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Dallas Area High School Football Playoff Preview


High School Football Player Catching Ball

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The 2022 UIL state football playoffs are here, and they will run from November 10 to December 18. All state championship games will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

First-Round Matchups to Watch

In 6A Div. II Region I, Coppell (9-1) and McKinney (6-4) look to be set for an even matchup. While Coppell has a better record, McKinney played a more challenging schedule.

In three of its last four regular season games, McKinney faced three teams ranked in the top 25 of the state’s 6A poll: No.6 Denton Guyer, No.10 Prosper, and No.20 Allen.

In 6A Div. I Region I, the Lake Highlands (8-2) and South Grand Prairie (5-5) matchup has a similar feel to Coppell-McKinney. South Grand Prairie is on a five-game win streak after losses in its first five games.

All its losses, except one, were by less than one score, including losses to No.15 Arlington Martin, 5A Div. I’s No.2 team, Mansfield Timberview, and No.18 Rockwall.

In 5A Div. I Region II, Birdville (8-2), and Frisco Wakeland (6-4) could be an upset. Wakeland lost three of its first four games but only lost once in its last six games.

Wakeland also has some recent postseason success to fall back on. In last year’s bi-district round, it stunned six-time state champion, Highland Park.

Traditional Powers Face Tough Paths 

Allen and Denton Ryan, two of the state’s premier teams in their respective classifications, did not live up to their expectations this season and will open the postseason with challenging road games.

Allen (7-3), the No.20 team in the state 6A poll, will play at No.25 Lewisville (9-1) in the 6A Div. I Region I bi-district round on Friday. At the same time, Ryan (6-3) will travel to Red Oak (8-2) for a 5A Div. I Region I bi-district game.

Allen had not lost three regular-season games in a single season since 2002; Ryan had not dropped three games since 2015.

Who Will Win State’s Toughest Region?

The path to the state title game out of 6A Div. II Region I may be the toughest in the state.

The 16-team region features a third of the Dallas area’s ranked 6A teams, including three undefeated teams (No.6 Denton Guyer, No.4 Southlake Carroll, No.16 Highland Park) and two 9-1 teams (No.23 Trophy Club Byron Nelson, and Coppell).

Guyer is one of the state championship favorites, but it, in particular, faces one of the most challenging roads in the state. It must take care of a Flower Mound Marcus (6-4) team led by one of the top quarterback prospects in the class of 2024, Cole Welliver, in round one.

If Guyer gets by Marcus, it will likely have to face undefeated No.16 Highland Park in the second round and No.23 Byron Nelson in round three.

Whoever comes out of this region will be battle-tested and likely the favorite to win the 6A Div. II championship.

Playoff Droughts Ended

Among Dallas area playoff teams, Frisco Heritage (6-4) broke the longest drought in the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Its playoff run may be short-lived as it faces No.2 Mansfield Timberview (10-0) in the 5A Div. I Region II bi-district round.

Wylie East (9-1) had not qualified for the postseason since 2016. It impressively ended its drought with a District 9-6A championship in its first season at the 6A level.

Round one will not be easy as it faces a well-tested Rockwall-Heath (6-4) team in the 6A Div. II Region II bi-district round.

Plano (4-6) will need to end its four-game losing streak to get a playoff win in its first postseason appearance since 2017. Ending its losing streak may be difficult as its first-round opponent is No.10 Prosper (9-1).

Frisco Emerson and Frisco Panther Creek are both making their playoff debuts in their first years with varsity football programs. Emerson (9-1) will play Colleyville Heritage (7-3) in the 5A Div. II Region I first round, while Panther Creek (3-7) must play No.4 Anna (10-0) in the 4A Div. I Region II bi-district round.

Untested District Champions

South Oak Cliff (7-3), Mansfield Timberview (10-0), and Highland Park (10-0) are all state-ranked in their respective classifications, and each went undefeated in district play.

However, its districts do not feature many highly regarded teams. No.8 South Oak Cliff, the reigning 5A Div. II state champions outscored its District 6-5A Div. II opponents 302-10 and has not played a ranked opponent since its Week 3 loss to 6A’s No.13 team, DeSoto (8-2).

Timberview, the state’s No.2 5A Div. I team has not played a single ranked 5A team all regular season and finished the regular season with the Dallas area’s best point differential at plus-477.

It should get past Frisco Heritage (6-4) in round one, but it may see its biggest test of the season in round three, with potential opponents being No.4 Lancaster (8-2) or No.7 Frisco Reedy (10-0).

No.10 Highland Park beat No.25 Lewisville in September but has not faced a ranked team since. Its lone highly regarded district opponent, Jesuit (8-2), took it down to the wire in a 35-28 game in which Highland Park saw the opponent score 28 unanswered points.

To check every district’s playoff bracket and see all the state playoff pairings, visit the UIL website.

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