What started as eight Denton-area teams in this year's postseason is now down to two as we head into the third round — the halfway point on the road to a state championship.
Ryan and Argyle, the two teams many fans and football prognosticators figured to be favorites to win a title in their respective classifications at the beginning of the season, are more than living up to that hype. Ryan, No. 3 in Class 5A, has won its first two playoff games by an average of 34 points. Argyle, No. 3 in 4A, has won its two playoff games by 46.5 points.
The competition is bound to get more fierce moving forward, but I think it's safe to say opponents still will have a difficult time keeping up with these two.
Here's a rundown of last week's playoff games.
A few people have asked me why Ryan hasn't been starting faster on the scoreboard lately. In two playoff games, the Raiders combined to score 14 first-quarter points. Over the next three quarters of each game, they combined to score 77.
So what's the deal? Well, part of it comes from competition. They're going to get everyone's best shot, especially early on in games, so it's unrealistic to expect they'll start fast every week. Secondly, I just think they're one of those teams that occasionally start slow.
Going back to last season, the Raiders also scored 14 first-quarter points in their first two playoff games. Those games also ended with lopsided victories.
So while we'd all like to see some faster starts, especially this week against a really good Lubbock Monterey team, I guess my answer is good things come to those who wait.
One team that doesn't start slow is Argyle. The Eagles have scored 108 first-half points and are averaging 61 points per game this postseason. That's a lot, folks.
Someone told me recently that despite the loss of quarterback Jon Copeland to a torn ACL, new starter Hayden Clearman could be just as good. Clearman has thrown for nearly 740 yards and eight touchdowns in four games as the Eagles' starter. He's mobile and knows the offense after stepping in last year for then-starter Dane Ledford (Tulane).
That's a luxury most teams would kill for at this point in the season. Argyle will face Stephenville next. This should be a really good game, but I still think it will take a monumental effort to slow this Argyle team down. Take that opinion for what it's worth.
The Falcons were going to need to score a ton of points if they wanted to hang with North Forney's offense. Unfortunately, they started way too slow and North Forney led 30-0 by halftime.
You have to tip your hat to coach Michael Young, his coaching staff and the players. Lake Dallas was saddled with solving a slew of problems this offseason after missing the playoffs last year, and did just that while winning seven games that included a first-round battle with Frisco Reedy.
They have a great wide receiver — Brandon Engel — returning next year alongside an impressive quarterback, Ryan Depperschmidt.
Just fix a few holes, and this team will have even bigger aspirations in 2018.
I sound like a broken record when it comes to Aubrey, but the Chaps have to be holding their heads up high after battling through an injury-plagued season and still making it to the second round of the playoffs.
Pleasant Grove was going to be a tough train to derail even if Aubrey were healthy. As our own Brady Keane said, Pleasant Grove had only two games this season decided by fewer than 14 points. The Chaps still made a game of it early and have plenty to look forward to as they march into the offseason.
This program has come a long way from those one-win seasons from a few years ago. They'll be back and stronger than ever.
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.