Big games to close the season. A few head for basketball on Monday while we march to the playoffs.
This Week: (Season: 56-19)
Dallas Christian @ Trinity Christian – Cedar Hill — The Chargers and Tigers have played many big games through the years. 3 state championship games, multiple games with district title implications, and a few basketball games for kicks. This might enter the lore with both teams largely untested in district play so far. The Tigers have rung up big numbers on the scoreboard. TCCH has been held under 30 by only Division I St. Thomas (still a win for the Tigers) and UIL power Brock. The DC defense has been more than enough to win, but also has not had the dominant performance since the FWC game in Week 3. Now as FWC has piled up points and victories holding them to 14 looks better and better. The Tigers defense tossed 2 shutouts before TKG scored 33. The Tigers still won that one by 40+ though. This is a big task for DC to go on the road and get the Tigers. I think both teams have not seen offenses as good as each other since FWC and Brock. This makes me lean to an offensive show. The big turnover, special teams gaffe, or other sudden change, will decide this one I think. How that ball bounces leaves plenty of doubt in who wins this one. There is of course far less doubt about who will be picked to win by the committee of one. Chargers win 41-36.
Fort Worth Christian @ Midland Christian — The Cardinals and Mustangs meet in the Basin to decide the District 1 title. Last season the Mustangs appeared well on their way to another district title playing the Cardinals who had been dominated by Faith earlier in the season. The Cardinals took a 35-34 off the Mustangs in North Richland Hills and still went on the road as the 3rd seeded team. This year the home game is already assured for both and the arrows point in opposite directions. The Mustangs have been bitten by the injury bug and while still posting easy wins over Legacy and Southwest, the Cardinals victories appeared to be much easier. Now basing too much on blowout margins is foolish, and that ride to near Odessa is not the easiest. MCS has held just one team under 10 points on the year. Now that game is the best win in the division, over Brock in Week 2. FWC has held 6 opponents to 10 or less and no one has scored more than 19 on the Cardinals. Expect plenty of fight from the Mustangs and close battle to the end. The offensive injuries to the Mustangs help keep the scoring low in this contest. Mustangs squeak it out at home 21-20.
Brook Hill @ Tyler Grace Community — The Cougars were in great peril at 1-5 to start the season. Now playing DC and TCCH to open district certainly contributed. The Guard has been up and down but really struggled offensively against the class of the district. Scoring just 17 points the last 3 weeks combined. The Cougar defense should provide a softer challenge than DC or TCCH. Just 3 scored against TKG has to be much more concerning given Grace racked up 45 last week against the same squad. The Guard needs a win by 12 to secure a playoff spot. Both teams appear to have some defensive issues, but Grace at home should secure just enough stops to win this one and secure 3rd place. Cougars win 40-30.
Grapevine Faith Christian @ Fort Worth Southwest Christian — The Lions took the state title last season but will start the playoffs on the road this time around. A year ago, I would say the Eagles had no chance of springing an upset. Now, I still don’t like Southwest’s chances but the margin is narrower. The Eagles have continued to dominate Division III opposition this year but struggle against Division II foes. Last week FWC boat raced the Eagles by 50. The Lions held the Cardinals to a tamer 38 but also were not about to take the victory. The Eagles should keep this one interesting at home, and the winner avoids the DC-TCCH winner in round 1. Lions slide by into 3rd place with a win, 38-19.
Fort Worth Nolan @ Argyle Liberty Christian — I hyped the Warriors defense as best in the division and they responded by seeing Dunne score more than they did against Prestonwood and Lynch combined. However, the Liberty offense turned up at the right moment and won a big road game. Interestingly, a win for the Warriors and no John Paul shocker would actually send the Vikings right back to Argyle for a rematch in round 1. Based on the adding of the game in MaxPreps already for Dunne and All Saints perhaps the tiebreakers already have this as a certainty. The Vikings have lacked that signature victory. They dominated John Paul and Parish, but just squeaked by TCA and didn’t threaten the powers of Prestonwood or Lynch. Holding Lynch to 7 still strikes me as evidence that the Liberty defense will surge through the Vikings here. I assume 4warriors is predicting a 3 TD Nolan victory, but I’ll take the Warriors at home in the first 4 rounds of this 8 round fight. Liberty wins 21-3.
Austin Hyde Park @ Austin Regents — The Panthers invade the pitch at Regents looking for a 2nd upset in as many weeks. After losing to Shiner St. Paul I had penciled Hyde Park into 3rd behind the usual pair of Regents and Holy Cross. These Knights would appear to be a tall order for Hyde Park, but after scoring 31 points against Holy Cross the Panthers definitely announced themselves as a candidate. The most points scored on Holy Cross all season. Regents have looked the class of the district all season after reaching the state title game last year. The last regular season loss for the Knight was to Hyde Park back in Week 6 of 2015. Given the strength of the two defenses as two score lead may put this one on ice either way. I expect the Knights to control the Panthers offense, but not a foregone conclusion at all. Knights win 24-7.
Houston St. Pius X @ Houston St. Thomas — The Panthers and Eagles meet in their much-hyped matchup every season. Many times the district title rests in the balance and a 3-way split is still possible with an Eagles upset. The St. Pius offense kept them in the game against All Saints, while the St. Thomas defense has come up small much of the year. All 7 Eagle opponents thus far have scored at least 21. Both teams struggled with Concordia’s offense allowing 80 points between them. The Panthers offense had enough to push by the Crusaders, but the Eagles were unable to freak their way past Concordia. A loss here for St. Thomas sends them to Prestonwood to open the playoffs while 2nd place Concordia would get to host TCA. Even beyond the usual rivalry, the stakes are high. Will the Eagles freak out again? Is the Pius defense better than the 42 posted by Concordia? I’ll go with neither but Pius still takes the district title. Panthers win 50-38.
Division V Championship: El Paso Cathedral vs. Houston Village School @ West’s Trojan Stadium — A rematch of last year’s first-ever Division V Championship for this year’s last-ever Division V Championship. 7 victories on the year for the Vikings including last week’s semifinal win over Savio. The Fighting Irish have found the win column just 5 times but crushed Tyler All Saints last week to reach the title game. The 5 Cathedral victories have seen the Irish allow just 14 points at most while opponents in the 4 losses have scored at least 21 each. 3 of the 4 scored at least 39 each. The Cathedral offense will likely need a few points to secure victory, and the Vikings have surrendered a few this season. This figures to be a close game. I think closer than last season’s 37-14 victory for the Fighting Irish. Village unable to quite close the gap though and Cathedral wins 35-23.
Quick Hits: (Season: 78-22)
Bishop Lynch over Parish Episcopal
Plano Prestonwood Christian over Trinity Christian – Addison
Brownsville St. Joseph over San Antonio Antonian
Houston Second Baptist over Sugar Land Fort Bend Christian
Houston Westbury Christian over Houston Lutheran South
Shiner St. Paul over San Marcos Academy
Fort Worth Temple Christian over Arlington Grace Prep
Sherman Texoma Christian over Gainesville Lone Star North
Dallas Shelton School over Dallas Covenant School
Frisco Legacy over Carrollton Prince of Peace
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