To be the best, you have to beat the best.
That old saying has been applied to all sports and is certainly applicable to high school football.
So while Sachse might have preferred not having one of the toughest challenges in the state in the opening round, it would happen eventually and they feel they will be ready.
The Mustangs (8-2) will meet undefeated Allen (10-0, the No. 3 team in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Class 6A state poll, in a 6A Division I bi-district playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Stadium.
Sachse did its part on Friday, holding off Rowlett for a 42-40 victory to earn a share of the 10-6A championship. But across the way at Homer B. Johnson Stadium, Naaman Forest knocked off Lakeview to clinch its own playoff berth and trigger a domino effect that sent the Mustangs to the No. 2 seed and the first-round date with Allen.
Against Rowlett, Shon Coleman had another big game on the ground, rushing for 179 yards and three touchdowns behind solid offensive line play led by Jaivon Ellison. Quarterback Xavier Forman made several big plays and was named the game’s offensive MVP after accounting for 150 total yards and two scores.
Sachse has continued to use both Parker Wells and Forman at quarterback, often times riding the hot hand or the match-up against the defense.
Wells has thrown for 657 yards and eight touchdowns. Forman has passed for 545 yards and four touchdowns, but adds a different dimension with his legs, rushing for 239 yards and three scores.
Coleman has been the most consistent option offensively, with 171 carries for 999 yards and nine touchdowns. Brian Okoye (32-219, 3 TDs) has also come on strong and Jordan Nabors has big-play potential both rushing (28-130, 2 TDs) and receiving (18-236 TD).
Coleman (20-195) actually leads the team in receptions with 20 along with Nabors and Robert Jones (16-218), while Tristan Turner, Jay Fair and Matthew Herrera have also made some big catches in recent weeks.
The Mustang defense is strong up front with Anthony Anyanwu, who has 46 tackles, including 10 for loss, and Ryan Jones, who has 55 stops with four for loss.
They back seven is active, as well, with Quinton Williams (81 tackles, 8 TFL), Jordan Brooks (79 tackles, 9 TFL), Scotty Jesmer (73 tackles, 8 TFL), Justice Rider (59 tackles, 14 TFL), Dexter Jean-Pierre (52 tackles) and Matthew Carter (43 tackles).
Sachse has made the playoffs in eight of the last nine years and has advanced out of the first round in the last three, but they will be heavy underdogs against a program that has won at least 14 games in each of the last seven seasons and has not lost in the bi-district round since 2007, which ironically came in a upset loss to Rowlett.
Despite winning every game except one by double digits, there is a feeling around some that Allen is not as dominant as it has been in years past.
That’s not to say the Eagles are lacking in talent.
Quarterback Raylen Sharpe is completing 65 percent of his passes for 2,139 yards and 17 touchdowns and is also effective on the ground, rushing for 400 yards and eight scores.
Sharpe is one of five players with at least 250 yards. Celdon Manning (85-659, 9 TDs) has been out late in the season, but they have simply turned to Jordan Johnson (69-689, 9 TDs), Jaylen Jenkins (49-290, 3 TDs) and Sam Hunter (29-261, 4 TDs).
Sharpe has spread the ball around in the passing game, with the main targets being Blaine Green (49-903, 6 TDs), Bryson Green (32-403, 2 TDs) and Derrion Sheffield (20-356, 2 TDs).
The Allen defense is giving up 17.8 points per game, but 72 of the 178 points they have allowed have come in the fourth quarter, with the Eagles usually comfortably ahead.
Despite being only 14 miles apart, this will be the first-ever meeting between Sachse and Allen. The winner of this game will take on the winner of the Rockwall/Killeen Harker Heights contest in the area round.