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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Liberty, Wakeland jockey for playoff positioning

By Jeff Andrews

FRISCO LIBERTY (6-2, 3-2 9-4A) at FRISCO WAKELAND (5-3, 3-2)
7 p.m. Friday at Pizza Hut Park


When we saw them last: Frisco Liberty rebounded from its stunning loss to Carrollton Creekview by pounding Carrollton R.L. Turner 42-0. Frisco Wakeland got back in the win column last week following a tough loss to Frisco Centennial. The Wolverines didn’t give Creekview any time to savor its win over Liberty by thumping the Mustangs, 45-19.

2010 result: Liberty captured the 9-4A title by virtue of a 38-3 win over Wakeland. Wakeland didn’t have to deal with Liberty’s Jay Ajayi, who left the game at halftime, but the Wolverines committed four turnovers and two turnovers on downs in the game.

What’s at stake: With the 9-4A playoff berths looking more and more settled, this game could decide seeding in Division I in the district. That may or may not be a big concern. It’s possible Highland Park will go Division I, meaning the loser of this game would have to play the Scots in bi-district. Either way, one of these teams will face Rockwall-Heath.

Key matchup: Liberty is winning with its defense. The Redhawks allow just 12.5 points per game and have absolutely stifled their opposition’s running game. Wakeland is winning with its offense. The Wolverines average 35 points per game behind a passing game led by quarterback Nick West (1,762 yards, 13 touchdowns).

Players to watch: With Zach Smith out with an injury, Liberty quarterback Conner Navalta has been thrust into the spotlight. In Liberty’s win over R.L. Turner, he threw for five touchdowns. Wakeland’s Turner Smiley has become a great two-way player. He leads the team in receiving with 559 yards and four touchdowns and he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown last week against Creekview.

Prediction: Frisco Wakeland 35, Frisco Liberty 21.