High School: Week 3 previews

7:30 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium

When we saw them last: Plano West edged out South Garland 21-17 in its second game of the season. North Mesquite handed South Grand Prairie its second loss in a row to a Mesquite school with a 29-9 win at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl.

2010 result: Turnovers killed North Mesquite in a 17-14 loss. The Stallions lost the ball three times by fumble and three by interception. North Mesquite fumbled a total of five times in the game. North Mesquite outgained Plano West by almost 100 yards.

What’s at stake: North Mesquite’s undefeated start. North Mesquite has raised a few eyebrows after three weeks of play, beating two teams expected to have strong seasons this year, Rowelett and South Grand Prairie, and taking care of business against North Garland. With a few more wins, North Mesquite could make a case for being one of the top programs in the area, but Plano West could have something to say about that.

Key matchup: Both team’s running games. Plano West and North Mesquite are fairly one-dimensional teams, using several backs to gain the majority of their yards on the ground. The team that can outrun the other, while keeping possession of the ball, can run down the clock and take the game.

Players to watch: North Mesquite has the advantage if they want to try and put the ball in the air with quarterback King Davis under center, but he will hand the ball off to Anthony Sims and Demarcus Luke, who will carry the majority of the offensive load. On offense, Plano West is all Carlos Wiggins, the team’s leading rusher and receiver. Linebacker Bryce Cottrell is the team's defensive leader and will be the main force in stopping the North Mesquite run game.

Prediction: North Mesquite 21, Plano West 10.

Mesquite takes momentum into tilt with Ryan

September, 14, 2011
MESQUITE (2-1) at 4A No. 1 DENTON RYAN (3-0)
7 p.m. Friday at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

When we saw them last: Denton Ryan pushed its regular-season winning streak to 17 with an easy 49-14 win over North Garland. Mesquite scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 38-21 win over Garland Naaman Forest.

2010 result: Ryan’s defense smothered Mesquite throughout the game as the Skeeters gained just 57 total yards and didn’t register a first down until the fourth quarter. But a slow start by Ryan kept Mesquite in the game before the Raiders outscored the Skeeters 34-7 in the second half. Ryan won, 48-21.

What’s at stake:
The game serves as a measuring stick for Mesquite. The Skeeters have won two games this season, as many as they did in the last two seasons combined. But how good are they? A win over a team like Ryan would certainly validate Mesquite’s resurgent season.

Key matchup: Mesquite’s offense vs. Ryan’s defense. Mesquite hasn’t had any trouble getting in the end zone this year as the Skeeters average 32 points per game, but they haven’t faced a defense like Ryan’s. The Raiders are giving up 15 points per game, but most of the points scored against them have come at the end of games when gracious head coach Joey Florence has called off the dogs.

Players to watch: Pick a player at random on Ryan’s defense and you’re more than likely looking at a Division I recruit, or even the No. 1 prospect in the nation – DE Mario Edwards. Mesquite RB Junior Session leads the Skeeters in scoring with four touchdowns. He has 281 yards on the year.

Prediction: Denton Ryan 45, Mesquite 17.
7 p.m. Thursday at Garland’s H.B. Johnson Stadium

When we saw them last: Boyd took a Mc-Town battle, beating McKinney, 38-28. Boyd quickly took a31-7 lead at the half thanks in part to a 60-yard touchdown pass and a 66-yard touchdown run. Lakeview Centennial put up a good fight against 4A No.9 Rockwall-Heath, losing 20-14.

2010 result: Boyd blew out Lakeview Centennial in McKinney, 51-16. Lakeview Centennial nearly matched Boyd in total yards, but former Boyd quarterback Jonovan Griffin picked apart Lakeview Centennial through the air for two touchdowns and added one more on the ground.

What’s at stake: A f ast start in District 10-5A play. Boyd is expected to be a playoff contender out of 10-5A, and a loss to Lakeview Centennial in the district opener would damage the Broncos' chances. The Patriots would establish themselves as a dark-horse playoff candidate by pulling off the upset.

Key matchup: Lakeview Centennial’s front eight vs. Boyd running back Bryan Driskell. Driskell is one of the most electric rushers in the area and is Boyd’s go-to man on offense. Lakeview has strong leaders in linebackers Lee Willis III and Mike Allen, who will have to find some way to control Driskell for the Patriots to have any chance to stay in the game.

Players to watch: Next in line for Boyd after Driskell is quarterback Curtis Ladd, who is second on the team in rushing and is fairly consistent through the air. Lakeview Centennial DB Deonte Morrison could have a field day in the secondary as Ladd has thrown three interceptions in three games this season.

Prediction: Lakeview Centennial remains winless in a 38-21 loss.

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.

Hebron to get stiff test from 4A Stephenville

September, 14, 2011
7:30 p.m. Friday at Hawk Stadium

When we saw them last: Stephenville has been scorching hot to open the season, tallying an upset over Aledo (48-47) in its opener and crushing two quality programs in Wylie (42-14) and Brownwood (66-0). Hebron stole a win from Mesquite Horn when Dezmond Wortham scored on a 4-yard run to give the Hawks their first lead and ultimately a 21-20 victory.

2010 result: Hebron held Stephenville off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter to survive with a 17-14 win over one of the top 4A programs in the state. Stephenville held an advantage in total yards over Hebron, but two interceptions hurt the Yellow Jackets.

What’s at stake: Hebron could use the confidence that comes with a winning recording heading into 8-5A play given that the Hawks open with Flower Mound and Plano, two teams they’ll be battling against for a playoff spot in the highly competitive district. A win over Stephenville would put Hebron at 2-1 with victories over two impressive programs.

Key matchup: Stephenville RB Aiavion Edwards vs. Hebron’s defensive front. Edwards, who’s committed to play defensive back for Baylor, made a midseason switch to running back last year. It’s worked out pretty well as he’s turned into one of the state’s most feared runners.

Players to watch: Hebron WR Kiante’ Griffin might be the most explosive player on the field in this game. He’s committed to Baylor. Stephenville QB Tyler Jones guided his team to the win over Aledo after being thrust into the starting role when Connor Washington went down with an injury.

Prediction: Stephenville 35, Hebron 31.

Corsicana, Lancaster seek share of 15-4A lead

September, 14, 2011
No. 8 LANCASTER (3-0, 1-0) at No. 5 CORSICANA (3-0, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at
Corsicana's Tiger Stadium

When we saw them last: Lancaster squeezed out a 28-27 overtime victory over Forney in a District 15-4A opener last week on Tre’ White’s two-point conversion run. Corsicana snapped a 35-35 tie with four minutes to play on a 31-yard touchdown pass from DeVontay Bell to Chris Edding for a 43-35 victory over 15-4A foe West Mesquite.

2010 result: Lancaster quarterback Davon Hodge threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-7 victory over Corsicana in Lancaster. The home team broke open a 7-7 deadlock with 14 points in the fourth quarter.

What’s at stake: The winner will be in a tie for the District 15-4A lead along with the Red Oak-Mesquite Poteet winner.

Key matchup: Corsicana’s 6-foot, 190-pound senior running back Cameron Washington vs. Lancaster’s run defense. In last year’s game, Washington was limited to 41 yards on 13 carries. The Lancaster defense held its first two opponents’ ball carriers this season to an average of just over 3 yards per attempt. But Forney had great success on the ground against Lancaster last week, rushing for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

Players to watch: Lancaster receiver Jaquan White is Hodge’s favorite target with 13 catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Corsicana’s Christian Hines, who had a 1,000-yard receiving season last year, had eight catches for 128 yards and touchdown in the win over West Mesquite.

Prediction: Slight edge goes to Corsicana because it has played the tougher schedule of the two: Corsicana 27, Lancaster 22.