next.

SG: This was a matchup against a really really really good Class 5A team that could be playing well past Thanksgiving. We all knew Guyer had a loaded running game, though, and that talk was backed up when the Wildcats – namely Myron Mason and Noah Cain – rolled up a staggering 494 rushing yards. That rushing attack was working so well that Guyer barely had to throw the ball. Luke Stillwell passed for 19 yards but added 92 rushing yards and a touchdown run of his own. Must be rough for opposing defenses when you know what a team is going to do, but still can’t stop them.

Denton at Lake Dallas

AB: I was shocked by this result. Sounds like the Broncos pretty much had their way with Lake Dallas. The Falcons lost a ton of really good players to graduation from last year’s state semifinalist squad, but they had enough back to where it seemed there wouldn’t be a huge drop-off. There’s still plenty of time to prove that theory after just one game, but Denton sure had its way with the Falcons and seemed to have found another stud running back in Caleb Osuofa. Big win for Kevin Atkinson & Co.

SG: I love when our Denton-area teams face off, though I was surprised by the outcome. That’s not a knock against Denton. I just felt like, despite the losses to graduation, the Falcons would turn in a better performance – though I’m sure they will rebound just fine from this. Denton’s ground game rolled up 303 rushing yards despite losing star back Xavier Scott to graduation. We see you, Caleb Osuofa. Lake Dallas turned the ball over four times – including three interceptions from a quarterback that managed to start five games last year and is no slouch.

Braswell at Haslet Eaton

AB: I didn’t see this game, and unfortunately for Braswell, it doesn’t sound like I missed much. But take it from someone who saw Guyer’s 1-9 season in Year 2 of its program and actually saw the Wildcats play a game in its opening year (0-10), a program’s first game, or even first year are hardly indicative of where said program is going. I’ve heard from some good football people that Cody Moore is without question a great football mind and coach, so I have no doubt they’ll get things squared away. Just don’t expect it real soon.

SG: This was one of three games I attended this weekend, and even with the lopsided loss, I do truly believe that Braswell will be just fine. People forget that Guyer and many other quality programs went through a similar shellacking early on before becoming some of the top programs in the area. The same will happen at Braswell. By the way, the Bengals have some quality athletes whose performances were clearly overshadowed by the 55-0 loss. Ki’Andre Jackson rushed for 70 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards in the losing effort.

Argyle at Lovejoy

AB: I was following along in passing on Saturday night and kept seeing a close game and thought, “Wow, that’s a pretty good result for Argyle to beat a solid 5A team.” Then, I heard later on in the night that Tulane pledged quarterback Dane Ledford didn’t play the entire second half after suffering a wrist injury, which is thought to be a sprain. I thought Dillon Carter was going to be the Eagles’ featured running back, but it seems like they found their guy in Don Williams, who had a whale of a game in helping to carry a Ledford-less offense while also displaying what we already knew about the Eagles — their offensive line is off-the-charts good.

SG: Everyone is going to be talking about quarterback Dane Ledford’s wrist injury after this one, and rightfully so. He’s extremely talented and, as of right now, is slated to have an MRI. That’s all we know about the Tulane commit, but we wish him well. As for the game, it shouldn’t be brushed under the rug that Argyle poured it on Lovejoy in the second half – without its quarterback. Don Williams is going to be a dynamic running back.

Pilot Point at Krum

AB: I knew coming into this year Krum had a chance to be a really good team. That will tend to happen in small-school 4A football when you have more than 30 seniors on your roster. It looks like that leadership is paying dividends for the Bobcats early on after their shutout whuppin’ of Pilot Point. Krum had a Cinderella run to the 4A Division II regional final last year, but I’m starting to think they’ll return this year and there will be no “Cinderella” about it.

SG: Another battle of Denton-area teams, and Krum dominated it, 29-0. I read that was the first shutout Pilot Point has suffered since 2011? That’s big, if true. Meanwhile, Krum forced three turnovers, rolled behind a steady run game, and proved it can be a major playoff power this season. Krum ran the ball 50 times compared to just 12 pass attempts. With that being said, quarterback Trent McMillin appears to be a solid addition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argyle defends title, gets salty in postgame

Argyle's head coach Skip Townsend speaks to his team during the UIL Girls Basketball 4A State Championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s head coach Skip Townsend speaks to his team during the UIL Girls Basketball 4A State Championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

When you go to the state tournament three years in a row and win a second straight against a team you’ve had some epic battles with, it’s OK to get a little cocky.

After defending their Class 4A state crown with a 53-43 win over Waco La Vega on Saturday night in San Antonio, the Lady Eagles were understandably feeling pretty good.

A reporter in the postgame press conference asked star junior Vivian Gray, who has never not played in a state tournament in her career as a three-year starter, how it felt to defend a state title. Her answer was perfect.

“It never gets old,” Gray said into the microphone, flashing a million-dollar smile.

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Argyle girls should expect full dose of press in final

Argyle's Vivian Gray (12) drives around Liberty Hill's Autumn Lange (14) during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s Vivian Gray (12) drives around Liberty Hill’s Autumn Lange (14) during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Here we are, folks.

As many people expected, the rubber match is on: No. 1 Argyle (34-1) vs. No. 2 Waco La Vega (33-2), with tipoff set for 7 p.m. Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

And you can bet Argyle is expecting to see a heavy dose of pressure defense from the Lady Pirates for two reasons: That’s what La Vega does, and the Lady Eagles showed some vulnerability to Liberty Hill’s press in Friday’s semifinal.

Argyle’s Madison Ralston, who had nine points and three rebounds on Friday, said it herself in Friday night’s postgame press conference.

“Watching the game before us, that team [Abilene Wylie] couldn’t really handle their [La Vega] press, and I think we can handle it,” Ralston said.

That means Argyle will have to be more like it was in the second half of Friday’s game (four turnovers) than how the Lady Eagles played in the first half (11 turnovers). Argyle head coach Skip Townsend, who’s going for his eighth state title in 10 tournament appearances, said he thought the layoff since Argyle’s regional final win over Dallas Lincoln might’ve contributed to his team’s sloppiness, and Argyle wasn’t the only team affected by it.

“They’re known for their press,” Townsend said of Liberty Hill. “We haven’t had a lot of trouble with that. Dallas Lincoln pressed us last week, and we did a good job. They had a good scheme though and we figured it out the second half. We got some points off it in the second half.

“No excuses, but it’s tough when you haven’t played a game in [five] days, and I think you saw that from all four teams. I don’t think any of those teams played as well as they’re capable of playing. I think you’ll see kids play better tomorrow after having that game under their belt.”

For Argyle, that list will have to include sophomore point guard Gabby Standifer. The natural power forward, who’s been moonlighting as a point guard this year, stepped up big in the second half, hitting two straight 3-pointers to get some separation to start the fourth quarter. But she struggled in the first half with six turnovers, forcing Townsend to go more with star forward Vivian Gray bringing the ball up the floor in the second half.

Townsend and Gray both said Standifer was nervous early in Friday’s game, which is understandable when you consider this is his first go-round at the state tournament even though her teammates are all seasoned vets.

I’d expect to see more of a mix from the beginning with Standifer and Gray both handling the ball in the back court, especially if La Vega comes out and presses like it did against Wylie.

“She doesn’t mind being the go-to girl, and we don’t mind giving her the ball,” Townsend said of Gray, the nation’s 14th-ranked junior player.

 

Argyle’s Gray expecting to be back soon

Argyle forward Vivian Gray (12) drives under pressure from Waco La Vega guard Kobi Gill (2) during their UIL Class 4A state semifinal girls basketball game on Friday, March 6, 2015 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Argyle forward Vivian Gray (12) drives under pressure from Waco La Vega guard Kobi Gill (2) during their UIL Class 4A state semifinal girls basketball game on Friday, March 6, 2015 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

There isn’t a better girls basketball player in our area than Argyle star Vivian Gray.

The 6-1 forward is listed as the No. 14 player in the Class of 2017 by ESPN’s HoopGurlz national rankings and led the Lady Eagles to the Class 4A state championship a year ago after falling just short as a freshman.

On Tuesday night, the Lady Eagles scored a big 64-31 victory over Gainesville without Gray in the lineup, as she was sitting out with a muscle strain around her hip flexor. It was the first game she’s missed in her three seasons of high school basketball, and she hopes to end her streak of not playing at that one game.

Gray said on Thursday she was hurting last Friday when top-ranked Argyle routed the state’s fifth-ranked team from Sanger. In that game, Gray scored 17 points, tying her for the game high, including a couple of unguardable turnaround jumpers on the baseline that showed why she’s thought of so highly.

It was obviously worse on Tuesday night, but she said she’s nearing a return and deemed herself questionable to play in Friday’s game against Krum but said she expects to return no later than next week when Argyle plays Aubrey on Tuesday and clashes with Celina on Friday.

Weekend recap: End of the road

Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke (2) dives for a touchdown as Ryan linebacker Nick Watts tries for the stop in the first quarter during the Allen High School Eagles vs. the Denton Ryan High School Raiders playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke (2) dives for a touchdown as Ryan linebacker Nick Watts tries for the stop in the first quarter during the Allen High School Eagles vs. the Denton Ryan High School Raiders playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

While Argyle and Lake Dallas lived to see another week and a state semifinal football game, this past weekend marked the end of the road for three other DRC-area teams, as Guyer, Ryan and Krum all lost in the regional final round.

Buckle up, as Steve and I look back on the week that was and look ahead to next week’s games while putting a bow on the season of the departed teams.

Ryan vs Allen

AB: When I was on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football podcast on Friday, I was asked what Ryan would have to do to win this game and what kind of chance I thought the Raiders had at pulling the gigantic upset. I proceeded to tell them my line about how I told myself after the Ryan-Guyer game that I was finished picking against Ryan. Then, came this game. Sorry, but I just don’t see anyone beating Allen this year. The fact Ryan made the game somewhat interesting is a testament to the year the Raiders had, and to do that without super-special two-way star Tyreke Davis was really impressive. Another thing from that podcast: It was brought up that we might as well start calling Ryan the 2016 Class 5A Division I state champion, because, y’all, it’s gonna happen. Great season for the Raiders, and I think it’s safe to say their 13-0 start was totally unexpected, and I’ll call Steve a liar if he says otherwise.

SG: I wrote in my game story that Ryan had practically every card in the deck stacked against it heading into this game, but in no way was that to suggest the Raiders didn’t belong there. Many experts refused to give Ryan its due credit this season, and maybe that’s because as reporters we get comfortable seeing certain teams in the mix every year. The thing is, Ryan is one of those teams. Yes, the Raiders were coming off a 5-5 season, but going 13-1 this year is about the standard since 2000. There was every reason to believe Ryan could beat Allen, at least in my opinion. That didn’t happen, but that’s OK. This program is back in the mix, and with a drop to Class 5A next year, will go from being the team no one wanted to pick each week this season to being the odds on favorite. This season only proved that point.

Guyer vs Mansfield

AB: This game got out of hand, but not before Guyer blew a chance to possibly get the ball rolling the other way when they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly in the first quarter. Truthfully, Guyer had a great chance to have a three-score lead in the first quarter, as its defense was bottling up Mansfield’s offense and getting turnovers of its own. Only problem was, Guyer had three first-quarter fumbles and five turnovers in the game, and oh, another thing, Mansfield was really, really good. Like John Walsh said after the game, those fumbles made the game out of hand, but I’m not exactly positive Guyer would’ve won that game even without the fumbles. It definitely would’ve been a lot closer though. A lot happened to Guyer this year — injuries, identity shift, and other stuff — and for the Wildcats to find themselves in Round 4 with a chance at the state semis speaks volumes about what they were able to do this season.

SG: I was a little surprised by this outcome. This round of playoffs is always tough to predict because every team that has made it this far is extremely talented. Mansfield is a perfect example, but a Guyer win was not out of the question. Had Guyer lost by one or two touchdowns, I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but to lose 44-7? I remember reading my buddy Adam on Twitter that Guyer’s opening touchdown drive looked incredibly easy. But they didn’t score again and were held to a paltry 190 yards. Guyer hasn’t lost by that wide a margin, or been beaten that soundly, since it was a fledgling program 9-10 years ago. It’s far from a death sentence, and the Wildcats have plenty to be proud of in a season where – like Ryan – many experts weren’t giving them enough credit.

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