Sports Column: Looking at the new Football District

Looking at the the 5-5A District.

The Panthers are 1-2 in pre-season play. This week they open district play against Grand Prairie, which also marks the beginning of a new district. Not only does the district have some familiar faces remaining, but it will be packed with some new teams as well.

The new district’s teams come into the season with a mix of records. So far several of the teams have played well in pre-district games, while others have not fared so well. A few are coming in at 3-0 while others are still looking for a win. Here’s a close up look at what the Panthers will face in the coming weeks.

Grand Prairie (2-1)

The Gophers have played fairly well to start the season. They defeated Lewisville and W.T. White and lost to to Bishop Lynch. They have possibly one of the better quarterbacks in Texas with senior Tommy Alvarez. He has passed for 781 yards and 5 touchdowns so far this year. Wide receiver, junior Devante Lacy, is also playing well. He has compiled 488 yards for 5 touchdowns. They are a team who battles to the end, whether it is to win or to maintain the lead. All of their wins and losses have been decided by seven or less points. They seem to be able to put up a fight with any team they face. They could give the Panthers a tough district home opener.

Midlothian (2-1)

The Midlothian Panthers have also shown decent performances. They’ve defeated Saginaw and Justin Northwest and lost to a tough Grapevine team. They have no particular pattern in their performances though. They have been narrowly defeated, have blown out a team and won on a low scoring game. Their senior quarterback, Dillon Fairbanks, has been playing well putting up 560 yards with five touchdowns. Midlothian also has a good wide receiver in seniors Phillip Smith and running back, Justin Seeton, has been pulling in good numbers for them. Expect a good game when these two Panther teams face each other welcoming the month of October’s football highlights.

Mansfield (3-0)

By far it would seem Mansfield is coming into district stronger than any of the seven teams. They have some of the numbers to prove it as well. They are undefeated so far, beating Burleson, Keller and Mansfield Summit relatively easily. They have a decent quarterback in junior Jerod Evans and one or two receivers with points on the board. But the real factor behind their early success seems to be in tail back Damon Bullock. He has rushed for an impressive 488 yards and scored 10 touchdowns so far in the season. If the Panthers want to have a chance at defeating the Tigers, they’ll have to shut out Bullock to get a homecoming win.

South Grand Prairie (2-1)

Another one of the Panthers familiar rivals, the Warriors are probably one of the more average teams coming out of pre-season play. They have defeated Arlington Lamar and Mesquite and have suffered a loss to North Mesquite. Both of their wins were close games dominated by penalties. They pretty much dominated N. Mesquite in spite of the loss. They have a good quarter back with junior Jared Johnson who has passed for 548 yards and 4 touchdowns and can rush as well. Their main contributor on the scoreboard, however, is junior kicker Jordan Wiggs, who’s put up 19 in their three games. South Grand Prairie could be a surprise, if they stay out of the penalty zone and are not faced cautiously by the Panthers.

Mansfield Timberview (0-3)

One of the two winless teams so far, the Wolves haven’t been completely dominated in their games except for their first against Irving MacArthur. They’ve been able to put up fights in their last two games, at least to a point. They just haven’t been able to secure a big lead. Their quarterback, junior Charles Taylor, has been able to pass for 392 yards and two touchdowns, but has suffered thrown three interceptions in three games. The only other player who has produced more than one touchdown is running back, Rene Lawson, who has rushed for 46 yards and 3 touchdowns. Timberview doesn’t show much sign of improvement. If they continue to play the way they have, they wont pose much of a threat to any team in the district.

Mansfield Legacy (0-3)

The Broncos are the other team that has not met victory yet. Their offense has only gotten worse and worse over the first three games. They’ve suffered their losses to Hurst L.D., Mansfield Summit and Plano. The only hope Legacy has of producing any decent results in district is in their senior quarter back Quentin Hasten who leads the team in both passing and rushing yards. Don’t expect too much out of Legacy this season.

Cedar Hill (1-2)

Do not let their record fool you. Cedar Hill is always a favorite. The Longhorns have had a rough start this year. They have suffered losses to good teams in Allen and Odessa Permian and defeated Denton Guyer. Their senior quarterback, Driphus Jackson has been playing very well, with 1037 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Lovett Gibson has compiled 341 yards for 4 touchdowns. All of the games have been close and hard fought, which means their record should not be confused. Cedar Hill will always pose a threat. The Panthers should look forward to an interesting regular season ending.

Duncanville (1-2)

They Panters are another team with a record that doesn’t speak about the team. The Panthers have been gradually improving on their fundamentals after losing their first two games in thriller contest with Colleyville and Garland. They know how to get the lead. They have shown us that in all three games. The only problem they have is keeping the lead down the stretch. Its in those important final moments where Duncanville seems to lose composure, and the ball. They have an enviable trio in seniors quarterback Divan Ealy, running back Chris Simpson, and wide receiver Jalen Parker. Senior kicker, Anthony Rodriguez, has also been having a good season so far. The Panthers have what it takes to perform well, they just need to get into rhythm.

This season, with the new district, the Panthers have a good opportunity to come out and show that they are a better football team than they were last season. The start of district is closing in, and the Panthers need to come out, with their eyes closely pasted on the objective.