I’m pretty glad the first week of the playoffs is done with.
With everybody and their dog qualifying for the postseason – and it’s only getting worse next year in 3A and 2A – there are some bad teams who advance.
Really, our area usually represents itself well. We lost all four of our area No. 3 district seeds, but there’s no shame in how Windthorst and Holliday went out. And Electra would have had more of a chance if not for a couple suspensions.
Burkburnett did what it needed to get in, but honestly the Bulldogs weren’t a playoff-caliber squad. 5-3A was pretty weak after Graham and Vernon. Still, getting an extra week of practice and losing by 68 is better than calling it a season after 10 games.
The blowouts should mostly end this week (unless you’re facing Munday). A lot – not all – but most of the bad teams didn’t last the first week.
It seems like there are more really exciting matchups this round than usual. In fact, if some of our teams get by Friday, the third round offers what looks like an easier matchup.
Look at Rider, for example. The Raiders should be tested some against FW Southwest, but the next opponent would be an El Paso team (yawn) or Hereford, which was 4-6 before shocking 9-1 Canyon Randall.
If Graham gets by Glen Rose, the third-round games looks easier on paper. Then again, you know how far paper goes. Ask Highland Park, which was upset in the 4A playoffs by Frisco.
Some other thoughts from the first postseason weekend:
* This was a pretty weird year for Holliday. The Eagles finished 6-5, but that’s about as bad a record as they could have had.
Two OT losses, another by 1 point and a 3-point loss against Vernon. The only game they got torched was against Munday.
So realistically the Eagles could have been 8-2 into the playoffs. And if Jacob Cole doesn’t get hurt early against Tolar, the Eagles would have had a better chance of winning.
Ultimately, Holliday’s defense played pretty well but not well enough to make up for an offense that struggled at times finding a rhythm.
* I knew Lake Worth had been affected by injuries pretty good, but I didn’t know the extent until I saw the Fort Worth paper’s story online. Their QB was the third-stringer (and was really a RB) and they had another RB out.
That makes me feel a bit better. Still, the Steers are playing well enough right now that a healthy Lake Worth wouldn’t have mattered.
* There weren’t a lot of exciting first-round matchups. And Vernon jumped on Springtown early to seize that game quickly. I picked against the Lions, but they proved me wrong, especially by forcing so many turnovers.
I think that will change this week. We have four 3A/2A teams this week – Graham, Vernon, Jacksboro and Nocona. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they combined to go 4-0 or 0-4. It’s just that type of week.
Vernon may have the toughest matchup, but Graham is going against someone who many believe is the regional favorite (Glen Rose). And I expect down-to-the-wire showdowns with Nocona-Edgewood and Jacksboro-Clarksville, too.
* I know Valley and Ira are still out there too, but I’m getting a feeling the Throckmorton-Water Valley winner will be the Six-Man Division I state champ.
* Tough break for Windthorst, which played Anson well even though it lost QB Chandler King. Trojans were bitten a little too much by injury bug this year.
* I’m begging coaches to play on Saturdays. I know why the small schools aren’t doing it — because our area 2A/A title games are on Thursday, Dec. 20. But I’d love to catch more than one game this weekend and unfortunately won’t be able to. Looks like I’ll be at Nocona-Edgewood.
And if your team is already done but you want to see some football, we’ve got Rider at Memorial on Friday. Or you could see both Vernon and Graham play. Lions are at 2 p.m. and Steers are at 5 p.m., and it’s a real short drive from Weatherford to Springtown.