Of the 13 area programs, only three – Harker Heights, Temple and Belton – enter the final two weeks of the regular season with playoff berths secured. Furthermore, only Chaparral is mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
Tonight, however, that will change.
Following weeks of murkiness, every team’s path to the playoffs will become crystal clear or their chances will be definitively dashed, and some will not even have a say.
The Wildcats, Lake Belton and Salado will watch the week’s pivotal contests from the stands as each receives a late-season bye, forcing them to idly sit by as the postseason picture rearranges around them.
HARKER HEIGHTS (7-1, 4-0) AT COPPERAS COVE (2-6, 0-4)
After defeating Temple 13-9 last week, the Knights are in control of their own destiny as they attempt to capture their first district championship since 2003, when they split the District 17-4A title with
Pflugerville Connally. Stumbling against the Bulldawgs could ruin everything, though, and since Copperas Cove is already eliminated from playoff contention, being a spoiler is the next best thing.
DISTRICT 4-5A, DIVISION I
KILLEEN (3-5, 2-4) AT SHOEMAKER (6-2, 4-2)
As if this crosstown rivalry lacks any drama to begin with, each team’s playoff possibilities hinge on the outcome. With a win and an Ellison loss versus state-ranked Midlothian, the Grey Wolves clinch a
postseason berth after missing out last year, while a loss could make the regular-season finale at Granbury a must-win situation. The Kangaroos must win to keep any playoff hope alive.
NO. 6 MIDLOTHIAN (8-0, 6-0) AT ELLISON (5-3, 4-2)
The Eagles’ playoff fate is entwined with Shoemaker’s as the two are tied for fourth place in the standings with the Grey Wolves holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. Therefore, if Ellison loses tonight, its only path into the postseason requires beating Lake Belton next week and having Shoemaker lose its last two games.
The undefeated Panthers’ average margin of victory is 29.5 points.
DISTRICT 11-5A, DIVISION II
CHAPARRAL (1-8, 1-4) AT BELTON (6-2, 4-0)
The Bobcats produced the program’s inaugural victory in impressive fashion last week, defeating Pflugerville Connally 50-18 behind 399 total yards of offense. Now, Chaparral has one opportunity to build
on the performance with its bye coming next week, but the Tigers are on the verge of capturing the program’s first district title since 2009 and should be hyper focused after their bye.
DISTRICT 13-4A, DIVISION I
LAMPASAS (5-3, 2-1) AT MARBLE FALLS (2-6, 0-3)
Despite being overwhelmed last week in a 55-34 loss at San Antonio Davenport, the Badgers can still set up a winner-take-all contest for the district title against Canyon Lake in the regular-season finale with a victory and a little help from Burnet, which faces the Wolves tonight. Lampasas and the Mustangs have not played each other since 2009, when the Badgers won 31-27.
DISTRICT 11-4A, DIVISION II
GATESVILLE (6-3, 1-2) AT ROBINSON (3-5, 0-2)
The Hornets’ regular-season schedule concludes with a bye next week, and the atmosphere surrounding the idle period will be determined by tonight’s result. If Gatesville wins, it clinches the program’s third consecutive postseason appearance. If the Hornets lose, their playoff fate hinges on Robinson’s finale at Waco Connally and Salado’s last home game against Madisonville next week.
DISTRICT 13-3A, DIVISION II
FLORENCE (1-6, 0-3) AT BUFFALO (4-4, 2-1)
The Buffaloes bounced back from a pair of shutout losses to score 22 points against Elkhart last week, but it was not enough to earn a victory. As a result, Florence must win tonight to keep any playoff hope alive, and that might not even be enough. If the Elks win at Clifton tonight, the Buffaloes are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.