There are four games left in District 5-5A for Denton, and the Broncos likely need to win them all.
That's the best-case scenario for Denton (2-4, 0-2 district), which heads into Thursday's game against Wichita Falls on a four-game skid. The Broncos can control their destiny with wins over the Coyotes (2-4, 0-2), Denison (4-1, 1-0), Wichita Falls Rider (3-3, 2-0) and Braswell (0-5, 0-1).
Win all four, and a playoff spot is a lock. Win three, and their chances are still good — with help.
"We're just trying to prove we're not a bad team," Denton coach Billy Miller said. "We are a better-than-average team, but right now we're not playing like it because we're turning the ball over.
"There's no question we have the ability to go 4-0 [down the stretch]."
To do that, Denton simply needs to take care of the football. The Broncos are coming off a six-turnover performance against Sherman, giving them 12 turnovers in losses to The Colony, Keller Timber Creek, Ryan and Sherman.
The six against Sherman were particularly upsetting for Miller, who felt his team had built some momentum after playing well against Ryan the previous week. They ended up with four fumbles, two interceptions and 99 yards in penalties.
"We have to take care of the football," Miller said. "If you don't have the ball, you can't score. And if you can't score, you can't win. It's really that simple. If you keep giving it to someone long enough, they're going to take advantage of the opportunity. That's what happened last week."
When they do take care of the ball, the Broncos are tough to beat.
Sophomore quarterback Landry Kinne has thrown for 948 yards, rushed for 200 and accounted for eight touchdowns. Xylohn Posey has rushed for 464 yards and six scores. Despite its recent woes, Denton has only had two lopsided losses and is averaging nearly 300 yards per game. Last week's 35-14 loss to Sherman was a seven-point game with just more than nine minutes to play.
It'll need more of that against Wichita Falls, a team that is also struggling after a 48-6 loss to Rider. The Coyotes, losers of three straight, turned the ball over five times against Rider and have been outscored 139-43 in their last three games.
The few bright spots for the Coyotes include sophomore quarterback Zach Williams, who has passed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. Williams has rushed for 234 yards and a score. Wide receiver Jordan Hatton is averaging nearly 18 yards per catch (391 yards, six touchdowns).
"[Wichita Falls] has a good quarterback, but it's just like us in that they've had a lot of penalties and turnovers," Miller said. "You name it, they're doing it. It's a very important game.
"These kids are playing hard, but right now I think they are pressing. We need to get a win."
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.
What you need to knowMatchup: Denton vs. Wichita Falls
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Bronco Field
What happened last year: Denton won 36-14
Steve Gamel — Denton 35, Wichita Falls 14
Jimmy Isbell — Denton 31, Wichita Falls 7
Brady Keane — Denton 35, Wichita Falls 24
Clay Massey — Denton 28, Wichita Falls 27