There is always plenty at stake when Rowlett and Sachse lock horns, but the 16th installment of the “Hammer Bowl” rivalry has more than bragging rights on the line.
The Mustangs (7-2, 5-1 in 10-6A) are trying to earn a share of the district title for the fourth consecutive season and the head-to-head win over the Eagles could also claim the No. 1 seed in Division I.
Rowlett, meanwhile, has its streak of 14 consecutive playoff berths potentially on the line.
If the Eagles win, they not only extend that run, they also would claim the top seed in Division I over Sachse.
A loss, however, opens the door for Rowlett being left out of the postseason party.
If Sachse wins and Lakeview defeats Naaman Forest, then the Eagles are still in.
However, if that happens and Naaman Forest defeats Lakeview, then that would create a three-way tie for third place and the Eagles would be the odd man out.
That would also change Sachse’s fortunes, as the Patriots and Rangers making the playoffs bumps Wylie up to Division I. If that is the case, the Mustangs would be the No. 2seed and have to play at state-ranked Allen in the opening round.
The teams enter Friday going in opposite directions.
Rowlett had a night to forget last week as it fell to Lakeview for the first time since 2004 with a 39-13 loss.
The Eagles had no answers for Patriot star Camar Wheaton, who carried the ball 21 times for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
Further complicating things, Rowlett lost starting quarterback Alex Routt in the first half. Tre Carr came on in relief and did an admirable job, completing 14-of-22 passes for 144 yards, but the Eagles were unable to get the ground game going and finished with only 214 total yards.
That will not cut it against a stingy Sachse defense.
The Mustangs gave up some yards last week, but were never seriously threatened in a 41-20 victory over South Garland.
The Sachse defense did its job, despite being on the field for nearly 20 of the 24 minutes in the first half. Scotty Jesmer recorded 10 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. That fumble was recovered by Quinton Williams, who had seven tackles, two for loss, and a pair of quarterback pressures. Anthony Anyanwu also made his presence felt, with three tackles, one for loss, two sacks and a blocked field goal.
The rushing attack has been the most consistent option for Sachse this season and that is a concern for Rowlett considering how Wheaton was able to gash them a week ago.
Senior Shon Coleman is averaging 111 yards per game and should pass the 1,000-yard mark tonight (171-999, 9 TDs).
Also keep an eye on sophomore Brian Okoye, who showed his potential last week with eight carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by a 80-yard score.
Rowlett won the first eight meetings and holds a 10-5 edge in the all-time series. Recently, the Mustangs have been in control with three straight wins that have come in somewhat surprising fashion considering the expectations.
In 2016, the two teams met in what many considered the biggest game in Garland ISD in at least 20 years. Both teams entered with undefeated 7-0 records and it was set up to be a classic. However, the drama never materialized, as Sachse pulled away for an easy 33-7 win.
A year later, the Mustangs were once again undefeated and rolling, having won every game by at least 28 points. That trend was expected to continue against a 4-3 Rowlett team.
But the classic everybody thought they would see the previous year, unfolded that night, as the Eagles took it right at Sachse, opening a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs rose to the challenge, though, scoring 21 unanswered points, highlighted by the game-winning touchdown run by Jalen Mayden with 31 seconds left to pull out a 42-35 victory.
Last season, Rowlett entered the game with a 7-1 record compared to a 6-3 mark for Sachse.
Those numbers were not reflected on the scoreboard, as the Mustangs simply dominated, cruising to a 48-0 blowout in the most lopsided result in the history of the rivalry.