High School: 2011 regional-round Class 4A notes

Denton Ryan holding it together on offense

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
7:00
PM CT


Denton Ryan continues to make due on offense after a number of setbacks.

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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 unit lost a ton to graduation last year, and injuries have ravaged the Raiders on the offensive line and at running back.

Most notably, Ryan lost Jerrick Harvey to a knee injury. Harvey was the team’s primary running back.

That hasn’t slowed down the Raiders, though. They’ve averaged 41.3 points per game since losing Harvey, which is actually higher than the 37.3 points they averaged with him.

Ryan (12-0) has turned to a number of players to fill the void.

Quarterback Kevin Carpenter continues to get carries, and Reynal Caldwell has seen his workload increase. He ran the ball 13 times in Ryan’s bi-district win over Amarillo Caprock and seven times last week against El Paso Andress.

The Raiders use different personnel in goal-line situations, though.

Backup quarterback Mitchell Bridges comes in to pound it into the end zone. He carried the ball three times last week and all three went for touchdowns.

Linebacker Jordan Richmond also gets carries. He led the team with eight carries and 53 yards last week after being part of Ryan’s goal-line package earlier in the year.

Ryan’s offense will need to be at its best this week as the Raiders face a rising Waco Midway team. The Panthers (9-2) are on an impressive six-game winning streak that includes wins over playoff teams Stephenville (51-20), Killeen (33-19), Burleson (35-13) and Boswell (42-7).

The game, scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium, is a rematch of last year’s defensive slugfest in which the two teams barely combined for 300 yards of offense. Ryan prevailed 19-10 thanks to a defensive touchdown.

Frisco, Centennial on pace for region showdown

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
6:55
PM CT
With rapid expansion causing uncertainty for Frisco’s extracurricular activities, the thought of two Frisco ISD teams playing for a region title was laughable as recently as last year.

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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

But with things settling down -- at least for these two Frisco schools –- Frisco Centennial (12-0) and Frisco (10-2) are just one win away from facing each other in the 4A Division II Region II title, a game that would serve as the ultimate redemption for the turbulent school district.

Both teams face tough opponents in the region semifinals, though.

Corsicana (11-1) is arguably the best team Centennial has seen all year. The game features a tantalizing matchup between Tigers running back Cameron Washington, who leads the area in rushing with 2,587 yards and 38 touchdowns, and a Centennial run defense that’s giving up a mere 74 rushing yards per game.

The two play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Midlothian.

Frisco faces resurgent Kilgore (8-4), which is enjoying its first winning season since 2008. The running tandem of L.D. Anthony and Dondra Halton have allowed to the Bulldogs to upset Royse City and most recently Lancaster (14-6).

The game at 1 p.m. Friday at Forney’s City Bank Stadium should be smash-mouth football at its best. Frisco’s Wing-T offense leans heavily on its own standout running back, Carlos Harris (1,675 yards and 21 touchdowns).

Frisco gave Centennial all it could handle in their meeting in the regular season. The Raccoons held a one-point lead in the fourth quarter before a 42-yard touchdown run by Lamar Jordan late in the game sealed a 29-22 win for the Titans.

Should both Frisco schools come up short, it will set up a rematch between Corsicana and Kilgore. The Tigers beat Kilgore, 38-13, in nondistrict play.

Defense a key factor for Aledo going forward

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
6:41
PM CT
Despite Aledo’s luxury of having one of the most productive high school running backs of all time in Johnathan Gray, he is only on the field half of the time.

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Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
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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

Aledo’s chance of winning a third straight Class 4A Division II state title could come down to how the Bearcats perform when Gray is taking a breather and the defense is on the field.

Coach Tim Buchanan praised Aledo’s defense after Friday’s 59-23 area playoff victory over 10-2 Mansfield Summit.

“Just a great job by our defense,’’ Buchanan said. “The defense has come a long way this season.’’

Making key defensive plays against Summit was sophomore linebacker Jordan Mittie. He made a stop on a fourth-down run by Summit quarterback Ryan Cuevas in the second quarter to blunt a Jaguars drive. In the second half, Mittie intercepted two passes, the first of which led to an Aledo touchdown.

The 6-foot, 195-pounder is the son of TCU women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie.

Aledo surrendered a combined 110 points in early losses to Stephenville and Lake Travis. But that seems a long time ago for the Bearcats, who are riding a 14-game playoff victory streak that began in 2009.

The Bearcats (10-2), two-time Class 4A Division II state champions, meet Canyon Randall (11-1) in a regional playoff at 6 p.m. Friday at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium.

Mittie and the Aledo defense will be faced with a Randall attack that features juniors Logan Brittain (a 7-foot high jumper) and Tyler Junell as well as senior wide receivers Tristen Woods and J.D. Allen.

Randall’s only loss came in a District 3-4A game on the road in Week 9 to Wolfforth Frenship, 29-28. It has playoff wins over Little Elm (35-21) and El Paso Riverside (49-7).

If Aledo wins, it could set up a rematch with Stephenville for the Region I title, a potential fourth meeting in the last two seasons. Stephenville (10-2) faces Lake Dallas (9-3) in a regional playoff at 2 p.m. Friday at Justin Northwest ISD Stadium.

Corsicana thrives with edge on interceptions

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
6:29
PM CT
The fear of a sophomore quarterback being prone to interceptions doesn’t seem to apply to Corsicana’s DeVontay Bell.

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

Only three of Bell’s 159 passes this season have wound up in the hands of the enemy. By contrast, the ball-hawking Corsicana defense has recorded 23 interceptions, an average of nearly two per game. The Tigers are a plus-20 in interceptions this season.

No wonder the Tigers are still playing in the third round of the Class 4A Division II state playoffs.

Corsicana (11-1) will face Frisco Centennial (12-0) in a regional playoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Midlothian.

Bell isn’t forced to the air that often -- not with running back Cameron Washington at his disposal. Washington, a senior, has rushed for 2,587 yards and 38 touchdowns. Despite throwing sparingly, Bell has gone over the 1,000-yard passing mark with nine touchdowns.

Linebacker Tevin McDonald leads Corsicana with with seven interceptions. Cornerback Antonio Wilson has picked off six.

The work of the secondary is made easier by a pass rush that has generated 47 sacks.

The turnovers are important because Corsicana is yielding playoff opponents 34.5 points and 486.5 yards per game.

The Tigers will be facing Centennial junior quarterback Lamar Jordan, who has thrown for 2,195 yards on 164-of-294 passing. He has been intercepted eight times.

The winner will face the winner of Friday afternoon's regional playoff between Frisco (10-2) and Kilgore (7-5) at Forney.

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