Smell that? That's the sweet, sweet air of Texas high school playoff football, and it kicks off tonight all across the state from 4A through 1A. Six weeks - five in 1A - of teams battling for the right to hoist the UIL state championship trophy in December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. For some, it's been 58 years in the making, and for other, it's back to it in hopes of putting another ring on it.
So the big boys (6A and 5A) take a back seat to the quick looks until their respective playoffs start as we peak the six matchups in 4A featuring DFW-area teams.
Sunnyvale (4-4) vs. Ferris (5-4)
After starting the season 1-4 - all losses coming against teams that made the playoffs - Sunnyvale tore through its last three opponents winning with an average score of 51.7 to 11 to enter the playoffs. Last year's Sunnyvale team got to the third round of the playoffs before falling to Texarkana Pleasant Grove. Ferris was almost equally as hot toward the end of the regular season, winning four of five games before dropping the finale to Glen Rose.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. @ Raider Stadium (Sunnyvale)
Line: Sunnyvale favored by 23
Next round: Winner of Mexia/Longview Spring Hill in Area Round
Springtown (8-2) vs. Hereford (3-6)
After rattling off seven straight wins, Springtown saw its district title hopes go by the wayside with a one-score loss to Decatur on October 23, which effectively was the district championship game. During that stretch, Springtown averaged 34 points a game and had a run of three straight games of 41 or more points scored. Here, by way of only being in a four-team district, enters the playoffs having lost four of its last five games and has only scored 20 points in its last three.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. @ Tiger Stadium (Snyder)
Line: Springtown favored by 43
Next round: Winner of El Paso Riverside/Big Spring in Area Round
Dallas Lincoln (4-2) vs. Paris (6-4)
Lincoln enters the playoffs as 8-4A DI champs after going 4-1 in district play, which included a forfeit win over Dallas Carter. In the three other district games it played, Lincoln only allowed 19 points. However in the two losses this year, Lincoln's defense gave up 41 and 45 points, respectively. Paris finished 3-3 in 7-4A DI play and were 1-2 against the other playoff-bound teams with the lone win coming against Kaufman, which was part of a three-game win streak where the offense averaged 39 points a game.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. @ Sprague Athletic Complex (Dallas)
Line: Paris favored by 31
Next round: Winner of Midlothian Heritage/Fort Worth Castleberry in Area Round
Argyle (10-0) vs. North Dallas (2-4)
The consensus No. 1 4A team in the state - Argyle - is rolling. There's no way two-ways to put it. It's only been in competitive games twice, maybe three times, and has only given up more than 7 points once since October 9. It's the 12th straight double-digit win season for Argyle, which has eyes on a state title. Despite losing three of its last four and only having two wins on the season, North Dallas is in the playoffs for the first time in 58 years. North Dallas only cracked double digit scoring in three of its games and its lone played win of the year was the only game it scored more than 20.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. @ Eagle Stadium (Argyle)
Line: Argyle is favored by 68
Next round: Winner of Fort Worth Benbrook/Stephenville in Area Round
Midlothian Heritage (8-2) vs. Fort Worth Castleberry (3-5)
Midlothian Heritage enters on a five-game win streak in which it's won those games by an average of 22.6 points. Four of those games came against district opponents, which helped it land the 5-4A DI district title, including a 10-point win over Waco La Vega. Castleberry saw its three-game win streak snapped a week ago in a 45-point loss to district champion Kennedale.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. @ Midlothian ISD Stadium (Midlothian)
Line: Midlothian Heritage favored by 39
Next round: Winner of Dallas Lincoln/Paris in Area Round
Aubrey (9-1) vs Mineral Wells (2-6)
Aubrey enters the playoff picture with 9 wins after totally just 8 the two seasons combined, and thanks to wins over rivals Celina and Sanger, it was able to lock up t he 4-4A DII district title. Currently, Aubrey is on a five-game win streak, scoring at least 42 points in four of those games. Mineral Wells needed a 3-point win over Bridgeport in the season finale to get into the playoffs after dropping the previous five games.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. @ Ram Stadium (Mineral Wells)
Line: Aubrey favored by 47
Next round: Winner of Midland Greenwood/Seminole in the Area Round
Other intriguing area games for Thursday, November 12
5-5A DI: Frisco Centennial (2-3, 1-3) vs. Frisco Independence (2-3, 2-1)
4-6A: Byron Nelson (3-4, 1-2) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (1-3, 0-2)
6-5A DI: Dallas Adams (2-3, 2-2) vs. Dallas Wilson (5-0, 4-0)
Another solid week in my picks, going 12-2 last week (missing the picks for Richland and DeSoto).
Here are the Week 12 picks (combining Star-Telegram picks and Dallas Morning News and Denton Record-Chronicle assignments:
Parish over Nolan Catholic
Kennedale over Brownwood
Burleson over Everman
Duncanville over Cedar Hill
Grapevine over North Side
Allen over Guyer
John Paul II over Prestonwood
Southwest over South Hills
SGP over Arlington
Argyle over North Dallas
Denton Braswell over McKinney
Arlington Lamar over Arlington Houston
Overall: 109-21 (83.85%)
Week 11: 12-2
Week 10: 11-1
Week 9: 12-2
Week 8: 10-3
Week 7: 9-3
Week 6: 11-1
Week 5: 11-3
Week 4: 6-2
Week 3: 10-0
Week 2: 9-2
Week 1: 8-2