High School: 2011 Week 5 previews

Flower Mound, Marcus represent clash of styles

September, 29, 2011
FLOWER MOUND (1-3, 0-1) at No. 8 FLOWER MOUND MARCUS (4-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Marauder Stadium

When we saw them last: Flower Mound’s sudden lack of offensive production led to a 21-15 defeat at the hands of Hebron, continuing what’s turned out to be a slow start for the Jaguars. Flower Mound hadn’t scored so few points since 2008. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns helped Flower Mound Marcus get past a pesky Plano East team, 20-10, to keep the Marauders undefeated.

2010 result: The teams traded punches -- and the lead -- in the fourth quarter, but Flower Mound landed the last one to grab a 52-49 win. Flower Mound QB Paul Millard threw for 497 yards and five touchdowns to help his team overcome Marcus’ two 100-yard rushers -- Rufus Mason and Dagan Newsome.

What’s at stake: Everything is on the line for Flower Mound because falling to 0-2 in District 8-5A could be fatal, especially given that the Jaguars still have to play Allen and Plano. Marcus has looked strong while going undefeated through four games. A win for the Marauders would help solidify their position as the next-best team in 8-5A.

Key matchup: Flower Mound’s passing game vs. Flower Mound Marcus’ secondary. Aside from last week’s letdown against Hebron, Flower Mound’s offense has looked as potent as ever behind new quarterback Marshall Williams (1,655 yards, 14 touchdowns), running back Connor Ashley (456 total yards, two touchdowns) and receiver Chas Taylor (605 yards, six touchdowns). Marcus has given up more than 200 passing yards just once this season -- last week against Plano East, which threw for 291.

Players to watch: Flower Mound is a long playoff run away from having its quarterback break the single-season passing yards record. If Williams can rally his team into the postseason, he’ll have a shot at it. Always known for its power running game, Marcus has been able to add a productive passing game thanks to sophomore quarterback Cole Erwin, who’s been a great complement to running back Harvey Giddens (718 yards, 13 touchdowns).

Prediction: Flower Mound Marcus 45, Flower Mound 41.

Hebron looks to keep roll going against Plano

September, 29, 2011
PLANO (3-1, 0-1) at HEBRON (3-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Hawk Stadium

When we saw them last: After going undefeated in nondistrict play, Plano got a humbling reminder of what life is like in 8-5A as Allen pounded the Wildcats, 44-7, in a game that may have actually been more lopsided than the score indicated. Hebron turned in one of the best defensive performances of the year against Flower Mound last week, holding the Jaguars to their lowest point output since 2008 in a 21-15 win.

2010 result: Plano shutdown Hebron’s explosive offense and put up 16 points in the fourth quarter to take a resounding 33-6 win. Special teams were a huge factor as Blair Burns returned a kickoff for a touchdown for Plano and a Hebron punt snap went over the punter’s head and through the end zone for a safety.

What’s at stake: With so much parity in the district, every game matters in 8-5A. A win would go a long way toward solidifying a playoff spot for Hebron after it cleared one of 8-5A’s pesky hurdles in Flower Mound. Falling into an 0-2 hole would put Plano’s playoff hopes in serious jeopardy, but the Wildcats still have the weakest part of their district schedule ahead of them.

Key matchup: Plano’s offense vs. Hebron’s defense. Plano did absolutely nothing against Allen’s defense last week. It may not get any better against Hebron, which is coming off a win in which it shut down the area’s most prolific offense.

Players to watch: Plano defensive end Xavier Harbert recorded three sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown against Allen last week. Hebron defensive end Deatrich Wise, who has committed to Arkansas, has helped rejuvenate Hebron’s defense, which struggled at times last year.

Prediction: Hebron 28, Plano 24.

Mansfield faces SG Prairie in key 5-5A matchup

September, 29, 2011
MANSFIELD (4-0, 1-0) vs. SOUTH GRAND PRAIRIE (2-2, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie’s Gopher-Warrior Bowl

When we saw them last: Mansfield’s Jerod Evans threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to his brother, Lance Evans, with one second remaining to send the Tigers over Mansfield Timberview, 29-27. In a game with a lot less drama, South Grand Prairie running backs Laquinton Bailey and Leonard Aikens each rushed for two touchdowns in a 45-24 victory at Midlothian.

2010 result: Mansfield trailed by two points going into the fourth quarter, but rallied to defeat South Grand Prairie, 24-22, at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium.

What’s at stake: The winner will be 2-0 in District 5-5A and in no worse than a three-way tie for first place. South Grand Prairie has never lost to the Tigers at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl.

Key matchup: Coming off a bye week, South Grand Prairie found a running game last week in a win at Midlothian, rushing for 332 yards after averaging 148 yards through its first three games. That improved running game will be tested by an active Mansfield defensive front that allows an average of only 125 rushing yards per game.

Players to watch: Mansfield junior running back Kenneth Burks has 482 rushing yards and five TDs, and senior defensive end Hassan Ridgeway has commmitted to Texas. South Grand Prairie senior quarterback and Baylor commit Jared Johnson has thrown for 617 yards and seven TDs, and kicker Johnny Armijo has made six field goals.

Prediction: South Grand Prairie 27, Mansfield 24.

Kimball hosts SOC with 11-4A title likely on line

September, 29, 2011
No. 10 DALLAS SOUTH OAK CLIFF (4-0, 1-0) vs. No. 9 DALLAS KIMBALL (4-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Dallas’ Sprague Stadium

When we saw them last: Both teams were winning laughers. South Oak Cliff piled up 463 yards on offense and held Dallas Carter to four first downs in a 44-0 rout at Kincaide Stadium. Kimball’s defense limited Dallas Pinkston to a net of two yards in a 61-0 blowout at Sprague Stadium.

2010 result: South Oak Cliff outgained Kimball by 114 yards and recorded 12 more first downs, but came up on the short end of a 23-14 score at Kincaide Stadium.

What’s at stake: The losing team falls out of first place in District 11-4A and is susceptible to the taunts of an unsympathetic rival. This game should decide the 11-4A title.

Key matchup: Which team can establish the run? South Oak Cliff running back Paul Franklin has rushed for 565 yards and eight touchdowns, and Kimball’s Teriyon Gipson has run for 644 yards and eight scores.

Players to watch: Kimball defensive end Andre Carter (6-foot-2, 255) is a potential headache for South Oak Cliff quarterback Jevonte Valentine, who has 817 yards of combined yardage. Each side has a big-play receiver: Corey Callicutt for South Oak Cliff and Prentavious Moorehead for Kimball.

Prediction: South Oak Cliff 20, Kimball 16.
No. 4 MESQUITE POTEET (5-0, 3-0) at No. 3 CORSICANA (5-0, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium

When we saw them last: Poteet was busy racking up its third district win of the year in a 59-38 win over Forney. Corsicana followed up a 55-38 win over a good offensive team in Lancaster with a 39-7 victory over Ennis last week.

2010 result: Corsicana dealt Poteet one of its two district losses in 2010. Its defense held Poteet’s strong offense under 200 yards in a 44-10 win.

What’s at stake: The District 15-4A title. The winner of this game has the best chance of taking the district championship, barring any unforeseen losses. Bragging rights will also be on the line for one of the deepest districts in the area.

Key matchup: The running games. Both teams boast talented rushers who will most likely give the defense fits all night. Corsicana’s Cameron Washington will carry the bulk of the load and has already rushed for over 1,000 yards. Steven Hicks is Poteet’s elusive back who has half as many yards as Washington, but just as much skill. Look for both teams to trade blows on the ground.

Players to watch: Besides the two running backs, Poteet quarterback Tanner Ramsey has done well stepping in for team leader Beau Nowell this year. Corsicana quarterback DeVontay Bell has wide receiver Christian Hines as a key weapon to spread the defense out for Washington’s runs.

Prediction: Mesquite Poteet 28, Corsicana 24.
No. 6 COPPELL (4-0, 1-0) vs. No. 10 DENTON GUYER (3-1, 1-0)
7:30 Thursday at Denton’s C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

When we saw them last: Both teams put up big offensive numbers in their first District 7-5A game of the season. Coppell shut down Saginaw, 35-6, and Denton Guyer beat Justin Northwest, 49-20.

2010 result: Both teams came into last season’s matchup as favorites to win a 5A state title, and Denton Guyer almost made it happen, falling just one win short. However, Coppell took the heads-up matchup 31-14 in Coppell, handing Guyer its only district loss of the season.

What’s at stake: The winner will become the front-runner to challenge a strong Southlake Carroll team for the district title. At the very least, it will provide the winner with a better seed with both teams favored to easily make the playoffs.

Key matchup: Quarterback play. Both teams brought in new starting quarterbacks this year, replacing quality leaders from 2010. Denton Guyer’s Jerrod Heard showcased his talent early in the year with a big win over a good Garland team and has racked up over 800 yards passing this season. Jake Larson suffered a few bumps early in the year, but has established himself as a quality starter in a balanced Coppell offense. The quarterback who comes up with the bigger play in this matchup might give his team the edge.

Players to watch: Coppell defensive back David Busby is a ball hawk. He came up with two big interceptions in the second half of Coppell’s close win over Jesuit. Guyer WR Conner Crane is a huge threat in the passing game, leading the team with six touchdowns.

Prediction: Coppell 21, Denton Guyer 17.