Starting at 6:15 p.m., listen to the live broadcast of the Ridge Point-Dulles game at https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype. You can also listen later on the podcast at the same link.
Like a game of blackjack changes with every card dealt, the dynamic of playoff positioning changes with every plot twist of Texas high school football in November.
Thursday night at Mercer Stadium, the Dulles Vikings (8-1 overall, 5-1 in District 20-6A) want the Ridge Point Panthers to “stick” at 20 – that’s the number of consecutive district games they’ve won since moving up to Class 6A before the 2016 season. Twenty times, Fort Bend ISD foes have showed up to take on the Panthers, and 20 times they’ve walked away with a loss.
Dulles has outscored all their 2018 opponents except Travis, which defeated them 54-51 Oct. 4. The Vikings average 40.4 points per game and allow only 21.4.
Last week, Ridge Point (8-1, 6-0) had an easy time with Clements, winning 56-7. Dulles had a tough fight with Elkins, pulling out a 22-21 victory when junior quarterback Cameron Peters dived in for a 3-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left.
What kind of card will the fickle fingers of fate deal to Dulles regarding their leading rusher? Myles Heard (904 yards in 8 games, 8.95 yds. per carry, 9 TDs) missed last week’s game with an injury. Javian Myles filled in brilliantly (39 carries, 188 yards, TD) in Heard’s absence. If Heard can play at his usual level, the rising tide will lift all the boats in the Dulles offensive fleet.
The same thing is true of Ainias Smith, the Vikings’ ultimate weapon who contributes in all three phases. Smith has 20 touchdowns for 120 points. (Only Parker Washington of Travis has scored more points – 130 – in 20-6A.) Smith has a neat and tidy record of nine TDs rushing, nine TD receptions, one on a pick-six and another on a kickoff return.
The question is, will Smith be at full speed? He played vs. Elkins, but was banged up and only touched the ball nine times on offense (seven rushes, two receptions) for a modest total of 79 yards. Even if Smith is at full speed, when it comes to kickoff returns, Ridge Point has a Kryptonite for that: no one is a threat to run a kickoff back against Ridge Point because of kicker Kyle Ramsey. Unless he’s kicking off with a wind in his face or the Panthers have been penalized before he tees it up, it’s almost always a touchback.
Dulles cornerback Jeremiah Walker intercepted Elkins’ QB Cameron George twice, raising the Vikes’ season INT total to 10. That’s tied for second in 20-6A with Bush. Ridge Point leads with 11 pass thefts.
Yet in a game featuring two secondaries with lots of interceptions on their resumé, the quarterback comparison reveals two junior passers who have taken excellent care of the football.
Ridge Point’s Will Pendergrass has accounted for 56% of the Panthers’ offensive yards with his passing while throwing for 13 TDs and six interceptions. Peters’ TD/INT ratio (17/6) is even better, and his yardage total (1,474) exceeds Pendergrass by 32 yards.
Ridge Point, Dulles and 5-1 Travis have clinched their playoff spots, but the seeding will be determined by Week 11’s results. If Dulles wins and Travis beats Bush (VYPE Sports Radio, 6:45 p.m. Friday), three teams will be tied for first place with no clear head-to-head tie-breaker, and playoff seeding against the Katy ISD entries from District 19-6A might come down to points.
As for the remaining playoff berth, two 3-3 teams will battle for that one. Elkins and Austin (VYPE Sports Radio, 11:45 a.m. Saturday) meet one another in what amounts to a playoff game.