Denton Ryan (11-0) stood as the only area team with a chance in a weak Class 4A Division I bracket going into the bi-district round. After a first-round route of a good Frisco Wakeland team, Wylie (8-3) has emerged as a team that could make some noise deep.
After a midseason down-to-the-wire loss to Highland Park (11-0), the Pirates caught fire, crushing their next five opponents by no less than 15 points. Quarterback Nico Ramirez led his team offensively against Wakeland despite coming back from a dislocated shoulder he suffered a week before, and he looked as good as new.
However, Wylie has another tough challenge this week against Dallas Kimball (9-2), which beat a fairly good Woodrow Wilson team, 27-7, in the bi-district round. Wylie head coach Bill Howard said he is game planning for a very physical matchup this week.
Playoff matchup reloaded
Does the Carrollton Newman Smith (6-5) vs. Dallas Carter (5-5) game at Irving Schools Stadium sound familiar? It should, because it is the exact same area-round matchup that took place last year, including the location. Smith won last year’s edition, 29-27.
Carter had a down year from the success it has grown accustomed, finishing third in the District 11-4A behind Dallas South Oak Cliff and Dallas Kimball.
The Cowboys' signature win of the season was in the rivalry matchup against Kimball. The Cowboys outmuscled the Knights in a run-happy game for a 14-0 win.
Denton Ryan continues to roll
Ryan continued its undefeated season and quest for a state championship with a 56-17 win over Amarillo Palo Duro. The Raiders travel to Midland to take on El Paso Del Valle (10-1) on Saturday in the area round.
Ryan could potentially face another undefeated team and its toughest test so far, Waco Midway, in the third round. Midway must first beat Fort Worth Boswell, which beat another previously undefeated team in Region I, Fort Worth Arlington Heights.
Best statewide matchup: Kerrville Tivy vs. Austin Lake Travis
The top 4A Division I area-round matchup is the rematch between Kerrville Tivy (10-1) and Austin Lake Travis (9-2), which has won 19 straight playoff games. They met in the second week of the season with Lake Travis winning, 37-33.
Tivy is lead by quarterback Johnny Manziel, who tops the team in rushing yards per game and passing yards per game. Manziel passed for 195 yards and ran for 273 in the game against Lake Travis earlier in the season.