Are you ready for this week's Friday Night Faceoff?
Each week, WFAA.com brings you live coverage of a top high school football matchup in the DFW area. Follow along with high schools contributor Reece Kelley Graham (@ReeceKelleyG) as he provides updates on the teams throughout the week, plus live coverage on social media and the postgame recap.
There's lots of games on Friday, but join us at @wfaasports on Twitter for updates on the biggest games throughout the Metroplex!
Week 5's matchup: Cedar Hill at No. 4 DeSoto
Who: Cedar Hill Longhorns (1-2, 0-0 District 7-6A) at DeSoto Eagles (3-0, 0-0 District 7-6A)
Where: DeSoto's Eagle Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
Friday Night Faceoffs don't get much bigger, folks. This week, WFAA.com takes you south of I-20 for "The Battle of Beltline" between Cedar Hill and No. 4 DeSoto – two of DFW's perennial powers. It's an Ali vs. Frazier type matchup, and this year, it comes early. With these teams set to open play in the always competitive 7-6A, Friday's game will determine the early favorite for the district crown. DeSoto, who won its first state championship last season, has reason to be confident despite so many new faces taking over the Eagles' explosive offense. Cedar Hill is experiencing its own growing pains under first-year head coach Carlos Lynn. Both teams are stacked with Division-I talent, and experienced defenses might make the traditional slugfest more technical and gritty than ever before. We've got a real slobberknocker in store.
Here's what you need to know about the Cedar Hill Longhorns
When Carlos Lynn left Cedar Hill in 2008, he didn't go far. Lynn took over as head coach at Arlington Seguin, just a short drive around Joe Pool Lake from where he had served as an assistant for nine years.
Now he's back. And the Longhorns, who've experienced less personnel turnover than their district rival, look poised to upset the Eagles.
Cedar Hill opened the season with road losses to Allen and Mansfield before taking down a talented Mesquite Horn team two weeks ago.
Winning in Allen was probably never going to happen, and the win over Horn was a nice surprise. The Mansfield loss was a head-scratcher, but the Longhorns turned over the ball three times in a 17-point defeat. That's the same number of turnovers they had against Allen. Take those away, and the corresponding 21 points scored because of them, and both of those losses become a lot closer.
The too long, didn't read: Cedar Hill is much, much better than its record suggests.
Some are calling this season a "down year" or "a rebuild." When a team has this much talent, they won't be rebuilding anytime soon.
The Longhorns are a meat & potatoes football team – the classic combination of size and skill that wins championships in Texas.
Cedar Hill returns four starters on offense and six on defense. The Longhorns have some serious weapons at the skill positions and an impressive group of defensive backs.
The offensive line is loaded and creates a lot of mismatches for Cedar Hill's opponents.
Senior Parker Cupp weighs in at 286 pounds. Steven Carter is 270. Cortland Clark, who also plays on the defensive line, is only a sophomore... 315.
Have fun with those guys.
Behind them, quarterback Shayne Lawrence and running back Cameron Fleming are wreaking havoc.
Fleming rushed for 409 yards and six touchdowns last season. He's what I like to call a lurker. Few realize how big of a scoring threat he is until he's already in the endzone.
Wide receiver Josh Fleeks hauled in close to 700 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last season. The 4-star receiver earned multiple Power 5 offers and is committed to Baylor, per his 247Sports page.
If anyone in DFW can match the prowess of DeSoto's secondary, Cedar Hill would be the one.
TCU commit Donavann Collins and Chris Henderson are a great duo at cornerback, as are safeties Jamarceon Jackson and Navy commit Courtney Ogilvie.
Shabazz Dotson is dominant and versatile at defensive end, able to stop the pass and the run. His list of Division-I offers grows by the week.
Cedar Hill is also deep at linebacker. Kebreyun Page and Chase Albercrombie will be relied upon heavily to slow down DeSoto's running attack.
Phasing in new starters is always challenging, and sometimes, the speed at which new players acclimate can make or break a season.
It appears that DeSoto has the jump on Cedar Hill in that department, but everything is starting to click for the Longhorns in time for rivalry week.
Cedar Hill hasn't played mistake-free football yet. The Longhorns aren't undefeated. The program is looking to make an example of someone.
And maybe that's enough to will Cedar Hill to an upset.
Maybe the early draw of a district rival is a blessing in disguise.