Topic: Area Playoff Picks 2019
My apologies for the delay this week, its a busy time as things ramp up to the postseason. A long season has given way to a four week sprint to the finish. There are some clear favorites and some wide open divisions. Let's dive in to Week 12!
This Week: (Season: 67-15)
Division II Playoff Preview
Fort Worth Christian @ Dallas Christian -- The long time rivals clash again in Mesquite. Many games have come down to the end or the years. Punters have been called down inside their own 20, teams have been made to wait 10 minutes for a pre-game ceremony to start, blowouts have left bad feelings, just your typical rivalry. The Chargers finished a 9-1 season with a mostly dominant win over Tyler Grace. The 4th quarter was not DC's best though, and 27 points was the worst performance in regulation of the season against non-TCCH opponents. After opening a 31-0 lead on the 1st offensive play of the half, DC seemed to ease off the throttle opening the door. This is a bit of a disturbing trend for the Chargers. A 21-0 lead over Cornerstone turned into a 21-21 tie and 2OTs. After scoring on the 1st play of the 2nd half to make it 20-16 against TCCH, DC did not score again in a 40-16 loss. Then the slow finish against Tyler Grace. The starts have been good against the best teams, but the finishes suspect. The Cardinals have an uncharacteristic 5-5 season, including a pretty surprising loss to Frisco Legacy that left the Cardinals heading on the road in Round 1. Which team will visit Mesquite? The one that was shut out in the 2nd half against Legacy? The one that had Grapevine Faith in a 4 point game with the ball and a chance for the lead? The one that managed just 19 against Fort Worth Southwest? The one that beat SPC champ Country Day? I really don't know. I think Chargers are the better team, and the game is at DC. However, DC managed just 10 in last year's regional playoff loss against FWC. I'm expecting a close memorable game like so many between these two are. Chargers win 21-18.
Tyler Grace Community @ Grapevine Faith Christian -- The Lions took back the district crown from FWC with a 27-23 win to close the season at 8-1. With such a heavy favorite in Division II and Faith in the opposite district from TCCH, its been easy to lose track of them. The only blemish came to UIL power Canadian while still scoring 35 points. The Lions have scored 27 or more in all 9 games this season. The Cougars have been unable to get that big win for the last few seasons. A 5-5 campaign ended with a 45-27 loss at DC. They posted a strong 2nd half in that one, but had dug too big a hole early on. A better start is imperative for the Cougars in this road clash. Also, the Cougars defense is going to need to find its best performance of the year. Three district losses in a row with each opponent scoring at least 33 points does not bode well to take on the previously detailed Lions offense. Faith wins at home 42-21.
Bullard Brook Hill @ Frisco Legacy Christian -- The Guard were once again the team expected to probably only beat McKinney Christian in the district slate, and once again they beat Tyler Grace to secure a better finish. The Eagles surprised me when they dominated the 2nd half against FWC to move up to 2nd place in the district. A much improved 8-2 season sets up an interesting game in Round 1. Last week's struggle in defeating Prince of Peace just 18-14 does not speak well for the playoff success. For comparison, FWC beat the same POP squad 50-11. Legacy beat FWC though and earned their spot. Brook Hill's 7-3 season with losses to Division I John Paul II, DC, and TCCH makes them an interesting road team in Round 1. The Guard had some impressive offensive outputs early on this season, but just 20 total points in their 3 losses. If the Guard scores 28 in this one I think its a win, but that is far from a given. I feel like I always need at least one road win pick in this round. I'll take the Guard 28-24.
Fort Worth Southwest Christian @ Trinity Christian - Cedar Hill -- The Tigers remain the dominant power in Division II and little appears will change this season. TCCH has been a little less dominant this year than last, but still only being really tested by Bishop Lynch and Parish Episcopal in the opening pair of games this season. Only Lynch and a thunderstorm held the Tigers under 27 points this year. The Eagles made it back to the playoffs with the 4th place spot going back to District 1 this year. They also improved from 3-7 to 6-4. Southwest lost the first two district games to FWC and Legacy by just 7 points combined, and secured a win over SPC champion Country Day. Good to see the Eagles improving, but its not going to happen this week. Tigers win big, 44-7.
Sugar Land Fort Bend Christian @ Austin Regents -- The Knights will look to reach a 4th straight title game in these playoffs and seek another shot at the king. Regents has lost just 2 regular season games in 4 years. This year only Fort Worth All Saints got the better of the Knights and that was by just 5 points. The Knights offense has scored at least 29 in all 9 games this season and should be primed for a big playoff push. The Eagles have had a much improved season after 2018 saw them not finish the season due to low numbers. While a 5-4 season is not one to put down as their best, it is a step in the right direction. The Eagles have scored quite a few points themselves, scoring at least 28 in 7 of 9 games. Regents will be a tough task for 1st year head coach Jordan Black (Dallas Christian and NFL alum). Knights win 38-14.
Houston Lutheran South vs. Corpus Christi John Paul II @ Edna -- The nature of having 5 districts in Division II has not been kind to the Pioneers. For the 2nd time in as many seasons, Lutheran South finishes 2nd but does not get a home game. The Pioneers really burst into the Division II mix in 2014 with a high powered offense that lost a thriller in the regional round that was held over to Monday due to storms. 2019 has been a 8-2 campaign with a loss last week to Second Baptist keeping them from the district title. The Pioneers recovered nicely after a disappointing loss to Tomball Concordia early on the Pioneers ran off 7 in a row. Only Second Baptist has been able to limit the Lutheran South attack that posted at least 35 points in all other outings. The Centurions have made great strides this year posting just its 2nd 7-win season and 1st since 2011. With no overlap in opponents this is a tricky one to project. I commend both schools for picking interesting mascots, but I'll go with LSA just on reputation. Pioneers win 35-20.
Victoria St. Joseph @ San Antonio Holy Cross -- The Knights won another district title among the San Antonio grouping with the usually strong defense leading the way. Only Regents cleared 30 on the Knights this season. Despite this success Holy Cross finished the regular season just 6-3. Finding the offense to get the big win will be the challenge for Holy Cross as it has been for a while. For example, Holy Cross has lost 7 in a row to Regents and in the last 4 meetings combined they managed just 13 points. The Flyers are a long time TAPPS program that had three 10-win seasons in 4 years around the late 2000s. Things have been turning up for St. Joseph after a 1-9 season just 2 years ago in 2017. The Flyers have beaten teams they should and lost when punching up. I think they are fighting up hill here, particularly on the road. That said, a 1-point loss to Lutheran South and holding Second Baptist to just 30 points suggests they should be in this one. I think Holy Cross wins at home, but if the Flyers can score in the 30s I doubt the Knights can keep up. I'll take the Knights 22-19.
Austin Brentwood Christian @ Houston Second Baptist -- The Bears reached the 2018 playoffs in their first season in Division II, and just 4th season of 11-man football overall. Their prize was a 57-0 drubbing at the hands of eventual champion and undefeated TCCH. This year's prize for reaching the playoffs is not much better with 10-0 Second Baptist. A very competitive 8-2 season has led Brentwood back to the postseason, falling to Shiner St. Paul and Regents during the year. The Bears had their first bye week after playing 10 weeks in a row, and they'll need it for this road trip. The Eagles have posted at least 41 points in 8 of 10 wins this year. Just Victoria St. Joseph and Tomball Concordia held SBS under 41 with 30 and 38 respectively. Regents would probably be the only team in this half of the bracket I think can slow the Eagle attack. I just can't see Brentwood being the team to spring this shocker. Good season for the Bears who continue to improve, but Eagles dominate. Second Baptist wins 42-14.
Some years I've projected the other rounds, but I think we know what my leanings are so it feels silly. The Division II playoff preview always ends with a rundown of the playoff teams. For the 6th year in a row here we go...
A few bracket changes and team defections changes the participants a bit. Only 2 duplicate mascots this year, though the usual offender is in top form. There are 2 Knights taking their usual places in the bracket, but 4 Eagles invading the tournament. Probably more contenders in the Knights group than Eagles though.
Good luck to everyone on the road to state, 4 Eagles, 2 Knights, the defending champ Tigers, the Cardinals, the Cougars, the Lions, the Guard, the Pioneers, the Flyers, and the Bears are all in the mix. A special best of luck to the best mascot in the tournament, the Centurions. Then we always finish with wishing the best of luck to the Chargers!
Bonus Division I Picks
Dallas Bishop Dunne @ Fort Worth Nolan -- This one feels like it should be later than the 1st round, but that's what happens when you lose your district games. The defending champs head to Fort Worth with the defense formerly known as the Red Swarm. The Falcons had flashes of that state title form, holding All Saints and St. Pius to 2 and 8 each, but then district play hit with teams scoring 37, 37, 43, and 49, in the four outings. The bad outweighed the good with a 4-6 finish for Dunne in the regular season. The Vikings put together the only 10-0 season in Division I, and appear to be set for a good run. Seeing Dunne as the opener is probably not what they had in mind though. With some close losses, byes, and trips to Brownsville, the Vikings have not won a playoff game since 2015. Nolan has appeared to be a dominant team all year. Piling up points, impressive wins, great defense, have all been the norms in 2019. However, then 0-9 TCA had Nolan backing up into the ropes. The Vikings passing game vanished with a different QB in the game. The game against TCA will get the Vikings beat here. Their other 9 performances are probably all good for a victory. If Nolan gets to 28 they win easily. If Dunne can hold that score to 20 or so they just might pull the upset. I'll take Nolan at home though. Vikings win 32-14.
Dallas Bishop Lynch @ Fort Worth All Saints -- The Friars travel west as well, but see a less vaunted opponent in All Saints. The Saints are just 5-4 on the season, but have played close contests much of the season. Matching a good offensive game with a strong defensive stand has been the challenge for All Saints. The Friars have been equally mysterious. To open the season they limited TCCH to just 16 points in a 3 point defeat. Exciting and impressive wins over Ennis and Frisco Centennial put the Friars in the mix for high rankings. Then San Antonio Cornerstone scored 50, and Nolan blasted the Friars 37-6. Losses to John Paul II and Prestonwood where the Friars scored just 10 and 13 points leaves this writer wondering which offense shows up to this one. The good Lynch offense (41 against Ennis, 43 against Dunne) has a real shot at glory. The bad Lynch offense will be quickly dispatched in this tournament. This is a coin flip game to me. If Lynch gets to 28 they win, otherwise All Saints does. Big turnover wins it late for the Friars. Road upset for Lynch, 28-21.
Quick Hits: (Season: 90-20)
Plano John Paul II over San Antonio Central Catholic
Plano Prestonwood Christian over Tomball Concordia Lutheran
San Antonio Antonian over Argyle Liberty Christian
Midland Christian over Houston St. Pius X
Houston St. Thomas over Trinity Christian - Addison
Dallas Shelton over Flower Mound Coram Deo
Lubbock Trinity Christian over Colleyville Covenant Christian
Austin Texas School for the Deaf over Houston Lutheran North
Temple Central Texas Christian over The Woodland Legacy Prep
Dallas Covenant over Beaumont Legacy Christian
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