Even with a bye mixed into the schedule, these are the dog days of the high school football season. For most, the week off in late September was appreciated. But since football has become a 365-day experience, there are times when the season can grow on a coach and the players.
This is when they get tested to keep working even when they are a bit zapped.
It’s Week 8 of 11. But it’s also moving season. The district season has completed the first three games. This is the time where teams start to position themselves as playoff contenders and others fall back and the make the most of the last four games.
The silent story is Keller Central. Bart Helsley’s Chargers (4-2, 2-0) are sitting one-half game behind Keller Fossil Ridge for a share of the District 3-6A lead. They have also won three straight.
We were solid last week at 8-2. This week presents a tricky card as moving season continues. Keller Fossil Ridge has the bye.
Last week: 8-2
Season: 63-13 (.829)
Keller Timber Creek (5-1, 1-1 3-6A) at Haltom (4-3, 2-1 3-6A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Birdville FAAC, North Richland Hills: The question for Haltom is how it bounces back from a pretty difficult loss to Keller Fossil Ridge. The Buffalos were in this game until the second half. Then it got a little chippy. Timber Creek really struggled but won against winless Weatherford. Maybe the bye week caught the Falcons flat footed. This game is going to be decided by whose running game is better.
Prediction: Keller Timber Creek 25, Haltom 20
Euless Trinity (4-2, 3-0 5-6A) vs. Hurst. L.D. Bell (1-5, 0-3 5-6A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Pennington Field, Bedford: This H-E-B battle really hasn’t been much of one in recent years. Trinity hasn’t lost this game since 1997. Kids who were born in 1997 are already in college. It looks like the Trojans have found their stride. Bell just didn’t have it against Flower Mound.
Prediction: Euless Trinity 31, Hurst L.D. Bell 16
Colleyville Heritage (5-1, 3-0 8-5A) at Fort Worth Polytechnic (1-5, 1-2 8-5A); 7 p.m. Thursday, Handley Field, Fort Worth: We can’t get enough of Handley Field. All games should be played there. There should be a waiting list. The Panthers are dealing with some health issues. But it’s not impacting them when it comes to games like this.
Prediction: Colleyville Heritage 49, Fort Worth Poly 3
Haslet Eaton (3-3, 2-1 6-5A) at Aledo (6-0, 3-0 6-5A); 7 p.m. Friday, Bearcat Stadium, Aledo: The Eagles have already equaled their 2016 win total and should surpass it at some point this season. Running back Titus Swen is nearing 1,200 rushing yards. But is he healthy? Aledo has been pretty methodical throughout the District 6-5A, especially with running back Jase McClellan out with a broken wrist. McClellan will not play in this one. Eaton can make this interesting for a while.
Prediction: Aledo 46, Haslet V.R. Eaton 15
Justin Northwest (4-2, 1-2 6-5A) at Saginaw Boswell (6-0, 3-0 6-5A); 7 p.m. Friday, Pioneer Stadium, Saginaw: The Pioneers have lived a charmed life this fall by winning two games by two points and a third by one point. Their offense has slowed down for a bit, but quarterback Brayden Thomas isn’t turning it over. Northwest got well last week against Saginaw. But the Texans may struggle on the road.
Prediction: Saginaw Boswell 32, Justin Northwest 22
Keller (3-3, 1-1 3-6A) vs. Keller Central (4-2, 2-0 3-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Keller ISD Athletic Complex, Keller: What to do. What to do. I couldn’t tell you how perplexed I am about this game. The Chargers are burning me again on these weekly picks, regardless of which way I go. Plus, this team makes a game look really ugly and does a good job doing that. I think Keller has the better offense. I think. Flip a coin.
Prediction: Keller 21, Keller Central 19
Trophy Club Byron Nelson (1-5, 1-2 5-6A) at Lewisville (1-5, 1-2 5-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Max Goldsmith Stadium, Lewisville: While the records look the same, these teams are going in opposite directions. Nelson has been getting better offensively, scoring 20 or more points in three consecutive games. Meanwhile, Lewisville scored only seven points in its first three district games. Yes, the Fighting Farmers have been shut out in the other two.
Prediction: Trophy Club Byron Nelson 25, Lewisville 13
Flower Mound Marcus (4-2, 2-1 5-6A) at Carroll (4-2, 2-1 5-6A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Southlake: The Marauders were effectively shut down by Lewisville Hebron last week. Stop running back Justin Dinka and you stop them. Carroll enjoyed homecoming last week against Lewisville. Marcus’ passing game won’t be able to keep up with the Dragons.
Prediction: Carroll 39, Flower Mound Marcus 20
Fort Worth Eastern Hills (2-4, 0-3 8-5A) at Birdville (1-5, 1-2 8-5A); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Birdville FAAC, North Richland Hills: As rough as it has been for the Hawks this season, they have been graced by the fact they still can get well against the Fort Worth ISD teams. The Hawks are still very much in the playoff picture.
Prediction: Birdville 38, Fort Worth Eastern Hills 7
Richland (6-0, 3-0 8-5A) at Grapevine (5-1, 8-5); 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: The game of the week in Northeast Tarrant. The winner likely shares the district lead with Colleyville Heritage. Both teams are not as solid defensively as they were in 2016. But they’re each going to go to the playoffs. The battle to watch will be Richland running back Rylee Johnson (752 yards) against Grapevine’s Roshawn Prear (811 yards). Grapevine may have just a couple of more offensive weapons in this one. But I also picked Grapevine in this game last year and Richland won.
Prediction: Grapevine 38, Richland 35
Let’s win them all!