My calculator has been tucked away in my drawer. I haven’t had to scribble out in-depth playoff scenarios or call district chairs to get official tiebreaker rules.
Heading into Week 10, every single 11-man school we cover at the newspaper is either in the playoffs or out. It’s pretty crazy. Don’t remember having a tamer final weekend before.
Everyone pretty much took care of business. And a couple teams like Bowie or Iowa Park – who needed to win last Friday to have hope – were defeated.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything at stake this weekend. Quanah-Windthorst and Holliday-Jacksboro will determine the Nos. 2/3 seeds in their district.
And it’s not going to happen, but Burkburnett (which would have to beat Graham) and Electra (which would have to beat Munday) still have theoretical shots at split district titles.
Don’t forget it’s WFHS-Rider weekend as well. That game always draws a big crowd and has a fun atmosphere.
But I’m looking forward more to the first couple rounds of the playoffs than I am Week 10. Hopefully, teams that have clinched can carry momentum into the playoffs and stay healthy.
Here are more thoughts after Week 9:
* They probably won’t last long, but you’ve got to give Burkburnett credit for making the playoffs. Nothing the Bulldogs did during non-district made you think they could do it.
Coach Boswell and staff did an excellent job making those kids believe and pulling the right strings. Going to the Wing-T to surprise Hirschi… Brilliant. Going to the spread against Iowa Park facing a 14-point deficit, hoping your QB who has been injured has a rally in him… Brilliant.
* Iowa Park is headed for its second straight 1-9 season. Hard to imagine. I know Coach Ponder has some young talent coming up. The final record will be misleading, too. This was one of those years the Hawks could have gone 5-5 and made the playoffs. They just couldn’t win a close game at all. And to not score a TD from the 2-yard line when your season depends on it has to be really tough to stomach.
* Rider is locked in as the 4A Division II top seed and will play FW Dunbar first round. Have heard they’ll flip home-and-home. Makes sense because there is nothing neutral that’s very accommodating. Still waiting on Decatur to build a really nice stadium – then it might get some of these games.
* Your 99-percent probable first-round matchups in 3A: Kennedale-Burkburnett (big edge to Kennedale), Graham-Lake Worth (big edge to Steers) and Vernon-Springtown (toss-up). Almost guaranteed we’ll have at least one 3A team make it out of bi-district, which hasn’t happened the past two seasons.
* Even though Jacksboro couldn’t slow Nocona down in the second half, I like the Tigers, especially on offense. They do a lot of different things and are pretty versatile. Kirk Weldon is a player, and he has a great supporting cast. I think Nocona coach Brad Keck was right when he said 5-2A Div. II will fare well during the playoffs.
* Speaking of Nocona, impressed again with the Indians on defense. Besides a long run by Reid Spiller and a long catch-and-run by David Stretcher, the Indians did a fine job not letting Jacksboro WRs get loose after catches. They picked Weldon off once (for only second time all year) and could have had 2-3 more.
* They play in a very hard 2A district, but Bowie will have to go down as one of the area’s disappointments. After making the 3A playoffs, a lot of people (me included) thought the Jackrabbits would be a shoo-in for a 2A playoff spot. But Bowie couldn’t get over the hump against good 5-2A Div. I teams. That opening loss to Boyd was a killer. Now all Bowie can do is play spoiler at Callisburg.
* Munday might have scored 82, but I can almost guarantee the Moguls weren’t trying to run it up like that. When you have three non-offensive TDs (punt, fumble and INT returns), it’s hard. For the record, Roddrick Taylor and Dee Paul combined for only six carries. Six!
* Combine Paul/Taylor’s yearlong stats into one person – with 138 carries, that’s not a ton (15.3 per game) – and you have these numbers: 1,858 rushing yards and 37 TDs. That’s insane.
* It’s kind of odd, but I’ve covered every area 11-man team that has qualified for the playoffs. That never happens. The list (with times seen in parenthesis): Burkburnett (1), Graham (1), Vernon (1), Nocona (2), Holliday (4), Jacksboro (1), Quanah (1), Windthorst (3), Seymour (2), Electra (1) and Munday (2).
* Potential games I’m looking forward to these playoffs: Graham-Glen Rose; Nocona-Gunter; Holliday-Corsicana Mildred; Seymour-Stratford; Quanah-Stamford; Munday-Anybody who can play them within 40.
* Look for my column in Tuesday’s paper breaking down the regions for all of our playoff teams.