MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW (12-2) vs. SPRING DEKANEY (12-2)
2 p.m. Saturday at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, Round Rock
What: Class 5A Division II state semifinal.
When we saw them last: Quarterback Chuck Taylor rushed for 232 yards and two touchdowns in Timberview’s 32-6 elimination of Abilene (10-4) in the Region I title game in Denton. Dekaney running back Trey Williams carried 36 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-18 victory over District 13-5A foe Spring Westfield (10-4) in the Region II title game at Turner Stadium in Humble.
Last in the playoffs: In 2008, Timberview lost 49-14 in a Class 4A Division I area playoff to Denton Ryan. Dekaney’s 4-year-old varsity program is in the playoffs for the first time this season.
What’s at stake: The winner advances to Cowboys Stadium for the state championship game set for 7 p.m. Dec. 17 against the winner of Saturday’s semifinal at Houston’s Reliant Stadium between defending state champion Cibolo Steele (14-0) and Port Arthur Memorial (13-1).
Key matchup: Timberview’s defensive front seven against Dekaney running back Williams. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Williams, a Texas A&M commit, has been a one-man wrecking ball with 371 carries for 3,406 yards and 39 touchdowns. Inside linebacker Vanoy Harris and his Timberview defensive mates limited Abilene to 88 rushing yards last week and in the area round of the playoffs held Flower Mound Marcus’ potent running game only 174 yards.
Players to watch: Taylor, a dual-threat quarterback, actually has done more damage on the ground (1,874, 21 touchdowns) than in the air (1,681, 14 touchdowns). Junior running back Josh Smith wasn't the starter when the season started, but has come through (1,742 yards, 15 touchdowns) after Talo Pascal was injured in September. Dekaney quarterback D’juan Hines doesn't throw much but averages a touchdown on every fourth completion. He‘s thrown for 994 yards and 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Jarrett Irving leads a ball-hawking Wildcats secondary with seven interceptions. Linebacker Cody Perdue was named District 13-5A's top newcomer last season.
Prediction: Timberview is playing like a team on a mission. It has won playoff games by scoring late, by keeping the other team from scoring late and twice in blowouts. No blowout this week, but a Wolves victory: Timberview 28, Dekaney 24.