ALLEN — Guyer coach John Walsh’s play-calling identity has long been one to score as many points as quickly as possible. But in Friday’s Class 6A Division II area-round playoff game against Southlake Carroll, Walsh threw the Dragons a curveball. Guyer, knowing the potency of the Dragons’ offense, executed its game plan to perfection in rolling up 544 yards on the ground and milking the clock en route to a 48-35 win against the Dragons, avenging a loss in the same round of the playoffs a year ago.
ARLINGTON — Sometimes, you have to give a team the credit it deserves. It’s no secret Ryan has had its doubters this season. Fueled by a battered defense that forced four second-half turnovers, Ryan’s offense rallied from a five-point hole in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in the final 8:50 — both from sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders — to steal a 43-35 win in a wild finish at AT&T Stadium.
JUSTIN — Facing the Aledo Bearcats for the second consecutive season in the Class 5A Division I Region I area round at Northwest ISD Stadium, the Denton Broncos knew they had to put together a near perfect game to take down the defending state champs. It was Aledo that played the mistake free game, using a balanced blend of run and pass to expose the Denton defense and with the Bearcats scoring on their first three drives of the game, the Broncos were facing a severe uphill climb from the get-go. Denton’s offense struggled and Aledo kept its foot on the gas pedal and breezed its way into the regional semifinals with a 52-3 victory on Friday.
ROYSE CITY — Turnovers ultimately kill a team’s momentum, and forcing turnovers is a message Argyle coach Todd Rodgers and the Eagles’ defensive coaches drill into the defense every week. The Eagles used that type of defense then used a number of offensive weapons and a deadlock defense to topple the Pirates 59-34 in its Class 4A Division I area round game at Royse City ISD Stadium Friday.
BEDFORD — The Lake Dallas defense allowed Burleson to drive the ball to the red zone, but facing a fourth-and-13, it needed a stop. As Burleson quarterback Preston Paden dropped back, it quickly became apparent he had no chance. The pocket collapsed, and several Lake Dallas defenders reached Paden with enough force that his helmet popped off and skittered backward 5 feet for a turnover on downs. Already up by two touchdowns, Lake Dallas cruised the rest of the way for a 35-14 win on Friday at Pennington Field.
Ryan surrendered more points and yards on Friday than it had in any game this season, but with its offense moving the chains at will and Plano East consistently shooting itself in the foot, it was hardly a cause for concern. Spencer Sanders threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns, Tyreke Davis added two more scores on 144 rushing yards and the Raiders’ defense stiffened when it needed to on its way to forcing two crucial turnovers in a 56-33 win in a Class 6A Division I Region I bi-district game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
Memories of last year’s playoffs have faded and a host of players have claimed new roles, but the Denton Broncos’ winning ways seem to be here to stay. For the second straight year, the Broncos match up with one of District 6-5A’s best in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Broncos drew Birdville last season, and at 9 p.m. today in the fourth scheduled game at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, Denton dances with Grapevine, which has the same five-game winning streak and 8-2 overall record as the Broncos.
JUSTIN — It’s been three years since Lake Dallas advanced past the second round of the playoffs. In other words, nobody on the team has been here before. The Falcons made it that far Friday, beating Fort Worth Brewer 49-14 in a Class 5A Division II bi-district playoff game at Justin’s Northwest ISD Stadium. They’ll play Burleson next week.
Ryan coach Dave Henigan said he has enjoyed each of his team’s wins this season, but never was his smile as big as it was when his players hoisted him on their shoulders during Friday’s postgame speech. On a night where the unbeaten Raiders still were viewed in many eyes as underdogs, Henigan’s crew — specifically quarterback Spencer Sanders and the offense — engineered a masterful 31-28 win against rival Guyer to claim the District 5-6A title while making a powerful statement heading into the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
ARGYLE — The Liberty Christian Warriors broke their three-game losing streak by routing the Plano John Paul II Cardinals (0-10, 0-5 TAAPS 1-l) 50-8 in the final game of the season when Liberty quarterback Nick Starkel threw for 503 yards, completing 26 of his 36 passes.
KRUM — Conner Pingleton and the Celina offense picked up right where they left off in a dominating win against Aubrey last week, as Pingleton threw for 294 yards and seven touchdowns in the first half to lead the Bobcats to a 69-14 win against Krum on Friday night.
FARMERSVILLE — After last week’s two-point loss to Pottsboro eliminated Pilot Point from the playoff chase, Friday’s District 5-3A (Division I) regular season finale against Farmersville didn’t hold the weight the Bearcats’ had hoped for, but that didn’t stop running back Tyler Gray from putting on an offensive demonstration.
In last year’s regular-season finale against Wichita Falls, the Denton Broncos didn’t have much to play for. As Denton enters the final game of the regular season this time around against the Coyotes — at 7 tonight at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls — Scott and the Broncos have a chance to earn a share of the District 5-5A championship with Saginaw Boswell, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.
PLAINVIEW — The Calvary Lions continue to find ways to win. During a five-game win streak, the Lions have been an offensive juggernaut. On Saturday, Calvary built a lead and then used its defense to turn back Plainview Christian in a 38-26 triumph.
PILOT POINT — After heavy rains and lightning picked up midway through the first quarter on Friday night, the Pilot Point Bearcats and Pottsboro Cardinals postponed their District 5-3A (Division I) showdown to Saturday at 4 p.m. Pilot Point holds a 6-0 lead against Pottsboro with 5:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The stage is now set for a District 5-6A title clash next week between Ryan and Guyer. Unbeaten Ryan held up its end of the bargain in a big way Thursday, rolling up a 33-point halftime lead despite losing one of its key two-way players to an ejection early in an eventual 40-23 win against Justin Northwest at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
As the top offensive threat for the Denton basketball team for the past couple years, not many people thought Emerson Espinoza would or could play football. At the beginning of last season, the wide receiver hurt his leg and was forced to miss the majority of the season, but with a full year under his belt and Colt Atkinson at quarterback, Espinoza, now a senior, is blossoming into a legitimate playmaker alongside running back Xavier Scott. With the district’s stingiest defensive team coming into Bronco Field looking to shut down Scott on Thursday for Denton’s last home game of the season, Atkinson and Espinoza leaned on their aerial attack for a 42-21 victory for an undefeated 5-0 home record on senior night.
KELLER — The last time Shawn Robinson was playing in a game for Guyer, it was one he and his teammates would all like to forget. On that night two weeks ago, Guyer’s 24-game district winning streak came to an end at Keller ISD Stadium with a shocking loss to Keller Central in which the Wildcats had four turnovers, including three Robinson interceptions. On Thursday night, the Wildcats returned to the scene of that stunning loss and Robinson returned to action after missing last week’s game with an illness to lead Guyer to a resounding 52-14 win against Keller Timber Creek, building some much-needed momentum heading into week 11 and the postseason.
FORT WORTH — In a game like Friday’s, Lake Dallas coach Michael Young’s game plan is simple: Play sharp, do the little things correctly and stay healthy. Lake Dallas (7-2, 5-0) cruised past Fort Worth Polytechnic (0-10) with a 62-3 win at Scarborough-Handley Field. Senior quarterback Dagan Haehn led the way, completing 10 of his 15 attempts for 236 yards and five touchdowns.
SANGER — The Sanger Indians continued their streak of dominance in District 6-4A (Division I) action, and dominated the Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins Eagles on both sides of the ball for the majority of the game in a 58-34 win Thursday night.
Guyer’s stunning loss last week, which snapped a 24-game district winning streak, was the result of many factors. One of those was the fact the Wildcats failed to convert a short, game-tying field goal as time expired. On Friday afternoon at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, the Wildcats found themselves in the same boat again, but this time, they finished the job. Junior kicker Bryson Casmir hit a 25-yard field goal from the right hash with three seconds remaining to give Guyer a 12-10 win over Trophy Club Nelson.
AZLE -- Limiting the Azle Hornets to only one score on five first half possessions, the Denton Broncos already had the lead they needed against last year’s District 5-5A champion. Denton continued to pound away en route to a 56-14 victory.
ARGYLE — It’s not easy trying to slow down Argyle’s high-octane offense. Just ask Dallas Carter. Argyle, No. 5 in the Associated Press Class 4A poll, scored on its first seven possessions Friday — all in the first half — and converted two Cowboy turnovers into scores while rolling up 396 yards in a 49-21 win at Eagle Stadium to push its district win streak to 31 games.
PILOT POINT — After losing to Callisburg and Van Alstyne by a combined 11 points in back-to-back weeks to start the District 5-3A (DI) season, the Pilot Point Bearcats found their groove both offensively and defensively in a dominating 34-0 victory against Whitesboro on Friday night.
Last season, the Liberty Christian Warriors let their foot off the gas in the second half to lose to Trinity Christian Academy, 35-28, after leading 17-0 midway through the second quarter. This year was pretty much the same story and same result. With a 27-7 halftime lead, the Warriors got a little too comfortable and were outscored 27-6 in the final half and fell to Trinity Christian, 34-33, at Apogee Stadium on Friday.