The Allen football team has been ranked No. 1 in the Class 5A AP state poll since the beginning of the season.
The Eagles have backed up that standing with an unblemished 9-0 record, including a 4-0 run through District 10-5A where they have won each game by at least 23 points.
And as the final game of the regular season approaches, the Eagles still haven’t won the outright district championship – yet.
For now, Allen is at least guaranteed a share of its eighth consecutive district title, but a couple other schools may have a say in that matter, should things break a certain way Friday night, where plenty remains at stake in 10-5A.
At the top of that list is Plano Senior, which hosts the Eagles at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Clark Stadium. The Wildcats (3-1) clinched a playoff berth by virtue of last week’s 24-7 victory over Plano West, but have a chance to claim a portion of the 10-5A title with a win Friday over the Eagles.
The Plano-Allen matchup should be relatively fresh in the minds of each fanbase, since the Wildcats came within a two-point conversion of defeating the Eagles last season.
There’s also the angle of Allen junior quarterback Kyler Murray’s health, as the signal caller was sidelined last Friday against McKinney with a foot injury. With the Eagles having already locked up a Division I playoff spot, they may feel it best to rest their prized quarterback until the postseason.
Allen didn’t miss a beat with senior Ryan Hoogerwerf at quarterback in a 56-7 demolition of the Lions, but one would think Plano’s odds increase if one of the top quarterbacks in the state is held out of the game as a precaution.
The Wildcats aren’t the only squad eying a share of the district title, as a loss by Allen would open up the door for McKinney Boyd (3-1) and a potential three-way tie scenario.
Already assured a Division II playoff spot, the Broncos square off against rival McKinney at 7:30 p.m. Friday from Ron Poe Stadium. The Lions will look avert a winless district campaign, while Boyd seeks its seventh straight over in the city showdown. A win by the Broncos, coupled with an Allen loss would leave those two and Plano gridlocked at 4-1 for first place in district.
While the aforementioned three schools are already assured to play past Friday night, things are less certain in the east and west corridors of Plano.
Fresh off the deepest playoff run in program history last season, West finds itself playing for its playoff lives Friday night. The Wolves venture to Kimbrough Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday to take on a Plano East squad with similar ambitions.
The Panthers and Wolves are tied at 1-3 in district, with Friday’s matchup a winner-take-all affair for the final 10-5A playoff spot. West has won the past two meetings between the cross-town rivals.
Plano will have an eye on the East-West matchup as well, since the outcome will directly affect which division the Wildcats wind up in.
If the Panthers win, East would earn the other Div. I playoff seed by virtue of having a larger enrollment than Plano. A victory by the Wolves however, would put West in Div. II with Boyd and Plano in Div. I with Allen.
Why is this important?
The bi-district round of the playoffs pits 10-5A against 9-5A. By entering as the lower seed from 10-5A in Div. I, that projects a bi-district matchup against once-beaten perennial powerhouse Skyline, whereas the bottom seed in Div. II would play Jesuit – no slouch either, but a more favorable draw than the Raiders.
Wins by the Wildcats and Wolves would slot Allen into the No. 2 seed in Div. I, however, setting the table for an Allen vs. Skyline first-round showdown.
One notch below the Wolves and Panthers is McKinney, who was officially eliminated from the playoffs with last week’s loss to Allen.
Plenty on the line for Lovejoy, North as well
Lovejoy’s playoff fate remains up in the air entering the final night of the regular season.
That’s the case for half of District 13-4A as well, with Denison (5-1) being the only team to clinch a postseason berth. Sherman, Royse City and Greenville have been eliminated, leaving Lovejoy in a four-way tie for second place at 4-2 alongside McKinney North, Wylie East and Wylie.
Fortunately for the Leopards, they still control their own fate as a win at 7:30 p.m. Friday from Wylie ISD Stadium against East would clinch a Div. II seed for Lovejoy.
A loss however, would leave the Leopards without much wiggle room depending on the outcomes of North vs. Denison and Wylie vs. Royse City. The Leopards suffered losses to both North and Wylie during the regular season, leaving them on the short end of any head-to-head tiebreaker scenario.
The Bulldogs have a bit more to work with, gunning for a share of the 13-4A championship against the Yellow Jackets. A win locks North into the Div. I playoffs, as would a loss by Lovejoy or Wylie, should the Bulldogs fall short against Denison.
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