Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Mansfield Summit, Irving, Rowlett, Plano West join postseason party after winning wild playoff scenarios
When its game started Friday night, Lancaster didn’t know if a one-point win would be good enough. Depending on what happened in another District 15-4A game, Lancaster might need to win by at least nine.
But by the time Mansfield Summit got the ball for its final drive, Lancaster knew exactly what it needed to do. The Tigers, who last year advanced to the Class 4A Division II state final, just couldn’t do it.
Needing to win by one, Lancaster lost by two when Ryan Rodriguez kicked a 19-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give Summit a 29-27 win. Had Mansfield Legacy lost to Mansfield Lake Ridge, the playoff tiebreaker would’ve required Lancaster (4-6, 3-4) to beat Summit (5-5, 5-2) by nine or more.
It was a tight finish in a district that was tight all season.
“Really every one of our district games went down to the wire,” Summit coach Travis Pride said. “The kids did a good job and kept fighting. We found a way to turn one- or two-point losses into one- or two-point wins.”
The final night of the regular season, as always, included elation and heartbreak.
Irving, which experienced more than its share of heartbreak during a span from 2009 to 2011 in which it won a total of three games, finally got to celebrate. Irving (6-4, 4-3 in 6-5A) earned its first playoff berth since 2008 with a 49-25 win over Irving MacArthur.
“All the talk in the coaching community was this was a place you couldn’t win,” said Aaron De La Torre, who took over as Irving’s head coach in 2012. “We took the challenge and the kids worked hard.”
The hard work almost paid off for Garland Lakeview (4-5, 2-4 in 11-5A), which hasn’t made the playoffs since 1995. But although Lakeview led by 13 at the half, Rowlett (4-6, 3-3) rallied in the second half for a 40-32 victory to earn its ninth straight playoff trip.
The “win and get in” games Friday produced a steady stream of highlights, including a back-and-forth scoring spree between Wylie East (5-5, 4-3 in 13-4A) and Lovejoy (7-3, 5-2). Senior receiver/running back Chochy Luce ran for three touchdowns and caught another as Lovejoy clinched a playoff spot with a 47-44 win.
In jumbled 12-5A, North Mesquite (6-4, 2-4) came close to ending its six-year playoff drought. But it came up short when Mesquite Horn’s Taylor Lewis kicked a 34-yard field goal on the game’s final play, giving Horn (8-2, 4-2) a 34-31 win.
A do-or-die game also produced a startling comeback. Plano West (6-4, 2-3), battling Plano East (5-5, 1-4) for the final playoff spot in 10-5A, trailed 17-6 at the half. But the Wolves scored four touchdowns in the first nine minutes of the third quarter and pulled away for a 42-17 win.
While some teams entered Friday’s games as playoff question marks, a trio of undefeated teams tuned up for the postseason with exclamation-point victories. Allen (10-0), the top-ranked 5A team in the state, pulled away in the second half to beat Plano, 42-13. Sachse (10-0) earned its first district title by clobbering Garland Naaman Forest, 45-14, and Argyle (10-0), No. 2 in the 3A state rankings, sped away from previously undefeated Celina, 63-13.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.
Got in Friday
Flower Mound Marcus made the playoffs despite being 2-8 overall and 1-4 in District 5-5A. Losses by Flower Mound and Lewisville on Friday allowed Marcus to get in by winning a points system tiebreaker.
Logan Bonner ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns as Rowlett rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit and beat Garland Lakeview, 40-32, for a playoff berth.
Austin Noland threw three touchdown passes as Richardson Pearce claimed the last playoff berth from District 9-5A by beating Sunset, 63-3.
Carrollton Ranchview needed to win by at least nine points to make the playoffs, and it beat Aubrey, 46-22, as Keidrien Wadley ran for 148 yards and four touchdowns.
Long playoff streaks that are continuing (total includes this year):
Celina: 20 years in a row
Highland Park: 19
Euless Trinity: 16
Denton Ryan: 14
Southlake Carroll: 14