This is the part of the season where the good stuff happens. District play begins Thursday. This is the start of the push toward the state playoffs.
For the next seven weeks, storylines will develop. Drama will mount.
Some programs are trying to maintain success. That’s Southlake Carroll, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine, Keller Fossil Ridge and Richland.
Some programs are looking to develop consistency. That’s Justin Northwest and Keller Timber Creek.
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Others need a good start to feel good about themselves. That’s Euless Trinity, Trophy Club Byron Nelson, Birdville and Keller Central.
Others still are those who have to try and change their fortunes. That’s Haslet V.R. Eaton, Haltom, Keller and Hurst L.D. Bell.
We went 3-2 in our abbreviated card last week. We missed on Haltom against Wichita Falls. But credit head coach Jason Tucker’s program from bouncing back from the loss to Richland.
The shocker was Keller winning at winless Midland. Admittedly, the last two words of that sentence read funny. However, long road trips are funny, because you just never know how your players will respond. But the Indians responded.
The bye week in Northeast Tarrant County has passed. District 3-6A, a seven-team group, begins its weekly bye-week rotation. That begins with Keller Central.
Last week: 3-2
Season: 37-6 (.860)
Justin Northwest (3-0) vs. Haslet V.R. Eaton (1-2); 7 p.m. Thursday, NISD Stadium, Justin: The elephant in the room is how the Eagles are going to be following their stunning and heartbreaking loss to Frisco Independence two weeks ago. The Texans aren’t as explosive as they were last year. This 6-5A opener features two of the top backs in the area in Northwest’s DeMareus Hosey and Eaton’s Titus Swen.
Prediction: Justin Northwest 31, Haslet V.R. Eaton 28
Fort Worth Dunbar (0-3) at Colleyville Heritage (2-1); 7 p.m. Thursday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: The talent disparity between these two teams in the 8-5A opener is enormous. So is the size of the schools. Colleyville Heritage has 2,098 students. Dunbar has 872.
Prediction: Colleyville Heritage 42, Fort Worth Dunbar 7
Weatherford (0-4) at Keller (2-2); 7 p.m. Thursday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: The Indians have already surpassed their 2016 win total and can get their District 3-6A season off to the right start. For Weatherford, this has turned into near misses. Of the four losses, three have been by a touchdown or less. Does new head coach Billy Mathis have enough to pull off the upset?
Prediction: Keller 34, Weatherford 21
Haltom (2-2) at Abilene (1-3); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Shotwell Stadium Abilene: The way you could look at the Buffalos’ season is that they’ve defeated the teams they’re supposed to beat and maybe not beaten those they shouldn’t. Abilene has had its struggles to start the season and dropped its first three games. The Eagles turned around and beat Odessa last week. I have a feeling the Buffalos make a stand-up performance in this 3-6A opener.
Prediction: Abilene 39, Haltom 27
Keller Timber Creek (4-0) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (4-0); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: How good is it with this matchup? You don’t want to get carried away with the superlatives. However, you hope there isn’t an empty seat and fans will line the fences to watch this. I think the Falcons are on the right path with their defense. Fossil Ridge is the best challenge they will fact to this point. It should be a great matchup as these teams are 3-6A district championship contenders.
Prediction: Keller Fossil Ridge 40, Keller Timber Creek 29
Flower Mound (1-2) at Southlake Carroll (2-1); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Southlake: Carroll is running a bit extreme these days. The offense is extremely impressive. The defense is extremely concerning. The Dragons have scored 85 points while surrendering 88 points in the past two games. Flower Mound is better than last year. But the Jaguars don’t have enough to keep up in this 5-6A opener.
Prediction: Carroll 45, Flower Mound 17
Lewisville Hebron (2-1) at Trophy Club Byron Nelson (0-3); 7:30 p.m. Friday, NISD Stadium, Justin: When you aren’t stopping people and then you’re not scoring, it’s not a very good combination. Unfortunately, that’s what Travis Pride is dealing with in 2017. The Bobcats have yet to score more than 14 points in a game. They’ve allowed 48, 36 and 30 points. Hebron will be a playoff team this year and will do in the first 5-6A game.
Prediction: Lewisville Hebron 37, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 14
Flower Mound Marcus (2-1) at Hurst L.D. Bell (1-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pennington Field, Bedford: Marcus coach Kevin Atkinson has one of the most dynamic running backs in the area in 2019 Justin Dinka. The Marauders also hit the bye with an impressive 31-14 win over Mansfield. The Blue Raiders are going to have to play nearly flawlessly to pull off this upset as 5-6A play starts.
Prediction: Flower Mound Marcus 35, Hurst L.D. Bell 17
Euless Trinity (1-2) at Lewisville (1-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Goldsmith Stadium, Lewisville: This is a game that could make you go hmmm about the Trojans. They were pretty much handled by Colleyville Heritage in the second half of the 31-14 loss. The Fighting Farmers are trying to get some momentum going. Maybe they can pull the 5-6A opener upset. But I have this feeling that the Trojans get back to who they are: being physical on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Euless Trinity 24, Lewisville 16
Birdville (0-3) at Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (1-2); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Handley Field, Fort Worth: If ever a team was due for a win, it’s the Hawks. You know the story by now. This team has lost all three of its games by four points. That’s beyond frustrating. Carter-Riverside should not provide much resistance as 8-5A play starts.
Prediction: Birdville 28, Fort Worth Carter-Riverside 7
Fort Worth Eastern Hills (2-1) at Richland (3-0); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Birdville FAAC, North Richland Hills: The Highlanders may be the best of the Fort Worth ISD schools in 8-5A. They feature Texas commit, linebacker Byron Hobbs. However, the Rebels haven’t missed a beat with Drew Trent at quarterback and running back Rylee Johnson, who is on his way to another 1,000-yard season.
Prediction: Richland 44, Fort Worth Eastern Hills 10
Fort Worth Poly (0-3) at Grapevine (2-1); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: This 8-5A opener should be over at halftime. Grapevine’s offense is too skilled led by quarterback Alan Bowman. Poly has scored a total of 18 points at this point.
Prediction: Grapevine 49, Fort Worth Poly 7
Let’s win them all!