Bi-District DFW #TXHSFB Preview
The march to State begins. In six short weeks, we will have 12 UIL state champions to be crowned at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Every journey starts with a step, and the first step is the Bi-District Round, which kicks off Thursday night.
This week's matchups has me in 4A DI Region III, and then Friday is one of the premier area showdowns in 6A Region I.
THURSDAY: Palestine vs. Waxahachie Life
The first of two this week is a matchup in 4A Division I Region III matchup between 10-4A runner-up Palestine and 9-4A third place finisher, Waxahachie Life.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Day: Thursday, November 14
Location: City Bank Stadium (Forney, Texas)
Previous meetings: no previous meeting
Previewing Palestine (5-5)
Palestine comes into the first round of the playoffs riding a two game win streak with wins Kilgore, which is playoff bound, and Tyler Chapel Hill. Palestine finished 3-2 in district after starting the year 2-3 and scored 286 points to allowing 279 - essentially the epitome of a .500 team.
Unlike other teams or classifications we may cover more, stats are not complete. However, you can paint a picture of what Palestine is like on offense (stats for opponents are even harder to come by).
Despite having a winning record, Palestine saw its points production drop in district play. The biggest culprit is the 43-0 loss to Carthage. On the year, Palestine averaged 28.6 points a game, but in non-district the numbers were 36.4 (44 points per game in wins; 31.3 in losses) and in district, the team averaged 20.8 (30.0 in wins and 7 in losses) points per game.
Palestine is a team that likes to run, averaging 288.9 yards on the ground for the seven games we found stats and only averaged 107 yards through the air. In four of those games, Palestine ran for 397 yards or more. In two of its three losses where we have stats, Palestine lost twice when throwing for 100 yards or more (110 vs. Waco Connally and 258 yards against Van).
On the year, Palestine was 2-4 against teams that finished with winning records - wins against Fairfield and Henderson - and 4-3 against teams that made the playoffs - wins against Rusk, Fairfield, Henderson, Kilgore.
Previewing Waxahachie Life (7-3)
Shifting to Life - is it Waxahachie Life or Life Waxahachie, the internet seems divided - as it enters winning two of its last three games to take the third seed out of 9-4A DI. Waxahachie Life sputtered a bit in district after getting off to a 5-1 start to the year - all against playoff-bound teams.
Like Palestine, Waxahachie Life is a teams that likes to run the ball first. The Mustangs averaged almost twice as many yards on the ground than through the air (291.8 to 146.8). In seven wins, Life averaged 337.9 yards on the ground and in three losses, its down to 184.3.
Unlike, Palestine though, Waxahachie Life is a bit more competent through the air and was able to put more points on the board (40.6 points per game). When Waxahachie Life won, it averaged 52.1 points per game and 491.1 yards a game. When it lost, those numbers plummet to 13.7 points and 322 yards per game. The numbers are even worse in district play.
Life was 5-3 against playoff-bound teams this year - wins over Ferris, Kemp, Community, Farmersville, Athens - but were 1-3 against teams with winning records - beat Mabank.
Previewing the Game
The old addage is 'defense wins championships.' While I couldn't find defensive numbers for all games for both teams, there is enough to get an idea that Palestine can give up a bit of yards but can also force turnovers, and Waxahachie Life is a bit more consistent at getting teams off the field.
What Waxahachie Life has over Palestine, aside from a better passing game to complement the run game, is the ability to score. Life scored 120 more points than Palestine did this year, hitting 37 or more points in seven games.
But if Palestine can shorten the field for its offense and turn Life over a couple times, it can certainly walk out as a winner.
TexasFootball.com has Palestine as 7-point favorites. I feel this game is much more of a toss up than that. Neither team fared well against winning teams (3-7 combined). Palestine, however, did keep it much closer against Crandall (loss 24-20) than Waxahachie Life (loss 35-8).
However, I still lean to Waxahachie Life winning this one - barely - because of the better ability to score and a slightly better defense.
Prediction: Waxahachie Life 27, Palestine 23
@iamspeters for live updates of this game.