High School: Area round Class 4A notes

Lancaster one win from clearing another hurdle

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
6:01
PM CT
When first-year Lancaster coach Chris Gilbert learned last spring the Tigers hadn’t had a nine-win season in at least 25 years, he made it a goal to end the streak.

That mission was accomplished with last week’s 33-27 Class 4A Division II bi-district victory over Hutto.

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 Tigers (9-2) now have a chance to make it to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2000 season if they can pull off an area playoff victory over Kilgore (7-4). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana.

“We’ve yet to play a game when we clicked the way we are capable on both sides of the ball,’’ Gilbert said. “That‘s what we‘re hoping for this week. We’re excited about the way things have been going. The kids are playing with confidence.’’

Lancaster possesses depth at the skill positions and Gilbert is not afraid to utilize it.

The Tigers routinely play three quarterbacks, three tailbacks, three tight ends and five or six wide receivers.

Senior Davon Hodge is the starting quarterback but sophomore Nick Harvey, a starter at defensive back, and junior Demarcus Ayers, a starting wide receiver, are aware they will be under center at some point in every game.

“I’ve never played three quarterbacks because I’ve never had this many weapons,’’ Gilbert said. “The reason it has worked is the unselfishness of our kids. It makes this team special. We’re all able to share in a little bit of the gumbo.’’

Gilbert said he doesn’t have a structured plan of when a quarterback change will be made. If things are going well, he may stick with one or he might change if a couple of series haven’t been successful and the Tigers need a spark.

With running backs, he substitutes according to what kind of run is required.

“I know the strengths of all three,’’ Gilbert said. “Some are better inside, some outside.’’

Defensively, the Tigers are led by their front four of Windell Chalmers, Travion Williams, Daeshon Hall and George Ramos. That foursome figures to be tested by a physical, run-oriented Kilgore squad.

“Kilgore has two really good running backs,’’ Gilbert said. “We’ve got to hold in there and meet them with force.’’

The Lancaster-Kilgore winner will meet the winner of the Frisco-Dallas Lincoln game in the regional round.

Frisco takes away Wylie East's dark-horse label

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
4:53
PM CT
Wylie East entered the playoffs looking like a dark-horse team with the potential to make a surprise run.

So did Frisco.

In their bi-district matchup, the two teams fought to a standstill that Frisco ended by successfully converting a two-point conversion attempt in the final two minutes to escape with a 25-24 win.

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

Frisco faces Dallas Lincoln in the 4A Division II area round at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

The win highlights a resurgent season for Frisco (9-2). After years of struggling with Frisco ISD’s expansion, the Raccoons have put together their best season since 2006, when they lost in the area round to Whitehouse.

A switch to the Wing-T offense has proved beneficial. Frisco has one of the most productive offenses in the area thanks to its running game, which rushes for more than 300 yards per game. Running back Carlos Harris is among the area’s rushing leaders with more than 1,500 yards this season.

But ironically, it was Frisco’s passing game that sealed the win. On the two-point conversion attempt, quarterback Eric Allen hit Harris in the end zone for the game-winning conversion.

And Frisco’s running game never got going against Wylie East. It tallied 113 yards on 41 carries, hardly the explosive results Frisco is used to. Frisco capitalized on three Wylie East interceptions to make up for its lack of offensive production.

If Frisco gets its running game back on track, it could make a run in Region II. After Lincoln (6-5), Frisco would face the winner between Kilgore and Lancaster. After that, it could be Sulphur Springs, Corsicana or Frisco Centennial, which beat Frisco, 29-22, in the regular season.

Byron Nelson's firsts on back burner for now

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
4:46
PM CT
There will come a time when the 2011 season is complete that Trophy Club Byron Nelson coach Brian Polk can take stock of the program’s accomplishments in only its second varsity season.

For the present, Polk and the Bobcats (7-4) want to concentrate on the matters at hand. And that means perennial playoff power Stephenville, Nelson’s Class 4A Division II opponent in an area playoff 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

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

“It is a big deal that we won the school’s first playoff game last week and we are about to play at Cowboys Stadium for the first time,’’ Polk said. “But we don’t need to talk about that right now. Our focus has to be on playing the game.’’

As new as playoff football is to the Bobcats, it is very familiar ground for Stephenville (9-2). The Yellow Jackets are in the playoffs for the 22nd time in the last 23 years and went won four state titles in the 1990s.

“Stephenville doesn’t have any holes,’’ Polk said. “They are throwing the ball on everybody, and defensively they fly to the ball and are physical when they get there.

“We’re excited to get to play them.’’

Nelson is coming off its best offensive game of the season in a 49-20 bi-district win over Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt. Quarterback Andrew Mitchell completed 13-of-18 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Tylor Blake rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Blake also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass.

“Wyatt put seven guys in the box and had all 11 guys within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage,’’ Polk said. “We told Andrew that he would have to make throws even when it looked like receivers were covered, and the guys on the receiving end did a great job.’’

The Bobcats were focused going into their first-ever playoff game after losses in their two final regular-season games to Springtown and Fort Worth Boswell.

“We didn’t play well,’’ Polk said. “We weren’t making plays. We dropped a bunch of passes and we dropped some interceptions, too. We have to make plays when we have the opportunity, and we weren’t doing that.’’

The Nelson-Stephenville winner advances to the regional round to face the Lake Dallas-El Paso Burges winner.

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