As the state semifinals get underway this weekend, here are 10 things to keep an eye out for in the games featuring several of the Dallas area’s top teams.
1. Fatigue: For teams like DeSoto, a short rest could be a heavy setback in a postseason that has featured two come-from-behind wins on the Eagles’ final drive. Head coach Claude Mathis described playing on the quick turnaround against Allen this weekend as “insane.”
2. Ian Sadler: He has a nose for the end zone. Whether as a receiver, running back or taking snaps, the Argyle senior is near unstoppable, and he has scored eight touchdowns in the playoffs so far. His biggest game was a five TD showing against Gilmer in the regional semifinal round.
DMN file photos 3. Kyler Murray vs. Desmon White: High school football fans are in for a treat with two of the most impressive quarterbacks in the Dallas area facing off in the semifinal game for the second year in a row. On paper, here is what you get – Murray: 927 rushing yards, 17 TDs; 3,161 yards passing, 40 TDs and 8 INTs passing. White: 1,609 rushing yards, 15 TDs; 3,736 yards passing, 38 TDs and 7 INTs passing.
Garett Ray Fisbeck - Staff Photographer 4. DaMarkus Lodge: Cedar Hill’s star receiver has shown some versatility behind the line of scrimmage during the playoffs as well, taking two direct snaps for touchdown runs against Denton Ryan. This added dimension to his game makes him a constant threat for Joe McGuire’s offense.
Tom Fox - Staff Photographer 5. Claude Mathis: DeSoto’s head coach is loud, colorful and not afraid to take a gamble. Last week, he told his defense to let Trinity score so that his team could get the ball back. What happened next was another amazing drive by his offense to seal a win in the final seconds. QB Desmon White and teammates have orchestrated two late drives to land playoff wins so far.
Stewart F. House - Special Contributor 6. Allen’s defense: Fans will automatically be drawn to the big play potential of Kyler Murray, but Tom Westerberg’s defense has been lights out, allowing 13.5 points per game in the playoffs so far.
Bob Haynes - AP 7. Aledo’s offense: From a 91-point victory in Week 7, to setting the national single season scoring record, Aledo can score points in bunches. In the playoffs, Aledo is averaging more than 68 points per game in the first four rounds.
Steve Hamm - Special Contributor 8. Ennis’ running game: Head coach Jack Alvarez brought his Southeast Texas ground and pound operation with him to Ennis and the results have been pleasing in 2013. He has a pair of running backs with almost 3,000 combined rushing yards. Terence Williams has 1,687 and 25 TDs and Nick Gabriel has 1,219 and 23 TDs.
Louis DeLuca - The Dallas Morning News 9. Highland Park’s resilience: Every week Highland Park keeps finding ways to win. Whether it’s with a big offensive showing or a shut-down defensive performance, Highland Park's team is on a roll. However, Denton Guyer will be its most daunting playoff foe of this season.
Jerrod Heard: Guyer’s do-it-all quarterback has state championship experience and led his team to a 4A title in 2012. This year he is looking for a repeat and he and his Guyer peers have rallied behind the death of teammate Nate Maki in late August. This year Heard has rushed for 1,859 yards and 23 TDs and passed for 1,891 yards and 21 TDs.
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