Week Zero DFW Class 4A Insider

Week Zero DFW Class 4A Insider
Dallas Wilson at Denton: Denton opens the season at home and the Broncos will be looking for some momentum as they try and get their program turned around. I expect Denton to be much improved this year, but Woodrow has too much talent and experience for DHS. LB Chad Polk is one of the most underrated players in the entire area and he leads what should be a strong defensive unit. Look for the Wildcats to focus on the ground game as finding a lead back will be priority number one as they head into district play. Matt's Pick: Dallas Wilson by 24
Richardson Pearce at Lake Dallas: On paper this looks to be a very even matchup, both teams are coming off excellent 2009 seasons and both teams have lots of questions. Lake Dallas is rated slightly higher than Pearce but matchup wise I think Pearce has enough to pull off the mild upset. The Mustangs despite the heavy offensive losses have plenty of weapons including versatile junior Corey Coleman, but Pearce still has weaknesses on the defensive end. I just don't know if in Week 0 Lake Dallas will have developed the offensive chemistry to expose the weaknesses in Pearce. I'll go with the Mustangs. Matt's Pick: Richardson Pearce by 7

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Little Elm at Greenville: This is a battle of teams who had turnaround seasons in 2009, Little Elm made the playoffs for the first time as a Class 4A school while Greenville posted their first winning season in several years going 6-4. Little Elm will look to get things done with a strong defense that is one of the better units in the area, they Lobos aren't very dynamic on the offense but they do pound people with their running game and try to control the clock. Greenville went through an off-season coaching change but I think that won't affect the Lions too much. The problem for Greenville will be a lack of depth along both fronts and that's where Little Elm has the distinct edge. Matt's Pick: Little Elm by 10
Wichita Falls Rider at Abilene Cooper: This may be one of the better matchups in regards to the outlying outposts of DFW. Expect Rider to be one of the more improved teams in the area as they have a strong senior class led by QB Malcolm Carter and FB/DL Blaine Townsend. The Raiders key will be finding an indentity and sticking with it. Abilene Cooper's identity is a high powered offense that can be beat you in a number of different ways. The key for the Cougars offensive attack is the play of their versatile running backs Davon Riddick and Alford Cooper. I think Cooper's versatility on the offensive side of the ball will be too much for ROHO to overcome, as I don't think Rider has the firepower to keep up with Cooper in a shootout. Matt's Pick: Abilene Cooper by 12
Denton Ryan at Sulphur Springs: Coach Florence returns to his old stomping grounds for a game that for me is easily one of the more intriguing matchups in the area. The Raiders defense which is packed with stars will get tested as SSHS is typically one of the more high powered attacks in East Texas. However, I expect the Ryan pass rush led by Prosper transfer Mario Edwards to do some serious damage. The key for Denton Ryan on the offensive side of the ball will be getting RB Kaylon Alexander on track so he can take a little pressure off of the new QB. In the end I think Ryan's talent wins out although because the game is in Sulphur Springs it'll be a little closer. Matt's Pick: Denton Ryan by 11
Sherman at The Colony: The Bearcats travel south into the DFW area to take on a The Colony squad still looking to establish itself at the 4A level. Last year in Coach Kinne's first game at the helm the Bearcats stunned Rockwall-Heath. This year the Bearcats are fairly large favorites and I think their skill talent led by QB Thor Long and RB Zach Whitfield will simply overwhelm the Cougars. This doesn't appear to be a good matchup for The Colony and I'd be surprised if the Cougars kept in within three touchdowns. Matt's Pick: Sherman by 25
Burkburnett at Wichita Falls: A long standing rivalry to open the 2010 season is never a bad thing, and it's no secret these two squads have had some battles in the past. The Bulldogs graduated some of the big guys up front and there's even talk of BHS opening up the offense a bit more this year to take advantage of some of the talent they have on hand. Old High is in year number two under alum Jayson Lavender and I expect the 'Yotes to improve but will it be enough for a playoff spot? The Coytoes have been without Louisiana Tech commit WR Devontay Chaffin for the first couple of scrimmages, if he's back he gives WFHS a dimension that Burkburnett has no answer for. If he misses this game Old High wins but it'll be much closer. Matt's Pick: Wichita Falls by 10
Stephenville at Aledo: This is by far the must see game of the week at the 4A level in DFW. These two met up in a classic area playoff game last year at Cowboys Stadium as Aledo won an overtime thriller en route to winning the State Championship. I expect this year's game to be more of the same. Aledo on offense returns every key skill position player led by junior sensation RB Johnathan Gray, who had a ridiculous sophomore season. A key area to watch in this matchup is how Aledo's offensive line matches up with the Stephenville defensive line, I think this is where the game may be won or lost. On paper Aledo's offensive line may be better, but games are rarely won on paper. I think Stephenville led by their outstanding RB James Myles will be able to move the ball against the young Bearcats defense, so the key will be can Stephenville get stops? I'm not sure they can either as the one question I do have about Stephenville is up front on D. I expect a shootout but in the end I'll take Aledo at home, they've got some MOJO working over the 'Jackets and I think it continues at home. However come playoff time I may wind up taking the Jackets. Matt's Pick: Aledo by 4
Azle at Joshua: Former Azle star player Devon Dorris has returned to coach his alma mater and bring the Hornets back to respectability. It will be a tough first year for Azle as the Hornets graduated a large senior class and will be very young. The future looks bright as Azle does have some talent in the pipeline but it'll be a year or two before it arrives. Coach Bird is in year three at Joshua and I think this is a year he's hoping for some progress. Realignment wasn't real kind so getting out of the district cellar might be tough but I do expect Joshua to get off to a good start with a win at home to open the season. Matt's Pick: Joshua by 13
Fort Worth Paschal at NRH Birdville: This will be a battle of teams who both suffered heavy graduation losses and are in the process of rebuilding in 2010. Birdville, who has been a consistent playoff team at the 4A level at this time appears much more capable of withstanding a rebuilding year than their opponents. Paschal is rebuilding and facing the task of being in a much tougher district. That spells trouble in 2010 and I think Birdville rolls in this one. Matt's Pick: NRH Birdville by 28
Richland at Saginaw Boswell: I like the entertainment value of this game, both teams have the ability to score a ton of points in a hurry. Richland comes in with slightly different agenda this year, known mostly as an offensive team its Richland's defense that is grabbing headlines with LB's Nico Ornelas and junior Jeremiah Tshimanga. Tshimanga is physically one of the most imposing prospects in the state and is the kind of kid you want getting off the bus first. Richland does have a few questions on offense mainly revolving around inexperience behind center and developing a consistent ground game. Boswell appears to be a team on the upswing and could be a pleasant surprise in DFW. The Pioneers will be able to move the ball on a lot of teams, keep an eye on WR Devin Duke he is a kid who could really have a big season. In the end I think Richland finds a way to get a 38-35 type win. Matt's Pick: Richland by 3
Springtown at Frisco Heritage: Frisco Heritage makes their varsity debut against a Springtown squad that should be right in the playoff mix in 5-4A. The Porcupines have plenty of offensive weapons and should score a lot of points this year. Where POJO struggles is in the running game and in order for them to be viable threat in the postseason that will need to get developed so their defense which isn't very big, fast or deep doesn't stay on the field too much. Frisco Heritage doesn't have seniors and looks to be a team that will struggle quite a bit in 2010, winning a single game will be an accomplishment this year. Matt's Pick: Springtown by 32
North Dallas at FW Carter-Riverside: North Dallas has high hopes for the 2010 season as the Bulldogs have one of their best senior classes in sometime, but the enthusiasm was dampened a bit with the sudden departure of HC Meredith Hamilton right before the start of two-a-days. RB Geremi Aldridge is a difference maker for NDHS and if he gets any room to run he can make things happen. One coach who has quietly done a good job is James Jeffries at Carter-Riverside, once the butt of jokes in Fort Worth the Eagles have become a competitive team. Numbers are improved in the program and despite the move back to Class 4A many think Carter-Riverside can possibly post a .500 record. In this matchup I think North Dallas has more playmakers and that's the difference in a game that otherwise looks pretty even. Matt's Pick: North Dallas by 6
Fort Worth Dunbar at Dallas South Oak Cliff: This one might have blowout potential written all over it. A very young Dunbar squad will travel over to Dallas to keep their yearly series going with the Golden Bears. The Wildcats will have new players at nearly every key offensive skill position including QB where Everman transfer Ronald Dickerson will pilot the attack. South Oak Cliff is in year three under HC Kendall Miller and this could be a breakthrough season as the Bears are deep and talented. I expect SOC to outman Dunbar across the board. Matt's Pick: South Oak Cliff by 26
Fort Worth South Hills at Dallas Jefferson: It's a battle of teams who were not only winless in 2009 but also teams with brand new head coaches. Former Eastern Hills and North Crowley OC J.J. Resendez is hoping his wide open spread offense can pull the South Hills Scorpions out of a two year downward spiral. Former McGregor HC David Haynes is trying to do the near impossible at TJ and that is make the Patriots a competitive program, in 2009 TJ scored a total of six points. I think TJ has a much steeper climb ahead of them and South Hills gets their first win since 2008. Matt's Pick: FW South Hills by 16
Fort Worth Wyatt at Dallas Lincoln: I think this is by far the best matchup of the FWISD vs. DISD non-district tilts in Week Zero. Both teams have plenty of talent on hand, Wyatt's appears to be more on the offensive side with RB Johnny Perry, QB Dante Gentry and WR/DB Tymajrick Jackson. Lincoln is led by Baylor commit LB Devante Davis and Arizona commit DB Kerry Swarn. The wild card for Lincoln and a possible difference maker is versatile Trevante Ebron who was an all-state DB at Thomas Jefferson last year, he could be a guy who makes a big offensive impact for Lincoln this year. Matt's Pick: Dallas Lincoln by 7
Dallas Madison at Cleburne: Class 3A Madison makes the trip south on Highway 67 to take on a Cleburne team that seems to be on the upswing after a strong 2009 campaign. The Trojans are confident this is one of their better teams to come through in recent years but this opener might be tough as Cleburne has one of the real homefield advantages in the area. YellowJacket Stadium is simply a tough place to go in and get a win and with hopes high in Johnson County I expect a full house on hand for this one. Although CHS took some losses in graduation they still have one of the top backs in DFW you may not have heard of in L.J. Holmes, Jackets win going away. Matt's Pick: Cleburne by 17
Arlington Sam Houston at Crowley: These two continue their non-district series which began a couple of years back but there's plenty of new faces around the Crowley program as former Arlington OC Chris James is the new man in charge at CHS. He's got plenty of familiarity with the Sam Houston aerial circus which will be one of the most difficult offenses in the area to stop with Jamal Turner and Kameel Jackson leading the way. Crowley is moving from a run based attack to the true spread offense and there may be some kinks to work out but they do have an outstanding weapon in WR LaBradford Harold. I think we have a shootout on our hands but in the end I'll go with the Texans who have the offensive experience and firepower. Matt's Pick: Arlington Sam Houston by 11
Everman vs. Highland Park: Although considered a neutral site game this is in effect a home game for the Scots. The Bulldogs on paper look to have more firepower this year and may in fact be a much more balanced squad, their secondary looks to be more equipped to handle the deadly efficient HP passing game led by TCU commit James Bailey. Everman's offense will be led by RB Cory Franklin, but they've also got a freshman who will see time in Terrance Cook. The Scots will be big and physical up front, but it'll be interesting to see which of their three capable signal callers will be taking snaps. Jake Howeth is the runner but he could spend most of his time in the secondary, senior Preston Edwards and junior Brady Burgin will be the the two to watch. Regardless of who is taking the snaps I expect the Scots offense to run like a well oiled machine and their size along the offensive line should wear down a smallish Everman defensive front as the heat will be play a role with this being a 4:30 start. Look for this one to be close but HP pulls away late for the win. Matt's Pick: Highland Park by 15
Saginaw at Granbury: Saginaw after making the playoffs for the first time in school history last year makes the move up to Class 5A where they will be competing in a very tough district. The Roughriders have a new coach and some solid young talent but it may need some time for seasoning. Thus I expect a rough year for SHS. Granbury broke a long losing streak last year and I expect continued improvement under HC Scotty Pugh, the Pirates struggled on offense but their defense played very well at times and kept them competitive in a lot of games. I think this winds up being a close one but in the end I think Saginaw breaks a couple of big plays and that's the difference in this one. Matt's Pick: Saginaw by 12
Keller Fossil Ridge at Mansfield Summit: This is a game that could tell a lot about two teams with high hopes heading into the season. KFR brings back all eleven defense starters and the vast majority of their playmakers from last year, led by WR Steven West. Mansfield Summit drops to 4A after really improving towards the end of the season and they feel like they can contend for a district championship, QB Xavier Williams is an underrated player and moving Lewis Washington back to his natural position of running back should help the Jaguars offense. I think this is a pick 'em game on paper but I'll take Fossil Ridge simply because of the experience returning on defense. Matt's Pick: Keller Fossil Ridge by 8
Ennis at Arlington Seguin:Ennis is playing their first game in the post Sam Harrell era as Coach Harrell stepped down from his role as head coach to battle MS. The Lions had a very talented squad last year but injuries derailed any hopes of a playoff run. This year not only is Ennis transitioning to a new head coach but they are doing it with a very young squad. Seguin on the other hand is loaded with experience at nearly every position and in year three under HC Carlos Lynn the hopes are high that Cougars can break through in 2010. Defense has been strong the past for years for Seguin but the offense needs to develop more consistency if they want to break through. I think this is the year for big things from the Cougars and they pull the minor upset over a one time giant who is not at the level they once were. Matt's Pick: Arlington Seguin by 9
Frisco at McKinney: Former district rivals split apart by realignment hook up to open up the 2010 season in Collin County. Although Frisco should be much improved this year, (expect their long losing skid to end sometime in 2010) they won't be able to match up with a McKinney squad returning one of the top backs in the state in Damion Willis. McKinney will be much better on the defensive side of the ball this year and I expect the offense to continue to be strong with Willis taking the pressure off a young QB. Matt's Pick: McKinney by 17
Keller Central at Carrollton Smith: The first game of TheOldCoach Classic pits a Keller Central squad looking for their first trip to the playoffs against Coach Ressa's Newman Smith Trojans who are coming off their best season in school history. Central has some questions offensively but they've got an outstanding prospect in DB Zack Sanchez. Newman Smith on paper has more speed and size than last year but can they find the leadership and football smarts they once had with some of the guys who have graduated? LB Jeremy Stallworth is one a man wrecking crew on the defensive side of the ball and is a kid who may be one of the top players in the entire state, he's that good. I expect the Trojans defense to dominate in this one as a young offense matures. Matt's Pick: Carrollton Smith by 10
Garland Naaman Forest at Rockwall-Heath: Both these teams come into the 2010 looking to rebound from disappointing seasons. Naaman Forest in Mark Elam's first year stumbled in the 10-5A standings, while Rockwall-Heath got to the playoffs but it was a quick exit. The Rangers on paper look to be in a full rebuild mode and in essence gearing up to get back to respectability in a year or two. The Hawks bring back some excellent talent led by RB Dorian Lawry. I expect Rockwall-Heath to be plenty explosive on the offensive side of the ball and that'll be more than enough in this one. Matt's Pick: Rockwall-Heath by 20
West Mesquite at Rockwall: The Wranglers are sheik pick by many to not only do well in District 15-4A but also be a contender come playoff time. With one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the area, expect West to be very dangerous. QB Trevone Boykin is the trigger man for the attack, a three year starter with a rocket arm Boykin is also very good at making plays with his feet. The questions for West Mesquite revolve around their defense and being able to put together stops. Rockwall has a powerful ground game led by RB Josh Broach and I expect the Yellowjackets to have the advantage with depth and size on both the offensive and defensive lines. However I am not sure Rockwall will have enough on the defensive side to slow down the West Mesquite offensive attack. Matt's Pick: West Mesquite by 8
North Forney at Wylie East: One team is going to get their first win in school history as the two first time varsity programs lace it up for real on Friday night. Both teams are built in similar fashion as they both feature spread offenses with good athletes at the skill positions but questions up front. On paper it appears Wylie East has the edge depth wise so in a battle of teams we know very little about I'll go with the Raiders of Wylie East. Matt's Pick: Wylie East by 7
Dallas Adamson vs. Dallas Roosevelt: The Leopards who are coming off their first trip to the playoffs in a while have high hopes they can get back to back playoff appearances for the first time in school history under first year HC Josh Ragsdale. Adamson has questions behind center but at every other position they have solid experience back, the top offensive weapons will be running backsQwaii Clark and Airron Cowthorn. Roosevelt is coming off a winless season but second year HC Terrance Lewis has a ton of experience back and is expecting major improvement. I think early in the season Adamson has the clear edge as Roosevelt still is ironing out the kinks. Matt's Pick: Dallas Adamson by 13
Dallas Carter at Lancaster: This is a neighborhood rivalry that is starting to heat up quite a bit. Carter has taken the first two meetings but heading into this one Lancaster looks to have the edge. The Cowboys will be very young this year as CHS could have up to ten sophomores starting or seeing significant action. Lancaster is once again loaded with several Division 1 talents anchored by WR Cedric Gilbert and LB Trey Brown. The addition of Bryan Adams transfer Leshundrick Morrison doesn't hurt the Tigers either. I expect Lancaster to finally get over the hump and take down a weakended Carter bunch. Matt's Pick: Lancaster by 9
Dallas Adams vs. Dallas Kimball: This is an interesting matchup between two DISD 4A schools with hopes of getting back to the playoffs. BA got their hopes dashed somewhat with the transfer of their top returning player to Lancaster during the off-season, but the Cougars should still be in the playoff hunt in District 12-4A. Kimball had had some off-season coaching issues as at this juncture we are no exactly sure who the Knights coach is. Kimball does have great talent on paper led by Baylor commit DT Isaiah Norton. That enough will be plenty in this one as Kimball wins going away. Matt's Pick: Dallas Kimball by 17
Dallas Smith at Dallas Molina: This the "Drop Down a Classification Bowl" as Molina moves down from 5A to 4A and A. Maceo takes the dip into Class 3A after playing in 4A football. The Falcons are loaded in their junior class and despite lower numbers will have a decided advantage at the skill positions led by the top junior defensive back in the state in LaDarrell McNeil. I expect A Maceo to score early and often and pull away from Molina with relative ease. Matt's Pick: Dallas Smith by 21
Dallas Pinkston vs. Dallas Conrad: Both teams in this 11-4A vs. 12-4A battle are coming off trips to the playoffs in 2009. Despite making the playoffs though, Pinkston has flown under the radar some in regards to the pre-season rankings. Although the Vikings lack depth they do have a game breaking talent in Texas Tech commit Freddie Warner. The Chargers are in their third varsity season and HC Darren Duke has built a solid program in North Dallas, Conrad's development has hurt arch-rival Hillcrest in a big way and I expect that trend to continue. This is a pick em game, but I think Conrad is just a little bit stronger across the board. Matt's Pick: Dallas Conrad by 5
Kennedale at Denison: How about this for a Little Matt special?? Both teams were looking Week Zero games, they call Little Matt and BAM they end up playing!! That's influence folks, well not really but hey it's a good early season test for both teams. Kennedale is coming off an outstanding season and although the Wildcats lost a lot to graduation the Wing-T offense keeps on trucking!!! Expect a small but quick offensive line and at least one back who can house it at any moment. On defense watch out for big DL Shiawo Garteh, Garteh is coming along from an off-season broken leg but he's getting better every week. Denison was decimated by graduation and is probably in for a rebuilding season, the front line talent is there but there are concerns about depth. Opening with a good 3A opponent is a good early test for the 'Jackets to see where they stack up. This is a pick em game for me but I'll lean ever so slightly to Kennedale in this one. Matt's Pick: Kennedale by 2
Mesquite Poteet at Royse City: Both teams are coming off 2009 seasons to forget, but both have high hopes for this upcoming season. Royse City brings back 16 starters and have been realigned to a new district which they feel is set up for possible contention for a post season spot. Poteet has a new head coach but the Pirates are a bit on the young side with just 18 letterman returning. Coach Jackson has been impressed with his team's off-season and there has been improvement in numbers which garners some optimism. However, RCHSl looks to be the stronger team across the board and although by season's end I expect Poteet to be much improved the Bulldogs take this one. Matt's Pick: Royse City by 12
Corsicana at Whitehouse: I really like this season opening matchup, both teams are extremely talented and it appears the Tigers have gotten the ship righted after a down 2008. The addition of Thomas McDonald to the fold makes Corsicana a very dangerous offensive weapon, the only question is what position will he play? Whitehouse has some major league talent on the offensive side of the ball highlighted by Oklahoma commit WR Trey Metoyer. However, I don't think Whitehouse can match up with Corsicana's combination of Corsicana's physicality and athleticism and for that I think the Tigers win a high scoring affair. Matt's Pick: Corsicana by 10
Forney at Waco University: This is a very interesting matchup on paper. Both teams are not getting much pre-season run by the media outlets. The Jackrabbits made the playoffs last year and still have one more full senior class coming through before the full effects of the second high school are felt. LB Lesley Booker and SMU commit Rishaad Wimbley lead a very underrated defensive unit. University took some heavy losses due to graduation after finishing 7-5 last year, expect the Trojans to rely on a strong ground game paced by Darrious Burns and Gerrell Griffin. I think Forney's defense makes a big play or two in this one and that makes the difference. Matt's Pick: Forney by 9
North Garland at Red Oak:The Raiders of North Garland made the playoffs last year and with six starters on each side of the ball back NGHS is hoping for back to back playoff appearances for the first time in school history. Most of the Raiders talent that is back is up front and they are looking for some offensive skill players to step in and make an impact. One player who will make an impact for what should be a much improved defense is LB Derek Akunne. Red Oak has one of the most underrated receivers in the area in Ishmael Harrison, he was injured for much of 2009 but he's 100% now and could emerge as a major weapon for the Hawks. Matt's Pick: Red Oak by 13
Terrell at Kaufman: Two long time Kaufman County rivals renew their rivalry and I expect a very close game. Throw in a little extra intrigue with Kaufman HC being the former HC at Terrell you have the makings of a backyard brawl. Terrell will have a decided advantage at the skill positions as the Tigers coming off a playoff appearance in Class 4A do have some rebuilding to do up front. Kaufman's strength lies with its physical play, the Lions don't have much on defense but they have an excellent offensive line and can control the clock with their ground game. I'll stick with the speed in this one and take Terrell by a touchdown. Matt's Pick: Terrell by 7