High School: District 6-5A

Four teams scrap for final 6-5A playoff berths

February, 9, 2012
Four District 6-5A boys basketball teams are competing for the final two playoff berths with two dates remaining in the regular season.

Richland and Colleyville Heritage have wrapped up the top spots, leaving Irving Nimitz, Irving MacArthur, Euless Trinity and Grapevine to scrap for the final two postseason passes.

Here’s a look at the teams remaining in the race for the final two playoff spots:

*Nimitz (8-6 in 6-5A), the surprise team under first-year head coach Joel Donalson, is in third place with two games remaining, at first-place Richland on Friday and home to last-place Irving on Tuesday. One win assures Nimitz of third place. Should Nimitz finish in a tie in the standings with MacArthur or Trinity, Nimitz owns the tiebreaker advantage, having swept both in head-to-head play.

*Fourth-place MacArthur (7-7), finishes against the two teams immediately below in the standings, hosting sixth-place Grapevine on Friday and visiting fifth-place Trinity on Tuesday. MacArthur posted two-point wins over Grapevine and Trinity in the first round of district games. Two MacArthur wins assure the Cardinals a playoff berth. They can also wrap up a spot with a loss to Grapevine and a win over Trinity, providing Grapevine loses to Richland in the season finale.

*Trinity (7-8), currently in fifth place, is open on Friday and finishes with a home game against MacArthur on Tuesday, a game it must win to have a shot at going forward. Trinity remained in the playoff hunt with a 53-43 win over Grapevine on Tuesday.

*Grapevine (6-8), lodged in sixth, plays at MacArthur on Friday and finishes at home against first-place Richland. It will have to win both to have a crack at the playoffs because Nimitz already has eight wins and the Trinity-MacArthur winner is assured of eight wins, as well. Grapevine was swept in the season series with Trinity, split with Nimitz and lost the first encounter to MacArthur.

Moore's quick hands help Nimitz top MacArthur

February, 7, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- At 5-foot-7 and 145 pounds, Irving Nimitz guard Josh Moore does not exactly strike fear in opponents.

But behind his black-framed Clark Kent glasses is a relentless, tireless defensive specialist with fast hands guaranteed to make opposing ball handlers look silly a half-dozen times every game.

It was a steal by Moore with his team leading by three points with 15 seconds remaining that proved to be the decisive play in Nimitz’ 61-55 victory over Irving MacArthur in a key District 6-5A contest Tuesday night at Viking Gym.

Following a Nimitz turnover at mid-court, MacArthur’s Devonte Willis was dribbling down the left side of the floor, no doubt sizing up a 3-pointer that would force overtime.

In a flash, Moore came from the other direction and took the ball away. The steal led to Moore's clinching free throw with 6.2 seconds remaining.

“I just have an instinct, I guess,’’ Moore said. “It comes natural for me. I’ve been doing it since I was young. When big guys bring it down, that’s when I go up.’’

Twice in the fourth quarter, Moore uncharacteristically missed from the free throw line. That just made him more determined to win the ball back.

“I don’t usually miss free throws so I had to go get it,’’ said Moore, who finished with six points, seven rebounds and at least a half-dozen steals.

Nimitz first-year coach Joel Donalson said he catches himself on the bench worrying about how he’ll replace Moore after he graduates this spring.

“He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve coached,’’ Donalson said. “He works just as hard in practice every day as he plays in a game. His toughness is the kind a coach might see once in a lifetime. The other team can never relax when they have the ball if Josh is around. ’’

MacArthur coach Toby Martin said Moore is a true point guard because he is defensive minded and only takes open shots on offense. “He has a big impact on the game,’’ Martin said.

With the win, Nimitz (14-13) moved into solo possession of third place in District 6-5A with an 8-6 record and two games remaining.

“We had to have this one,’’ said Donalson. “This was huge. I’m so happy our players and fans are getting to be a part of this kind of success.’’

MacArthur (13-15) fell to fourth in 6-5A with a 7-7 record.

Offensively, Nimitz relied on 6-1 junior Israel Omigie (22 points) and 6-3 senior Trey Baldwin (18) to do the heavy lifting.

MacArthur’s 1-for-10 shooting and four turnovers in the third quarter put the Cardinals in a 15-point hole to start the fourth period, one that 6-5 junior Tavarius Shine helped to close when he scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the final eight minutes. Shine’s 13 rebounds was a game-best.

“I thought we came out flat and played too much at Nimitz’s pace,’’ said Martin. “Early in the game, we didn’t commit to defense. Offensively, we’re much better when we take the ball to the basket and that’s what we did in the fourth quarter.’’

MacArthur’s last two games are against the teams immediately below in the standings, at home against Grapevine (6-8) on Friday and at Euless Trinity (7-8) on Tuesday.

Nimitz concludes with a visit to 6-5A leader Richland on Friday followed by a home game against Irving on Tuesday.

GIRLS: Irving MacArthur 77, Irving Nimitz 12:

Alexis Jones scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter for a win that capped MacArthur’s second straight 16-0 record in District 6-5A.

MacArthur stretched its streak of consecutive district wins to 38.

“We’ve just had such a great chemistry with our kids,’’ said MacArthur coach Suzie Oelschlegel. “They have a love for the game that you just can’t coach or teach.’’

Defending state champion MacArthur (31-2), No. 1 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, begins its title defense against Mansfield in a bi-district playoff at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Arlington Lamar.

New coach has Irving Nimitz thinking playoffs

January, 19, 2012
First-year Irving Nimitz boys basketball coach Joel Donalson has his team thinking playoffs.

Going into Friday’s 8 p.m. home game with Hurst L.D. Bell, Nimitz (10-12) is in fifth place in District 6-5A with a 4-5 record. Four of the nine teams in 6-5A make the playoffs.

That's a big deal for the Vikings. They came into the season with five consecutive district finishes of last or next to last.

After coaching stops at Wilmer-Hutchins (where he had been a high school star in the late 1980s) and Maypearl, Donalson’s goal at Nimitz is to run a disciplined program: no facial hair, no earrings, etc.

“We knew we’d probably lose some kids, but the ones that stayed would be the ones we can build around,’’ Donalson said. “The kids have been so receptive to what we’re trying to do. We concentrate very hard on defense. It is the same system we used at Lancaster when I was an assistant under Joe Rushing.’’

For scoring, Nimitz relies on 6-foot-3 Tray Baldwin and 6-1 Isreal Omigie.

Baldwin, a senior, leads the Vikings with a 21.3-point average. In district play so far, he’s had games of 25, 27 and 34 points. He’s also the top rebounder (5.0 per game) on a team without a lot of size.

“Tray’s a great offensive player and we don’t have restrictions on him,’’ Donalson said. “He has several ways he can score, he gets to the free throw line a lot and he shoots free throws well.’’

Only in the last few weeks have college coaches become aware of Baldwin, Donalson said.

Omigie, a junior, is averaging 12.9 points for the season, but 18.7 in district games. He’s coming off a 29-point effort in Tuesday’s 72-61 loss at Colleyville Heritage.

“He’s easy to coach because he’s smart,’’ Donalson said. “He handles the ball well and he’s very quick. Isreal is our best 3-point shooter.’’

Among the Nimitz accomplishments is a rare road sweep of city rivals Irving High (54-50) and Irving MacArthur (55-51 in overtime).

Three of the Vikings’ district losses have come by two points, including home losses to league-leader Richland (78-76) and to second-place Colleyville Heritage (56-54).

“People are getting excited about Nimitz basketball,’’ Donalson said. “Our kids are working hard. It would be great for them if we could make the playoffs.’’

Nimitz still has home games remaining against the two teams immediately ahead in the standings, fourth-place Grapevine (5-4) on Jan.31 and third-place MacArthur (5-3) on Feb. 7.

Grapevine edges Richland for final 6-5A berth

November, 4, 2011
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- With junior quarterback Brett Harbin leading the way, Grapevine found its offense in the second half.

Luckily for the Mustangs, their defense was stout from start to finish in a 21-16 victory over Richland on Friday night at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex.

Grapevine’s victory prize: the final playoff berth from District 6-5A. The Mustangs (6-4, 5-3) will meet Mansfield in a Division II bi-district playoff next week.

After doing almost nothing in the second half, Richland (4-6, 3-5) came alive in the final five minutes and very nearly put its name instead on the playoff bracket instead of Grapevine.

“We knew we had to take it to them in the second half,’’ said Harbin, who led the Mustangs on three touchdowns drives in the third quarter to turn a 10-0 halftime deficit into a 21-10 lead. “It was a great game, up and down all night. We’re looking forward now to the playoffs. Finally.’’

Harbin displayed all facets of his game on the scoring drive that gave Grapevine a 14-10 lead. He turned receiver on a 20-yard flea-flicker, kicked outside on a 19-yard scramble to convert a third down and drilled a 17-yard touchdown pass on a post to his favorite receiver, Bryan Popp.

Harbin finished 10-of-19 for 139 yards passing and also added 31 rushing yards.

Riley Albus had touchdown runs of four and two yards for the Mustangs, who kept getting the ball back quickly and in good field position thanks to stops by their defense.

“Our defense was great,’’ Harbin added. “If they don’t play the way they did, I don’t know if we could have won this game.’’

The key defensive play for the Mustangs might have been made by linebacker Rafael Cortes. He chased Richland quarterback Walker Burns down on a sweep for a loss of seven yards on fourth-and-1 at the Grapevine 10 late in the first half as Richland threatened to build on its 10-0 lead.

“I had just fumbled the ball to give Richland its touchdown,'' said Cortes, who plays on both sides of the ball, "and I knew I had to do something to make up for it. My intensity was high on that play. We had to stop them right there.’’

Cortes' fumble was scooped up by Richland linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga and returned 23 yards for the touchdown that made it 10-0.

Grapevine’s defense, which limited Richland to 212 yards, didn’t yield as much as a first down on the Rebels' first five possessions of the second half.

But down 21-10, Richland got a spark when it sniffed out a Grapevine fake punt at the Mustang 44 with five minutes to go in the game. Burns broke a 38-yard run to set up his 8-yard touchdown toss to Jordan Whitfield to cut the lead to 21-16. The conversion pass failed.

Richland got the ball back with 1:54 to go near midfield and turned to Josh Oestricher at quarterback because Burns was injured. The backup hit on four straight passes to get the Rebels as close the Grapevine 4 in the final minute. But the Mustangs stiffened, and after being sacked, Oestricher threw incomplete into the left corner of the end zone on third down and the right corner on fourth down.

The third-down throw was very nearly caught by Rebel receiver DaiJohn Isbell.

“We were nervous,’’ said Cortes, speaking for the defense. “But I really think we wanted to go to the playoffs a little more than they did.’’

Trinity adds playoff momentum, tops MacArthur

November, 3, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Irving MacArthur had to have a win over Euless Trinity on Thursday to have a shot at making the playoffs.

[+] EnlargeJoel Kimpela
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comJoel Kimpela ran for three touchdowns in the first quarter in Euless Trinity's 34-7 rout of Irving MacArthur.
Coming off a bye week, Trinity needed to build some momentum for another journey through the postseason as the Trojans vie for a third consecutive state final appearance.

Trinity got what it was looking for with a 34-7 win.

“We hadn’t played in two weeks and it showed. We were a little rusty,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said. “We’re certainly glad to get a game.”

The majority of Trinity’s starters only saw the field during the first quarter as the Trojans jumped out to an early 20-0 lead on three touchdown runs by Joel Kimpela, including one from 61 yards out.

Trinity’s fast start allowed backup running back Brandon Reeves a chance to rack up a few extra touches. He took advantage in the second quarter, scoring twice to build Trinity's lead to 34-0 at the half.

Trinity has elected to rotate between quarterbacks Matt Hawkins and Joel Sullivan for the majority of the season and used Thursday's game to work on becoming more balanced with a passing attack. However, the quarterbacks combined to complete only four passes.

“I wish we would have thrown a little better,” Lineweaver said. “We’ve been working hard at it. We’ve been working on it all along, but it doesn’t show.”

Lineweaver said he expects to continue to use the two-quarterback system throughout the playoffs as the situation dictates.

For now, Trinity’s focus is on its bi-district game next week and keeping a level head despite the raised stakes of the postseason.

“A lot of times guys try to be different, and we certainly don’t want to be different,” Lineweaver said. “Certainly we have things to improve on but it’s just another football game, and if you play differently you sometimes play out of character, and we don’t want to do that.”

Playoffs could await Grapevine-Richland winner

November, 2, 2011
GRAPEVINE (5-4, 4-3 6-5A) vs. RICHLAND (4-5, 3-4)
7:30 p.m. Friday at North Richland Hills‘ Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex

When we saw them last: With a big defensive effort, Grapevine limited 3-6 Irving MacArthur to two first downs and won, 10-7. Meanwhile, quarterback Walker Burns rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in Richland’s 42-14 victory over 2-7 Irving Nimitz.

2010 result: Grapevine led 7-3 at halftime, then went on a 34-point scoring spree in the second half to defeat Richland, 41-23.

What’s at stake: The final available playoff berth in District 6-5A. Grapevine gets the spot with a win. Richland needs a win as well as a Euless Trinity victory over Irving MacArthur and a Colleyville Heritage win over Haltom.

Key matchup: Grapevine has scored only 10 points the last two weeks, while Richland has allowed only 20 points. The Mustangs’ Brett Harbin to Bryan Popp passing connection has resulted in 53 completions for 454 yards and three touchdowns. But in the last two games, they have connected only five times for 22 yards. Richland’s pass defense allows only 119 passing yards per game.

Players to watch: Harbin, a senior, has thrown for 1,070 yards and rushed for 491. Riley Albus has rushed for 453 yards for the Mustangs. For the Rebels, quarterback Burns is a bigger threat with his running. He leads the team with 957 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. The Rebels' defense is led by linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga.

Prediction: In what should be a defensive struggle, a slight edge to Grapevine with a better passing attack: Grapevine 16, Richland 15.

Grapevine-Richland could decide playoff berth

October, 31, 2011
The top three playoff spots in District 6-5A are decided, but there exists a chance that as many as four teams could tie for the for the final berth.

Euless Trinity, Colleyville Heritage and Hurst L.D. Bell have secured postseason passes in the nine-team district.

In fourth position going into Week 10 is 4-3 Grapevine, followed by three teams at 3-4: Haltom, Irving MacArthur and Richland.

Grapevine would clinch the fourth spot with a win over Richland on Friday. Richland would clinch by beating Grapevine if, as expected, MacArthur loses to district champion Euless Trinity on Thursday and Haltom loses to district runner-up Colleyville Heritage on Friday.

If Richland beats Grapevine and MacArthur and/or Haltom pull off upsets, the final berth would be determined by three- or four-way tiebreaker procedures.

Grapevine (5-4, 4-3) comes in having won three of four, including a 10-7 gut check over MacArthur last week, the difference being a 21-yard Nik Grau field goal. The Mustangs defense limited MacArthur to two first downs and 124 yards, 79 of which came on the Cardinals only touchdown of the night.

Richland (4-5, 3-4) has put itself in contention by winning its last two games, 28-6 over Haltom and 42-14 last week over Irving Nimitz as quarterback Walker Burns ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

Richland and Grapevine both missed the playoffs last year after losing in the first round in 2009.

MacArthur-Grapevine could decide playoff spot

October, 24, 2011
A playoff berth could be the prize when Grapevine hosts Irving MacArthur on Friday night at Mustang-Panther Stadium.

The District 6-5A schools are tied for fourth place with 3-3 records and the winner will have a one-game lead going into the final week of the regular season as well as a head-to-head advantage in the event of a two-team tie. The top four teams in each district qualify for the playoffs.

Both schools last made the playoffs in 2009.

Grapevine (4-4 overall) has completed play against the top three 6-5A teams, Euless Trinity, Colleyville Heritage and Hurst L.D. Bell. The Mustangs finish on the road against 2-4 Richland, a school with an outside shot at the playoffs.

Remaining on the MacArthur schedule is a Week 10 game against 9-0 Trinity.

MacArthur (3-5) is coming off a 53-13 domination of Irving Nimitz that saw five Cardinals rush for at least one touchdown. Juniors Justin Chavez and Jourdan McNeill each scored twice.

Chavez has thrown for eight touchdowns and 799 yards this season. He’s rushed for 12 touchdowns and 798 yards.

McNeill has rushed for six touchdowns and 647 yards.

Grapevine will try to bounce back from a 38-0 loss to Trinity.

The Mustangs’ offense is built around the passing of junior Brett Harbin, who has thrown for eight touchdowns and over 1,000 yards.

Assuming the standings of the top three teams remain the same, Bell will have more than a passing interest in the MacArthur-Grapevine outcome. If MacArthur is the fourth playoff team, Bell would drop into the Division II bracket of the playoffs. If Grapevine occupies the final playoff spot, Bell would play in the Division I bracket, which appears the more difficult of the two this season.

1-4 teams aren't without playoff hope in 6-5A

October, 17, 2011
A remarkable drive to the playoffs by Irving Nimitz a year ago should serve as an example not to give up hope for a playoff spot in District 6-5A, where in the middle of the pack parity reigns.

A year ago, Nimitz was 1-4 in district play, won its final three games to match Grapevine with a 4-4 record and gained the final berth based on its earlier victory over the Mustangs.

If the season ended today, Grapevine (4-3, 3-2) would be the fourth playoff qualifier. The Mustangs travel to Euless Trinity this week and finish with Irving MacArthur at home and Richland on the road. Two wins in the final three should be enough for Grapevine. Two losses and the Mustangs might be out.

MacArthur (2-5, 2-3) and Haltom (3-4, 2-3) trail Grapevine by just a game. MacArthur has Nimitz, Grapevine and Trinity on its schedule. Haltom closes with Richland, Irving and Colleyville Heritage.

Nimitz is back at its familiar 1-4 this year and faces city rivals MacArthur and Irving sandwiched around a home game against Richland.

Richland is also 1-4 and concludes with rival Haltom, Nimitz and Grapevine.

It is a different story at the top of 6-5A. With two regular-season games remaining, Trinity (8-0, 6-0) has clinched its 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Colleyville Heritage (7-1, 5-1) is close to clinching. The Panthers’ record is marred only by an overtime loss to Trinity.

Hurst L.D. Bell (5-3, 4-2) is well-positioned in third but still has to play Colleyville Heritage next week.

If the district finishes in the order of the present standings, Trinity and Bell would advance to Division I while Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine would go to Division II.

Irving MacArthur gaining traction in 6-5A race

September, 26, 2011
Irving MacArthur did not return an offensive player that scored a touchdown last season, so head coach Brian Basil anticipated a break-in period this fall.

The Cardinals (2-2, 2-0) have rebounded from an 0-2 start to win two straight, good enough for sole possession of second place in the nine-team District 6-5A.

“Our team was heavy with seniors at the skill positions last year,’’ Basil said. “We depended a lot on one guy, Johnny Haynes [a wide receiver/running back now at Oklahoma State]. This team is different. We spread things around a lot more. These guys have done a good job.’’

Justin Chavez in particular has adjusted well in his role at quarterback, throwing for 514 yards and seven touchdowns and rushing for 397 yards and six scores. Chavez was an inside receiver on the varsity last season.

Running back Jourdan McNeill and receiver Darius Moore spent 2010 on the junior varsity. McNeill has rushed for 379 yards and four touchdowns while Moore has 12 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns despite missing a game with an injury.

Receiver Cyvantae Hubbard, the only returning offensive skill player not to change position, has eight catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Cardinals are led by linebacker Chase Pigrenet and ends Caleb Vinson and David Jaynes.

That defense will have its hands full dealing with Colleyville Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas.

“He’s a good athlete,’’ Basil said of Thomas. “He throws the ball well on the run, so just pressure alone is not the answer. We have to give a lot of different looks.’’

The Panthers (4-1, 2-1), No. 9 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Ranking, are coming off a 38-35 overtime loss to Euless Trinity.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grapevine’s Mustang-Panther Stadium.
Saturday’s halftime was all too short for Arlington Bowie’s coaching staff.

After the Volunteers (2-2, 0-1 District 4-5A) lost both of their quarterbacks to injury in the first half, coach Kenny Perry said his staff had to draw up a completely new offense for the second half during the brief time before the third quarter started.

[+] EnlargeRussell Hansbrough
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comArlington Bowie running back Russell Hansbrough may be pressed into quarterback duties because of injuries.
Bowie will be forced to run that same offense Friday against Arlington Sam Houston, but -- not that it’s any consolation -- the Vols will have an entire week to game plan running backs Blake Bradford and Russell Hansbrough into the quarterback position.

In the first quarter of Saturday’s 39-22 loss to Arlington Martin, Bowie starting quarterback Kolby Listenbee was forced out of the game with concussion-like symptoms after taking a hit from future TCU teammate Devonte Fields.

Perry said after the game he was fairly certain Listenbee would be unable to go Friday.

In the second quarter, backup Keaton Perry suffered what was believed to be a torn meniscus. After the game, Kenny Perry said he believed the injury would end his son’s season.

The loss of Listenbee also affects the special teams, as he is Bowie's punter.

Hansbrough, the team’s starting running back, has no previous experience at quarterback. Bradford may have had limited experience at quarterback his freshman year three years ago, Perry said.

Bowie also lost starting offensive lineman Demonte Hood to a knee injury for the majority of Saturday’s game and his status for Friday is uncertain.

“We’re just going to have to practice this week with what we’ve got,” Perry said. “We’ll be all right.”

Euless Trinity QB Kautai probable for Week 5

Euless Trinity quarterback Kailahi Kautai will probably see his first action since the third game of the season Thursday against rival Hurst L.D. Bell, coach Steve Lineweaver said Friday after the Trojans' Week 4 win over Colleyville Heritage.

Kautai went down in Trinity’s district opener against Richland and has not seen the field the last two games. Lineweaver said Kautai could have played against Heritage but he did not want to risk losing him for the remainder of the season.

A pair of players, the more proficient passer Joel Sullivan and the athletic option runner Matt Hawkins, have filled in at quarterback for third-ranked Trinity (5-0, 3-0 District 6-5A).

“We like both of them and really went by feel,” Lineweaver said.

Before Kautai’s injury, Hawkins was not on the quarterback depth chart, but he was moved over from the defensive side of the ball to help fill the void. Hawkins had some previous quarterback experience at the JV level.
BEDFORD, Texas – When Euless Trinity kicker Austin Lopez ran onto the field in overtime Friday, he said his confidence was unshaken by the pressure of the situation he found himself in his first year as a starter.

He summoned his courage from the memory of his grandfather, who recently passed away.

“I just wanted to do it for my grandpa,” Lopez said. “I play for him. I thought I couldn’t miss. He was just like a dad to me. I lived with him and he always wanted to come watch me play football.”

Lopez hit a 37-yard field goal in the first possession of overtime to give Trinity the lead and eventually the win over District 6-5A rival Colleyville Heritage, 38-35, at Pennington Field.

Paul Tuipulotu
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comPaul Tuipulotu and Euless Trinity's running game led the Trojans past Colleyville Heritage.
While he said he had never had a kick in football with that much riding on his leg, he’s no stranger to big time plays on a different kind of football field.

“He did drill it, didn’t he? It was a beautiful kick,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said. “He’s had a lot of pressure kicks in soccer and made a lot of goals, so we had an eye on him. We wanted to know what he would do in a close game and, boy, he split them.”

Not only has Lopez impressed his coaches with his kicking abilities in just four games of work, he’s made his mark on coaches at the next level with a scholarship offer form UT-San Antonio in his possession.

Friday night, Colleyville Heritage’s offense also made an impression on Trinity, gaining 375 yards of total offense, all through the air.

Defensive back Terrell Williams said Heritage (4-1, 2-1) was by far the best passing offense Trinity (5-0, 3-0) has faced in 2011, and Lineweaver agreed the game was a wake-up call for his secondary.

“We needed the work,” Lineweaver said. “We needed to go against something like that. There are going to be passers down the line who are going to throw like that. We were on our heels a little too much and looking around, and we need to be on our toes.”

Heritage’s game plan the entire night was to get the ball in the hands of its play-making receivers, including running back Landon Sherman on short dump passes and screens, and let the athletes do the work on the outside.

Sherman accounted for two of Heritage’s touchdowns off short catches and runs.

Heritage had opportunities to win or extend the game but missed on a 47-yard potential winning field goal as time expired and a 40-yard field goal in overtime.

Trinity traded blows with Heritage all night with its powerful ground game, led by Joel Kimpela, who rushed for over 200 yards and scored one touchdown.

Quarterbacks Joel Sullivan and Matt Hawkins filled in again for injured starter Kailahi Kautai, who sat out his second consecutive game.

Trinity now has the edge over Heritage in the district race and also knows it has an edge if another game comes down to the line with Lopez’s leg and determination to be successful for his grandfather.

“I have a cause and I have experience now,” Lopez said.

Colleyville Heritage routs 6-5A rival Grapevine

September, 17, 2011
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Forget all the pinpoint passes Cody Thomas delivered. And there were a lot of them.

It took a 70-yard touchdown run by teammate Jordan Hornbuckle to see the intensity Thomas brings to the quarterback position for Colleyville Heritage.

Thomas, a junior, followed the play downfield and made the clearing block on the final two Grapevine defenders to put Hornbuckle into the end zone.

With Thomas leading the way, Colleyville Heritage routed rival Grapevine, 38-3, Friday night in a lightning delayed showdown at Mustang-Panther Stadium.

“Well, I saw Jordan cut back and I just wanted to help,’’ Thomas said of the block.

As a passer, Thomas completed 20 of 36 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. He scored the only touchdown of the first half on a 4-yard run.

Panthers coach Mike Fuller, speaking of Thomas, said, “He’s the best one I’ve coached.’’

Colleyville Heritage, No. 10 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10, improved to 4-0 for the season and 2-0 in District 6-5A.

Grapevine dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in 6-5A.

The start of the game was delayed by close to two-and-a-half hours by lightning.

It marked the second straight year the Panthers did not allow a touchdown to its rival.

“Yeah, we’re aware of that,’’ said Colleyville Heritage defensive end Rex Montes, who recorded three sacks. “It’s pretty sweet.’’

Colleyville Heritage was sparked in the second half by the insertion of Hornbuckle at running back. He totaled 118 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

“We converted Jordan from a defensive back last season,’’ Fuller said. “He’s only 130 pounds, but he can really help us. You’ll see more of him.’’

Grapevine’s only points were supplied by kicker Nik Grau on a 26-yard field goal that made it 31-3.
Thanks for joining us for Week 3 of the high school football season. We have Travis L. Brown live from Plano West-North Mesquite at Mesquite Memorial Stadium, Jeff Andrews at Mesquite-Denton Ryan from Denton's C.H. Collins Athletic Complex and Randy Jennings joining you from Grapevine's Mustang-Panther Stadium for the District 6-5A opener between Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage. We'll keep you updated on the action right here at ESPN Dallas.

Rivals Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine face off

September, 14, 2011
GRAPEVINE (2-1, 1-0) vs. No. 10 COLLEYVILLE HERITAGE (3-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mustang-Panther Stadium

When we saw them last: Both had successful District 6-5A debuts last week. Grapevine twice scored on fumble recoveries in a 46-13 rout of Irving. Colleyville Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas threw for 285 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-0 win over Irving Nimitz.

2010 result: Colleyville Heritage’s defense forced three turnovers and limited Grapevine to 136 yards of offense in a 35-0 victory in 2010.

What’s at stake: Bragging rights for the two high schools that make up the Grapevine-Colleyville school district. The winner will enjoy a share of first place in District 6-5A.

Key matchup: Grapevine pass-rushers against the Colleyville Heritage pass protecters. Thomas is completing 67 percent of his passes. Given time to throw, he is capable of producing big offensive numbers, as his 869 passing yards and 11 touchdown throws indicate. The Mustangs need to apply pressure to keep Thomas from settling into his game.

Players to watch: Grapevine receiver Bryan Popp has 21 receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Colleyville Heritage receiver Connor Davis is averaging over 23 yards per catch and has three touchdown receptions.

Prediction: Colleyville Heritage has beaten its rival in four of the last five seasons: Colleyville Heritage 31, Grapevine 21.