High School: Richland

Duncanville girls elevate to No. 12 in FAB 50

February, 28, 2012
Duncanville vaulted eight spots to No. 12 in the latest ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 girls basketball national rankings after Saturday's victory over previous No. 12 Irving MacArthur in the Class 5A Region 1 championship game.

MacArthur slipped six spots to No. 18 after being denied a chance to defend its state championship.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
Defending 4A state champion Dallas Lincoln fell from No. 22 to No. 40 after losing to Rockwall in the 4A Region 2 quarterfinals. Plano West dropped from No. 28 to No. 43 after MacArthur ended the Wolves' season in the regional quarterfinals.

In the boys ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50, defending Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus maintained its position at No. 5. No. 13 Prestonwood Christian also held its position.

Arlington Grace Prep, which has reached the TAPPS 4A state semifinals, moved up three spots to No. 28. South Grand Prairie also moved up three spots and sits at No. 41.

Richland, which had been No. 46, tumbled out of the rankings after its bi-district loss to Mansfield Timberview.

Mans. Timberview boys surprise No. 3 Richland

February, 22, 2012
Mansfield Timberview provided the area's biggest opening-round surprise of the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs by stunning Richland, 60-44, Tuesday night at Arlington High.

Richland, the District 6-5A champion, entered the playoffs with a 28-3 record and a No. 3 ranking in ESPN Dallas Class 5A Top 10.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
“The key for us was our ability to handle Richland’s pressure,’’ Timberview coach Duane Gregory said Wednesday. “When we do three things, defend, block out and play at our tempo, we are a good basketball team.’’

Seasoned in a district that included South Grand Prairie, Duncanville and Cedar Hill, all bi-district winners Tuesday, Timberview (20-14) entered the playoff as the fourth-place seed from 5-5A.

The Wolves broke open a close game by outscoring Richland by 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Pye, a 6-footo-1 senior point guard averaging 16 points a game, riddled Richland by scoring 26.

“Brandon is our first four-year starter and when you consider what was on the line, that had to be one of his biggest games,’’ Gregory said.

Timberview, which has alternated between Class 4A and 5A since opening in 2004, is in the playoffs for the sixth time in its eight seasons. In 2009, Timberview reached the state tournament, falling victim to eventual Class 4A state champion Houston Yates in the semifinals.

The Wolves will meet Coppell (25-8) in an area-round playoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie High’s Amos Turner Gymnasium. Coppell got past Allen 43-41 in overtime in a bi-district game Tuesday night.

Richland turns to big guns to beat Col. Heritage

February, 1, 2012
COLLEYVILLE -- With the District 6-5A title at stake, the Richland boys basketball team turned to its two 6-7 leaders, Leyton Hammonds and Kris Brown.

The big boys delivered, combining for 40 points and 18 rebounds in the Rebels’ 71-67 overtime victory over Colleyville Heritage on Tuesday night on the Panthers home floor.

“Our guys look to us for leadership,’’ said Brown, a senior who accounted for six of Richland’s 11 points in overtime and also contributed the key defensive play. “When the other team is guarding us with shorter guys, we need to score.’’

Hammonds and Brown say they feed off the other’s strengths.

“When Leyton was stealing the ball and making that dunk in the first half, it got me excited,’’ Brown said.

Hammonds said when he sees Brown working hard to rebound, the feeling is mutual.

Richland (23-3), No. 3 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, moved a half-game in front of Colleyville Heritage in the 6-5A standings with an 11-1 record. The Panthers (20-6), ranked No. 7, dropped to 11-2 in district play.

Colleyville Heritage had a possession for the win with the score tied in overtime, but Brown had other ideas. He came from behind to poke away a pass intended for Colleyville Heritage’s leading scorer Thomas Brandsma (24 points) at the top of the key with a half-minute remaining.

The turnover led to a go-ahead lay up by Antonio Mayfield Jr. with 22 seconds left.

“We were going to take it down for the final shot right there,’’ said Panthers coach Stephen Hamrick.

Down by two, Colleyville Heritage had one more crack, but Alberto Ortiz’ double-pumping shot under the goal missed and was rebounded by Hammonds, who added two free throws to seal Richland’s tenth straight victory.

“With the district title on the line, we had to win this game,’’ said Hammonds.

Revenge played a role. In the first encounter on the final day of 2011, Colleyville Heritage beat Richland on the Rebels home floor, 51-40.

“We took that loss personally,’’ said Brown. “We weren’t going to play around.’’

Richland coach Richard Bacon said his team was fresher this time.

“The difference in tonight and the first game is we were playing our fifth game in four days because of a tournament. Colleyville Heritage had scouted us so much they knew our plays,’’ Bacon said. “We changed some things up tonight.’’

Dominic Perez came off the Heritage bench to can four 3-point shots in the fourth quarter and overtime to wipe out a 12-point Richland lead.

"We got conservative, backed off our press and they started getting clear looks,'' Bacon said.

Brandsma tied the game late in regulation with a driving basket. The game went to overtime when Mayfield Jr. missed a shot in the lane.

“Dominic played his best game of the year,’’ Hamrick said. “Brandsma is a rock, so consistent. He has the knack of working the baseline, but he helps us in so many other areas, too.’’

Said Hammonds: "We have a lot of respect for Colleyville Heritage. Any team that can take us into overtime like that, we have to respect.''

Colleyville Heritage girls 59, Richland girls 48: Heather Roberts and Heidi Schneider combined for 35 points to help the Lady Panthers (20-11, 13-2) maintain their second-place standing in District 6-5A. Richland (20-11, 9-5), led by 19 points from Destiny Nunley, is challenging for a playoff berth.
IRVING, Texas -- Richland (21-3, 9-1 6-5A) weathered a roller coaster performance to grab a 79-68 victory over Irving MacArthur on Friday for its ninth district win.

MacArthur (11-12, 5-4) took Richland by surprise in the first quarter, jumping to a 19-17 lead after the first eight minutes.

Richland, the No. 3 team in the ESPNDallas.com 5A rankings, transitioned into a full-court trap defense that pulled momentum back in its favor, forcing three straight turnovers that turned into six easy points. It was the beginning of a 10-2 run that lasted the remainder of the second quarter, giving Richland a 43-39 lead going into halftime.

Richland’s success came in waves the rest of the game, with spots of sloppy play and streaks of turnovers.

“I think sometimes we make it harder than it has to be," Richland coach Richard Bacon said. "You see spurts where we’re playing excellent basketball and some spurts where we look clueless. That’s somewhat inspiring because I know we haven’t gotten there yet. Some people have already peaked out, and I know we’re not anywhere close to peaking out yet.”

Rickey Roberts led Richland with 22 points.

Girls: Irving MacArthur 66, Richland 51

The Irving MacArthur (26-2, 11-0 6-5A) girls basketball team didn't have its best performance but did what it needed to do to claim a district win over Richland (19-10, 8-4).

After opening the game strong and taking a 25-6 lead, MacArthur played without passion, coach Suzie Oelschlegel said, allowing an inspired Richland squad to stay within striking distance for most of the game.

“I didn’t see a lot of passion,” Oelschlegel said. “I didn’t see a lot of energy at all. I saw a very poor effort tonight -- not all of them, but I was very disappointed in our team play tonight.”

Richland used an 18-9 run in the second quarter to put the game in doubt.

In the end, MacArthur, No. 1 in the ESPNDallas.com 5A rankings, got the job done with the help of a team-high 18 points from Khoria Newman. National standout Alexis Jones scored 16 points despite having a defender following her all over the court. Jones was held scoreless in the third frame.

Richland’s Destiny Nunley led all scorers with 20 points. She also tallied 11 rebounds, three assists and a block in a loss that Richland coach Kate Goldberg said her team can take a lot out of.

“They took away a lot of confidence from this game and they’re ready,” Goldberg said. “They’ve seen they can play with the best of the best.”

The win continues MacArthur’s undefeated streak through District 6-5A play, but it simply wasn’t good enough for Oelschelgel, who said a performance like Friday’s won’t become a trend.

“I thing that [Richland] played really hard,” Oelschelgel said. “I think that they played harder than we did -- period. We’re going to play defense and we’re going to rebound and we’re going to go back to work on that because we’re better than this.”

No. 3 Richland still looking for consistency

January, 12, 2012
Since stepping into the state’s boys basketball spotlight with attention-grabbing holiday tournament wins, Richland has gone on a bit of a roller coaster ride in its four-game return to District 6-5A play.

The Rebels (18-3, 6-1 in 6-5A), ranked No. 3 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, host Grapevine (13-7, 4-3) at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Two weeks ago, Richland defeated defending Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus 58-55 in the second round of the Whataburger Tournament and added a win over Plano West in the third-place game the following day.

Euphoria ended with a wakeup call. In the first district game after the tournament, Richland was beaten on its home floor by 6-5A foe Colleyville Heritage, 51-40, and dropped into a first-place tie with the Panthers.

Richland bounced back with a solid district road win at L.D. Bell, 60-48, and a blowout of rival Haltom, 106-77.

But the roller coaster took another dip in Richland’s narrow 78-76 win at Irving Nimitz on Monday. Nimitz (7-14, 3-4) outscored Richland 28-12 in the third period to take a two-point lead into the final quarter, but the Rebels survived the scare.

In addition to the loss to Colleyville Heritage, the other blemishes on Richland's record came courtesy of Dallas Woodrow Wilson in the season opener (68-63) and Milwaukee (Wis.) King (77-68) in a Whataburger semifinal.

The Rebels’ resume includes wins over DeSoto, Highland Park and Justin Northwest.

Richland has benefited from the play of a pair of senior transfer guards, 6-foot-2 Ricky Roberts and 5-foot-9 Antonio Mayfield Jr.

Roberts, who came over from Marcus, owns a 15.8 scoring average and has been the team’s leading scorer in seven games.

Mayfield, averaging a team-best 16.3 points, found his way to Richland along with his brother Malik, from Milwaukee, Wis. He’s led the Rebels in scoring in 11 games.

Two other Rebels boast double-figure scoring averages. Junior 6-foot-7 wing Leyton Hammonds is averaging 12.3 points per game and 6-foot-7 senior post Kris Brown averages 10.3.
It's unlikely any player from Little Rock Parkview or Milwuakee Rufus King savored a juicy Whataburger before coming to North Texas this week. The restaurant has no locations within 25 miles of Parkview's address and has yet to expand as far north as Wisconsin.

However, the only two teams in the 54th Whataburger Tournament Orange Bracket from outside of Texas can taste the sweet flavor of victory already, as they will battle for the tournament championship Friday at 8:15 p.m at Birdville ISD's W.G. Thomas Coliseum.

Parkview eked past Plano West 59-58 in Thursday's winner's bracket semifinal after taking down North Crowley and L.D. Bell in the previous two rounds.

King had a tough road to the championship, taking down Duncanville, Richardson Berkner and Richland. Richland was coming off a 58-55 upset of ESPN Fab 50 No. 4 Flower Mound Marcus earlier in the day to make it to the semifinal, only to lose 77-67 to King.

Berkner, Marcus, DeSoto and North Crowley will battle for a fourth-place finish and Plano West and Richland will play for third place at 6:30 p.m.

Friday's pairings:

Consolation semifinal: Duncanville vs. Justin Northwest, 9:30 a.m.

Consolation semifinal: Houston Klein Forest vs. Coppell, 11:00 a.m.

Fourth-place semifinal: Richardson Berkner vs. Flower Mound Marcus, noon.

Fourth-place semifinal: DeSoto vs. North Crowley, 2:00 p.m.

Consolation championship: 3:30 p.m.

Fourth-place game: 5:00 p.m.

Third-place game: Plano West vs. Richland, 6:30 p.m.

Tournament championship: Little Rock Parkview vs. Milwaukee King, 8:15 p.m.

Fab 50 teams lose in Whataburger Tourney

December, 29, 2011
ESPNHS Fab 50 No. 4 Flower Mound Marcus and No. 33 DeSoto entered the Whataburger Tournament on an upward trend in the national rankings.

However, both were eliminated from the winners bracket Thursday, and Marcus' bid for a third straight championship at the tournament was thwarted.

After a less-than-typical performance from Marcus on Wednesday in its opening round win over Justin Northest, Marcus faced the buzz-saw offense of Richland, losing 58-55.

Marcus transfer Ricky Roberts went off on his former team, scoring 27 of Richland's 58 points. That followed a 16-point performance Wednesday in the Rebel's 64-58 victory over Garland Naaman Forest.

After an easy dismissal of Coppell on Wednesday, DeSoto failed to bring its top game into Thursday's match against Plano West, losing in blowout fashion, 63-46.

Both teams still have the opportunity to take fourth place in the winners bracket. Marcus will face Richardson Berkner at 12:30 p.m. Friday and DeSoto will face North Crowley at 2 p.m. Friday. The fourth-place game, featuring the winners of those two games, will be at 5 p.m. Friday.

Other Thursday scores:

Winner's bracket:

Milwuakee King 54, Richardson Berkner, 43.

Little Rock Parkview 49, North Crowley 44.

Milwaukee King 77, Richland 67

Little Rock Parkview 59, Plano West 58.

Consolation bracket:

Coppell 54, Fort Worth Arlington Heights 51

Houston Klein Forest 51, Hurst L.D. Bell 37

Justin Northwest 59, Garland Naaman Forest 57.

Duncanville 79, Arlington Martin 52.

Thursday's Whataburger Tournament pairings

December, 28, 2011
Winner's bracket:

Richardson Berkner vs. Milwaukee King, 9 a.m.

Flower Mound Marcus vs. Richland, 11 a.m.

Semifinal between these winners is at 8 p.m.

DeSoto vs. Plano West, 12:30 p.m.

North Crowley vs. Little Rock Parkview, 2 p.m.

Semifinal between these winners is at 9:30 p.m.

Consolation bracket:

Coppell vs. Fort Worth Arlington Heights, 8 a.m.

Hurst L.D. Bell vs. Houston Klein Forest, 3:30 p.m.

Justin Northwest vs. Garland Naaman Forest, 5:00 p.m.

Arlington Martin vs. Duncanville, 6:30 p.m.

54th Whataburger Tournament Live Blog

December, 28, 2011
Game 8: Little Rock Parkview 73, Hurst L.D. Bell 51.

The ESPNHS No. 42 team, Little Rock Parkview, turned out to be quite the unlucky draw for Hurst L.D. Bell in the opening round of the tournament.

Parkview's Anton Beard dropped 17 on the Raiders while Imara Ready and Emmanuel Adoyi both tallied 14 points of their own in the blowout effort.

Bell's Garrett Hammonds managed a team-high 15, hitting Bell's only two 3's of the game.

Bell moves into the consolation bracket to face Houston Klein Forest at 3:30 p.m. Thursday while Parkview will take on North Crowley Thursday at 2 p.m.

Game 7: Flower Mound Marcus 45, Justin Northwest 38.

Game 6: Milwaukee King 67, Duncanville 54.

Rufus King out of Milwaukee proved to be more than Duncanville could handle, holding a lead throughout the course of the game.

King hit six from behind the arch, aiding four players to hit the double digit point mark. Dominique Borom led King's scoring with 16 points.

Duncanville's shot selection was less than optimum and it failed to make the adjustment of penetrating for a higher percentage shot. Duncanville hit six 3-pointers, but two came when the game had been relinquished late in the fourth quarter.

Omar Sherman led Duncanville in points with 14, followed by Brian Hampton with 11. Nine Duncanville players found the scoresheet, but only three contributed more than four points.

Game 5: North Crowley 63, Houston Klein Forest 53.

North Crowley relied on its depth to outlast Klein Forest in its first-round matchup -- a trait not normally common of a Panther team.

Instead of relying on one superstar to carry the team as it has in the past, North Crowley spread its points out between eight players on it's 15 man roster.

Leading the charge was guard Calvin Ward with a game-high 18 points, followed by Taylor Luster with 10. Four other players scored more than five points in the game.

North Crowley built its lead in the first half, outscoring Klein Forest 34-22, which included an 18-point first quarter. Ward was responsible for 10 of those points in the opening frame.

Klein Forest won the battle of the second half by two points, but it wasn't nearly enough to challenge North Crowley for the lead.

Game 4: No. 33 DeSoto 77, Coppell 39.

Game 3: Richland 64, Garland Naaman Forest 58.

Junior wing Leyton Hammonds tore through the Naaman Forest defense to score 22 points and lead his team into the winners bracket of the Whataburger Tournament.

Hammonds hot hand drew the attention of the Naaman Forest defense, making him a useful decoy in Richand's press break in the second half. The majority of Richland's fourth quarter points came on fast break layups out of the break.

The game was won in the third quarter when Richland was able to double up on Naaman Forest 19-8.

Naaman Forest's Demarcus Holland led his squad in scoring with 21 points. Texas commit Price Ibeh was held in check with just 7 points in the game, the final two on a huge dunk in the fourth quarter.

Game 2: Richardson Berkner 73, Arlington Martin 60

After a hot Berkner start in the first half, including several basket-shaking dunks, Martin made a strong push in the second half, but couldn't overcome a very talented Berkner squad.

Berkner junior forward Kendal Harris led his team in scoring with 21-points, tying Martin's Myles Johnson for the game high.

Berkner dominated the glass, with the vast majority of its points coming inside the paint.

Martin football All-American Devonte Fields was the basketball team's force inside, tallying 13 points of his own.

Game 1: Plano West 70, Fort Worth Arlington Heights 60 (3OT)

It took two desperation 3's from Fort Worth Arlington Heights to push the game into overtime and then a second overtime, but Plano West capitalized on turnovers in the third extra frame to put away the Yellowjackets.

Height's Travis Williams received a dish off a rebound with seconds remaining in regulation and drilled a 3-pointer to give his team extra life in overtime. The game then seemed out of reach a gain as the clock ticked away in the first overtime period, but Hight's Marshall Calvin swished a circus shot from behind the arch to force a third overtime.

In the end, West's defense was too much for Heights to handle after three extra periods of basketball, especially when Heights only had five players put up points in the game.

West struggled through regulation to contain Heights small but elusive point guard Harrison Wagner who slashed through the lane for a game-high 31 points.

Plano West's point production was split between forwards T.J. Cline and Holt Harmon, who dominated the post game for 19 points a piece.

Top recruits competing in Whataburger Tourney

December, 26, 2011
In the first edition of the event that would become know as the Whataburger Basketball Tournament, Fort Worth Arlington Heights was defeated by Bowie, 70-53, in the championship match.

Fifty-four tournaments later, Arlington Heights returns looking to claim a title in what has become the area’s premiere holiday showcase.

A trip to the championship game will be a tall task for any team invited to the Boys Orange Bracket of the tournament at Birdville’s W.G. Thomas Coliseum, which includes two nationally ranked and eight state ranked teams in the field of 16.

Games begin Wednesday morning and continue through the winner’s bracket championship Friday at 8:15 p.m.

ESPNHS Fab 50 No. 11 Flower Mound Marcus headlines the tournament, followed by No. 39 DeSoto.

Two of the nation's top recruits are featured on these two squads, No. 11 in 2012's Marcus Smart and No. 21 in 2013's Matt Jones. Smart has already signed with Oklahoma State and Jones has a commitment to Duke.

DeSoto has the toughest draw in Wednesday’s opening round, facing Texas Association of Basketball Coaches No. 11 team in the state, Coppell, at 2:30 p.m.

The only other opening-round game that features two ranked teams is TABC No. 16 Garland Naaman Forest and No. 9 Richland at 1 p.m.

Prince Ibeh of Naaman Forest, a Texas commit, is also on the ESPNU Top 100 for the Class of 2012 at No. 79.

Tickets can be purchased at the tournament sites for $6 on Wednesday and $7 on Thursday and Friday. All-tournament passes are also available for $17 for one venue and $28 for all venues.

Wednesday’s Opening-Round Schedule

10:00 a.m.: Plano West vs. Arlington Heights

11:30 a.m.: Arlington Martin vs. No. 12 Richardson Berkner

1:00 p.m.: No. 16 Garland Naaman Forest vs. No. 9 Richland

2:30 p.m.: No. 11 Coppell vs. No. 2 DeSoto

4:00 p.m.: Klein Forest vs. No. 6 North Crowley

5:30 p.m.: Milwaukee King vs. Duncanville

7:00 p.m.: Northwest vs. No. 1 Flower Mound Marcus

8:30 p.m.: Little Rock Parkview vs. L.D. Bell

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.’’

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.

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.

District 6-5A football season preview

August, 17, 2011
  • Colleyville Heritage (9-3, 7-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Mike Fuller.
  • Euless Trinity (15-1, 8-0), lost in DI state final. Coach: Steve Lineweaver.
  • Grapevine (5-5, 4-4). Coach: Dave Henigan.
  • Haltom (2-8, 1-7). Coach: Scot Hafley.
  • Hurst L.D. Bell (6-5, 5-3) lost in DII bi-district. Coach Mark Smith.
  • Irving (1-9, 1-7). Coach Jim Bennett.
  • Irving MacArthur (4-6, 3-5). Coach: Brian Basil.
  • Irving Nimitz (6-5, 4-4), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Steven Hohenberger.
  • Richland (5-5, 3-5). Coach: Gene Wier.
THE BIG QUESTION: Is a different offensive mindset in store at Euless Trinity?

Look for Trinity to go back to its formula of power running mixed with occasional play-action passes due to the graduation of wide receiver/quarterback Brandon Carter, now at TCU.

Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver added wrinkles to take advantage of Carter a season ago, and the Trojans made it to the Division I state title game before falling to Pearland, 28-24.

“We changed our offense last year for Brandon with reverses and gimmicks to get the ball in his hands because he was so good at making things happen,’’ Lineweaver said. “Without him, we'll change back and look for ways to attack the defense.’’

Going back to the old way is not really a gamble. The previous three odd-numbered years have ended in state titles for Trinity.


DE/TE Rex Montes, LB/RB Justin Vallilee, Colleyville Heritage; LB Brian Nance, OL Hiva Lutui, OL Henry Lea’aetoa, Euless Trinity; RB J.J. Gibbs, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Haltom; WR Bryan Popp, QB Brett Harbin, Grapevine; QB Kyle Romano, OL Kimo Tipoti, Hurst L.D. Bell; QB Paul Atwood, Irving; FS Taion Sells, QB Justin Chavez, Irving MacArthur; LB Mark Espinosa, TB/DB Steven Stewart, Irving Nimitz; LB Jeremiah Tshimanga, LB Mike Knoblach, Richland.


Colleyville Heritage has an active streak of five straight playoff appearances, but four have ended in losses to Southlake Carroll. ... Euless Trinity will play its 10-game regular season in two stadiums, seven at home (Pennington Field) in Bedford and three at Irving Schools Stadium. ... Steve Hohenberger has Nimitz thinking like winners. Nimitz won only once in the 2007-08 seasons combined but has rebounded by making the playoffs each of the last two seasons. ... This season’s only change in head coaches in 6-5A is at L.D. Bell where assistant Mark Smith was promoted after Gary Olivo stepped down.

  1. Euless Trinity
  2. Colleyville Heritage
  3. Grapevine
  4. Hurst L.D. Bell