With two weeks left in the high school football regular season, seven of the eight coaches in District 8-5A can say they are exactly where they wanted to be at this point in the season.
No one has clinched a playoff spot in 8-5A, and only Ellison is mathematically eliminated.
Waco Midway, Temple, Copperas Cove, Shoemaker, Harker Heights, Killeen and Belton are in the playoffs if they win out.
Or as coaches like to say, each team controls its own destiny.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a playoff race any closer from top to bottom than 8-5A.
This district is not for the faint of heart as no team has proven immune to a Friday night upset.
Waco Midway can finally relate to the rest of its district mates after dropping its first 8-5A contest at home against Shoemaker.
Only adding to the strangeness surrounding the Panthers’ loss was that in a matchup between two of the top offenses in the league, Shoemaker won 7-3 on a defensive touchdown.
You can officially toss records and statistics aside when it comes to predicting this district because you can’t predict this district. Anything is possible.
That bodes well for Heights in particular, which has the chance to put the exclamation point on this wacky district season.
The Knights’ only two wins this season came in consecutive weeks, when Heights beat a Killeen team fresh off an upset of Cove then followed that with a win against Ellison.
The Knights have since dropped two straight and now sit in a tie with Killeen and Belton for fifth behind Midway and Temple, tied for first, and Cove and Shoemaker, tied for third.
Like the rest of the district, Heights can reach the postseason by winning out, but that will be no easy task with Midway on the road and Cove at Hood Stadium remaining on the schedule.
Heights has lost two in a row to very good teams, but the Knights were within striking distance of Shoemaker and Temple in the second half of both losses.
Going even further back, had Heights held on to a 17-point halftime lead against Belton in its district opener it’d be tied with Cove and Shoemaker instead of a game behind them.
But in a district race this close, every team has plays it wishes it made and games it wishes it had back. The Knights aren’t focusing on the past anyway.
Instead, Heights is looking ahead, and as coach Jerry Edwards said after practice Wednesday, everything the Knights want to achieve is still in front of them.
The Knights have to travel the most unlikely path to get there — Midway and Cove are 6-2 against the rest of the district — is fitting in a way.
If there was a season for a team to make an unexpected push into the postseason it’s this one. And at the end of the day, the opportunity is all the Knights asked for, and they have it. The Knights and seven other teams in wacky District 8-5A.