High School: 2011 Week 6 previews

What to watch for: Big Frisco showdown, more

October, 6, 2011

Travis L. Brown interviews Frisco Centennial coach Mark Howard and previews the Frisco Liberty-Centennial, Dallas Jesuit-Dallas Skyline and Denton Guyer-Keller Central games.
No. 3 DALLAS SKYLINE (5-0, 2-0 9-5A) at DALLAS JESUIT (4-1, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Jesuit

When we saw them last: Skyline was busy handing Richardson its first district loss of the year, 62-7. Dallas Jesuit notched its second district win of the year, 42-34, against Richardson Berkner, a team with a good shot at one of the bottom two playoff spots in District 9-5A.

2010 result: Jesuit fought Skyline hard, coming the closest to beating the 2010 district champions over the rest of District 9-5A. However, it was still a 43-24 blowout in favor of Skyline. Both teams were almost dead even in total yards, but Jesuit turned the ball over four times, handing Skyline easy points.

What’s at stake: This is Jesuit’s only shot at a district championship this season. Skyline and Jesuit were predicted to finish first and second in the district at the beginning of the year, but Jesuit is the only team with a semi-legitimate chance at beating a very athletic and talented Skyline squad. If Skyline can get past this test, it should be smooth sailing to another district title.

Key matchup: Skyline’s defensive secondary against Jesuit’s air attack. Jesuit is just a few miles up the Dallas North Tollway from SMU and has an offense that echoes SMU’s run-and-shoot style. It also helps that the Rangers returned the District 9-5A offensive player of the year, Jake Oliver at wide receiver. Jesuit entered the season a much more potent offense behind Jack Brezette, but since his season-ending injury in Jesuit’s loss to Coppell, Brian Buell has filled Brezette’s shoes nicely. This will be the biggest test the Skyline secondary has seen all season, but it isn’t anything the speedy defenders will have trouble handling.

Players to watch: It will be interesting to keep up with Buell’s progression fitting into Jesuit’s offense at quarterback the remainder of the season, but especially this week against one of the best defenses in the area. Skyline linebacker and running back Peter Jinkens could have a huge night both in coverage against Jesuit’s pass-happy offense and scoring touchdowns in Skyline’s goal-line set. Jesuit will need to get pressure on Skyline quarterback Devante Kincade, who could easily pick apart the Jesuit defense if he is given time in the pocket.

Prediction: Skyline 45, Jesuit 31.
No. 1 ALLEN (5-0, 2-0 8-5A) at PLANO EAST (2-3, 0-2)
7 p.m. Thursday at Murphy's Tom Kimbrough Stadium (ESPN2, ESPN3.com)

When we saw them last: Allen cruised easily past Lewisville, 45-13, for its second district win of 2011. Plano East lost a heartbreaker to rival Plano West in four overtime periods, 44-36, handing East its second loss of District 8-5A play.

2010 result: Plano East gave Allen one of its tightest district tests, but the Eagles won, 34-24. Allen running back Jonathan Williams exploded for almost 300 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the winning effort.

What’s at stake: Embarrassment. This game has the potential to get out of hand very early in front of a national TV audience, but if East can somehow hang on against the ESPNHS No. 3 team in the nation and pull off the upset, it would be utter humiliation for Allen. An Allen loss by no means would put the Eagles' playoff possibilities in danger, but it would most likely shake up the seeding in a very competitive District 8-5A.

Key matchup: Plano East’s front eight against Williams. Williams tore apart East’s defense last season. East must find a way to control Williams' production and force Allen to go to the air more than it wants. Not to say that will slow down Allen’s offense much behind quarterback Alec Morris, an Alabama commit.

Players to watch: Plano East has a talented quarterback of its own in Corey Wesley, who has passed for over 1,000 yards in 2011 and 11 touchdowns. Safety Dakota Smith and CB Corey Bassett will be East’s best bet in defending Allen’s passing attack. Allen’s A-Rod, wide receiver Andrew Rodriguez, is Morris’ favorite target, catching nine of Morris’ 19 touchdown passes.

Prediction: Allen 63, Plano East 10.

DeSoto hosts North Mesquite in 11-5A opener

October, 5, 2011
NORTH MESQUITE (4-1, 0-0 11-5A) vs. No. 2 DeSOTO (5-0, 0-0),
7:30 p.m. Friday at DeSoto‘s Eagle Stadium

When we saw them last: Both teams routed opponents in final nondistrict tune-ups before enjoying an open date last weekend. North Mesquite throttled Lubbock High, 49-14, in Sweetwater. DeSoto blitzed NOAH of Tulsa, Okla., with 35 first-quarter points on the way to a 61-13 blowout.

2010 result: DeSoto’s passing attack produced 357 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-20 victory in Mesquite.

What’s at stake: A good start in the District 11-5A opener for both teams is important, since each team plays only five district games.

Key matchup: The DeSoto defense has shown remarkable improvement so far this season, cutting its points allowed from 32.4 per game in 2010 to 7.2 this season. But North Mesquite has a run-pass mixture that could challenge the undefeated Eagles.

Players to watch: Running back Anthony Sims and quarterback King Davis are the Stallions’ top offensive threats. Linebacker Alex Lyons is an active tackler and option quarterback Raheem Wilson is getting better every game for DeSoto.

Prediction: North Mesquite pulled off a rare win at Longview last season and will need the same kind of effort in this one. DeSoto 38, North Mesquite 24.

Duncanville, Mansfield meet in 5-5A showdown

October, 5, 2011
DUNCANVILLE (4-1, 2-0 5-5A) vs. No. 9 MANSFIELD (5-0, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium

When we saw them last: Duncanville rallied from a 31-17 deficit by scoring 21 points in the final 13 minutes to defeat Midlothian, 38-31. Mansfield opened a 41-7 lead after three quarters and breezed to a 41-28 road victory over South Grand Prairie.

2010 result: In a wide-open offensive show, Duncanville amassed 491 yards and defeated Mansfield, 41-35, at Panther Stadium in Duncanville.

What’s at stake: The winner is assured of at least a share of first place in District 5-5A.

Key matchup: Both teams are run-oriented with productive backs in the Panthers’ Jaquan Cole (676 yards, 8 TD) and the Tigers’ Kenneth Burks (691, 8TD). The team that can force its will on the opponent through its running game should be the winner.

Players to watch: Quarterback Deandre Grimes and receiver Jeff Thomas of Duncanville have combined 27 times for 384 yards and five touchdowns. Mansfield quarterback Jerod Evans has thrown for 10 touchdowns and defensive end Hassan Ridgeway is a Texas commit.

Prediction: Four touchdowns may not be enough to win for a couple of offenses averaging over 425 yards a game: Mansfield 35, Duncanville 31.

Centennial, Liberty meet in pivitol 9-4A tilt

October, 5, 2011
FRISCO LIBERTY (5-0, 2-0 9-4A) at No. 6 FRISCO CENTENNIAL (5-0, 2-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Pizza Hut Park

When we saw them last: Touchdowns runs by Stan Shepherd and Zach Smith in the third quarter helped Frisco Liberty squeeze past a much-improved Frisco Heritage team, 20-7. Liberty’s defense, which hasn’t given up more than 17 points this season, held Heritage to 11 rushing yards in the victory. Frisco Centennial registered another dominating win, this time a 51-7 victory over Carrollton Creekview. Centennial’s average margin of victory this is season is 34.4.

2010 result: Liberty had the game won by halftime thanks to an absurd performance from running back Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 292 yards and five touchdowns on 18 carries. With Liberty’s dogs called off in the second half, Centennial added a couple touchdowns to make it look respectable but still lost 41-27.

What’s at stake: A chance at winning the District 9-4A title. The winner still has to get by Frisco, but either Liberty or Centennial will come out of this game as the frontrunner for the 9-4A crown. Neither team has faced a strong opponent yet, so the game also serves as a measuring stick for how they might stack up against playoff teams from other districts.

Key matchup: With both teams playing outstanding defense this season, the onus is on both offenses to find a way to produce points. Liberty came into the year with just one returning starter on offense. While Centennial hasn’t had any trouble putting up points so far this year, its offense is set up by its phenomenal defense.

Players to watch: Centennial quarterback Lamar Jordan can make plays with his arms and his legs. He has 1,058 passing yards, 16 total touchdowns and two interceptions on the year. Liberty’s Aaron Estes received the unenviable task of replacing Jay Ajayi. He has 296 yards and a score so far this year.

Prediction: Frisco Centennial 24, Frisco Liberty 10.

Keller Central can prove it belongs with win

October, 5, 2011
No. 8 DENTON GUYER (4-1, 2-0 7-5A) at KELLER CENTRAL (5-0, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Keller ISD Athletic Complex

When we saw them last: Denton Guyer made a huge statement last week with a 31-7 walloping of Coppell. After losing a stellar senior class last season, many questioned whether Guyer could reload. The win over Coppell is the clearest evidence yet that the Wildcats are here to stay. Central made short work of a Saginaw team still trying to find its footing at the 5A level. A fumble returned for a touchdown by Trevor Demerson late in the fourth quarter sealed the 41-20 win.

2010 result: Guyer had run up a 22-point lead by halftime and coasted to a 47-20 win. Treavon Walton helped overcome an uncharacteristically inefficient performance from quarterback J.W. Walsh with 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

What’s at stake: Win for Keller Central would prove that it belongs among the other undefeated 5A teams in the area, but a loss would only prove that Central is a solid team that’s played a weak schedule. The game serves as nothing but a trap game for Guyer, which doesn’t want to lose the momentum it gained from beating Coppell.

Key matchup: Central’s offensive line, led by Zach Britton and Simon Goines, has allowed the Charger offense to be remarkably balanced, but it’s facing what’s likely the best defensive front it’s seen this season. Since their rise to power, the Wildcats have always been strong up front on defense and this year is no different with Cody Henessee, Dan Kottman and Diontre Thomas.

Players to watch: Guyer sophomore quarterback Jerrod Heard had a breakout performance against Coppell last week and should continue progressing throughout the year. More than a third of Central receiver Zach Sanchez’s receptions have gone for touchdowns as he has eight scores on 21 catches. He averages more than 25 yards per catch and has developed into one of the best big-play threats in the area.

Prediction: Denton Guyer 27, Keller Central 17.