Time to take stock of Centex playoff contenders
We have a preview section to produce, so we're out on the beat with our photo day, trips to practices and for sitdowns with coaches, and working the phone just trying to find that little nugget that's going to help us predict how the season will play out.
Obviously, without any school sports going on, we have time to do such things during the summer.
So unfortunately we don't put out a playoff preview special section. Hopefully, this column and some other coverage before the games get started will be enough to tide you over until they kick off.
Anyway, as we look forward, it's clear that not all playoff teams are not created equal.
There are those who go in with visions of advancing all the way to the state title game in Arlington, while others are just hoping they can win a game or two. There's a new layer that's been added as the playoffs have expanded, and that's those who can really hope only to not get embarrassed in their first game. Luckily, I don't see any of those teams coming from the Central Texas area, although Mexia will have its hands full with Carthage.
So let's run through which teams just might have the ability to run deep into December.
This Mart team might not look very impressive with its 7 3 record, but it still has De'Nerian Thomas and D'Marcus Cosby in the backfield, and it's finding some guys on the outside who Thomas can rely on in the passing game. How the Panthers fare on both the offensive and defensive lines will ultimately determine whether this Mart team can go down in the annals alongside some of the great ones that have come through there.
One team that doesn't have chi straighteners many concerns about line play is Fairfield. The Eagles just bludgeon people up front, and the way they've rolled to their 10 0 season is highly impressive.
They're beating their opponents by an average score of 57.6 8.6, and they came into Friday's District 19 3A title game against Palestine, a 54 0 win, averaging 350 yards per game on the ground, with Larry Rose doing most of the damage.
If anyone is going to stop Fairfield, it will have to find a way to slow down that running game, but the Eagles can throw it efficiently as well. chi hair tools It's just a well rounded team on both sides of the ball and is going to be a very tough out, especially for its first round opponent.
The Eagles will face 1 9 Diboll. That's right, the Lumberjacks got in with one win. They actually entered Friday winless, but knocked off Huntington and that was enough to get into the postseason. By the way, these teams met in the season opener, and Fairfield rolled to a 70 13 win. I just hope Fairfield coach John Bachtel can keep the score down so he's not accused of bullying.
Bremond carries many of the same characteristics as Fairfield. The Tigers might not be quite as explosive offensively, but that defense is as rugged as they come.
They also seem to be on a mission. After falling behind a very good Chilton team early Friday night, Bremond didn't allow a point the rest of the way and came back to score a 21 14 victory in overtime and wrap up a perfect regular season. I don't think it would surprise anyone if those two teams met again for the regional championship in a few weeks.
Let's move down to the six man ranks, because Jonesboro is a force. The Eagles finished a 10 0 regular season, and they have something to prove after struggling in the postseason for the past few seasons. Facing 9 1 Calvert in the first round isn't a treat, but the Eagles can prove their state worth immediately should they come out of this one victorious.
While we're in the six man ranks, the top two seeds in the TCAL playoffs are both from right here in Waco. The Methodist Children's Home Bulldogs are No. 1 after a perfect regular season, while Live Oak is No. 2. They could end up meeting each other for the state title in three weeks.
Usually, I consider a dark horse to be any team that didn't win district but could still make a playoff run. I'm expanding that this year, although I'm starting with a team that fits that definition.
Chilton lost that game to Bremond and also fell to Mart earlier in the year, but the Pirates are a dangerous team. Any school that has three athletes to mix and match with like Javarius Young, Norvell Alston and Charles Simpson has a shot.
Midway won District 8 5A but hasn't been as impressive as it was last year when it went 10 0 and advanced to the regional final. The Panthers lost a ton off of that team, however, and how they've reloaded is impressive.
What could get them in trouble is their reliance on the passing game. While it's possible quarterback Ben Hicks could click with his receivers all the way and keep Midway in games, the weather at this time of chi hair products the year is unpredictable and usually favors physical teams that can keep it on the ground.
With all of that said, nobody's going to be thrilled to see these Panthers in the bracket. They're still a very dangerous football team.
Three of the four 17 3A playoff teams fall in this category, just because all of them are good teams but have their flaws.
I feel the best about Lorena going in, just because it has played better defense than the rest of late, a 55 41 win over China Spring on Friday notwithstanding.
Connally's offense is soaring, but its defense is struggling. Plus, with the way the bracket works out, it's lined up for a second round meeting with Fairfield. The Cadets would likely score points on anyone, but it's hard to imagine they'd be able to hold up against the Eagles' rushing attack.
La Vega is surging, and the best news it gets from winning Friday's game against Robinson is that is doesn't have to meet up with Navasota in the first round. Instead, the Pirates get a rematch with the Taylor team that upset them last year. Something tells me La Vega will be plenty excited for another shot at the Ducks.
Again, it's hard to put a 10 0 team in this category, but I'm just not sure what to make of Crawford. The Pirates are obviously a solid football team, but I don't know if they'll be able to match up with the speed they'll see going east in the Region III bracket.
The best way to neutralize speed is to run right at it, and Crawford does that just about as well as anybody. If the Pirates can stick to their formula of running the ball and shortening the game, they'll be a handful and could find themselves playing after Thanksgiving.