High School: 2011 5A playoff preview

5A-I preview: Reg. 1 loaded with powerhouses

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
10:58
PM CT
CLASS 5A DIVISION I REGION 1 PREVIEW

Overview: It would almost be a surprise in six weeks time if this region does not produce the 5A Division I state champion.

Five of the 16 teams in this loaded field are district champions and two others are co-champions. Three own perfect 10-0 records: Allen, Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll. All three have won at least one state title in the last six years.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

Except for Abilene’s state title run in 2009, the balance of power in Region I has clearly swung away from West Texas, where it rested for decades, and to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The two District 4-5A representatives, Arlington Bowie and Arlington Martin, have the opportunity to play West Texas teams in the opening two rounds. Martin used that route to reach the third round of the 2010 playoffs for the second consecutive season. On each occasion, the Warriors were eliminated by Trinity.

Favorite: Allen. The Eagles survived some close calls to go 7-0 in the always-difficult District 8-5A. Being forced to come from behind so many times in the late stages of games could serve the Eagles well in the playoffs when games figure to be tight.

The Eagles are solid and experienced at the skill positions with quarterback Alec Morris, running back Jonathan Williams and wide receiver Andrew Rodriguez.

Allen has proven itself in unfriendly environments with road wins at Longview and Flower Mound Marcus. Both opponents finished the regular season with 9-1 records.

Watch out for: Cedar Hill. The Longhorns landed in the easier half of the bracket and, provided they can shake off a 56-55 overtime loss to Duncanville in Week 10, their speed could possibly carry them to a regional final. The Longhorns' 7-3 record is deceptive because of a tough schedule that included losses to Allen and DeSoto in the first three weeks. The Longhorns have notable wins over playoff teams Denton Guyer, Mansfield Timberview and Mansfield.

Can’t wait to see: Euless Trinity-Duncanville (7:30 p.m. Friday, Irving Schools Stadium). The bi-district contest is an interesting clash of styles. Trinity is better than 4-to-1 run to pass in its offensive play selection and loves to grind out long drives. Defensively, the Trojans are among the best in the area, allowing an average of 191 yards per game. Duncanville counters with an offense that averages 429 yards per game, led by the running and passing of Deandre Grimes, who comes into the playoffs off his best game. In a 56-55 overtime win over Cedar Hill in Week 10, Grimes threw for 166 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 245 yards and two scores.

We hope to see: Allen-Euless Trinity. If this rematch happens, unfortunately, it will come in the second round, just as it did last season when Trinity squeezed out a 37-35 victory at Cowboys Stadium in one of the best spectator games of the postseason. Since losing to Allen 35-28 in a nondistrict game in 2009, Trinity’s record is 38-1. Allen’s record since that game is 28-3. Trinity won state championships in 2005, 2007 and 2009, while Allen won a state title in 2008.

Talent pool (FBS recruits): Abilene Cooper: QB Clayton Nicholas (Texas Tech). Allen: QB Alec Morris (Alabama), RB Jonathan Williams (Missouri), LB Thaddeus LaGrone (Baylor). Arlington Bowie: QB/WR Kolby Listenbee (TCU), RB Russell Hansbrough (Arizona State), DE Jesse Rogers (North Carolina). Arlington Martin: DE Devonte Fields (TCU), K Jaden Oberkrom (TCU), OL Steven Baggett (Boise State), DB Stephen Amoako (Oregon), DB Eric Amoako (Oregon). Cedar Hill: OL Aderius Epps (Kansas State). Duncanville: OL Adam Butler (Vanderbilt), WR Jeffrey Thomas (Colorado). Euless Trinity: DE Polo Manukainiu (Oklahoma), OL Hiva Lutui (UCLA). Hurst L.D. Bell: OL Kimo Tipoti (Texas A&M). Keller Central: DB Zack Sanchez (Baylor), OL Simon Goines (Missouri). Mansfield: DE Hassan Ridgeway (Texas). Southlake Carroll: WR Sabian Holmes (Baylor), WR Peyton Williams (Colorado), LB Will Davis (Kansas State).

5A-I preview: DeSoto, Skyline headline Reg. 2

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
10:58
PM CT
CLASS 5A DIVISION I REGION 2 PREVIEW

Overview: Each season, Region II provides surprises, in part because it is composed of schools from the big-city areas of Dallas, Houston and Austin. The teams rarely see each other until playoff time.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

One familiar name is missing this season. Round Rock Stony Point, regional champion each of the last three years, failed to qualify for playoffs this year.

Dallas Skyline is the only unbeaten team in this bracket. DeSoto, Round Rock Westwood and The Woodlands are all 9-1.

Two of the more established programs in this grouping, The Woodlands and Austin Westlake, lost in the opening round a year ago and aren't usually down for long.

Westwood was aided by a pair of transfers, running back Ledeans Anderson from Mississippi and receiver Desmond Wyatt from Kansas, in its rise.

Favorite: DeSoto. The Eagles have made drastic defensive improvements, and the offensive output hasn’t really fallen off despite the graduation of record-setting passer Ryan Polite. The result is the Eagles are a better team than the one that lost to Stony Point 72-48 in the Region II final a year ago.

DeSoto opponents are averaging 15.8 points a game this season, half of the 32.4 opponents averaged in 2010. The defense has talent at each level with Texas A&M commit Michael Richardson at end, Texas commit Bryson Echols and LSU commit Jalen Mills in the secondary and uncommitted Alex Lyons at linebacker.

Watch out for: Garland. Since starting 0-2, the Owls have reeled off eight straight wins on the way to capturing another District 10-5A title. A quick exit in the 2010 playoffs should serve as motivation. The draw in the lower half of the bracket, away from the looming DeSoto-Skyline showdown, should be an advantage.

Garland has a lot of offensive weapons, but the main one is Kansas-bound quarterback Seth Russell with 12 touchdown passes and over 1,200 passing yards.

Can’t wait to see: Richardson Berkner-Garland (7:30 p.m. Friday, Garland's Williams Stadium). Berkner has a winning streak of five games and has shut out its last two opponents. The Rams and their triple-option offense are back in the playoffs after falling short in 2010. They depend heavily on quarterback Yedidiah Louis not only to keep defenses honest with his passing, but also for his skills as a runner. He leads the team with over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

We hope to see: Round 4 of DeSoto-Skyline. The Eagles and Raiders have met in the second round of the playoffs the last three years with Skyline taking the first two (51-26 in 2008 and 41-36 in 2009) and DeSoto answering emphatically last season, 38-0.

A pretty intense rivalry has developed between the two schools. It was easy to see during combines in the spring when players went out of their way to avoid those from the enemy camp.

Only a couple of bi-district wins stand between a fourth meeting. The downside is a second-round meeting is far too early. A Region II final would be more fitting.

Talent pool (FBS recruits): A&M Consolidated: DT J.J. Bynum (Texas Tech); RB Quinton White (Texas Tech). DeSoto: DB Bryson Echols (Texas), OL Curtis Riser (Texas), DE Michael Richardson (Texas A&M), RB Devin Rushing (Air Force), Jalen Mills (LSU). Garland: LB Damien Neroes (SMU), QB Seth Russell (Kansas). Klein Collins: QB Tyler Stehling (Rice), DE Roland Leal (Air Force), Shane Rhodes (Boise State). Klein Oak: QB Nicky Baratti (Notre Dame), DT Daniel Shaul (UTEP), LB A.J. Hilliard (Arizona). McKinney Boyd: DE Jamal Palmer (Baylor). Mesquite Horn: DB Devante Harris (Oklahoma). Round Rock: DT Glen Antoine (UTEP). Dallas Skyline: LB Peter Jinkens (Texas), WR Thomas Johnson (Texas), WR Trey Rabone (Kansas State), RB David Greene (UNLV). The Woodlands: DE Mitchell Meyers (Iowa State), WR Blake Webb (Oklahoma State).

5A-II preview: Region 1 notable for balance

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
10:58
PM CT
CLASS 5A DIVISION II REGION 1 PREVIEW

Overview: Of the four regions in the two 5A brackets that include Dallas-Fort Worth area teams, Division II Region I is the only one without a state-ranked team. But what the region may lack in top-end talent, it makes up for with depth. Because of that, there should be very few blowouts, even in the early rounds.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

The top half of the bracket features an Abilene team that always seems primed for a run at a state title, but the winner between Denton Guyer and Hebron in the first round might be headed for the region finals instead. Arlington and Mansfield also have the potential to make noise. The bottom half of the bracket seems to come down to two teams – Flower Mound Marcus and Colleyville Heritage, which might be the two best teams in the area not ranked in state. Mansfield Timberview and Abilene Cooper could be factors as well.

Favorite: Flower Mound Marcus. With most of the heavy hitters in Region I going in to the Division I bracket, the Marauders (9-1) have the potential to make a serious run at a state title. Their running game – led by bruiser Harvey Giddens and speedster Jeff Smiley – is as good as it’s ever been. Marcus hasn’t relied on its passing game much this year but it has the potential to blossom in the playoffs behind sophomore quarterback Cole Erwin.

Watch out for: Arlington. In a bracket full of dark horses, the Colts (6-4) might be the most dangerous if they can get by Abilene in the first round. The area round would pit Arlington against a west Texas team before facing a comparable team from the Metroplex (Denton Guyer, Hebron, Mansfield). Running back Tavarreon Dickerson has rushed for 1,686 yards and 22 touchdowns in averaging about 10 yards per carry.

Can’t wait to see: Hebron-Denton Guyer (2 p.m. Saturday, Cowboys Stadium). Colleyville Heritage vs. Mansfield Timberview might be just as good, but we’ll let the venue break the tie. If the young Wildcats (7-3) can come of age quickly, they have the raw talent to make another run through the 5A Division II bracket. Hebron (6-4) is back in the playoffs after missing out last year, and its defense and experience in close games could have the Hawks playing after Thanksgiving if it can pass this tough opening test.

We hope to see: Flower Mound Marcus-Colleyville Heritage. The region may be won in the area round with this presumed matchup. Both teams have forgivable blemishes on their records in the form of close losses to Allen and Euless Trinity, respectively. And the matchup would pit one of the area’s best running games (Marcus) against one of the area’s best passing games (Heritage).

Talent pool (FBS recruits): El Paso Americas: RB Jack Fields (Boise State). Arlington: RB Tavarreon Dickerson (uncommitted). Mansfield: DE Hassan Ridgeway (Texas). Denton Guyer: DL Dominic Ramacher (Oklahoma State); WR Conner Crane (Stanford); DT Cody Henessee (Rice); OL John Ferguson (uncommitted); DT Daniel Kottman (San Diego State). Hebron: WR/DB Kiante’ Griffin (Baylor); DE Deatrich Wise (Arkansas). Abilene Cooper: QB Clayton Nicholas (Texas Tech). Colleyville Heritage: DE Rex Montes (uncommitted).

CLASS 5A DIVISION II REGION 2 PREVIEW

Overview: Most of top-tier teams from the area in the 5A Division II bracket come from Region I, so there shouldn’t be many surprises out of Region II. Don’t expect any Metroplex teams to make it much further than the area round in this region.

UIL PLAYOFFS
STAFF PICKS
Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

STATE BRACKETS
Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

REGION BRACKETS
5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

Two teams from the AP state top 10 are in this region: No. 6 Longview and No. 9 Lufkin. Copperas Cove also received votes in the last AP poll of the regular season.

Favorite: Longview. With a final-game win over DeSoto to take the District 11-5A championship, the Lobos set themselves apart as the front-runner in this region. Longview went 9-1 on the season (5-0 in district), with its only loss coming against a 5A Division I favorite, Allen.

Watch out for: Mesquite Horn. It would be a long shot, but if you are looking for an area team to pull for out of this region, it would have to be the Jaguars (4-6). Horn opens up the playoffs against Copperas Cove, which could be one of the best bi-district matchups in this region. If Horn can withstand this test, it should be fine against the Rowlett-Dallas Lake Highlands winner. Horn went through Copperas Cove and Rowlett last season in route to a quarterfinal loss to Longview. Horn could follow the same path back to the quarterfinals it traveled last year.

Can’t wait to see: Dallas Jesuit vs. Sachse (7:30 p.m. Friday, Mesquite Memorial Stadium). This is the best bi-district matchup with two teams from the area in this region and would rival Horn-Copperas Cove as the region's best game this weekend. Jesuit (8-2) had a quality team throughout the regular season, even after losing its starting quarterback to injury in the third game of the season, and finished second to powerhouse Dallas Skyline in District 9-5A. Sachse (7-3) was a surprise at the beginning of the season, starting 4-0 before taking its first lost to Rowlett. Sachse quarterback Trent White is a beast in the passing game, racking up just under 3,000 yards through the air this season.

We hope to see: Longview-Lufkin. This would a great game if both reach the regional final, with two high-scoring teams.

Talent pool (FBS recruits): Longview: WR Eric Hawkins (Arkansas). Spring Dekaney: RB Trey Williams (Texas A&M), TE Armand Nance (Boise State), DB Jarrett Irving (Houston). Copperas Cove: ATH Orlando Thomas (Texas). Mesquite Horn: DB DeVante Harris (Oklahoma). Lufkin: DT Tomme Mark (offers: Michigan State, Tulsa, Utah, Kansas, SMU, Stephen F. Austin). Spring Westfield: DT Anthony Smith (Texas Tech). Leander: CB Martel Summers (offers: Arizona, New Mexico, Northwestern, Texas State, UTEP). Austin: WR Cayleb Jones (Texas).

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