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Gainesville Area high school football preview

The playoff scenarios in District 13-A are enough to give you a headache. Basically, every team in the district except Blue Ridge still has a shot at the playoffs going into the final week of the season. Friday’s showdowns between Muenster and Era and also between Lindsay and Collinsville will decide which three teams make the postseason.

Lindsay is the only team that is assured of getting in the playoffs. They have already clinched a spot by defeating Muenster and Era and they can win the district championship outright by defeating Collinsville Friday.

From there it gets complicated. If you don’t believe me, just look at the chart on this page. There are ten different scenarios that result in different combinations of teams making the playoffs or affect how they are seeded. Remember that this year in Class A, three teams make the playoffs. The largest school out of those three will go into the Division I bracket, while the two smaller schools would go into the Division II bracket. If Collinsville makes the playoffs, then they will be in Division I because they have the largest enrollment. If the three playoff teams are Lindsay, Muenster and Era, then Lindsay would be in Division I.

Making things even more confusing are the way margin of victories will affect the playoff chase. One example is if Lindsay defeats Collinsville, Muenster would have to not only beat Era, but win by two or more points. What is even wilder is that if Lindsay beats Collinsville, Era can actually lose to Muenster and still make the playoffs, as long as they don’t lose by five or more points. So you know that every team will have scouts at the other game checking in with score updates so that the head coach knows exactly what his team needs to do late in the game.

Here is a breakdown of this week’s area games.

Era (7-2) at Muenster (4-5)

Era (2-1 district) set up some of this madness by knocking off Collinsville 21-18 at home last Friday. In that game, Era’s Tyler Rauschuber blocked a punt in the third quarter and Justin Lance scooped it up and scored the go-ahead touchdown. Another big play came from Daniel Kirby, who made a spectacular catch in the end zone with just 9 seconds left in the first half.

The Hornets also got a boost by the return of senior RJ Metzler, who began the season as the starting quarterback before breaking his hand in week six. Against Collinsville, Metzler played some fullback on offense and moved to cornerback on defense. Hornet head coach J.D. Henderson said that his team needs Metzler’s leadership on the field and also his intensity.

Era was missing another key player though as receiver Trey Dunn was out, but is expected to be back this week.

“We were really shorthanded going into the game,” Henderson said. “We knew we would get RJ back in a limited role, but Trey was out and that really hurt us. But we had some kids step up and do a good job. We didn’t make but one mistake offensively that I can remember. We played fantastic defense, especially in the second half.”

In that second half, the Era defense held Collinsville without a first down on three consecutive drives.

Muenster (1-2 district) had a bye last week, so they had a chance to rest and get healed up and also spend some extra time preparing for Era.

For Muenster head coach Allen Cross, the playoff puzzle is easy to figure out.

“If we win the game by two, we are guaranteed a playoff spot,” he said.

So Cross will have someone at the Lindsay-Collinsville game giving him reports. A Lindsay win over Collinsville would require Muenster to win by two or more, which could affect decisions late in the game.

“I’ve got to know what’s going on in that game,” Cross added.

Cross says his team has had a good two weeks of practice for this game and they are excited about the chance to face Era and possibly make the playoffs.

“I think the kids really want to do this,” he said. “Sometimes you wonder if kids are tired of football and ready for basketball, but these kids really want to make the playoffs.”

Both coaches expect a great game between two intra-county rivals.

“I think it will be just like the other games in our district,” Henderson said. “It should be a four-quarter blood bath and I expect it to be decided by less than a touchdown.”

Kickoff will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Muenster.

Lindsay (6-3) at Collinsville (5-3)

The Lindsay Knights have clinched a spot in the playoffs, but now they have their eyes on a district title. The only question remaining is whether they will be the Division I (big school) representative or the first seed in Division II (small school).

If Lindsay beats Collinsville, they are the district champion, but their placement in the playoffs would still depend on the outcome of the Muenster-Era game.

So while the Knights (3-0 district) know they are already in the playoffs no matter what happens Friday, Lindsay head coach Cody Bounds says his team has a bigger prize in mind.

“We’re going to try and go win the football game and win the district championship outright. We haven’t won a district championship outright in Lindsay, Texas in a long time, so we’re trying to go win one,” he said. “That was one of our goals coming in. We wanted to win a district championship, make the playoffs then win a playoff game. So it’s important. It’s what we want to do. But at the same time, we’re not going to get too high on the highs and too low on the lows. We’re going over there to try and win, but if it doesn’t work out, we realize that we have our second season starting.”

Collinsville, on the other hand, can get in the playoffs with a win. There are also two scenarios where the Pirates can lose to Lindsay but still make the playoffs, but it would require Muenster to defeat Era by either one point or five or more points. So you can bet they will be trying to keep their fate in their own hands and win.

“I think they (Collinsville) are going to come out and play their best game. They always do. They don’t like Lindsay very much and they want to beat us, probably as bad as anyone,” Bounds said. “They just don’t like us very much. So I expect them to come out them to come out and be excited and really fired up. We gotta match their intensity and keep things close early on. We gotta keep doing what we’ve been doing and running the football and then mix the run and pass. Defensively we just have to hold them as much as we can. They have some tremendous athletes over there. Hopefully we can slow them down.”

The Knights had no trouble with Blue Ridge last week, winning 43-0. Nick Bezner had 91 yards rushing and 68 passing. He scored two touchdowns on the ground and threw for another. Ross Jones caught six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown and kicked a field goal. Ryan Haverkamp added a rushing touchdown for the Knights, and Robert Arend scored on a 57-yard TD run.

Collinsville (2-1 district) lost to Era 21-18 despite outgaining the Hornets 290-140. The Pirates had 249 yards on the ground, but two interceptions, a blocked punt that Era returned for a touchdown and three missed PAT attempts doomed them.

Mitch Lawdermilk had two rushing touchdowns and threw a 41-yard TD pass to Coby Ragsdale.

Kickoff is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Collinsville.

S&S (2-7) at Callisburg (5-4)

The Callisburg Wildcats can clinched a Class 2A playoff berth with a win over the S&S Consolidated Rams Friday at home. They can actually get in the playoffs even if they lose if Pilot Point beats Aubrey, but the Cats aren’t planning on using that approach.

Callisburg (2-2 in District 10-2A) has played well the past two weeks despite coming away with two losses. Last week, the Wildcats gave state power Pilot Point all they could handle in an 18-13 loss.

“Our kids played super. They (Pilot Point) are a quality team and we could have very well won that game,” Wildcat coach Jerry Bomar said. “We were very disappointed that we lost, because that could have given us a shot at a tri-championship.”

The Wildcats passed for 248 yards against Pilot Point, but only managed 30 yards on the ground, thanks in part to some sacks.

Now, Callisburg will turn their attention to an S&S team that has not won a district game. A win by the Wildcats would put them in the playoffs.

“We are in playoff mode from now on,” Bomar said. “We need to win Friday to get in the playoffs, or at least that’s how we are approaching it. So we are very excited to play Friday.”

Callisburg will hopefully get a lift by the return of defensive end Brandon LaRue, who had ankle surgery and has been out since the second week of the season. The Wildcats also hope to have receiver Jamie Brinlee back in time for the playoffs. Brinlee injured an ankle against Aubrey.

Defensively, Chase McCage leads the Wildcats with 97 tackles, while Crhis Apala is second with 93 and Roger Simmons is third with 76. Bobby Dorman has five interceptions, while Clayton Love had four.

Kickoff will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Callisburg.

Valley View (2-7) at Pottsboro (7-2)

The Valley View Eagles were officially knocked out of playoff contention last Friday with a 49-7 loss to Aubrey. Now, the Eagles (1-3 district) hope to end the season with an upset win over the Pottsboro Cardinals (3-1 district).

The Cardinals have already clinched a playoff berth and will be honoring their seniors in their final home game. But Valley View had 14 seniors that will be playing the final game of their careers.

“We want to finish on a high note and we want our seniors to go out on a positive,” Valley View coach Terry Felderhoff said. “I told them to make sure you do everything you can and leave it all out there on the field. Don’t leave that field with any regrets.”

Felderhoff also hopes his underclassmen will use the game against a playoff team to seek ways to improve for next year.

“Our young kids just need to keep working for what’s to come,” the coach said. “Our juniors have one more year and our sophomores have two more years.”

The Cardinals had an easy win over S&S last week, defeating the Rams 56-21. The Valley View coach says they will present several problems for his team.

“Offensively they move the ball really well,” Felderhoff said of Pottsboro. “They have a great quarterback who throws the ball well, especially the deep ball. Defensively, they are a good, sound unit.”

Kickoff will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Pottsboro.

Sacred Heart (6-3) at Watauga Harvest

The Sacred Heart Tigers already know they are in the TAPPS Division IV playoffs, in fact they already know they will be the district champion and will host a playoff game on Nov. 14 at Tiger Field.

So how do the Tigers get up to play a struggling Watauga Harvest team in the regular season finale?

“The thing we talked about more than anything this week is to get into a playoff mindset because I don’t want to wait until next week. I think it will be too late,” Tiger head coach Dale Schilling said. “So there might not be anything to play for since we are already district champs, but we’re going into there just like it’s a playoff game.”

Last week, Sacred Heart defeated Amarillo Arbor 34-7 in a game that was filled with penalties and turnovers. Schilling wants to see a better performance from his team this week.

“Very much so on both sides of the ball, especially at the start of the game.,” he said “We can’t come out flat. We’ve gotten into that mentality three out of the last four weeks. That’s what we’ve really been stressing this week.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., Friday in Watauga.

Whitesboro (3-6) at Sanger (6-3)

The Whitesboro Bearcats and Sanger Indians will meet Friday in a game that is all about pride. Both teams are out of the playoff hunt in District 9-3A, but both wants to end their season on a high note.

Both teams have only won one district game as each defeated the Gainesville Leopards by two points.

The Bearcats are coming off a 42-13 loss to Celina last Friday. Whitesboro passed for 144 yards and quarterback Travis Labhart rushed for 34 more. Kevin Sparkman and Ryne Gillum each caught three passes totaling 119 yards.

Kickoff will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Sanger

Waxahachie Advantage at Saint Jo (6-3)

The Saint Jo Panthers will get a head start on the rest of the teams in the area as they host Waxahachie Advantage Academy in a non-district game tonight at 7 p.m.

The Panthers have already clinched the Six-Man District 11-A championship and will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs, so after tonight’s game they will have two weeks before they play again. Their likely opponent in that playoff game will be defending state champion Richland Springs.

Saint Jo is coming off a 60-12 win over Greenville Phoenix last Friday.

Gainesville Daily Register Sports Editor

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