Ugly Wins are Still Wins
For the game I was at tonight, it was downright hideous to watch at times. The first half was quick and nearly painless as both McKinney Boyd (1-3) and Byron Nelson (2-2) had two possessions each. It was a tough break for Nelson, though, as its first drive took more than half the quarter and the field goal doinked right off the right upright.
The second half devolved into pretty sloppy play with missed passes, bad snaps, turnovers, penalties, penalties, penalties and punts - though it did provide some late game theatrics.
A question heading into this game was if Byron Nelson could avoid the trap game before next week's big test against Southlake Carroll. The short answer is no. The long answer is that Byron Nelson has a long way to go to be a contender in a district Carroll, Northwest Eaton and the Keller schools.
Props to McKinney Boyd for gutting out a win like it did - a much needed win for Boyd as it avoided an 0-4 start for the second time in three years. Fresh-faced quarterback Ryan Schakleford played admirably in his first start completing 20-of-31 passes for 174 yards, throwing for the game-winning overtime touchdown and rushing for another.
Is it likely to propel Boyd to some sort of streak? Unlikely. It opens district play against Braswell next week then still has to play Allen, Little Elm, Denton Guyer, Prosper and McKinney. There's just not enough margin of error available in those games to think what was put out there Thursday night showed any signs of a sustained run.
Been There, Still Doing That
The marquee Thursday night matchup was an 8-6A opener between undefeated Arlington Bowie against an undefeated South Grand Prairie. 3-0 starts has been a common thing for Bowie - not so much for SGP. And the experience showed late in the game. With the game tied at 14 entering the 4th quarter, Bowie got a couple of quick scores and played suffocating defense to preserve the win. Bowie was 3-0 last in 2016, but it would have been SGP's first 3-0 start since 2010, if it had won.
Buckle Up, 9-6A
Garland is 3-0 and sit atop the district standings at 2-0 after a tough, hard-fought but sloppy win over Naaman Forest. Last year, up was right and down was north in 9-6A and it looks like we could have more of the same in the Garland district. Naaman Forest (1-2) was nursing a 7-0 lead going into the fourth, but Garland scored twice, including with seven seconds to go in the fourth for the comeback win.
Late Game Woes, Again
Two weeks ago, it was Braswell. This week, it's Dallas Skyline - although this time it didn't include overtime. Still, Keller falls in come-from-ahead fashion - at home - to fall to 1-2. Despite being up 18-6 at the half and scoring on the first play of the 3rd quarter to go up 25-7, Keller was then outscored 28-7 the rest of the game to lose 34-32. It was a good bounceback win for Skyline as it opened the season last week with a loss to McKinney and opens 10-6A play next week against Mesquite.
It's Week 8 time for DFW football. A couple of marquee games have been canceled early on this week or carried from last week, and a couple have been added as schools have to pivot. We look at intriguing games this week and the big question facing each one.
South Grand Prairie (2-0) vs. Arlington Bowie (2-0)
South Grand Prairie is 2-0 for the first time since the 2013 season after close wins with an average win margin of 2.5. Arlington Bowie is coming off a 28-point win over Mesquite Horn. It was an abbreviated pre-district schedule for the two teams as they meet to open up 8-6A play. This matchup could prove to play a huge role in determining which team makes the playoffs or what seeding they will be. We predicted SGP to finished third in 8-6A and Bowie to miss out, so seeing them both a 2-0 is interesting.
The big question: Can Bowie play spoiler and take a leg up in the playoff chase, or is SGP a legit for the district crown?
Byron Neslon (2-1) vs. McKinney Boyd (0-3)
This is a matchup of teams going in opposite directions. McKinney Boyd has scored only 19 points in three games this year and hasn't had a winning season since the 2014 season. Byron Nelson is averaging 29 points per game and can match the most wins in a season since 2018. Nelson is also thought of as a playoff team, so continuing to play well as it heads into district play next week is imperative.
The big question: Can Byron Nelson avoid the trap game this week against Boyd as it looks to Southlake Carroll next week?
Garland (2-0) vs. Naaman Forest (1-1)
Are we headed toward another knock-down-drag-em-out 9-6A campaign again? It sure is looking like it as both Garland (2-0) and Naaman Forest (1-1) are both 1-0 in district play and atop the district standings. Garland is averaging 45 points a game this year and won last week 48-0 while Naaman Forest lost by 20 in its first game and then won by 37 last week.
The big question: Can Garland prove its the real deal or will Naaman Forest force things back to the expected?
Dallas South Oak Cliff (1-1) vs. Dallas Hillcrest (1-1)
It's a 6-5A Division II matchup as Dallas SOC already has one under its belt, while Hillcrest opens up district play. SOC has been at the opposite end of the spectrum in its two games this season, losing by 38 to 6A juggernaut Duncanville and then winning 63-0 last week over Dallas Spruce. Hillcrest, on the other hand, struggled in a loss to 4A Division II Ferris last week. Dave Campbell's Texas Football projects SOC to win district and Hillcrest to be on the outside looking in.
The big question: Can SOC continue to roll over inferior opponents or will it too fall into the trap-game mentality?
Frisco Reedy (2-1) vs. Frisco Heritage (2-1)
This is a really interesting matchup in District 5-5A DI with a pair of 2-1 teams. It's how each team is 2-1 that is really interesting. First off, Reedy was 3-1 but due to some controversy surrounding Denton Ryan and some governing bodies, last week's Reedy forfeited win has been reversed (again) and ruled a no contest. So Reedy enters on the heels of a dominating win over Argyle Liberty Christian, struggled mightily against Frisco and edged out a season-opening win over Frisco Liberty. Heritage put up 61 on a Year 1 program in Rock Hill to open the season, eked out a close one against Saginaw and allowed 73 against Lone Star last week.
The big question: Are we going to find out the truer version of each team in this matchup?
2020 PROGNOSTICATION SEASON
It was the worst week of picking games I've had this season, but still a solid week all around. It was the first 3-loss week (9-3) as Carroll feel to Rockwall's comeback bid, Lamar couldn't stop Lewisville's ground game and Weatherford was thumped against Cleburne.
Overall: 63-12 (84.0%)
Week 1: 8-2
Week 2: 9-2
Week 3: 10-0
Week 4: 6-2
Week 5: 10-2
Week 6: 11-1
Week 7: 9-3
Week 8 Picks (combines Star-Telegram picks and Dallas Morning News assignments)
Arlington Bowie over South Grand Prairie
Byron Nelson over McKinney Boyd
Denton Braswell over Northwest Easton
Aledo over Cedar Hill
FW Nolan Catholic over FW All Saints
Arlington Martin over Arlington
Mansfield Timberview over Cleburne
Pantego Christian over Dallas Covenant
Rockwall over Highland Park
DeSoto over Cedar Hill Trinity Christian
Lovejoy over Denison
Grand Prairie over Arlington Sam Houston