Dallas Christian passed its first playoff test with flying colors a week ago in its 46-21 win over Fort Worth Christian.
The road is expected to get much tougher this week when the Chargers (10-1) square off with Grapevine Faith Christian (9-1) in the TAPPS Division II quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wildcat-Ram Stadium in Richardson.
Both teams enter the game with only one loss against top competition.
Dallas Christian dropped a 40-16 decision to Trinity Christian Cedar Hill (10-1), who is ranked No. 1 in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Private Schools state poll.
The Lions fell to Canadian, the No. 1 team in the 3A Division II state poll, in a 49-35 setback in the last week of September.
Quarterback Zack Haaland rushed for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns and also threw for a score a week ago. TJ King had 15 carries for 115 yards and three scores and also caught a touchdown pass, Parker Robertson also found the end zone and Peyton Veasley had the defensive play of the night with a 99-yard interception return for a score.
Haaland has gotten better and better as the season has progressed. The senior has completed 50 percent of his passes for 1,393 yards and 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions and also broke the 1,000-yard mark on the ground (134-1,002) with 17 scores.
Last week was King’s fifth 100-yard game of the season and he has amassed 867 yards and nine touchdowns, while Robertson is averaging 9.8 yards per carry (37-362, 5 TDs).
Veasley (24-433, 5 TDs) leads the team in receptions along with Robertson (22-322, 4 TDs), while King (13-185, 2 TDs) and Brett Judd (7-115, 2 TDs) have also been solid options.
Zach Reid leads the defense with 89 tackles, with 11 for loss, and 12 sacks. King has recorded 84 tackles, with 13 for loss, while Sam Johnson (72 tackles), Matthew Mata (56 tackles), Robertson (56 tackles), Tyler Winfree (46 tackles, 11 TFL) and Blaine Bills (46 tackles, 8 TFL) have also been consistently active.
Johnson also has a team-best six interceptions, Robertson has four picks and Veasley and King each have three.
Grapevine Faith Christian is coming off a 48-28 win over Tyler Grace Community. It was a similar score to when Dallas Christian played them in the regular season finale, which saw them win 45-27, though in both games, the Chargers and Lions had big leads that shrunk against the back-ups.
Dallas Christian will try to slow down quarterback Deuce Hogan, who threw for 305 yards and five touchdowns a week ago. On the season, Hogan has passed for 1,989 yards and 28 touchdowns with only five interceptions.
Hogan has spread the ball around, with six receivers with at least 13 catches. Hilton Harris has a team-high 31 grabs for 498 yards and seven touchdowns, while Brooks Lowenstein is averaging 24.6 yards per reception (17-418, 6 TDs).
As good as the passing game can be, the bread and butter for the Lions has been running back Mark Saunders, who has 191 carries for 1,726 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The defense is allowing 17.5 points per game and has posted a pair of shutouts.
Last week, they allowed 266 yards, though a good chunk of that came late with the outcome already decided.
They also forced a pair of turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by Harris.
These teams have met several times over the years, most recently in 2017, when Dallas Christian knocked Grapevine Faith Christian out of the playoffs with a 29-0 victory.