Written by Michael Florek
Dallas-area HS football playoff preview: Brackets could bring together number of intriging matchups
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a number of high-profile schools poised to make deep runs in the football playoffs.
The only problem — many will face each other early in the tournament. This could be the strongest second round of matchups the area has ever had.
DeSoto and Coppell — both undefeated and the top two schools in the SportsDayHS rankings — could meet in the second round of 5A-I. Mesquite (10-0), two years removed from being 1-9, could face Allen (9-1) in the area round.
In 4A-I, Denton Guyer and Aledo are one game away from facing each other. Guyer’s only two losses came at the beginning of the season — to 5A playoff teams. Aledo just happens to be the defending Division II state champions.
While the traditional powers are on a collision course in Division I, some newcomers to the spotlight, Lovejoy and Lancaster, are on the same path in Division II. Lovejoy is undefeated (10-0) in its first season in 4A. Lancaster (9-1) is ranked 11th in the state.
Argyle, a game away from capturing the 3A-II championship last year, might face Class 2A-I defending champion Melissa.
Rest up now. The six-week ride that is the playoffs starts in a matter of days.
First round blockbusters
Don’t look ahead to the second round. Teams with state title aspirations will be eliminated in the first weekend. Perhaps the premier matchup in the area is between West Mesquite (8-2) and Frisco Centennial (9-1) in 4A-I. Both teams have been ranked No. 1 in SportsDayHS’s 4A poll at one point in time. Also in 4A, a battle of DISD schools pits Lincoln (9-1) and South Oak Cliff (9-1) on Friday. But don’t forget about 5A, where defending champion Southlake Carroll and Arlington Martin will do battle in Division I in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
Region of death: 5A-I Region I
Five legitimate state title contenders are bunched in 5A-I Region I. DeSoto and Coppell are slated to meet in the second round. If all goes according to plan, the winner of that will have to face Arlington Bowie (9-1). Barring a major upset, the other regional semifinal would only see defending state champion Southlake Carroll face an 8-2 Euless Trinity team.
Region of breath: 4A-II, Region I
If Lake Dallas can get by Fort Worth Boswell in the first round, it could be set up to make a run. Perhaps the best team in the region, Witchita Falls Rider, will be without star quarterback J.T. Barrett. The only team receiving votes in the Associated Press state poll, Wolfforth Frenship (2 votes), wouldn’t face Lake Dallas until the third round.
Players to watch
Player, School, Pos.
Kenny Hill, Southlake Carroll, QB
The 2011 area player of the year will need another set of phenomenal performances if Carroll wants to repeat.
Dontre Wilson, DeSoto, RB
With quarterback Desmon White playing with an injured leg, the onus will be on Wilson more than ever to carry the DeSoto offense to the school’s first-ever state title.
Soloman Thomas, Coppell, DE
If Coppell is to shut down running back Dontre Wilson and the rest of DeSoto’s explosive offense, Thomas and fellow defensive end William Udeh will have to lead the way.
Jerrod Heard, Denton Guyer, QB
The University of Texas commitment has over 1,100 yards in both rushing and passing and leads a Guyer team that is a favorite to come out of Region I in Class 4A, Division I.
Rashaad Samples, Skyline, WR
Perhaps the most dominant receiver in the region, Samples will be relied on early and often if Skyline wants to make it out of a region including Allen, Mesquite, The Woodlands and undefeated Spring Westfield.
Bowman Sells, Lovejoy, QB
He’s led Lovejoy to its first undefeated regular season in school history, but will the freshman have enough poise to lead the Leopards to a deep playoff run?
Malik Jefferson, Mesquite Poteet, LB
The sophomore will play a big role in shutting down Little Elm running back Ke’aun Kinner in the first round.
Every team in the area with long playoff streaks continued it for another year:
19, Skyline, 1994
19, Celina, 1994
18, Highland Park, 1995
17, DeSoto, 1996
15, Euless Trinity, 1998
14, Allen, 1999
14, Lincoln, 1999
13, Denton Ryan, 2000
13, Southlake Carroll, 2000
12, Longview, 2001
11, Prosper, 2002
10, South Oak Cliff, 2003
Source: Dave Campbell’s Texas Football
Champs on the move
Realignment has left a number of state champions moving up to different classes and in different divisions:
2011 , Team, W-L, 2012 , 1st-round opponent
5A DI, Southlake Carroll, 9-1, 5A DI, Arlington Martin
5A DII, Spring Dekaney, 6-3, 5A DII, Lufkin
4A DI, Austin Lake Travis, 9-1, 5A DII, Pflugerville
4A DII, Aledo, 9-1, 4A DI, Cleburne
3A DI, Tyler Chapel Hill, 3-7, N/A, Missed playoffs
3A DII, Wimberley, 7-3, 3A DII, La Vernia
2A DI, Melissa, 8-2, 3A DII, Wilmer-Hutchins
2A DII: , Refugio , 10-0 , 2A DII , BYE
1A DI, Mason, 10-0, 1A DI, BYE
1A DII, Tenaha, 6-4, 1A DII, BYE
Five area teams enter the playoffs with an undefeated record:
Team, W-L, 1st-round opponent
Coppell, 10-0, Irving MacArthur
DeSoto, 10-0, Killeen Harker Heights
Mesquite, 10-0, Sachse
Birdville, 10-0, Azle
Lovejoy, 10-0, Hallsville
After rough starts, teams entering the playoffs on a high note:
Team, W-L, 1st-round
Garland, 6-4, Mesquite Horn, Undefeated after starting 0-4
Mesquite Horn, 7-3, Garland, Won 5 of last 6
Red Oak, 7-3, Corsicana , Only L in last 7 games came by 1 point
Wylie, 4-6, Mt. Pleasant , Won 4 of last 5
Denton Guyer, 8-2, Saginaw, Outscored foes 392-87 in last 8 wins
Euless Trinity, 8-2, FM Marcus, Held last 7 foes to 16 points or less
Frisco, 7-3, Highland Park , 6-1 after starting season 1-2
After strong starts, these teams are limping into playoffs:
Team, W-L, 1st-round
Sachse, 8-2, Mesquite, 3-2 after starting 5-0
Frisco Lone Star, 7-3, Gainesville, First playoff berth despite 3-3 finish
Rockwall-Heath, 6-4, South Garland, Lost 3 of last 5
Ennis, 8-2, Whitehouse, Outscored 67-14 in last two games
Hurst L.D. Bell, 7-3, Denton Ryan, lost 3 of last 4
Under .500 and in
Area teams under .500 but in the playoffs:
Team, W-L, 1st-round opponent
Keller Timber Creek, 4-6, Arlington
Rowlett, 4-6, Longview
Corsicana, 4-6, Red Oak
Wylie, 4-6, Mt. Pleasant
Flower Mound Marcus, 4-6, Euless Trinity
Dancing once again
Nine area teams are back in the playoffs after a two-year or more playoff drought:
Team, Drt., 1st-round opponent
Midlothian, 7, Waco Midway
Ennis, 3, Whitehouse
Red Oak, 2, Corsicana
Samuell, 2, Adamson
Irv. MacArthur, 2, Coppell
Plano West, 2, Lake Highlands
Adamson, 2, Samuell
Forney, 2, Prosper
Farmersville, 2, Boyd