After two years of relatively top-heavy football, where the Lewisville ISD schools and Coppell jockeyed for the four playoff spots, 6-6A exchanges the Irving ISD trio for three of the four largest high schools in the state.
The 2019 season admittedly wasn’t one to remember for Plano ISD, which didn’t have a representative in the postseason for the first time in 30 years, but a renewed sense of optimism during the offseason — highlighted by the hiring of Todd Ford as Plano’s next head coach — has the school district hopeful of a bounce-back year.
It won’t come easy, given the talent and consistency across the board between LISD and Coppell. Leading the pack is Marcus, which ran the table in conference play last year and went three rounds deep in the playoffs. Lewisville is back with a loaded offense, while Flower Mound and Hebron look to reload after having their playoff-bound rosters hit by graduation.
The Cowboys had a seven-year postseason streak snapped but return a district-high 14 starters.
The Top Five: Which Games to Watch this Year
Marcus at Flower Mound
Oct. 23: The opening week of the district schedules renews the annual Mound Showdown in a meeting of the last two 6-6A champions. The latest tilt pits perhaps the conference’s top offensive and defensive players against each other, with Flower Mound defensive end Stone Eby looking to disrupt the rhythm of 6-6A MVP and Marcus quarterback Garrett Nussmeier.
West at East
Nov. 6: Plano ISD’s annual crosstown rivalry didn’t lack for fireworks on the gridiron last season, as West erased an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun East, 36-35, and snap a 34-game losing streak. East looks to return the favor as part of what it hopes is a redemptive 2020 campaign. West’s win in 2019 snapped a run of four straight victories for the Panthers in this rivalry series.
Coppell at Hebron
Nov. 13: The Hawks got the monkey off their back last season after pulling out a 35-27 victory over the Cowboys — their first win over Coppell since 2008. The Cowboys had won six consecutive meetings, mostly by double digits, but recent iterations of this bout have gone down to the wire, including a 16-15 showdown in 2018. As closely contested as this district should be, another nail-biter could be in the cards in mid-November.
East at Plano
Nov. 20: New Plano head coach Todd Ford’s first taste of the Plano ISD football rivalries comes late in the season, drawing East and West over the final three weeks of action. Up first is a chance at making a statement in PISD’s signature rivalry, with the Wildcats having won the past three installments of the back-and-forth series. Given the proximity of this bout in the 6-6A schedule, the loser could very well bow out of playoff contention.
Marcus at Lewisville
Nov. 27: Fans will have to wait 10 weeks into the season, but there should be plenty of buzz around the latest Battle of the Axe. The Marauders and Farmers staged a classic last season, trading blows before Marcus eked out a 48-42 victory on its way to a district title. More fireworks could be in store this season, with both teams chalked in college-level talent on offense.