Realignment meant a change of scenery for several teams in this district, with half the conference — Creekview, Grapevine, South Hills and Trimble Tech — making the drop to Class 5A Division II.
Creekview and Grapevine make the drop after two years of competing in a rough-and-tumble 4-5A Div. I conference that included Denton Ryan, Colleyville Heritage and Birdville, and a team like Grapevine, which has qualified for the playoffs six consecutive years, could potentially go from fringe postseason qualifier to district title contender.
Grapevine is one of four teams in the conference that made the playoffs last year, in addition to North Side, Southwest and Wyatt.
Creekview looks to join that mix after a four-year postseason hiatus and will offer one of the area’s stylistic relics with its rugged flexbone offense.
The district’s six Fort Worth ISD schools have fallen on tough times in recent years, with neither having advanced past the bi-district round since 2012, but North Side made strides in 2019 with a five-win campaign and its first playoff berth. Those Steers, as well as Southwest, Wyatt and South Hills, hope to benefit from at least 15 returning starters each.
The Top Five: Which Games to Watch this Year
Grapevine vs. Heritage
Sept. 26: The annual Battle of the Red Rail not only kicks off the season for the Mustangs and Panthers, who are competing in separate 5A divisions, but will feature a special backdrop — taking place on a Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The rivalry tilt has favored Heritage in recent years, winning eight of the past nine meetings against Grapevine.
Creekview vs. Smith
Oct. 2: Although the Mustangs and Trojans will compete in separate districts this season, the marquee rivalry bout for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD football remains intact, with this early-October clash doubling as the season opener for both teams. It’ll be a fitting sight for those in attendance at Standridge Stadium, as Creekview and Smith finished last season with their annual head-to-head bout — won by the Mustangs, 23-6.
Creekview at Grapevine
Oct. 23: There isn’t much familiarity between Creekview and the Fort Worth ISD schools, but the pair of Mustangs have some history after slugging it out the past two seasons in 4-5A Division I. Grapevine got the better of both exchanges, but met some resistance behind Creekview’s tricky flexbone attack last season and needed overtime to gut out a 20-14 victory.
South Hills at Southwest
Nov. 13: The Raiders and Scorpions are among the most experienced teams in the district with 15 starters apiece coming back and that could pay dividends after a challenging offseason. Although Southwest holds the edge with wins in eight of its last 12 matchups with South Hills, the Scorpions have won the past four meetings between the two.
Southwest at North Side
Dec. 4: North Side qualified for the playoffs for the first time in program history last year thanks to a series of close wins over a few of their Fort Worth ISD counterparts, including a competitive scrap with Southwest. The Steers won 33-29 behind three touchdowns from Da’Wain Lofton, but the Raiders have eight starters back on defense and expect to contend for a playoff spot.