High school football’s regular season concluded on Friday, and for 256 teams across the 6A and 5A classifications, the real fun begins this week.
Matchups for each district’s playoff-bound programs were finalized last week — some cut and dry and others forged through an exhausting series of tiebreakers.
There wasn’t much drama in setting the stage for the four bi-district matchups between Districts 5-6A and 6-6A — all of which were settled before last Friday’s games even took place.
Flower Mound secured its standing as 6-6A’s top seed in the 6A Division I bracket following Thursday’s 70-0 shutout of Irving MacArthur, ensuring that it will carry the district’s top seed into the postseason and that Lewisville will be the bottom seed.
The Jaguars and Farmers entered the week tied in the district standings, with Flower Mound having the inside track on the top seed by virtue of its 34-30 victory over Lewisville on Sept. 27. A win Thursday was all the Jaguars needed to secure their playoff seed, which looms large considering they will get to host a first-round matchup while Lewisville must travel for its postseason opener.
The caliber of opponents is also pretty significant as well. The Farmers are tasked with visiting powerhouse Southlake Carroll, fresh off an undefeated regular season and ranked No. 6 in the state. The Dragons and Farmers will square off at 7 p.m. Friday at Dragon Stadium.
The intrigue in this meeting lies in the battle between Lewisville’s stout defense, anchored by Luke Halter and allowing just 15.1 points per game, against a Carroll offense averaging 476.1 yards and 48.6 points per contest. The Dragons sport one of the state’s top quarterback prospects in Quinn Ewer, who’s fourth in the area in passing with 2,579 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Flower Mound will welcome a Keller squad that will be seeking its first bi-district playoff win since 2003. The Indians have paved their playoff path thanks to their defense, which entered last week surrendering just 19.7 points per game.
That figure will be tested against Flower Mound’s explosive offense, helmed by quarterback Blake Short (2,710 passing yards, 30 touchdowns) and running back Pierce Hudgens (1,037 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns).
District 6-6A champion Marcus will look to parlay its banner regular season into a promising playoff run at 7 p.m. Friday when it welcomes Keller Central. The Marauders entered last week already assured the top seed in the 6A Div. II bracket and will take aim at their first playoff win since 2015 in a matchup against a Central squad led by running back Andrew Paul (842 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns).
The Marauders, who entered the week riding an eight-game winning streak since a 28-14 season-opening loss to Arlington Bowie, took the mantle as 6-6A’s top offense thanks to the duo of quarterback Garrett Nussmeier (2,519 passing yards and 24 touchdowns) and running back Ty’son Edwards (971 rushing yards, 347 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns).
They will be joined by Hebron, which, despite finishing second in the district, faces a similar plight as Lewisville as it begins the 6A Div. II postseason on the road against a state-ranked opponent. The Hawks will draw 5-6A runner-up Denton Guyer, slotted at No. 15 in 6A, in a neutral-site showdown set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Prosper’s brand-new Children’s Health Stadium.
In another meeting of high-powered offense versus lockdown defense, the Hawks will attempt to slow an explosive Guyer unit that features the area’s leading 6A rusher in Kaedric Cobbs (1,571 yards, 27 touchdowns) plus dual-threat quarterback Eli Stowers (2,096 passing yards, 730 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns).
Hebron has surrendered just 252.2 yards and 18.2 points per game on defense.
In 5A Division I action, The Colony entered Friday with an outside chance at claiming 5-5A Div. I’s No. 2 seed following a win over Little Elm, but the Cougars’ double-overtime loss to Frisco Independence on Nov. 1 will ultimately relegate The Colony to third place for the postseason after the Knights locked up second place by routing Frisco Centennial.
As a result, the Cougars will hit the road to take on Lancaster, which locked up the No. 2 seed in 6-5A after defeating Woodrow Wilson on Friday. The Tigers entered the night tied for second place with Mansfield Timberview, which came up short in a loss to Highland Park.
Lancaster carries an 8-2 record into the postseason, good for the state’s No. 9 ranking in 5A Div. I, and exudes a firepower similar to The Colony with 408.1 yards and 49.7 points per game. Comparably, the Cougars entered last week averaging 435.6 yards and 43.8 points.
However, the Tigers’ defense has been among the area’s best in surrendering a mere 13.7 points per game — good for No. 2 in the area.
The remainder of the 5-5A Div. I bi-district playoff includes top-ranked Frisco Lone Star vs. Mansfield Legacy, Independence vs. Timberview and Frisco Wakeland vs. Highland Park.