What you need to know: Fort Worth Brewer

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

It’s playoff time, folks. Ryan will open the Class 5A Division I Region I playoffs with a trip to Fort Worth Brewer tomorrow night. Why at Brewer? Well, it came down to coin flips and Ryan lost the coin flips. Plain and simple. Why on a Thursday night? Well, that’s the way it worked out. Plus, I have to believe that would work in Ryan’s favor to have an extra day of preparation for Round 2.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (10-0) at Fort Worth Brewer (4-6), Thursday, 7 p.m. at Brewer Stadium in White Settlement.

Series Record: This is the first meeting between the two programs.

What happened last week: Ryan beat Wichita Falls Rider 38-14. Brewer handily beat Haslet Eaton 48-14.

What to expect: Ryan would never want to get caught looking too far ahead, but this should be an easy first-round matchup in comparison to what the Raiders have coming up in the next few weeks. My understanding is the Brewer defense does a ton of blitzing and man coverage, so expect lots of that early on. Ryan has had a tendency to jump out on opponents quick, and that should continue this week.

Final say: Ryan is built for a long playoff run, and unlike last year, everyone and their momma expects it. I think Ryan wins this one handily.

Prediction: Ryan 45, Fort Worth Brewer 13.

Ryan, Argyle stand firm in final AP poll

Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ernest Brown IV (99) follows Frisco Lone Star quarterback Jason Shelley (18) in the first half during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ernest Brown IV (99) follows Frisco Lone Star quarterback Jason Shelley (18) in the first half during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

The final Associated Press state poll is out, and there are no changes for two of the top teams in the state. Ryan is still the No. 4 team in Class 5A while Argyle remained the No. 2 team in Class 4A. Both Krum and Denton remained in the “others receiving votes category.”

Here is the final poll, in all its glory.

Class 6A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Allen (21) (10-0) 226 1
2. DeSoto (2) (10-0) 206 2
3. Lake Travis (9-1) 173 3
4. The Woodlands (10-0) 155 4
5. Cibolo Steele (9-1) 136 5
6. San Angelo Central (10-0) 100 7
(tie)Galena Park North Shore (9-1) 100 6
8. Southlake Carroll (9-1) 67 8
9. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (10-0) 54 9
10. Cedar Hill (8-2) 22 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Fort Bend Ridge Point 7. 12, Katy 6. 13, Austin Westlake 3. 14, Klein Collins 2. 14, Mansfield 2. 14, Smithson Valley 2. 14, Tyler 2.

Class 5A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Aledo (12) (10-0) 215 1
2. Cedar Park (5) (10-0) 201 2
3. Manvel (3) (10-0) 188 3
4. Denton Ryan (3) (10-0) 175 4
5. Richmond Foster (10-0) 136 5
6. Lancaster (9-1) 99 6
7. College Station (10-0) 92 7
8. Texarkana Texas (10-0) 71 8
9. Frisco Lone Star (9-1) 48 9
10. CC Calallen (9-1) 24 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Mansfield Legacy 5. 12, Grapevine 4. 13, Dallas Highland Park 3. 14, Denton 2. 15, Temple 1. 15, N. Richland Hills 1.

Class 4A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (16) (10-0) 222 1
2. Argyle (3) (9-0) 191 2
3. Waco La Vega (3) (10-0) 188 3
4. Cuero (1) (10-0) 166 4
5. Geronimo Navarro (9-0) 130 5
6. China Spring (9-1) 112 6
7. Gilmer (9-1) 93 7
8. El Campo (10-0) 65 10
9. Abilene Wylie (7-1) 63 9
10. Henderson (9-1) 16 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Van 8. 12, Celina 6. 13, Stafford 3. 14, Krum 2.

Class 3A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Brock (20) (10-0) 227 1
2. Newton (3) (10-0) 207 2
3. Malakoff (10-0) 184 3
4. Sunnyvale (10-0) 161 4
5. Hallettsville (10-0) 117 5
6. Rockdale (9-1) 105 6
7. Cisco (8-1) 81 7
8. Canadian (8-2) 61 8
9. East Bernard (9-1) 40 9
10. Elysian Fields 10-0) 22 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Franklin 15. 12, Cameron Yoe 13. 13, Mineola 9. 14, Crockett 7. 15, Gunter 5. 16, Sonora 4. 16, George West 4. 18, White Oak 2. 19, Teague 1.

Class 2A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Bremond (15) (10-0) 199 1
2. Refugio (5) (9-1) 181 3
3. Iraan (1) (10-0) 179 2
4. Mart (10-0) 152 4
5. Tenaha (10-0) 141 5
6. Stratford (9-1) 90 6
7. Albany (9-1) 88 7
8. Muenster (9-1) 61 9
9. Crawford (9-1) 51 NR
10. Price Carlisle (9-1) 18 8

Others receiving votes: 11, Mason 17. 12, Brackettville 10. 13, Groveton 7. 14, Malakoff 6. 15, Burton 3. 15, Wellington 3. 17, Shiner 2. 18, Munday 1. 18, Bosqueville 1.

 

Weekend recap: We’re on to the postseason

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Playoffs baby! I’m sure we can all agree it’s been a rather quick regular season, and an exciting one at that. But now it’s time to move on to the Main Event – the 2016 postseason.

So sit back and enjoy as my sidekick Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at what got us to this point.

Ryan at Wichita Falls Rider

SG: I think everyone expected Ryan to be exactly where it is right now heading into the playoffs – unbeaten and the top seed in Division I. Now the only question left is can the Raiders live up to all the hype and take their hot winning streak all the way through the state championship game? Thursday’s first round game at Fort Worth Brewer looks to be a cake walk, but after that the playoff road gets tough as they’ll likely face Richland followed in order (my opinion) by Amarillo, Colleyville Heritage and either Highland Park or Mansfield Lake Ridge before they can play in the title game. That’s just my opinion on the playoff road, so take it with a grain of salt. Regardless, the Raiders have to get there first.

AB: For six weeks now, Ryan has gone without a real test, and judging by score alone this was its biggest one. I’m sure there were other factors involved in that score, and whether anyone would admit it, I’m betting some of it had to do with looking ahead to the postseason. It’s OK and it’s understandable. Ryan simply hasn’t been tested in a while, and the Raiders won’t be any time real soon either. The machine is going to keep rolling along for a few more weeks before things get real in Round 4. At some point, Ryan is going to be tested, and you hope it won’t stun them when they are.

Guyer vs Plano West

SG: Guyer won Friday – easily I might add — but I can’t take my mind off the news that running back Myron Mason dislocated his elbow in a freak pregame mishap and will be out of action several weeks at best. That’s a huge blow to a Wildcat offense that, really, has been able to bull its way over opponents with a powerful run game. It will be interesting to see what Guyer does going forward, but head coach John Walsh still has plenty of bullets in the arsenal with Christian Moore, quarterback Luke Stillwell and, of course, Noah Cain. Guyer opens the playoffs against Trophy Club Nelson.

AB: Like most games this season, Guyer’s defense was dominant in the Wildcats’ regular-season ending win over Plano West. Through 10 regular-season games, they allowed 20.5 points per game, but if you take out two losses to the top two teams in the state Class 6A poll (Allen and DeSoto), that number drops to a staggering 11.2 points per game. The worst part of this game for Guyer was what happened before it when a freak accident saw star running back Myron Mason suffer a break and dislocation in his elbow. Christian Moore filled in admirably with over 100 total yards and a touchdown, and Noah Cain did his usual Noah Cain things. It’ll be interesting to see how Guyer’s offense looks with a full week of practice with Moore in Mason’s spot. I don’t expect much drop-off, if any at all, as Moore is basically a $1 million insurance policy most teams don’t have.

Denton vs Braswell

SG: This game went about as well as anyone would have expected. Denton’s lone loss in district came at the hands of Ryan, which means it will face Justin Northwest in the first round. The good news is Denton will get Northwest at home, but this is a really tough first round matchup. Northwest is a really good team this year and is certainly tested coming out of a district that includes Aledo. Denton is no slouch, but it will be interesting to see what happens. As for Braswell, the pains of this season are finally over and the Bengals’ coaching staff can start molding this team during a true offseason. Big things are ahead for the Bengals.

AB: Denton finished up its fine-tuning for the postseason with a unique game against Braswell, where several of the Bengals’ players were formerly part of Denton’s program before Braswell opened in August. The Bengals saw their season come to an end with an 0-10 record but gradually saw improvements across the board heading into their first true offseason. Denton, on the other hand, is 9-1 and in a rare first-round playoff matchup up 9-1 teams as the Broncos prepare to take on Justin Northwest. It’s sure to be one of the best first-round games in 5A.

Lake Dallas vs Prosper

SG: I have a ton of respect for Lake Dallas and its coach, Michael Young. But most people may have thought this was a loss for the Falcons coming into the game. In fact, with a playoff berth completely out of the equation, even I figured with Prosper’s unbeaten district record that it was a foregone conclusion the Falcons would lose. That didn’t happen, though, and it’s a sign of some great things to come for a program that for all intents and purposes was extremely young following last year’s magical ride to the state semifinals. Young’s squad should not be counted out going forward.

AB: This year didn’t go as the Falcons and head coach Michael Young planned. Lake Dallas battled the injury bug all year and were simply outmanned at some spots on the field, and last week, the Falcons were officially eliminated from postseason contention. That meant they were playing for one thing on Friday, and they sure did get a lot it — pride. The Falcons beat the previously unbeaten-in-district-play Prosper Eagles with a last-minute touchdown run from senior Brendan Contreras. The game also saw the return to action for senior quarterback Spencer Frederickson, who spent most of the season on the sideline due to injury.

Argyle vs Burkburnett

SG: We keep talking about Argyle each week because, well, the Eagles are the No. 2 team in Class 4A. Plus, they just have so many weapons that, just like Ryan, we expect another long playoff run. So can you really blame us? Argyle will face a one-win team in Snyder in the first round, and after that will do a ton of travelling as it attempts to make it back to its fourth-straight state title game. Right now, I think they have all the ingredients – namely a solid dual-threat QB and a running back in Don Williams who has become a lights-out option on offense.

AB: A big second quarter was kickstarted by a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Slater Wright, and Argyle ended up rolling to another home win against an overmatched Burkburnett team. Don Williams rushed for four touchdowns and Dane Ledford threw for 273 yards and two scores, and now comes the postseason. The Eagles open things up against a Snyder team with one — yes, ONE — win, like on the season. That’s really happening.

Liberty Christian at Fort Worth Nolan

SG: Liberty is on a roll right now after booting a field goal in the waning seconds to knock off Nolan Catholic. That’s four-straight wins for the Warriors, who enter the postseason against a familiar district foe in Bishop Dunne. Liberty beat Dunne two weeks ago, but if that’s going to happen again, the Warriors may have to do it without starting quarterback Jon Copeland. Copeland was hit hard late in Friday’s win and, according to head coach Barton Hundley, is day to day.

AB: The Warriors are going into the postseason on a high note after pulling out a dramatic win over rival Fort Worth Nolan on Friday. And it was all thanks to the foot of Cameron Baller, who on Friday night was, well, a baller. His 26-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter broke a scoreless fourth-quarter tie and gave Liberty Christian a win heading into the playoffs. Now, they’ll await the status of star quarterback Jon Copeland, who accounted for almost 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes before leaving with an undisclosed injury.

 

What you need to know: Plano West

Plano West Wolves Cilton Manning (1) carries the ball down field during the high school football game between Plano West High School and Allen High School at Eagle Stadium on Sept. 30, 2016 in Allen, Texas. Allen Eagles win 61-19. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News)

Plano West Wolves Cilton Manning (1) carries the ball down field during the high school football game between Plano West High School and Allen High School at Eagle Stadium on Sept. 30, 2016 in Allen, Texas. Allen Eagles win 61-19. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News)

Do we have to play this game?

That’s probably what a lot of Guyer fans and possibly even players and coaches are saying secretly. It’s completely meaningless, and if it wasn’t for the fact it’s senior night I’d say it could be a tough one to get up for. But it’s the final step before the postseason begins.

The Game: Plano West (1-8, 1-5) vs. Guyer (7-2, 5-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m., C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

Series Record: This is the first-ever meeting between the teams.

What happened last week: Plano West continued its disappointing season with a deflating loss to another team with nothing to play for, and crosstown foe, Plano. The Wolves managed just six points in the loss and gave up a ton on the ground to a pretty good Plano rushing attack.

Guyer took some time to get into an offensive rhythm with just four possessions in the first half and led just 14-0 at half. Then the Wildcats’ defense made a big play as Guyer ran away in the second half en route to a shutout victory against McKinney Boyd.

What to expect: Hard to say. One thing we can say comfortably is a Guyer win, but what we’ll see from Guyer is a bit up in the air. However, knowing John Walsh and his staff and how they like to be primed at this point in the season and also score a lot of points, I could see this one getting pretty ugly with Luke Stillwell back at quarterback full-time after playing sporadically last week and looking pretty good throwing the ball around. We know Guyer will run effectively on West, but it seems pretty likely the Wildcats will throw it all over the place too.

Final say: This is a mismatch, plain and simple. Guyer’s defense is riding high with confidence and its offense is looking to hit another gear heading into he postseason. It’s a bad recipe for West, and this game should be over sometime early in the third quarter.

Score prediction: Guyer 49, Plano West 7

What you need to know: Wichita Falls Rider

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Ryan’s playoff fate is set. The Raiders will face either Fort Worth Brewer or Haslet Eaton in the first round next week. BUT … Friday’s regular season finale at Wichita Falls Rider carries with it a ton of significance.

For starters, it’s chance for Ryan to go 10-0 for a second-straight regular season. That’s not easy to do. Also, Ryan can claim the outright District 5-5A title with a win. Currently, the Raiders are one game ahead of Denton in the standings.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (9-0, 5-0) vs Wichita Falls Rider (4-5, 3-2), Friday, 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.

Series Record: Ryan is 9-4 all time against Wichita Falls Rider. This is the first meeting between the two programs since 2013.

What happened last week: Ryan beat Denison, 41-14. Rider beat Braswell, 57-27.

What to expect: Rider is one of those programs that, at least traditionally, has given the Raiders fits — the all-time series is at 9-4. Ryan players and coaches stressed that they won’t be overlooking Rider this week, but it’s safe to say this is a down year for Rider despite its playoff fate still hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, Ryan is one of the best in the state. Rider should come out swinging, but expect Ryan to try to score quick and put the game on ice.

Final say: This is by far a meaningless game for Ryan, especially with the chance to match a rare mark while capturing the district title outright. Ryan hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in any district game thus far, and I don’t see that happening this week as well. Ryan’s offense will score quick en route to another big win.

Prediction: Ryan 50, Wichita Falls Rider 14.

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.

Denton’s Grant Polley Advances

After advancing through the first two rounds of the vote for the final two spots of the Under Armour All-American Game, Denton senior offensive lineman Grant Polley has moved on to the third round.

The University of Colorado commit defeated Temple’s Ta’quon Graham in the first round and Lousiana’s Travis Etienne in the second round, both of which lasted two weeks as will the third round, which will commence on Wednesday.

Along with his hometown love, Polley has felt a lot of support from his new Colorado family, which he attributes to his success in the vote.

“They help a lot,” Polley said. “Buff nation are crazy about football and it’s nice to interact with them. It’s very important because other than them, my area influence is just here in Denton. Even though I’m one of the more known recruits, I’m not that popular. It’s going to be hard going against some of the top players in the nation.”

There are two spots at stake and potentially two matchups left for Polley in the annual high school prospect game, which will be played on Jan. 1, 2017 at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

The opportunity to play in front of so many fans and in such a great football environment are both something that Polley still has a hard time soaking in.

“It’s all a popularity contest I guess, but it’s basically the highest honor the football player can get to play in that game,” Polley said. “To come from a scrawny freshman weighing 190 pounds to going to an all-american game would be surreal. Just being looked upon as well as I am and the opportunity to make a name for myself is very cool. I would never have dreamed about something like this.”

AP Poll: No change for area teams

Ryan defenders Delano Robinson (10), Randy Gray (1) and Ra’Heem Shaw (25) gang tackle DeCurious Smith (7) during their game against Denison at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Ryan defenders Delano Robinson (10), Randy Gray (1) and Ra’Heem Shaw (25) gang tackle DeCurious Smith (7) during their game against Denison at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

The latest Associated Press state poll is out. Ryan is still No. 4 in Class 5A and Argyle is sitting pretty at No. 2 in Class 4A. The only change of note is that Denton is sitting at No. 15 in 5A while Krum made it into the “others receiving votes” category in Class 4A. I’m thinking Krum should have been on here earlier than now. The Bobcats are pretty good y’all.

Class 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Allen (23) (9-0) 246 1
2. DeSoto (2) (9-0) 225 2
3. Lake Travis (8-1) 188 3
4. The Woodlands (9-0) 167 4
5. Cibolo Steele (8-1) 147 5
6. Galena Park North Shore (8-1) 106 6
7. San Angelo Central (9-0) 102 7
8. Southlake Carroll (8-1) 75 9
9. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (9-0) 52 10
10. Cedar Hill (7-2) 21 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Katy 8. 12, Austin Westlake 7. 13, Klein Collins 6. 13, Fort Bend Ridge Point 6. 15, Converse Judson 4. 15, Tyler 4. 17, Smithson Valley 3. 17, Alief Taylor 3. 17, San Benito 3. 20, Mansfield 2.

Class 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Aledo (12) (9-0) 233 1
2. Cedar Park (6) (9-0) 216 2
3. Manvel (4) (9-0) 207 3
4. Denton Ryan (3) (9-0) 189 4
5. Richmond Foster (9-0) 149 5
6. Lancaster (8-1) 107 6
7. College Station (10-0) 98 7
8. Texarkana Texas (9-0) 72 8
9. Frisco Lone Star (8-1) 46 9
10. Dallas Highland Park (8-1) 34 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Port Arthur Memorial 8. 12, CC Calallen 7. 13, N. Richland Hills 4. 14, Mansfield Legacy 3. 15, Denton 2.

Class 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (18) (9-0) 242 1
2. Argyle (3) (8-0) 214 2
3. Waco La Vega (3) (9-0) 201 3
4. Cuero (1) (9-0) 176 4
5. Geronimo Navarro (9-0) 133 5
6. China Spring (8-1) 111 6
7. Gilmer (8-1) 91 7
8. Van (9-0) 72 9
9. Abilene Wylie (6-1) 65 8
10. El Campo (9-0) 53 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Celina 8. 12, Henderson 7. 13, Krum 1. 13, Gladewater 1.

Class 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Brock (20) (9-0) 245 1
2. Newton (5) (9-0) 227 2
3. Malakoff (9-0) 199 3
4. Sunnyvale (9-0) 176 4
5. Hallettsville (9-0) 128 7
6. Rockdale (8-1) 104 10
7. Cisco (7-1) 97 8
8. Canadian (7-2) 68 9
9. East Bernard (8-1) 22 NR
(tie)Franklin (7-2) 22 6
(tie)White Oak (8-1) 22 NR

Others receiving votes: 12, Elysian Fields 14. 12, Cameron Yoe 14. 14, Mineola 9. 15, Crockett 8. 16, Gunter 5. 16, Pottsboro 5. 18, Sonora 4. 19, George West 2. 19, Eastland 2. 21, Odem 1. 21, Teague 1.

Class 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Bremond (18) (9-0) 239 1
2. Iraan (2) (9-0) 205 2
3. Refugio (5) (8-1) 201 3
4. Mart (9-0) 181 4
5. Tenaha (9-0) 158 5
6. Stratford (8-1) 96 6
7. Albany (8-1) 90 7
8. Price Carlisle (9-0) 78 8
9. Muenster (8-1) 58 9
10. Shiner (7-2) 20 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Crawford 17. 12, Lovelady 15. 13, Mason 13. 14, Burton 3. 15, Wellington 1.

Weekend recap: Playoffs on the horizon

Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) goes airborne to hurdle Denison defender Ty McFail (28) for the Raiders third score during their game at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) goes airborne to hurdle Denison defender Ty McFail (28) for the Raiders third score during their game at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Welp, we are finally into the final week of the regular season. There have been surprises along the way, but for the most part Denton-area teams are playing about the way we expected before the season started. It certainly is a fun job we have covering this area, and now most of them can start looking toward the playoffs … after this last week, of course.

So sit back and enjoy as my sidekick Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at the week that was.

Denison at Ryan

SG: Of all the one-sided games I’ve seen lately from Ryan, this one was the most intriguing. I know Denison lost, and it also lost to Denton by one point, but I saw enough to say Denison is a quality team. Unfortunately for them, the Yellow Jackets’ best still amounted to a 27-point loss to the Raiders. Ryan – which has a chance to go 10-0 next week at Wichita Falls Rider — needed to overcome some late-season adversity, so as frustrating as all the penalties were (180 yards), this was a nice little test as the Raiders gear up for the postseason. And it looks like they’ll either face Northwest Eaton or Fort Worth Brewer in the first round.

AB: Got my first taste of Ryan on Thursday night when I stopped by to watch the first half (and let’s be real, eat dinner in the press box), and I walked away impressed (and full). Ryan’s defense is so, so fast and so, so physical and made the second- or third-best team in their district look pretty pedestrian. And yeah, that Raiders’ defense gets a lot of the headlines but the offense with Spencer Sanders at the helm is super explosive. The junior threw for five touchdowns and rushed for another with an athletic punctuation at the end in the form of a highlight-reel hurdle of a poor Denison defender. Nineteen penalties for 180 yards was a bit of a surprise to see from such a good team, including several as the result of after-the-play shenanigans, but those coaches are top-notch and will get that fixed before games start counting for Ryan again.

Guyer at McKinney Boyd

SG: Like John Walsh said, any time you can shutout a team in Class 6A, that’s good football. Guyer has now won two in a row since its ugly loss to Allen and returned the favor to Boyd by outgaining them 446-111. The Wildcats dodged a bullet a few weeks ago when starting quarterback Luke Stillwell got hurt, but in playing roughly 40 percent of the snaps after missing a week, it seems like he is ready to go. Guyer will finish the regular season at home against Plano West and then will prepare for the playoffs against either Euless Trinity or Trophy Club Nelson. I’m voting for a match up with Trinity, but either one would be a great matchup.

AB: Guyer got out to a pretty quick 14-0 first-quarter lead before some hiccups in the second quarter kept McKinney Boyd within striking distance at halftime — a surprise in itself. In the third quarter, Guyer quickly reminded everyone who the far superior team was in this matchup. The Wildcats got a safety and a big defensive touchdown on a 40-yard interception return TD from Christian Moore, as well as a solid return to action for junior quarterback Luke Stillwell, who played about 40 percent of the snaps at quarterback and will return to full duty next week. The end result? The first shutout in quite some time for Guyer, and if I’m not crazy, the first in program history (though I probably am crazy). Boyd was incredibly vanilla offensively, but a shutout in 6A is a good defensive performance especially considering the playmaking running back Boyd had in Kaeden Markham.

Wichita Falls Rider at Braswell

SG: Braswell may not be winning ball games, but it is becoming increasingly productive on offense. The Bengals have scored 47 points over the last two weeks after scoring a combined 38 points in their first seven games. What’s more, they racked up nearly 300 yards of offense against Rider. I know it may not seem like much for a 0-9 team, but Cody Moore is an offensive-minded coach and he knows how to put his teams in a position to win. It’s been a rough first year for sure, but those wins will start flowing in at some point for Braswell.

AB: Baby steps are a key to any program’s development, and the Bengals are making those with each passing week. I told myself I would quit trying to pump out all happy and shiny positive vibes when talking about Braswell every week, but they’re actually showing a lot of good things. Against a traditionally strong (albeit down this year) Rider program, Braswell scored in each quarter and had 22 first downs while Ki’Andre Jackson neared the 100-yard mark on the ground and Palmer Campbell threw for 158 yards with no picks. The Bengals won’t win a game this year, which is pretty much what we all expected given their unusual circumstances for starting a program, but they’re coming away with smaller victories each week and laying a solid foundation.

Argyle at Wichita Falls Hirschi

SG: Argyle appears to be racking up a ton of penalty yards, and that’s a problem that should not go uncorrected. However, the Eagles continue to be too much for any opponent to handle and that proves just how good Argyle is and how likely they are to compete for a state crown. Hirschi was held to under 100 passing yards and still lost by 33 points despite Argyle having to kick four field goals. Dane Ledford is a freaking man among boys right now.

AB: It took Argyle a while, but the Eagles eventually found their second gear and pulled away from a surprisingly competitive Hirschi team after letting the Huskies hang around. Four of Argyle’s first five scores came on Dylan Sadler field goals and the game was close until the Eagles outscored Hirschi 20-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away. Argyle grinded its way to a win with 290 yards on the ground while Dane Ledford threw for juts 113 yards, but that’s kind of what this Argyle team has become and the Eagles have won with that style before.

Melissa at Aubrey

SG: Let me just say this … Aubrey will battle Celina for a district title later this week. Let that soak in. It wasn’t that long ago that Aubrey was a struggling program that could barely win one game a season. They’ve clearly used last year’s playoff run as a launching pad for this year’s unbeaten run in district. The Chaps are clearly playoff bound, and a win over Celina would be a game changer. We see you, Aubrey. And everyone else better pay attention, too.

AB: The Chaparrals appear to be one of those teams getting hot at the right time and that continued on Friday night as they came out of the gates and took a 21-0 lead after the first quarter against a good Melissa squad. Of course, Aubrey let Melissa score 21 of its own in the second quarter but the Chaps pulled away behind their stellar running game racked up 336 yards behind two 100-yard rushers in Gatlin Grisso and Pablo Vera. Next up? A battle for the district title with powerhouse Celina.

Bishop Dunne at Liberty Christian

SG: I’m just all about throwing out compliments today, so here’s another one. I think Liberty Christian is easily THE most improved team in the Denton area since district play started. This is a team that returned just two starters from last year and started 0-4. If you really want to get technical, the Warriors were 1-5 at one point this season. But they’re playoff bound thanks to their recent 3-0 run that includes wins over Trinity Christian-Addison, Bishop Lynch and Bishop Dunne. Oh, and Jon Copeland. Dude may not have Division I height, but he’s a baller.

AB: This game featured a nice effort from Liberty quarterback Jon Copeland, a big night for receiver Cole Croce and a few key defensive stands from the Warriors’ defense to hold on it the Warriors’ third straight win to improve to 4-2 in district play. A tough nondistrict schedule and arguably the toughest TAPPS district in the state might just have this youthful team ready for a deep postseason run.

 

What you need to know: McKinney Boyd

McKinney Boyd running back Kaeden Markham (1) makes his way through the Mesquite Horn defensive line during the fourth quarter of their game on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at Mesquite Memorial Stadium in Mesquite, Texas.  (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

McKinney Boyd running back Kaeden Markham (1) makes his way through the Mesquite Horn defensive line during the fourth quarter of their game on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at Mesquite Memorial Stadium in Mesquite, Texas.
(Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Guyer is coming off a 12-point win over a playoff team in Wylie last week, but you wouldn’t have known it from the players’ and coaches’ reaction after the game. Head coach John Walsh wasn’t pleased with his team’s play, and the Wildcats have heard plenty about it since. But Walsh expects a much sharper effort from his team on Friday against a team just playing out the season in one-win McKinney Boyd.

The Game: Guyer (6-2, 4-1) vs. McKinney Boyd (1-7, 1-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m., at McKinney’s Ron Poe Stadium

Series Record: This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

What happened last week: Guyer got a good night from Mwaniki and another solid defensive performance, but the Wildcats’ vaunted two-headed running back monster of Myron Mason and Noah Cain struggled by their lofty standards and expectations. The result? Guyer failed to hit 300 rushing yards, which is an incredible rarity. Mwaniki led Guyer with 121 yards on the ground, and the Guyer defense held an explosive Wylie offense to a field goal in the first half before a couple of big draw plays caught Guyer off guard in the second half and allowed Wylie to make a game of it.

Boyd was tied with Plano at halftime before allowing 21 unanswered points in the second half to close out the game and a 35-14 Plano victory. Plano rushed for 319 yards, which doesn’t bode well for Boyd’s youthful defense. The Broncos completed just two passes (both screen passes) on the night, a massive departure from their early-season balanced attack, while running back Kaeden Markham rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

What to expect: Expect a couple of things, but most notably that Guyer will be better offensively than it was against Wylie. First off, Guyer has had a good week of practice following what Walsh called the worst offensive game Guyer has played all year. Second, Boyd has allowed 57.5 points per game if you throw out its 17-6 win over Plano West. Points will be there for Guyer to take, and with Thabo Mwaniki under center for a second straight week, the offense should operate more efficiently.

Final say: Boyd began the season as a competitive team, losing close ones to two good teams in Mesquite Horn and Coppell before something happened — I’m not sure what — and just took the fire out of the Broncos. After throwing the ball around for several weeks, the last few games have seen the Broncos do nothing but turn and hand the ball off, and they simply aren’t built to be that type of team despite having a stud offensive lineman and a good running back. Guyer shouldn’t have much trouble with this one as the Wildcats continue to mend some injuries and get back to full strength for next week’s regular-season finale.

Score prediction: Guyer 56, McKinney Boyd 13