High-SchoolTexas: Birdville

Texas football playoffs get under way

November, 11, 2011
Thursday marked the first day of yet another football postseason for Texas. There was the expected (Johnathan Gray rushing for 196 yards and three scores as Aledo racked up 671 total yards of offense in a 59-10 win against FW Dunbar), the thrilling (a blocked PAT by FW Arlington Heights secured a 14-13 win against Birdville) and the impressive (Hector Peralez intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble to lead Kilgore 44-6 win against Royse City).

Much more of the same is bound to happen in the first round and beyond, so here are a few games to watch out for:

Denton Guyer at Hebron
A year ago, Denton Guyer blazed through the Class 5A, Division II playoffs before losing in the title game. Many of the stars from that squad are now graduated, but the Wildcats have shown promise in wins against quality opponents like Coppell. Hebron enters the postseason on a two-game losing streak, but the Hawks are battle-tested and nearly knocked off Allen two weeks ago. Hebron DB Kiante' Griffin leads a solid defense that will be key to pulling out a win against a Guyer squad that can pile up the yards and thrives off physical play.
My pick: Denton Guyer: 21, Hebron 18

Euless Trinity vs. Duncanville
Something's gotta give in this matchup. Led by All-State LB Brian Nance, Euless Trinity's defensive has been stifling all season, allowing just 191 total yards per game. Meanwhile, Duncanville's offensive has been explosive, riding the dual-threat ability of QB Deandre Grimes to the tune of 429 yards per game. Trinity's rich history and band of standout players gives it the edge in this contest, but with Trojans potentially facing No. 1 Allen in the next round, they could be in trouble if they find themselves looking ahead.
My pick: Euless Trinity 35, Duncanville 20

FW Southwest vs. FW Boswell
Last year, Fort Worth Southwest won its first-ever playoff game. This year, the Raiders are District 6-4A champs with hopes for a deep postseason run. Standing in their way this weekend is a Fort Worth Boswell team that's no pushover. Thing is, Boswell will not only have to bring its 'A' game but also plenty of offensive firepower to hang with the Raiders. Remember, it was Southwest WR Robbie Rhodes who tied a national record with eight touchdown catches and QB Wesley Harris who threw for a state record nine TDs in the same game.
My pick: FW Southwest 38, FW Boswell 24

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Aledo, Birdville face off on ESPNU in Week 9 Texas football

October, 27, 2011
When it was announced that Aledo would be playing Birdville on national TV this season, most figured Bearcats tailback Johnathan Gray would be on the verge of breaking yet another record. What they probably didn't imagine was that Birdville (7-1) would have a better record than Aledo (6-2).

Both are true, for the moment, entering their 7 p.m. Thursday matchup at Birdville on ESPNU, but Aledo is still in the driver's seat. The Bearcats are 5-0 in District 5-4A play and can clinch the title with a win tonight. What's more, Gray needs 24 more points to move into second place on the all-time national career scoring list. Doing so, would punctuate a big week for Gray, who received his honorary Under Armour All-America Game jersey and met Sugar Land legend Ken Hall, who holds many of the records that Gray has broken and looks to surpass.

The last time these two met, Gray had 313 yards and six scores. It could be much of the same against a Birdville squad that hasn't scored less than 21 points in a game this season and doesn't mind getting in a shootout.
My pick: Aledo 42, Birdville 28

No. 11 Highland Park (8-0) at Rockwall-Heath (8-0)
The District 10-4A title will likely be decided Friday when these two teams meet up. Running back Preston Miller leads Highland Park after racking up 117 yards and three scores in last week's win against McKinney North. Rockwall-Heath has a playmaker of its own in dual threat QB Cody Court, but the onus will be on Hawks defense to take control of this games.
My pick: Highland Park 28, Rockwall-Heath 20

No. 22 Dawson (8-0) at La Marque (7-2)
La Marque started slow but has come on of late, winning its last four games behind the rushing of All-State back Tim Wright (1,365 rushing yards, 22 touchdowns). The Cougars will need a win to keep pace in the District 24-4A race, but in this case two stars may be better than one.

Dawson features a two-headed monster in the backfield of QB Garry Kimble (1,825 passing yards and 18 TDs) and RB James White (1,104 rushing yards, 14 scores) that has been nearly unstoppable this season.
My pick: Dawson 35, La Marque 24

Brandon Parker covers Texas for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.