Longhorns Could Decide Playoff Fate

W.T. White needs to beat Irving Nimitz on Friday to remain alive in the 9-6A playoff race. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
W.T. White needs to beat Irving Nimitz on Friday to remain alive in the 9-6A playoff race. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

The scenario seems pretty simple this week for W.T. White. A victory over Irving Nimitz could boost the Longhorns into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

This much is clear: White will be eliminated from contention if it loses Friday’s game at Irving Schools Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Vikings (4-4, 3-2) currently have a one-game advantage over the Longhorns (4-4, 2-3) for fourth place in the standings. Both teams have lost to Skyline and Jesuit. The Longhorns also have lost to Irving MacArthur, while Nimitz meets the Cardinals in the regular-season finale next week. White finishes next week with Irving, which is out of postseason contention.

So it’s reasonable to think that this could be the tiebreaker for the fourth and final playoff spot. It would also give White a chance at its first winning season in more than a decade.

The Longhorns will need to bounce back after consecutive lopsided losses to Skyline (42-0) and Jesuit (58-24). Dual-threat quarterback Jackson Fults has remained steady, throwing for 963 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while rushing for 850 yards and 10 scores. Dejuan Pullen has posted more than half of the Longhorns’ receptions this year, and has five touchdowns.

Trying to match Fults will be Nimitz quarterback Jimmy Clark, who has passed for 1,544 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also has four scores on the ground.

Running back Mark Eugene is the other top playmaker for the Vikings, who snapped a two-game skid with a 21-12 victory over rival Irving last week.


Other key games this week:

Holland Hall (3-6) at ESD (7-2)

6 p.m. Saturday

The Eagles drubbed Cistercian last week to earn a home game in the SPC semifinals behind a high-powered offense that includes QB Thomas Fitts, RB Jack Johnson, and WR Winston Guillory. ESD has not won a postseason game since 2007. The Dutch travel from Tulsa after back-to-back losses in district play.


St. Mark’s (6-3) at Bellaire Episcopal (7-2)

4 p.m. Saturday

The Lions enter the SPC playoffs with a four-game winning streak, which coincides with the return of starting QB Walter Johnson from injury. Justin Jones has 1,234 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns this year for St. Mark’s. The Knights have won five straight in conference play and swept the SPC South division.


Irving MacArthur (6-2, 4-1) at Jesuit (5-3, 4-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday

It’s an intriguing battle for second place in 9-6A that nevertheless won’t have any impact on playoff seeding. The Rangers have averaged 54.7 points per game during their current three-game winning streak, while the Cardinals had won five straight before falling to district frontrunner Skyline last week.


Carrollton Newman Smith (6-2, 5-0) at Hillcrest (7-1, 4-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Franklin Stadium

The Panthers earned their biggest win of the season last week against rival Woodrow Wilson, allowing them to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2010. Hillcrest has a chance to move into a second-place tie in 11-5A against the Trojans, who have three shutouts during a six-game winning streak.


Trinity Christian (4-4, 2-3) at Bishop Lynch (5-4, 2-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

An upset of Argyle Liberty last week kept alive a late-season surge for the Trojans, whose improvement has coincided with the return of QB Christian Hutzler to the lineup. TCA and the Friars each still have a chance at qualifying for the TAPPS playoffs. Bishop Lynch is led by standout RB Rawleigh Williams.

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