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DFW Regional Finals Quick Hitters, Game Previews and Predictions

Joshua PriceBy Joshua PriceJanuary 1, 202125 Minutes

The regional finals are jammed packed with high quality games. We have the best in Texas going at it this week. Many of these games could come down to the wire. We will have reporters at all of these games but here is a preview for all of the DFW regional finals.


Aledo vs Lovejoy

Location: Globe Life Park – 1/1/2020 – 7:30 PM


It’s the longtime successful powerhouse versus the upstarts. Aledo has merely reloaded this year and has made another regional appearance. Lovejoy have enjoyed their first season under new head coach Chris Ross. They have gone undefeated this season, their first since 2012.

Aledo stomped on Frisco last week, beating them 45-27. Fueled by a four touchdown game from Demarco Roberts, the Bearcats were able to limit Frisco to only 14 points for most of the game until some garbage time points in the fourth quarter. Aledo has looked really good and has it rolling on offense. 

Lovejoy found itself in a shootout against Mansfield Timberview, eventually outlasting them 64-50. Mansfield Timberview were a favorite of many and them getting beat by Lovejoy have a lot of people looking at the Leopards. In the middle of a very offensive game, Lovejoy was able to force two turnovers from Timberview, a fumble and a pick.

I think the offenses will cool down a little bit but we should have some serious tests for each team’s defense. 

Aledo’s Difference Maker – Talent at Skill Positions

  • Aledo is just a talent factory, so there are big names in important positions. Alabama signee JoJo Earle at wide receiver and Lamar signee Demarco Roberts at running back are going to play a huge part in this game. If they can stretch the Lovejoy defense,they are going to cause major problems.

Lovejoy’s Difference Maker – Ability to Play with Anyone

  • Last week’s win over Mansfield Timberview showed that Lovejoy can hang with the best of them, that’s the kind of grit that you need to survive in the playoffs. Aledo will be a big test for them, but if they stay solid as a team they can beat the Bearcats.

Key Battle – Coaching

  • This will just be a chess match between two good coaches in Aledo’s Tim Buchanan and Lovejoy’s Chris Ross. Both are going to need to manage their teams and try to find the flaws in each other’s system. 


Game Prediction:  Aledo 35 – 28 Lovejoy


Denton Ryan vs Highland Park

Location/Time: Globe Life Park – 1/1/2020 – 3:15 PM


We have two familiar foes going against one another once again. A star-studded Denton Ryan squad vs a Highland Park team that has found success after having a lot of talent leave the program.

Denton Ryan dispatched of Longview last week 27-9, halting the Lobos in their tracks and only allowing 122  yards of offense. The defensive line took center stage and kept Longview to only 7 points for most of the game. Seth Henigan threw for 3 TDs and 284 yards as the Raiders never really felt stifled in the game. They proved that the Sons of Ryan were ready for another state title appearance.

Highland Park finally got over Frisco Lone Star, who had knocked them out of the playoffs the last year. An early interception by Schager didn’t cripple them, as they led 21-6 at the half. But two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter helped Lone Star to only a 10 point deficit. Highland Park were able to come up big with an interception late to get past Lone Star.

When you look at common opponents, Denton Ryan might have the edge. A bigger win margin over Frisco Independence, Frisco Lone Star, and Longview has got Ryan up in the who beat who category. 

This one will certainly be a bruiser as both have state champion aspirations but I think the Sons of Ryan will be able to be a longtime foe.

Denton Ryan’s Difference Maker – Star Studded Defensive Line

  • Anyone watching the Ryan vs Longview, had to have walked away just in awe of the size and strength of the Raiders defensive line. Headlined by four star Bear Alexander, the defensive line was able to hold the rushing attack of Longview to only 40 yards. They are vicious and unrelenting, if they get past the offensive line of Highland Park I think we’ll be seeing the Raiders at AT&T Stadium.

Highland Park’s Difference Maker –  QB Brayden Schager

  • Schager continues a long line of productive quarterbacks at Highland Park. A lot of pressure is put on him due to it being such a high profile spot. He will need to use his arm to try and force a shootout against the Raiders. Highland Park will need to outlast the onslaught that Ryan will be able to bring.

Key Battle – Psychological Warfare

  • From 2016 to 2018, Denton Ryan has lost three straight state semifinals to Highland Park. That feeling is going to fill the air in Globe Life, Coaches will know it, fans will know it, and the players will know it. It will come down to who can perform in big game scenarios. It’ll also come down to who can survive the mental and physical fatigue as these two will go to battle.

Game Prediction: Denton Ryan 24  – 14 Highland Park


Red Oak vs Mansfield Summit

Location and Time: Globe Life Park – January 1, 2021 – 11:00 AM

It makes some sort of sense that two teams that many didn’t expect to be here, will be the first game of 2021. Red Oak having lost their head coach, Chris Ross, to fellow regional finalists Lovejoy. And they also dropped games against Ennis and Colleyville Heritage, but they finished at the top of their district to make it in. 

Mansfield Summit sneaked into the playoffs holding a winning percentage advantage to get into the dance. Both teams have made the most of their chance and are one step away from a state semi-final appearance.

Red Oak needed a 2OT win to get past a Lubbock Coronado squad led by four star Mississippi State QB Sawyer Robertson. Red Oak was able to force OT by scoring 28 points in the third and fourth quarter. Red Oak then were able to score in the 2nd OT and stopped a Coronado extra point to win 42-41.

Mansfield had a bigger win margin over Colleyville Heritage, 3 points. Summit was held out of it for most of the first half until a QB David Hopkins goal line rush got them on the board.  But two turnovers in the second quarter didn’t help spirits. Summit would score 27 points in the second half while limiting Heritage to 21. The big moments were when they forced an interception from AJ Smith-Shawver and the Jaguars were able to recover a onside kick from Colleyville to end the game in the fourth quarter.

Both teams had comeback wins over quality opponents with big second halves. But it’s gonna come down to who can limit turnovers and who’s defense can come up big. Red Oak were able to stop a Coronado team that was averaging 53.5 points per game. I’ll take the Hawks to win this one. It’s also important to know in district play, Red Oak beat Mansfield Summit 37-16. 

Red Oak’s Difference Maker: Jackson Bailey 

  • The linebacker who’s signed to Arizona, turned it on last week grabbing an interception off of Robertson. If he can really add the pressure, I think he can make Summit sweat. But he’ll have to get through Texas Tech Signee Jacoby Jackson to do so.

Summit’s Difference Maker: Special Teams

  • This is probably the most exciting part of this Summit team. They can pin teams back and return the ball to good spots. They also had a punt return for a touchdown against Colleyville. If they are on their game they can really help the Jaguars at Globe Life.

Key Battle: Protecting The Football

  • This might come down to whoever turns the ball over less. Both teams turned the ball over a total of five times, 3 picks for Red Oak and a pick and  fumble for Mansfield Summit. Both teams were able to get one turnover each against some high octane offenses. 

Game Prediction: Red Oak  28 – 20 Mansfield Summit


Cedar Hill vs Rockwall-Heath

Location: Globe Life Park – 1/2/2020 – 3:15 PM


A Cedar Hill Squad led by talented Tennessee signee Kaidon Salter vs Rockwall-Heath filled with young talent that has made a deep run.

Cedar Hill has had a very strong schedule leading into the playoffs, which caused many to believe they could win 6A division two. Wins against Aledo and DeSoto have prepared the Longhorns well as they have blanked both Bryan and Tyler Legacy in the first two rounds. They then eliminated undefeated Tomball Memorial. The Longhorns are stampeding right into this regional final. 

Rockwall-Heath has had a very good year under Mike Spradlin in his second year as head coach. They have very good young talent and are very much a program on the rise. They have had a very strong playoff performance beating Temple and knocking off darlings Bridgeland. The only problem is they lost star running back Zach Evans to injury. However 2022 wide receiver Jay Fair has a great connection with fellow 2022 quarterback Josh Hoover and  that should be their main source of offense.

Rockwall-Heath’s game plan, like everyone else’s, will be to stop Salter. It’s no secret that he is the key to Cedar Hill’s offense and constantly moves the chains. It will be a different matter altogether to try and stop him. The only team who was able to do that was Duncanville, but Heath does not have the same talent as the Panthers. It’s been a great season for the Hawks but it’s hard to pick against Cedar Hill.

Cedar Hill’s Difference Maker – Quarterback Kaidon Salter

  • The Tennessee signee has got things rolling for the Longhorns offense. If he continues against Heath, there won’t be much stopping him. He can read the field really well and if he sees space he will take it. 

Rockwall-Heath’s Difference Maker- Wide Receiver Jay Fair

  • The junior has been impressing people this year which has earned him 7 offers, Texas, Texas A&M, and Kansas highlighting the list. His role got even bigger when running back Zach Evans went down with injury. He will be the focus of the Cedar Hill defense, but if he can use his speed he can make things happen.

Game Prediction: Cedar Hill 35 – 14 Rockwall-Heath


Denton Guyer vs Prosper

Location/Time: McKinney ISD Stadium – 1/2/2020 – 1:00 PM 


It’s a district rematch for the regional final and a chance to compete in the State Semifinal. When these two last met it was a rough and tumble matchup that was decided by a game winning extra point by Guyer, winning 24-23. That game winner was set up by Eli Stowers running left to end zone after multiple stops by Prosper. We should expect the same tight matchup that we saw in the regular season.

Denton Guyer has only lost to big teams this season but have been focused this postseason and getting the wins when they need to. They cruised by Coppell in the first round, but a game requiring OT against Arlington has sewn doubt in Guyer’s run. However a 17 point win over Abilene has Guyer feeling a bit more comfortable coming into this game.

Prosper has really found its form this offseason after a rocky road out of district. The Eagles lost to Denton Braswell by 17 points but also only lost to Allen by 4 points. Then they only beat McKinney Boyd by 1 point. However Prosper has focused up and has had things running smoothly in the postseason. They beat a Garrett Nussmeier-less Marcus and then dispatched both Arlington Bowie and Northwest Eaton. Prosper has come into this one looking to avenge their district loss and are looking good.

Not a lot separates these two as both have very solid football teams all around. I think, much like the last one, it’s going to be who can outlast the other one. There is going to be a lot of hard-hitting football being played and it’s going to be the team that has the most grit that wins this one.

I’m going to have to give the edge to Denton Guyer in this one because of Eli Stowers. He won it for them in the first matchup and I expect him to make as big of a difference in the second one too. 

Denton Guyer’s Difference Maker – Eli Stowers

  • The Texas A&M signee can make so many things happen on the field for his team. He can make big throws and escape the pocket when he feels pressure. Stowers will need to keep his team on top and win the quarterback battle that he will have with Prosper quarterback Jackson Berry. As long as he is not slowed down by the Prosper defense, he is gonna make plays happen.

Prosper’s Difference Maker – Hard Hitting Defensive Core

  • This defense is head lined by two linemen, Rice signee Aidan Siano and SMU signee Mason Jolley. These two are just some hard hitting, rough and tumble guys. They have no problem blowing players up. They will be needed as they will be tasked with containing Stowers and giving him no outlets to escape to.

Game Prediction: Denton Guyer 26 –  24 Prosper


Duncanville vs DeSoto

Location and Time: Globe Life Park – January 2, 2021 – 7:30


Due to this game being cancelled in district play, many were left disappointed not seeing these two top teams play. Someone’s Christmas wish must have come true as we get to see two members of the District of Doom duke it out in a regional final. 

Many will question DeSoto’s slow start against Spring and rightly so. Getting shut out for most of the first half by a Spring team that hasn’t exactly been dominant is not good. That has got to be lingering on Claude Mathis’ mind. To be taken seriously the Eagles will need to come out much faster against a tougher Duncanville defense. 

Meanwhile the Panthers have continued to body bag opponents, blanking a Spring Westfield team that tried talking trash against Duncanville. If we use  who beat who, we see that Spring only beat Westfield 27-23. 

DeSoto will be underdogs facing the former state finalists but I think Mathis will get his men in check and the Eagles will welcome a game closer to their home. 

DeSoto’s Difference Maker: Quarterback Samari Collier

  • The Duncanville defense is going to be hounding him all night. He will need to be able to feel the pressure and get out of the pocket. If he is able to extend plays and escape pressure, his talented wide receiver core will be able to make those plays.

Duncanville’s Difference Maker: Strong Defensive Line 

  • Headlined by Kendrick Blackshire, this defensive line is big and tall. It’s a main reason why Duncanville is able to blank opponents. They’ll need to use their strength to get by the DeSoto offensive line and stop Collier.

Key Battle: Battle in the Trenches

Prediction – DeSoto 32 – 28 Duncanville


Euless Trinity vs Southlake Carroll

Location/Time: Globe Life Park – 1/2/2020 – 11:00 AM


This one has all the makings to be an epic match of highschool football. Trinity is on a tear powered by running back Ollie Gordon. Southlake Carroll welcomes their 5 star quarterback, Quinn Ewers, back under center. Trinity will try to use their hard hitting style to counter passing prowess of Southlake Carroll.

Trinity required a herculean effort from Ollie Gordon but they were able to get through Allen and advance. The Trojans were down at the half but a 22 point quarter and two forced interceptions helped seal the deal against the Eagles. Trinity has proven that a run focused offense is still viable in these playoffs.

Quinn Ewers had a very memorable return to action as he threw for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns to beat a challenging Arlington Martin team. While Hunter Holden has been admirable in relief, SLC gets a big boost to its offense when their five star is back in the fold. SLC only have one loss on their schedule, that one was to Rockwall early on in the season. Since then they have been rolling and not looked back. 

This will be a showcase of an overpowering run game and an elite passing scheme. A testament to the old days of highschool ball and a preview of where it is going. Trinity will need to use all of their power to try and stop Ewers. Southlake Carroll could be tired from trying to fight against the big offensive line of the Trojans.

I think Trinity will be able to win this war of attrition. Ollie Gordon will keep it rolling and continue etching his name into TXHSFB lore.

Euless Trinity’s Difference Maker: RB Ollie Gordon

  • After putting up 455 yards and 6 TDs on Allen, Gordon has been racking in the offers. He will need to continue to use the holes that his offensive line creates for him.  

Southlake Carroll’s Difference Maker: QB Quinn Ewers

  • The Ohio State commit played his first playoff game this season, but he didn’t miss a beat. If he can have a repeat performance, we should see him thrive.

Key Battle: Ewers vs the Trinity Secondary

  • Trinity was able to force two turnovers from General Booty in the win over Allen. Its true test will be against a 5 star quarterback. Will they be able to hold up against such a great talent? That will be the main deciding factor if Trinity wants to knock down another big team.

Game Prediction –  Euless Trinity 35 – 32 Southlake Carroll