Weekend recap: Playoffs??!?!

Guyer senior defensive back Thabo Mwaniki (1) stops a pass thrown to Byron Nelson senior wide receiver Tyler Milliken (11) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 11, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer senior defensive back Thabo Mwaniki (1) stops a pass thrown to Byron Nelson senior wide receiver Tyler Milliken (11) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 11, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Seriously, if you’re already singing Christmas songs and decorating Christmas trees, get off my lawn. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet! #TeamTurkeyDay.

Now, as I step off my soap box, let’s talk about the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the Texas high school football playoffs, guys, and it got started on Thursday night with a nice slate of area games and continued on Friday and Saturday. The area is down to five teams — Guyer, Ryan, Argyle, Krum and Aubrey — which is the same amount of teams we had make it to the REGIONAL FINAL last year.

Just goes to show, every year is different. So, without further delay, come with Steve Gamel and I as we take you down a path of opening-weekend recollection. It’s recap time, y’all.

Guyer vs Trophy Club Nelson

AB: Yeah, Trophy Club Nelson was red-hot and dangerous, as proven by wins over Euless Trinity and Flower Mound Marcus, but truthfully, this game was the appetizer for what remains — an insanely tough road to hoe in the most difficult region in the most difficult bracket in the state: Class 6A Division II Region I. Next up for Guyer is Cedar Hill, then likely Mansfield, then likely DeSoto. You get the idea. All Guyer can ask for is to be peaking at the right time, and judging by Friday’s performance, the Wildcats are. Luke Stillwell looked very good throwing the ball until he didn’t really need to anymore in the second half, Noah Cain was dominant and that defense that has been so good this year was once again suffocating and won the game early in the second half with a 91-yard pick-six by Dio Williams that completely changed the game.

SG: I expected a Guyer win, but I honestly expected a little more from Trophy Club Nelson. Not only have the Bobcats been on a roll this season, but if you remember last year’s district “monsoon bowl” between Guyer and Nelson where the game was played in heavy rain conditions, the Wildcats got all they could handle before winning with a late field goal. Guyer never gave Nelson a chance to get rolling, and that’s the mark of a good playoff team. Speaking of good playoff teams, Guyer faces Cedar Hill next. Having already lost to Allen and DeSoto, Guyer would love to knock off a perennial playoff power.

Ryan vs Fort Worth Brewer

AB: This wasn’t the conventional win for Ryan, but sometimes you’re going to have games like that. I even saw some action on Twitter talking about how Brewer had “let its chance slip away.” Not real sure about all that, but the Raiders capitalized on some key mistakes and made the Bears pay in a first-round rout. It was exactly what we expected, and while Round 2 theoretically should provide a much stiffer challenge with one-loss Richland, I’m not so sure. Richland should have had a relatively easy time with an injury-ravaged Fort Worth South Hills team and instead needed a big comeback to narrowly edge them. I’ll be tagging along with Steve to see Ryan-Richland, and I’m looking forward to seeing a full game from Ryan. I’m just not convinced I will. Call me when we get to the state semifinal…

SG: Ryan’s race for a state title began with a lopsided win over Fort Worth Brewer. It was expected, but what stood out to me the most were the different ways the Raiders put the game on ice. They scored 20 of their 26 first-half points off two Brewer turnovers and a blocked punt. There was also a blocked field goal, which extended Ryan’s streak of holding opponents scoreless in the first half to seven games. Then the offense exploded for three scores to open the third quarter. These are the sort of big-game plays Ryan will need to keep making as they move deeper into the postseason. Especially since Brewer – which won four games all year – is officially the last “weak” team on the playoff docket. Ryan plays Richland Friday at Northwest ISD Stadium.

Denton vs Justin Northwest

AB: Saw this score early in the evening on Friday and was frankly in shock. The Broncos were putting it on fellow one-loss team Justin Northwest, and it looked like it was gonna be a blowout. Then, disaster struck for Denton. As I’m sure coach Kevin Atkinson and his team knew, when you’re up almost 20 points on a 9-1 team, you have to put it away, and the Broncos couldn’t do it. Instead, Northwest’s explosive offense finally found its way in the second half and took its first lead of the night with just seconds remaining in a crushing loss for what is becoming a perennial playoff program from Fulton Street.

SG: It’s a shame that Denton lost this game after jumping out to such a great start. But Northwest is one of the better teams in the area, too, and that clearly showed as they used a strong second-half surge to steal a 31-29 win to knock the Broncos from the playoffs. Denton put together a solid season, with its only other loss coming at the hands of Ryan, but they clearly didn’t have all the necessary pieces to make a long run in the playoffs. Head coach Kevin Atkinson is getting there, though. After being a doormat for several years, Denton is a consistent playoff contender now.

Argyle vs Snyder

AB: This game was deceptively “close” for a while, but then Argyle showed its mettle and why its looking to play in its fourth straight state championship game and fifth in six years come December. Fortunately for Argyle, the travel hasn’t been quite as bad as we thought it might’ve been when the playoffs began and it should continue to get a bit closer to home with each passing week. The Eagles can expect a stiffer test from Lubbock Estacado than they got from Snyder, but it should ultimately be another cakewalk to set up an epic third-round game with Abilene Wylie, likely at Tarleton State.

SG: If Argyle is going to make the deep playoff run we all expect it to make, it will have to do a lot of travelling. The Eagles just finished a nearly two hour drive to Graham to be a one-win Snyder team and is now gearing up for a similar trip to Burkburnett to face Lubbock Estacado. After that is a possible date with longtime rival Abilene Wylie. Last year, this matchup was played in Waco. The good news is that Argyle has had to travel before, and it doesn’t seem like these boys are fazed by it much.

Krum vs Waxahachie Life

AB: I had the pleasure of covering this game, and minus the fact there were no rosters and a mouse was running around the press box, it was fantastic. Krum is very good, and the Bobcats have the perfect recipe in place to make a deep playoff run once again. They run the ball very well behind QB Brandon Reeves and running back Haeden Knight, who I liken to a Nick Ralston-type back. And they also play stellar defense led by a standout linebacking corps. Last year, Krum “shocked” Sweetwater, and while pundits might pick Sweetwater again, I don’t think this year will be a shock at all. Krum is looking at a regional final showdown with Monahans, which would be lit.

SG: This is a team we are expecting big things from this postseason and, unlike last year, there should be nothing shocking about it. Krum surprised many football experts with its run to the region final last year, but anything less than that this year could be deemed a disappointment. Krum is loaded with a talented senior class and it showed with an easy win over Waxahachie Life this past week. Up next is Sweetwater, a team Krum dismantled last year, too. Will the rematch yield similar results? I think so.

Aubrey vs Canton

AB: The Chaps have had some issues with the feared injury bug this year, but they’ve bounced back and keep on keeping on. That continued on Friday night. We’ve grown accustomed to the two-headed rushing monster of Gatlin Grisso and Pablo Vera, who missed part of the year with an injury, but the Chaps added in a third name on Friday as Sheldon Wingert eclipsed 100 yards on the ground to give Aubrey three 100-yard rushers. That, coupled with a standout defense, is going to mean sleepless nights and headaches for upcoming opponents. Next up, Jasper.

SG: The Aubrey train keeps on rolling. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Aubrey is easily one of the better feel-good football stories from the Denton area as it went from barely being able to win a single game to competing at a high level in the postseason starting last year. This year’s run already includes a big win over Canton, and up next is a strong Jasper team. Aubrey will have to travel to Tyler in order to play this game, but at the rate the Chaps are going, I’m sure they’d travel anywhere so long as they have a chance to keep playing.

 

What you need to know: Denton

Braswell junior running back Ki'Andre Jackson (15) and junior wide receiver Jaeden Johnson (4) celebrate together after they score a touchdown against the Wichita Falls Rider defense at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, October 28, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Braswell junior running back Ki’Andre Jackson (15) and junior wide receiver Jaeden Johnson (4) celebrate together after they score a touchdown against the Wichita Falls Rider defense at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, October 28, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Both of these teams had this game circled on their schedule since before the season kicked off. It’s the beginning of a budding rivalry with Denton looking to keep momentum heading into playoffs, and Braswell getting a chance to upset former teammates and record its first win.

The Game: Denton (8-1) at Braswell (0-9), Thursday, 7 p.m., at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

What happened last week: Braswell played its best game all season in a 57-27 loss to Wichita Falls Rider, and extended its streak of games with a touchdown with four scores. A good majority of Braswell’s roster comes from Denton and there has been a lot of talk between players from both squads.

Denton had its bye last week.

What to expect: Same story, different team. Braswell hasn’t been able to stop the run all season, and with Denton running back Caleb Osuofa averaging close to seven yards per carry and three yards short of 1,000 heading into the contest, it’s safe to say Osuofa will eclipse the rushing milestone on his first carry.

Braswell will score, but it’ll be from former JV Denton Ryan running back Ki’Andre Jackson. The Broncos surrender an average of 354 yards per game, but the Bengals haven’t surpassed the 300-yard mark yet, and they won’t do it against the Broncos.

Final say: The one thing both teams don’t want to see is it getting chippy on the field. Most of these players are friends off the field, and everyone knows what happens to friendships when opposing teams step on the field: they are put aside because there’s a game to play. Braswell doesn’t want to end its season with multiple personal foul penalties and Denton doesn’t want to waste an opportunity to fine tune some things before heading into its bi-district playoff game against a stout Northwest Texans squad.

AP state poll, Week 9

The Ryan football team take the field before their game against Denton at Denton ISD Stadium, Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

The Ryan football team take the field before their game against Denton at Denton ISD Stadium, Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

There weren’t any changes for Ryan and Argyle in The Associated Press’ state poll this week. The Raiders remain No. 4 in Class 5A while Argyle is still sitting at No. 2 in Class 4A. Denton added one more vote to its ledger in the 5A “others receiving votes” list.

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 (23) (8-0) 247 1
2. DeSoto (2) (8-0) 225 2
3. Lake Travis (7-1) 187 3
4. The Woodlands (8-0) 165 4
5. Cibolo Steele (7-1) 148 5
6. Galena Park North Shore (7-1) 104 6
7. San Angelo Central (8-0) 103 7
8. Converse Judson (7-1) 69 8
9. Southlake Carroll (7-1) 54 9
10. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (9-0) 37 10

Others receiving votes: Cedar Hill 11. Austin Westlake 8. Katy 7. Tyler 4. Fort Bend Ridge Point 3. Klein Collins 2. Alief Taylor 1.

Class 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Aledo (12) (8-0) 233 1
2. Cedar Park (6) (8-0) 217 2
3. Manvel (4) (8-0) 205 3
4. Denton Ryan (3) (8-0) 190 4
5. Richmond Foster (8-0) 148 5
6. Lancaster (7-1) 103 6
7. College Station (9-0) 90 8
8. Texarkana Texas (8-0) 80 7
9. Frisco Lone Star (7-1) 49 9
10. Dallas Highland Park (7-1) 35 10

Others receiving votes: Port Arthur Memorial 7. CC Calallen 4. N. Richland Hills 4. Mansfield Legacy 3. Northwest 3. Denton 2. Lubbock Cooper 1. Boerne-Champion 1.

Class 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (18) (8-0) 242 1
2. Argyle (3) (7-0) 213 2
3. Waco La Vega (3) (8-0) 199 3
4. Cuero (1) (8-0) 178 4
5. Geronimo Navarro (8-0) 129 5
6. China Spring (7-1) 108 6
7. Gilmer (7-1) 85 7
8. Abilene Wylie (6-1) 68 8
(tie) Van (8-0) 68 9
10. El Campo (8-0) 50 10

Others receiving votes: Sweetwater 16. Celina 8. Henderson 4. Stafford 4. Kilgore 3.

Class 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Brock (20) (8-0) 245 1
2. Newton (5) (8-0) 226 2
3. Malakoff (8-0) 200 3
4. Sunnyvale (8-0) 170 4
5. White Oak (8-0) 146 5
6. Franklin (7-1) 113 6
7. Hallettsville (9-0) 88 7
8. Cisco (6-1) 55 9
9. Canadian (6-2) 54 8
10. Rockdale (7-1) 34 10

Others receiving votes: East Bernard 9. Cameron Yoe 8. Elysian Fields 6. Mineola 6. Gunter 3. Crockett 3. Eastland 2. George West 2. Sonora 2. Teague 1. Grandview 1. Pottsboro 1.

Class 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Bremond (18) (8-0) 239 1
2. Iraan (2) (8-0) 205 2
3. Refugio (5) (7-1) 199 3
4. Mart (8-0) 183 4
5. Tenaha (8-0) 160 5
6. Stratford (7-1) 102 7
7. Albany (7-1) 88 8
8. Price Carlisle (8-0) 72 9
9. Muenster (7-1) 52 10
10. Lovelady (6-1) 18 6

Others receiving votes: Shiner 17. Crawford 16. Mason 13. Christoval 5. Burton 2. Centerville 1. Clarendon 1. Post 1. Wellington 1.

Weekend recap: Winners all around

Guyer senior defensive end Jalen Sutton (17) sacks Wylie senior quarterback Emilio Ames (15) after he fumbles the ball at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, October 21, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer senior defensive end Jalen Sutton (17) sacks Wylie senior quarterback Emilio Ames (15) after he fumbles the ball at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, October 21, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

The area was full of winners on Friday night, and even the teams that lost (Sanger and Braswell) had some positives to look at in their own regard.

My loyal sidekick Steve Gamel and I take a look back at the weekend that was in area high school football…

Wylie at Guyer

AB: The Wildcats played flawlessly on defense for a half before a pretty potent offense got to them. Take out the passing game like Guyer did (limiting Emilio Ames’ near 250 yards per game passing to well under 200), and you’re gonna get hit in the run game from time to time. That’s what Wylie did with a couple of well-timed draws to its shifty change-of-pace back, and they worked. Guyer’s offense did enough with Thabo Mwaniki getting the nod at quarterback, and he played well as he led the team in rushing and didn’t make any mistakes. Penalties were an issue again, and that’s something Guyer is simply going to have to clean up in these next two weeks before the money games start.

SG: My buddy Adam Boedeker will tell you this game was not as close as the score indicates, and maybe that’s true. I wasn’t there, after all. But I’m still surprised by the score. Wylie was able to hold Guyer to under 300 rushing yards, which for the Wildcats, is somewhat of an off night. Wylie was also able to pile up nearly 200 yards on the ground against what I believe is an incredibly salty defense. Regardless, it’s another win for Guyer and it comes off the heels of a rough loss to Allen. So kudos to Guyer for getting back in the win column, which is where I think they’ll stay heading into the playoffs.

Ryan at Wichita Falls

AB: It’s to the point now where I’m not really sure what to say about Ryan anymore other than the Raiders dominated another inferior opponent. It’s out of Ryan’s control, once you hit district play, you play who’s on your schedule. But this can’t be helping Ryan, who had one of the best nondistrict schedules in the state and went through it unscathed. But, Ryan opened 5-5A play with Denton, which is clearly the second-best team in the district but is clearly a large step down from Ryan. Since then, it’s been a lot of gross mismatches. That’s going to continue, even into the playoffs as not all 5A playoff teams are legitimate like the 6A run Ryan made last year. The Raiders will get tested, but it’s going to be interesting to see how they respond when that finally happens again.

SG: Man, it sure has been a long time since Ryan was last tested by an opponent, and that happens to coincide with the start of District 5-5A play. With the exception of Denton, which is a good team that the Raiders still were able to beat convincingly in the district opener, the rest of the slate has been incredibly subpar. That includes Wichita Falls, which turned the ball over four times Friday and had zero answers for anything Ryan did. Ryan should finish the regular season unbeaten, and most people still don’t see them getting tested until the third round of the playoffs. That’s a long time between quality opponents, but when you’re as good as Ryan is, everyone tends to look subpar.

Wichita Falls Rider at Denton

AB: Denton put it on Rider, and that’s impressive. Is Rider the dominant force it once was? Not even close, but the Raiders are still a proud program who can beat anyone on any day, and the Broncos ended any doubt pretty quickly. Colt Atkinson had a big night throwing the ball and saw to it that the game was in his team’s favor basically as soon as Denton tied it up at 7-7 in the first quarter. Atkinson used his athletes outside in throwing for better than 350 yards, as Colorado pledge Chris Miller racked up 133 yards on six grabs, including a long 62-yarder for a touchdown. Denton is poised for another nice playoff run, but would eventually run into Ryan.

SG: I actually anticipated this game being a little too close for comfort, so kudos to Denton for putting the kibosh on any sort of wild upset by Rider. Enough about the game, though. Let me say this about Colt Atkinson. In my mind, he doesn’t get a ton of credit for what he’s been able to do at quarterback for this program over the last few years. Being a young guy when he took the reins, he’s seen one graduation after another at wide receiver and running back. But he’s come back and put up solid numbers. The Denton area has great QBs this year in guys like Spencer Sanders at Ryan, Dane Ledford in Argyle and even Brandon Reeves in Krum. Hopefully everyone has Atkinson in that discussion, too.

Braswell at Denison

AB: For a different reason than Ryan, it’s getting hard to write about Braswell each week. The Bengals struggling horribly in not only their first varsity season, but also the first year in the school’s history — a huge disadvantage that many schools don’t face when they open. But, Braswell had some bright spots in its latest setback to a good Denison squad. Granted, the Jackets aren’t known for their defense, but Braswell did have a season-high point total (20) and their the Bengals’ offense is getting more productive with each passing week. We knew it’d be a process, and the process appears to be working for Cody Moore & Co.

SG: Ok, so I’m fixing to talk about another Braswell loss, but let’s be real for a second. Braswell was able to put up 279 total yards and the most points it has scored in any single game this season against a Denison team that is supposed to be the third-best team in District 5-5A. Yes, the result was still a loss – a blowout loss at that. But could Braswell actually getting better? I think so. It’s tough to tell at 0-8, but the stats don’t lie, folks. If the Bengals can show that type of production over their final two games, it will be something to build on – regardless if they don’t win the game.

Sanger at Argyle

AB: Argyle isn’t supposed to be tested in district play, especially not at home. Even though Sanger is a good program, the Indians haven’t had much luck with their arch-nemesis Argyle in recent years. But on Friday, Sanger almost did it and should have gained a lot of confidence from playing down to the wire with a deeper more battle-tested Argyle team at its place where the Eagles are basically unbeatable. Argyle is still the cream of the 4A Division I Region I crop, but Sanger might be looking toward a rematch down the road.

SG: This game was off-the-chain exciting, and it made me wish I could have been in two places at the same time. Sanger hasn’t had much luck against the Eagles in recent years, but this was a true battle between the top two teams in this district and it took a solid defensive performance and a rally by the offense for state-ranked Argyle to pull out the win. It was a tough loss for Sanger, but one the Indians can learn from as they ready for the playoffs. As for Argyle, this is the type of win they can use to light an extra fire as they push for another state title game berth.

Krum at Graham

AB: Graham is down this year, but the Steers are still a proud program and played host to Krum on Friday in a game that literally went down to the bitter end. The Bobcats pulled it out behind, you guessed it, their strong running game and opportune passing game. Their defense has been strong all year and while it struggled at times on Friday night it came up when needed the most and laid the hammer down on Graham at the 1-yard line. Thrilling way to win a game, and Krum marches on.

SG: Krum has been playing some stiff competition all year, and the Bobcats proved once again how difficult an out they are as they held on to beat perennial playoff favorite, Graham, on Friday. The game ended on a defensive stop at the 1-yard line, which is as exciting as it gets in high school football. At the beginning of the year, the sports staff here at the DRC pegged Ryan and Argyle as our two teams that would most likely make a run at a state title. Krum should be in that conversation now, too.

AP Poll: Ryan, Guyer fall and Argyle holds steady

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan on the sideline against Justin Northwest, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan on the sideline against Justin Northwest, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Another AP poll is out, and after a few weeks of little to no movement, we have some this week. And there’s some head-scratching to be done when looking at it.

Most notably, unbeaten Ryan fell a spot to No. 4 in the Class 5A poll after being passed up by Manvel. Not to take anything away from Manvel, which just might have the most impressive resume in the state in 5A, but you have to think Ryan dropped because of an off-week.

In 6A, Guyer remained in the “other receiving votes” but lost one vote, probably to TROPHY CLUB NELSON, which has one win on the season. Granted, that one win came Friday night over Euless Trinity, but c’mon.

Anyway, here’s the latest poll. Drumroll please….

Continue reading

Weekend recap: Little bit of everything

Guyer senior linebacker Gio Williams (8) tackles McKinney junior running back Matthew Gadek (9) for no gain on fourth-and-1, Friday, October 7, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer senior linebacker Gio Williams (8) tackles McKinney junior running back Matthew Gadek (9) for no gain on fourth-and-1, Friday, October 7, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

This week’s game in the area featured blowouts, games interrupted by Mother Nature and overtime thrillers between top-notch teams. It gave us a true sample of everything that is great about high school football, and my compadre Steve and I are here to recap the weekend that was Denton-area high school football.

McKinney at Guyer

AB: For the second straight week, Guyer allowed points in the first minutes of a game. For the second straight week, that was all she wrote for the opposing offense. Are Plano East and McKinney world beaters? No, but they both had offenses averaging better than 30 points per game entering their game against Guyer, and the Wildcats dominated. At this point, it’s basically a lock the Wildcats will dominate with their rushing attack, and if their defense keeps doing this, look out. This week will be a stiff test and good barometer as Guyer travels to No. 1 Allen. Check my Twitter (@aboedeker) if you want to see John Walsh’s thoughts on playing the state’s No. 1 team. This is going to be a good one.

SG: Guyer has put up some impressive offensive numbers courtesy of some amazing players on that side of the ball over the years, but the program has always had a suffocating defense. For the second straight week, the Wildcats dominated a District 6-6A opponent thanks to that unit. I’m not shocked, but color me impressed. Head coach John Walsh feels incredibly confident in this group, which could be the catalyst to lead Guyer deep into the playoffs. Not to be outdone, that running game continues to churn out yards. Teams know what’s coming. They can’t stop it.

Denton at Wichita Falls

AB: If we’re being real, it’s going to be really hard to get a good gauge on Denton until the postseason starts, which can be both a blessing and a hindrance, depending on how a team approaches things. This isn’t your father’s District 5-5A, which was a really competitive district the past two years and prepared the Broncos for the playoffs. Wichita Falls is nothing like what Denton will see in November, and frankly, no team they see from here on out will be. Denton has to just focus on making itself better every week, and I fully believe Kevin Atkinson will drill that into his team.

SG: I saw this one coming. I mean, the District 5-5A schedule is not strong beyond Ryan and Denton. Since losing big to Ryan, the Broncos have reestablished themselves as the next-best team in this district. Did I mention the Denton defense forced five turnovers against Old High? Colt Atkinson again turned in solid numbers, and he’s being made to look even better with guys like Chris Houston and running back Caleb Osuofa.

Braswell at Sherman

AB: Things aren’t getting any easier or better for Braswell. The Bengals struggled to move the ball once again — this time against an average Sherman team. The Bengals have suffered tons of bad breaks on the injury front, with every quarterback they roll out there going down to injury, it seems. You have to feel for the Bengals’ players, but the good thing is they’re all underclassmen and can work their tails off for a year after this inaugural season is over.

SG:  A loooooong inaugural season for Braswell continues. Head coach Cody Moore said last week that he wanted to establish the running game against Braswell, mainly for two reasons: 1. Sherman has not done a great job stopping the run so far this season, and 2. The Bengals don’t have a quarterback thanks to a slew of injuries. The plan didn’t work. Braswell not only couldn’t run the ball, but it was held to 75 total yards – all on the ground – in a 42-7 loss.

Argyle at Decatur

AB: Checking on this game from time to time on Twitter, it looked like Argyle was getting its money’s worth from Decatur in both teams’ district opener. With Dane Ledford back in the fold, you have to figure Argyle will hit its stride and begin its journey to another deep playoff run. He had a big game in his return from a fractured wrist, throwing for four touchdowns. Now, we just count down the days until Argyle hoists its most recent district championship trophy…

SG:  I had the privilege of covering this game. I say privilege because it’s always fun watching this Eagles team work. Offensively, Dane Ledford returned from a wrist injury and rolled up nearly 300 yards through the air and four touchdowns. Don Williams rushed for nearly 200 yards and added three total touchdowns (2 rush, 1 pass). Defensively, the Eagles shut down a Decatur offense that definitely has some stars. Overall, solid win for Argyle to start off district play.

Krum at Iowa Park

AB: Since losing to Sanger in Week 2, Krum has made everyone in its way pay dearly for what was a hard-fought, close loss. The Bobcats did it again on Friday night in an epic clash with previously unbeaten Iowa Park, and they did it on the road in a tough environment. Once again, Krum did most of its damage with its pounding rushing attack led by quarterback Brandon Reeves and running back Haeden Knight, as well as its suffocating defense. Krum has established itself as a favorite to make it out of Region I in Class 4A Division II — not bad for a fledgling program.

SG:  Can Brandon Reeves be any more amazing than he already has this season? I mean, seriously … seven touchdowns? With that type of performance against a previously-unbeaten team, it’s shocking this game went three overtimes. Had Reeves not been in Krum’s corner, things would not have turned out the same for the Bobcats. Krum is rolling y’all. It doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.

Sanger at Wichita Falls Hirschi

AB: This game was played over two days thanks to Mother Nature, and after the delay, Sanger got the better of a game Hirschi squad. Surprise, surprise: The Indians relied heavily upon their ground game behind running backs Dameon Moser and Gavin Brown — so much so they didn’t even need quarterback CJ Jackson to do too much.

SG: This game was interesting in the sense that it was delayed due to weather, and before the delay, Sanger was trailing 28-14. The Indians regrouped in a big way to win 49-41 and did so by leaning on the running back combo of Dameon Moser and Gavin Brown. The duo combined for 342 yards and six scores.

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.