Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Countdown to district play - 10 big things to watch for this season
This week most football teams begin district play, the second part of the season when wins and losses determine whether a team gets to part three: the postseason. As teams prepare to pile up wins for a playoff spot, here’s a countdown to the start of district with some telling statistics.
Average lead after one quarter this season for DeSoto (District 7-5A), which this week rose to No. 1 in the area 5A rankings. DeSoto trailed only once in its first four games, during a three-minute span early in the second quarter against Cedar Hill. DeSoto also has 10 playoff wins in the last five years, which includes four from last year’s run to the 5A Division I semifinals.
Average yards gained per play this season for Sachse (11-5A), which has scored more than 50 points three times during its 4-0 start. Senior quarterback Kent Myers has thrown 16 touchdown passes with only one interception. Another significant number for Sachse, however, is zero. Sachse has never beaten Garland and has never won a district title.
Years that have passed since Ennis (15-4A) last won an outright district title. It’s hard to believe it has been that long for Ennis, which won 4A state titles in 2000, ’01 and ’04. Ennis ended a three-year playoff drought last season and this year has a terrific running back combo in seniors Terence Williams (orally committed to Baylor) and Nick Gabriel.
Consecutive district titles for Allen (10-5A), the defending 5A Division I champion. Allen has only lost one district game during its district reign, a 35-28 loss to Hebron in 2010, and the Eagles have played in some very good districts. Allen and the other five teams in 10-5A – Plano, Plano East, Plano West, McKinney and McKinney Boyd – are a combined 18-5 this season.
Total losses by the seven teams in District 12-5A, which includes three undefeated squads: Mesquite Horn, North Mesquite and Rockwall-Heath. In this deep district, in which no team has a losing record, coaches will be well-versed in tiebreaker scenarios before the last two weeks of the regular season.
Teams with two or more district losses last season that advanced at least three rounds in the playoffs: Arlington (3-5A), Prosper (9-4A), Mesquite Poteet (10-4A), Wylie East (13-4A) and Cedar Hill (7-5A), which advanced to the 5A Division II title game. Tough districts get teams ready for the playoffs.
Katy’s enrollment rank among the eight schools in District 19-5A. That’s important to fans who want to see Katy in the 5A Division I bracket against schools such as Allen, Coppell, Skyline, Southlake Carroll and (most likely) DeSoto. Katy will be in Division I if two of the smallest four 19-5A schools, which have a combined record of 2-11 this season, make the playoffs. DeSoto will be in Division I unless South Grand Prairie and Duncanville qualify.
Times in the last two seasons that three teams have tied for the final two playoff spots in local districts. Last year, Midlothian, Mansfield and South Grand Prairie tied for third in 7-5A and Lake Dallas, Azle and Trophy Club Byron Nelson tied for third in 5-4A. South Grand Prairie and Byron Nelson were left out of the playoffs. In 2011, Plano West missed the playoffs after finishing in a three-way tie for third with Hebron and Plano East.
Teams in 5A last season that won their district games by an average of at least 42 points. Skyline ripped through 9-5A by an average score of 56-14 and Southlake Carroll walloped 4-5A opponents by an average of 59-6. It might not be as lopsided this season, but Skyline and Carroll won’t find many tests in district play.
Generation that has passed since a year when a team from the Dallas-Fort Worth area didn’t win a University Interscholastic League state title. In 1991, no local team even made it to a championship game, and that also happened in 1989. From 1982 to ’85, the winners closest to Dallas were the 1983 2A champions from Boyd (about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth) and the 1984 champs from Denison, (about 70 miles north of Dallas). Split divisions in each class have added to the title haul, but this is a golden age for local football.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.