Eventually, there has to be separation.
It doesn’t matter if it is in the final week of the season or today.
It is going to come.
And while Friday’s games taught us little, it is this week that could provide all we need to know about who the playoff contenders are in District 8-5A. Certainly, it will show us which team is No. 1. Copperas Cove and Waco Midway play to pretty much determine which team takes the district championship.
The Bulldawgs have looked impressive all season long. Sure, they started off with a loss to A&M Consolidated.
But everyone has lost to those Tigers — even five-time state champion Lake Travis.
So, that loss doesn’t seem like an indicator that Copperas Cove has lost a step. In fact, the 31-20 loss has the Bulldawgs looking pretty good.
Good enough to unseat the Panthers on Friday? Probably not.
Midway pounded resurgent Temple.
Forty-nine unanswered points in a 63-20 win. That’s how they treated the Wildcats. Midway gave Temple a sliver of hope and then proceeded to laugh as they crushed them the rest of the game.
Now Temple has to rebound.
And it has to do it against its biggest rival, Belton.
A rival that is also a bit desperate. The Tigers cannot afford another loss to anyone not named Cove or Midway if it has playoff aspirations.
The 7-0 loss on Sept. 28 was not just damaging, it put Belton in an untenable position.
It either has to knock off Midway or Cove, getting a win no one else will, or it has to defeat both Temple and Killeen. It could sneak into the playoffs by just beating one of those teams. But to be safe, it needs to win them both.
A 3-4 district record is not going to cut it. A 4-3 record is the goal, and Belton still has to face Midway and Cove — two games it is unlikely to win.
I know it, you know it and, most of all, Tigers coach Rodney Southern knows it.
That’s why Belton must win Friday.
It can’t afford another slip-up. The Tigers had their oops game already, losing to the Knights, who with a 28-7 loss to Killeen came back to reality.
The Knights just don’t have enough offense to win enough games to make the playoffs right now.
There is no way they can keep up with the high-powered offenses of Midway, Cove and Temple.
Heights couldn’t even do it against the Roos, whose offense can put points on the board, but is not in the league of the other three.
Offense or not, though, the Knights have played a spoiler role.
They may not be alone.
Shoemaker, although, they got run over by Copperas Cove and Temple, has the potential to beat Belton, Heights and Killeen. Behind the running prowess of Johnny Jefferson, the Grey Wolves have a chance to knock off one of the teams vying for that last playoff spot.
It could be Heights. It could be Belton or it could be Friday against Killeen. The Roos defense seems unlikely to stop Jefferson the same way Temple and the Bulldawgs did.
But they can’t afford that slip-up either.
There is no room for error in a district that has six potential playoff teams and only two sure-fire bets to make it in Cove and Midway.
They have already separated themselves. But, the other two spots are wide open.
Because another upset will happen.
Whenever it does, the separation of District 8-5A will be complete.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569