Here's a preview of the five DFW matchups you need to know this Friday:
Friday Night Faceoff: Arlington Martin at Mansfield
Who: Arlington Martin Warriors (5-0, 2-0 District 4-6A) at Mansfield Tigers (4-1, 2-0 District 4-6A)
Where: Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
"The Warriors are like the Death Star from 'Star Wars.' You didn't know they were there until they blew up your planet. They even dress in black, just like The Empire. Last week, Martin practically turned Cravens Field into a crime scene. The Warriors destroyed Fort Worth Paschal 76-0. Brutality at its finest."
"The most obvious missing piece is four-star running back Kennedy Brooks, who's now an Oklahoma Sooner. The Tigers leaned on him heavily during their district run last season. But many of the key offensive weapons remain. Senior quarterback Shawn Hartsfield is already outpacing his number numbers from last season, having thrown for nearly 800 yards and seven touchdowns. Hartsfield threw for 1400 yards last season, so he's well on his way to setting a new career-high."
Prediction: Arlington Martin 35, Mansfield 31
Plano at No. 1 Allen
Who: Plano Wildcats (4-1, 1-1 District 6-6A) at Allen Eagles (5-0, 2-0 District 6-6A)
Where: Allen's Eagle Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
Notable: District 6-6A has been pretty fun this season despite Denton Guyer having a down year. Allen, the perennial national power, continues to dominate behind the arm of Grant Tisdale and the legs of Brock Sturges. Plano dropped a close one to McKinney last week – all the more reason Allen should be slightly nervous. The Wildcats should rebound strong and running back Kyron Cumby will make Plano competitive. The Eagles are looking for their 30th straight win at Eagle Stadium, and they'll probably get it.
Prediction: Allen 38, Plano 21
Lake Highlands at Coppell
Who: Lake Highlands Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 District 9-6A) at Coppell Cowboys (4-1, 2-0 District 9-6A)
Where: Coppell's Buddy Echols Field – 7:30 p.m.
Notable: This game will decide whether or not we should declare Coppell the 9-6A champion a month ahead of schedule. But if the Cowboys lose, this race becomes interesting. Jesuit took down Skyline this week, meaning the Rangers still sit at one loss – their loss to Coppell. If Lake Highlands wins tonight, Jesuit and Coppell would be tied for the district lead with the Cowboys still having to go through Skyline.
Jesuit needs both Lake Highlands and Skyline to beat Coppell to have any shot at the district crown – it's a slim chance, but anything can happen.
Prediction: Coppell 49, Lake Highlands 27
Prestonwood at Bishop Lynch
Who: Prestonwood Lions (4-1, 2-0 TAPPS 1-I) at Bishop Lynch (5-0, 2-0 TAPPS 1-I)
Where: Roffino Stadium – 7 p.m.
Notable: A rematch of the TAPPS semifinals last year. The Friars already dominated rival Bishop Dunne earlier this season and now take aim at Prestonwood. The Lions average more than 40 points and the Friars allow an average of less than 10. Something's got to give.
Prediction: Bishop Lynch 38, Prestonwood 27
Sleeper game: West Mesquite at No. 3 Highland Park
Who: West Mesquite Wranglers (5-0, 2-0 District 15-5A) at Highland Park Scots (4-1, 2-0 15-5A)
Where: Highland Park's Highlander Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
Notable: With two wins over 6A teams (Garland Lakeview Centennial and Rockwall-Heath), the Wranglers are underrated. Highland Park better watch out, even at home. How will quarterback John Stephen Jones perform against a West Mesquite defense allowing just 11 points per game?
Prediction: Highland Park 31, West Mesquite 28