SPORTS HEADLINES

Games of the Week for Wednesday, October 31, 2018

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, October 31, 2018
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Surveying the Field

SURVEYING THE FIELD – Chico quarterback Logan Ellis rolls out and looks to throw during a game against Archer City. Ellis has thrown for six touchdowns and 492 yards this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Chico at Alvord

7 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium
Harris Line: Alvord by 7

Plenty will be on the line Friday when Alvord and Chico renew their rivalry.

The Bulldogs look to secure a playoff berth and the Dragons hope to keep their District 4-2A Division I title hopes alive.

Alvord has dropped its first two league games and needs a win to avoid a play-in game with Olney in the regular season finale for the fourth and final playoff spot. Chico needs a win to set up a date with Seymour next week to decide the 4-2AI championship.

Neither school likes the other, and both know what is at stake.

“The company line is every week is the most important week, and that’s true to a sense, but I’m not gullible enough to think this isn’t a rivalry game,” said Chico coach Clay Sanders. “They’re locked in, and they’re focused. We make no bones about it. We’re excited about the opportunity to go get a win against Alvord and have the district championship played here at Dragon Field.”

Since 2004, Alvord has owned the rivalry with the Dragons, winning eight of the last nine matchups. Chico’s last win, a 54-18 victory, came in 2015.

The two teams did not play from 2010-2013.

The Bulldogs enter the game 4-4 overall while the Dragons boast a 5-3 mark. Both teams lean heavily on their defenses.

Alvord’s opponents are averaging 22.3 points, while teams are averaging 23.3 points against Chico. The Bulldogs will be tasked with slowing down Chico senior Nico Starnes, who has racked up 1,410 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground this year.

“They have Nico Starnes, and my Lord, he’s having a really good year,” said Alvord coach Pete Hart. “Their offense does a good job of moving the football. We know at any time [Starnes] can pop a big play. But if we get caught up just focusing Nico, they have other players who can hurt us.”

Starnes spearheads a potent Dragon rushing attack that has gashed opponents to the tune of 322.3 yards per game. Chico is averaging 32.8 points.

For Alvord, the Bulldogs have used their speed on the outside and in the backfield to get behind defenses for big plays. Sophomore quarterback Corbyn Cornell and senior back Tanner Richey have helped Alvord put up 30.8 points per game.

“Their quarterback is shifty, and they have some skill players who are very fast,” Sanders said. “We’re going to have to handle them on the defensive side. I think we can match up with pretty much anybody speed-for-speed. The great equalizer to speed is strength. We’re going to use our physicality to our advantage and play our game and not get wrapped up in Alvord or Seymour or anybody. We focus on Chico.”

Alvord won last year’s game 15-14 – the closest finish since 2004 – earning the third seed in District 5-2A Division I. The Bulldogs have won eight of the last nine meetings by a combined 396-134, but Hart is expecting a battle come Friday.

“It’s a rivalry game. I know both teams are going to get after each other,” Hart said. “That’s what always makes a rivalry game a fun one. Both teams are going to try and sell out to get a win. We need a win to try and lock up a playoff spot. They need to win to try and place higher up in district. There’s a lot at stake.”

BEST OF THE REST

Carter-Riverside at Northwest

7 p.m. Thursday
Northwest ISD Stadium

Northwest will look to make it six in a row Friday night when they host Carter-Riverside on senior night.

The Texans have not lost since Sept. 13 against Grapevine and have steamrolled through District 4-5A Division II. Northwest has won its four league games by a combined 233-47. Two of their wins have been shutouts.

The Eagles are winless on the season at 0-9 and are averaging just 9.4 points. A win for the Texans would all but secure their first district title in school history.

Harris Line: No line

Burkburnett at Decatur

7 p.m.
Eagle Stadium

A win for Decatur over Burkburnett Friday would strengthen the Eagles’ hold on second place in District 4-4A Division I as the Eagles look to surge into the postseason.

Decatur held on for a 45-42 win over Mineral Wells last week, moving into sole possession of second place at 2-1. The Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wichita Falls Hirschi, who is also 2-1.

The Bulldogs are still searching for their first district win and were romped by Hirschi 56-14 last week. Burkburnett is on a three-game losing streak.

The Eagles and Bulldogs are both 3-5 overall.

Harris Line: Decatur by 17

Iowa Park at Bridgeport

7 p.m.
Bull Memorial Stadium

Bridgeport will try to snap a two-game losing skid when they host Iowa Park in their final home game of the season Friday.

The Bulls fell to Vernon 44-40 last week. Bridgeport junior quarterback Jadon Maddux ran for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. He also threw for two touchdowns.

The Lions racked up 372 yards in the win, dropping the Bulls to 1-2 in District 3-4A Division II. Bridgeport fell to Graham 35-17 two weeks ago.

Iowa Park enters the game 3-5 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Bulls are 5-3 overall and 1-2 in district.

Harris Line: Iowa Park by 7

Breaking Away

BREAKING AWAY – Boyd’s Dawson White eludes tacklers during a game against Bowie. Messenger photo by Kelly Basting

Boyd at Brock

7:30 p.m.
Eagle Stadium

The top spot in District 4-3A Division I will be up for grabs Friday when Boyd travels to take on Brock.

Both teams enter the game undefeated at 4-0 in league play. The Yellowjackets are coming off a 33-13 win over Bowie. The Eagles have won five straight games dating back to September and routed Ponder 58-7 last week.

Brock is the No. 3 ranked team in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 3A rankings and is averaging 32.1 points. The Eagles have won their four district games by a combined 172-67.

Brock lost to Newton in the 3A I title game last year.

Harris Line: Brock by 14

Paradise at Bowie

7 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium

Paradise and Bowie will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they square off Friday night.

The Panthers have lost two in a row and are 4-4 overall and 1-3 in District 4-3A Division I. The Jackrabbits are 2-6 overall and 1-3 in league play.

Paradise has struggled putting points on the board the last two weeks, managing just 7 points per game. Bowie is coming off a loss to Boyd and is averaging 20.8 points.

The loser will be eliminated from playoff contention.

Harris Line: Bowie by 7

Azle Christian at Victory Christian

7 p.m.
Patriot Field

Victory Christian will host Azle Christian Friday in the Patriots’ regular season finale.

Victory Christian is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in District 2. The Patriots have lost their last two games.

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