By Omar Muhammad
Postseason play in the Lone Star State gets underway this weekend with some of the region's most formidable teams looking to making their presence felt in the first step towards a state title. Trinity, Southlake Carroll and Denison are just a few of the stellar teams in action this weekend.
*Rankings are based on state tournament seeds, not based on the FootballPower Power Rankings Engine.
No. 17 Heritage Panthers (9-1) vs. No. 18 Southlake Carroll Dragons (7-2): This first round marquee matchup pits two of the best squads in the class 5A Division 2 playoff bracket. The Panthers hand no problem knocking off Grapevine last week (41-10) in District 5-5A play. Heritage finished the season at 9-1 and second in the district standings. For the first time in years, Southlake Carroll enters the playoffs as underdogs. The Dragons have posted a 7-2 regular season record but failed to capture the district 6-5A crown by posting just a 3-2 conference record.
No. 4 Gilmer Buckeyes (9-1) vs. No. 20 Diboll Lumberjacks (8-2): The Buckeyes are on top of the district 17-3A standings at 5-0 and are favored for the 3A state title. Gilmer is lead by QB Darian Godfrey, who has led his squad to a six-game winning streak while averaging more than 40 points. Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks have found a way to get into the 3A playoffs by collecting a 4-1 District 18-3A conference record. The strength of the defense will be team's elite linebackers along with Antonio Johnson as the big run stopper at defensive end. If the team can weather the storm against a strong Buckeye team, the Lumberjacks could be very tough down the stretch.
No. 17 Sweeny Bulldogs (7-2) vs. No. 14 Giddings Buffaloes (7-3): Sweeny finished off the regular season with a 24-19 win against District 26-3A rival Wharton and were named district champs with a perfect 5-0 record. Bulldogs coach Tommy Zajicek has been relying on his squads powerful running game behind Edward Wright and Tyrell Griffin, who look to chunk up another 1,000-yard season and keep their six-game winning streak alive. These Buffaloes have finished with a 7-3 regular season record and placed second in the District 25-3A standings. This Buffaloes team will have a lot to prove in the 3A playoffs, but standout running backs Quinn Taylor and David Bradshaw will likely keep them in the game.
No. 25 Bushland Falcons (10-0) vs. No. 4 Muleshoe Mules (10-0): This is going to be your classic clash of the titans with two undefeated teams battling it out in 2A-Division 1 play. The Falcons have been nothing short of sensational this season by compiling a 10-0 regular season record. Coach David Flowers has been on a roll with his experienced offense led by QB Caleb McGuire, who has been the go-to guy on the team. The Mules' defense has been trampling over offenses all year by allowing only 13 points per game in their 10 game regular season. The defensive unit is led by all-state candidate Lane Wood, who will likely give the Falcons' offense some problems.
No. 16 Mount Enterprise Wildcats (9-1) vs. No. 24 Grapeland Sandies (8-2): The Wildcats are coming off a 52-6 blowout win against Beckville, which gave them the top spot of the District 19-1A standings. A talented Shelbyville team was the only squad to find a way to beat Mt. Enterprise, and very well could be the only loss the Wildcats see all year as the squad is hitting its stride. Don’t let Grapeland's record fool you because the Sandies' defense has posted five shutouts in the regular season. This team looks to be a sleeper candidate.
1A-II, Region III
No. 15 Cayuga Wildcats (8-2) vs. No. 23 Tenaha Tigers (8-2): The Wildcats are coming off a tough loss to Grapeland in District 20-1A play. With the loss to Grapeland, the Cats have fallen to the No. 15 seed for the state playoffs. But with an explosive offense, the Wildcats will likely make a big push in the 1A playoffs. Tenaha is also coming off a big 42-29 loss to Mt. Enterprise, which put them in second in the District 19-1A standings. The Tigers look to make a big roar in the class 1A playoffs behind an impressive offense that has been averaging over 45 points a game and a defense that has collected two shutouts.
No. 1 Euless Trinity Trojans (10-0) vs. Coppell Cowboys (6-4): The No. 1 team in the nation ended the season strong with a 30-20 win against Bell High, which was a key District 5-5A win and notched them a perfect 5-0 record in conference competition. On both sides of the ball, Trinity has been dominating teams the entire season. LB and Kansas commit Earnest Norman commands a formidable Trojans defense. The offense is just as explosive, led by playmaking QB Denarius McGhee. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are coming off a key 51-28 win against fellow conference foe Flower Mound. With this conference win, the Cowboys put themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the District 6-5A standings and earned a berth into the 5A playoffs. All-district DE’s Robert Kleid and James Roh will need to find a counter attack for this talented Trinity team.
Aledo Bearcats (10-0) vs. Lake Dallas Falcons (7-3): This Aledo squad has been flawless all season, and don’t look for them to fall off that winning track anytime soon. The Bearcats are coming off a blowout win against Birdville that locked up the District 6-4A crown. The defense for the Bearcats has compiled two shutouts and has only given up a game-high of two touchdowns all season. Aledo’s offense has been on a roll and has outscored opponents by more than three touchdowns a game. The Falcons are coming of a one-point loss to Colony High in District 5-4A play, which put them into a tie with Guyer High at 5-2 in the conference standings. The Lake Dallas defense has been shaky at times this season and has its biggest test coming up. The defense will look to all-district LB David Stockard to slow down a gifted Bearcats offense.
Denison Yellowjackets (10-0) vs. Royse City Bulldogs (7-3): The Yellowjackets were crowned champs of District 9-4A by defeating Sherman High, 34-17, last week, and stayed perfect in the conference and overall. Denison’s impressive offense is led by QB Jordan Taylor, RB D.J. Jones and top WR Cody Reeves. The trio has been integral in the team averaging 48 points a game. The defense is led by LB’s Stacey Golston and Brandon Jeffrey and will help Denison compete in the chase for the 4A state title. Royse City is still excited after collecting a 48-0 win against Turner High last week to put them into the 4A playoffs. The Bulldogs will need to put up another stellar effort against Denison if they want to stay in this game.
El Paso Franklin Cougars (7-3) vs. Odessa Bronchos (8-2): The Cougars' 27-20 loss to Coronado luckily didn’t hurt the team. The Cougars will need to keep scratching and fighting to stay in this 5A bi-district playoff game. The Bronchos also ended the season on a sour note by losing to District 2-5A rival Lee. Look for this experienced offense to regroup and get ready to make a real push in the 5A playoffs as they have outscored their opponents by more than three touchdowns a game.
Region 3: Lake Orion Dragons (10-1) vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson Titans (10-1): The Dragons are coming off a 24-23 win against Romeo High last week for the district championship. The Dragons will look to their defense for another strong effort as they have already posted four shutouts this year. The Titans are also coming off a tight 31-28 win against a talented Macomb Dakota team.
Region 4: Wynadotte Roosevelt Bears (10-1) vs. Southfield Bluejays(10-1): The Bears are coming off an impressive 20-17 comeback win to knock off Southgate Anderson in District play and advance to Regionals. Wynadotte has proven to be the team to beat by taking the top spot in the Michigan Mega Conference. Southfield is coming off an amazing 20-17 win in overtime last week against favored Dearborn. The Bluejays will look to extend their six-game winning streak and battle it out for a chance at the Division 2 state title.
Region 1: Bangor John Glenn Bobcats (9-2) vs. East Grand Rapids Pioneers (10-1): Last week, the Bobcats posted an impressive 27-3 victory over Petoskey. The Bobcats appear back on track after suffering a tough 44-7 loss to Nouvel Catholic Central in week seven. The Pioneers blew out Mt. Pleasant last week, 61-19, in the district final and made a major statement in the Division 3 playoffs.
Check for Omar's regional previews every Thursday right here at FootballPower.tv. You can reach him at email@example.com.