Duncan: Looking ahead to playoff roads

Zach Duncan

Burkburnett deserves a lot of credit for shrugging off a dreadful start and capturing District 5-3A's final playoff spot.

However, the Bulldogs' reward is hardly pleasant. There isn't a tougher postseason road for any team in the area.

Because Mineral Wells almost certainly won't make the playoffs, Burkburnett will face 6-3A winner Kennedale (7-2) in the first round.

Right now, pigskinprep.com has the Bulldogs 44-point underdogs, but let's just say they pull a shocking upset. Stranger things have happened.

Then guess who Burkburnett faces? How about No. 3 Stephenville, which dropped down from Class 4A this year, already beat 4A No. 3 Aledo and is the 3A Division I favorite.

Here's a look at the area's other playoff teams and the obstacles awaiting them in the upcoming weeks:

Region I-4A Div. II: A couple of weeks ago, Rider received the good news that Aledo was almost certainly headed for Division I.

The Raiders, who should get past Fort Worth Dunbar in bi-district, will still have a tough second-round opponent. FW Southwest's only district loss was a 24-8 setback against Aledo.

It's often hard to tell how competitive West Texas teams are, but Canyon Randall looks like it'd present a formidable third-round challenge. Randall's only loss was in overtime to Amarillo, a team that a healthy Rider team rallied to beat in the final seconds.

Saginaw Boswell and Frenship are potential matchups for the regional title, but there's not really a team that should scare Rider in this region.

Region I-3A Div. II: District 7-3A looks to have the best two teams in this region as both Alvarado and Glen Rose played Stephenville within two touchdowns.

Vernon has one of those tossup bi-district games against Springtown. If the Lions survive, Alvarado — a notch below its 2011 state finalist form — would be a really tough matchup.

Graham gets an easier first-round draw (Lake Worth), but the Steers would face Glen Rose in the Area round. Pigskinprep.com has the Tigers as the region's highest-ranked team.

Graham is certainly very talented, and that's a second-round matchup I'd really like to see. If the Steers take that one, they'll have a chance to win the region.

Region II-2A Div. II: This week's Holliday-Jacksboro winner will take second place in district and get an easier opening matchup, but I think the third seed has a good chance of beating Tolar in bi-district.

It would be really cool to see a Nocona-Holliday rematch in the regional finals. But there are a couple schools that could definitely spoil that.

Corsicana Mildred (8-1) awaits 5-2A's second seed in the third round and appears to be firing on all cylinders entering its regional title defense. But Mildred isn't unbeatable — Class 2A No. 6 Clarksville hammered the Eagles 70-22 in the second week of the season.

Nocona will most likely have to get through Edgewood (9-1) in the second round and Gunter (8-1) in the third. The way the Indians are playing right now, an appearance in the quarterfinals is a decent possibility.

Region I-A Div. I: This region goes through Stamford, plain and simple. The Bulldogs were state finalists last year and are among the favorites to go back to Cowboys Stadium.

Having said that, I believe Quanah and Seymour will make some noise. The Indians, provided they beat Windthorst this week to clinch the No. 2 seed, would face Stamford first if it could get past Sundown in the second round.

If Seymour wins its area-round game, it gets a real tough third-round test in Stratford. The Elks are look pretty stout on paper, but the Panthers could make a repeat trip to the state quarterfinals with a win.

As for the Trojans, they'll face Anson, one of Class A's biggest surprises right off the bat if they don't beat Quanah this week. That would be followed by Stratford.

Region II-A Div. II: This obviously is Munday's region to lose. The Moguls have beaten their closest regional competition — Albany and Muenster — by a combined 62 points.

The Moguls won't really be tested until the regional finals (and maybe not there, either), but Electra will be tested against Hamlin in its opener. If the Tigers knock off the Pied Pipers a second straight year, another winnable game looms with 6-A champion Eldorado.

Six-Man Div. I: You know how I said Burkburnett has it rough? Well, so does Throckmorton.

The No. 4 Greyhounds are looking at having to face the top three teams — No. 1 Water Valley, No. 3 Ira and No. 2 Valley (in that order) — after what should be an easy first-round matchup.

I'm not about to sit here and write Throckmorton can't do it. I just think it'll be a difficult grind the Greyhounds hadn't seen being in the eastern half of the playoff bracket the past two years.

Crowell is a really good team, too, but I think the Wildcats bow out to Ira in the first round.

Six-Man Div. II: Chillicothe and Northside have difficult first-round tests against undefeated Aspermont and Jayton. Jayton already beat Chillicothe once this year.

Newcastle looks to have the best chance of advancing beyond the first week, but will have to pull off a couple upsets to make a repeat semifinal trip.

TAPPS A Div. II: The TAPPS brackets are screwy. The private school governing body instituted wild cards based on a point system that is far too complicated to explain.

This is all you need to know. Notre Dame is sixmanfootball.com's No. 1 team in this division and is favored by 30 points over the next closest pursuer. The Knights haven't done anything yet to question their high ranking. Looks like a state title could be in store.

© 2012 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Season leaders

Passing:

1. Ben Davis, Graham (2,690Yds, 28TDs)
2. Chase London, Rider (2,389Yds, 28TDs)
3. Taylor Thomas, Olney (2,303Yds, 11TDs)
4. Zach Barton, Seymour (2,036Yds, 31TDs)


Rushing:

1. D. J. Thomas, Jacksboro (1,488Yds, 20TDs)
2. Cedric Battle, Hirschi (1,323Yds, 19TDs)
3. Michael Bishop, Electra (1,281Yds, 17TDs)
4. Marquis Askew, Burkburnett (1,254Yds, 8TDs)


Receiving:

1. Davon Allison, Rider (1,366Yds, 14TDs)
2. Bryce Reeves, Graham (1,043Yds, 11TDs)
3. Mike Clark, Olney (910Yds, 5TDs)
4. Dalton Jackson, City View (675Yds, 7TDs)
5. Cody Adams, Seymour (670Yds, 8TDs)


>> See complete stats


Tackles:

1. Zack Ballard, Olney (201)
2. Brady Brunson, Burkburnett (152)
3. Corey Luster, Vernon (135)
4. Gage Robinson, Bowie (132)
5. Elijah Hull, Hirschi (125)
6. Marcus Leija, Quanah (122)
7. Tristan Sherman, Holliday (113)
8. Garrett Johnson, Jacksboro (112)
9. Austin Martinez, Quanah (112)


Sacks:

1. Justin Silva, City View (10)
2. Treston Shepherd, Seymour (7)
3. Daytona Politakis, Nocona (7)
4. Kevin Stallcup, Bowie (7)
5. Cody Fletcher, Henrietta (7)
6. Garrett Johnson, Jacksboro (9)
7. Baltazar Castro, Seymour (6)
8. Logan Carter, Henrietta (6)
9. Tristan Willard, Nocona (6)


Interceptions:

1. David Stretcher, Jacksboro (6)
2. Brad Slade, Bowie (5)
3. Jay Ward, Bowie (5)
4. Hagen Hughes, Graham (5)
5. Mikey Feeze, Graham (4)


>> See complete stats


Passing:

1. Mitchell Parsley, Crowell (1,708Yds, 30TDs)
2. Cody McElroy, Notre Dame (1,677Yds, 33TDs)
3. Bryson Oliver, Throckmorton (1,286Yds, 27TDs)
4. Tyler Mays, Newcastle (922Yds, 18TDs)


Rushing:

1. Cody McElroy, Notre Dame (1,579Yds, 35TDs)
2. Trinity Haggard, Throckmorton (1,326Yds, 21TDs)
3. Aaron Baker, W. Christian (1,320Yds, 20TDs)
4. Chris Lewis, Knox City (1,214Yds, 19TDs)


Receiving:

1. William Hogan, Crowell (422Yds, 13TDs)
2. Nathan Wilson, Newcastle (419Yds, 8TDs)
3. Hayden Farquhar, Throckmorton (413Yds, 10TDs)
4. Michael Fantini, Notre Dame (410Yds, 4TDs)
5. Nathan Riley, Throckmorton (369Yds, 8TDs)

>> See complete stats


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