Of all the bi-district playoff matchups in the Dallas area this weekend, one of the most intriguing might be a Class 5A Region II clash between Hillcrest and Terrell.
The Panthers (9-1) are in the postseason for the first time since 2010, and have a chance to earn their first 10-win season since 2000.
Meanwhile, the Tigers (7-3) have experienced a remarkable turnaround in their first season under head coach Mike Shields, who came to Terrell from Red Oak. The Tigers hadn’t made the playoffs since 2009, and won five games in the past three years combined.
Somebody will win their first playoff game in almost a decade when the two teams meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Homer B. Johnson Stadium in Garland.
The Panthers enter the postseason with plenty of momentum stemming from a five-game winning streak. They finished as the runner-up in District 11-5A to Carrollton Creekview, who handed Hillcrest its only loss in early October.
Dual-threat quarterback Arico Evans has carried the Panthers this season with his legs and his arm. He has rushed for 1,264 yards and 16 touchdowns, and has passed for 1,022 yards and 16 scores with just four interceptions. He’s even returned a kick for a touchdown.
Evans is joined in the Hillcrest backfield by twins Terell and Makell Haley, who have combined for 14 touchdowns, and by receiver Spencer Torres with six scores.
Terrell experienced an offensive surge during a three-game winning streak prior to a 42-35 loss to Mesquite Poteet in the regular-season finale. The Tigers finished fourth in District 12-5A.
Terrell’s potent rushing attack is keyed by quarterback Damon Moss and tailback Dawonya Tucker. The speedy duo has combined for more than 1,900 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Each of them scored four times during a 64-36 win over South Garland on Oct. 31.
The winner will advance to play either Frisco Heritage or Wylie East in the area round next week.
Other playoff games this week:
Richardson Pearce (5-5) at Jesuit (7-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
The Rangers put up big offensive numbers all year behind quarterback Bo Schneider, who has 38 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. Garrett Amy caught 17 of those scores. The Mustangs, who clinched a playoff spot with a 35-20 win over Richardson Berkner in the regular-season finale, gave up more than 40 points five times.
Victoria St. Joseph (2-8) at Parish Episcopal (9-1)
7 p.m. Friday
The Panthers have scored more than 40 points in nine straight games and have won the last seven, including a 42-14 drubbing of Fort Worth Christian last week to claim a TAPPS district title. The Flyers have lost by a margin of 28 or more points five times, but they secured a playoff spot with a 30-14 win over San Antonio TMI last week.
Trinity Christian (5-5) at Austin St. Michael’s (5-5)
1 p.m. Saturday
After injuries slowed them at the start, the Trojans finished strong, winning three of their last four games — including a 52-33 victory over previously unbeaten Bishop Dunne — behind an explosive offense that includes Christian Hutzler, Parker Oliver, and Nahshon Ellerbe. The Crusaders also have momentum with four straight wins.