We keep trucking along this 2020 season with a lot of teams in 5A and 6A beginning their district calendar. As we've done the past few weeks, we look at five intriguing matchups for Thursday night. For this week, we reached out to each team's head coach to get what was most important for their respective team to focus on this week (not all coaches responded by publishing time).
Lewisville (2-1) vs. Plano West (2-1)
Lewisville is about where they should be to start the 2020 season. Plano West, however, is off to a surprising 2-1 start under first-year head coach Tyler Soukup. This matchup begins 6-6A play where we predicted Lewisville to finish second.
Lewisville head coach Michael Odle said the main focus: "We must win 1st down as they have a really good front 6 and control the game with the running game on offense."
Plano West head coach Tyler Soukup said this main focus: "We have to continue to play tough defense and rush the football with success."
Garland (3-0) vs. Garland Sachse (1-1)
Another surprising team is Garland at 3-0 overall and 2-0 in 9-6A play, haven taken down district favorite Naaman Forest last week. Sachse is 1-0 in district play after toppling North Garland last week.
Garland head coach Danny Russell said the main focus: "We need to focus on us, control the things we can control and not concern ourselves with things we cannot."
Sachse head coach Mark Behrens said the main focus: "Slow down all their D-1 players and execute on both sides of the ball."
#1 Denton Ryan (3-0) vs. Frisco Wakeland (4-0)
A pair of undefeated 5-5A DI teams meet, coming off big district-opening wins last week. Ryan has been in an interesting situation with games being canceled and having decisions placed, reversed and reversed again. Wakeland gave up a season-high 13 points last week but also scored a season-high 45.
Ryan head coach Dave Henigan said the main focus: "We just need to get better and focus on ourselves. . Practicing this week will help. We were very rusty with the layoff."
Birdville (1-0) vs. Midlothian (2-0)
It's the 4-5A DI district opener for Birdville and Midlothian this week. Both teams have been hit with cancellations already as was unable to start on September 25 like most other teams and hasn't played in two weeks (October 9). Midlothian hasn't played in three weeks after winning its first two games.
Midlothian head coach Doug Wendel said the main focus: "They have only played one game; they will do stuff we haven't seen out of them, so our ability to recognize and adjust will be critical."
Mansfield Timberview (3-0) vs. Burleson (3-1)
It's the penultimate district game for Timberview and Burleson this week as 5-5A Division II is utilizing zones for the 2020 season. Having only three district games before zone seeding means each game is crucial. Timberview downed Cleburne last week in a close, low-scoring matchup while Burleson put up more than 60 points for the second straight week.
Burleson head coach Jon Kita said the main focus: "Don't focus on winning Focus on doing our job one play at a time."
It was the second straight week of 3 losses, which has dropped me to 73-15 on the year (82.95%) on the year. Last week, I missed Aledo, Byron Nelson and Rockwall.
Week 8: 10-3
Week 7: 9-3
Week 6: 11-1
Week 5: 10-2
Week 4: 6-2
Week 3: 10-0
Week 2: 9-2
Week 1: 8-2
Week 10 Picks (combines Star-Telegram picks and Denton Record-Chronicle and Dallas Morning News assignments)
Guyer over McKinney
Midlothian over Birdville
Eaton over Keller Fossil Ridge
Frisco Liberty over Lake Dallas
Timberview over Burleson
Arlington over Grand Prairie
Brock over Boyd
Arlington Lamar over Arlington Bowie
Colleyville Heritage over Richland
Marcus over Flower Mound
Jesuit over Richardson Pearce
Rockwall over Rockwall-Heath
FW North Side over FW South Hills
Weatherford over Haltom
It's hard to call a state runner-up a surprise, but having lost a lot of player's from last year's team to graduation, Plano West was able to do just that on Friday night in a 5-set win over the area's, state's and nation's No. 1 team in Flower Mound.
Back and forth both teams went with West (9-2, 5-1) opening the match with a 25-22 win in the first set, ending Flower Mound's streak of eight straight sweeps. It was only just the second set loss on Flower Mound's ledger at the time.
Flower Mound (9-1, 5-1) battled back to tie things at 1-1 with a 25-19 win in set two, but sure enough, West was able to do it again in the third. Flower Mound once again tied things up after the fourth set, but Plano West was able to start quick in the final frame - a feat both teams had not dealt with all season - jumping out to a 6-1 lead and cruising the fifth set 15-7.
West head coach Jason Waters told the Plano Star Courier after the match that the loss the week before to Marcus definitely help reset the tean's focus. For context, West lost to Marcus 3-1, which lost to Flower Mound 3-0 as part of that eight-game streak.
The match's final point came off a great volley between the two teams and a block Sierra Giambalvo sealed the win.
It's a great litmus test for Plano West, which is looking to get back to State for the third straight year. West's next match is a non-district home matchup with Highland Park (5-5) on Tuesday. Flower Mound is on the road to face Hebron (3-4).