SUNNYVALE — It was supposed to be an easy scenario with undefeated and state-ranked Grandview atop the standings and Kemp a close second.
After Maypearl High School’s monkeywrench last Friday at W.G. Roesler Stadium and Sunnyvale High School’s resurgence from an early season stumble — back-to-back losses to open the season — four teams sit at 4-1 with a share of the first-place stake.
When the smoke clears Friday night at Raider Stadium, though, the playoff seeding picture will either be clearer with Maypearl rising to the top of the district or Sunnyvale muddying things in the middle.
DISTRICT 6-3A IMPLICATIONS
Maypearl has already played the top two teams in the district (Grandview and Kemp), the Panthers’ matchup this week against Sunnyvale holds serious repercussions.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]TALE OF THE TAPE
Kemp def. Maypearl 57-6 (Sept. 22)
Grandview def. Sunnyvale 48-7 (Sept. 29)
Grandview def. Kemp 59-23 (Oct. 13)
Maypearl def. Grandview 19-17 (Oct. 27)
Sunnyvale vs. Maypearl (Friday)
Sunnyvale at Kemp (Nov. 10)[/su_pullquote]
By finishing their last two games with victories against Kemp and Maypearl, Sunnyvale could potentially slot itself in the No. 2 seed.
The Raiders enter the game at 5-3 overall and 4-1 in 6-3A play, with their only district loss coming against Grandview — a Zebra team Maypearl beat by five last week. Since the loss, though, Sunnyvale has outscored its opponents 148-41.
Although last week’s game was particularly important for the Panthers, this game has equally as much implication on the standings of the district. Grandview, Kemp, and Maypearl are all racing for the first-place finish, a loss to Sunnyvale would significantly hurt the Panthers playoff ranking and allow the Raiders to re-establish themselves as contenders.
CLASH OF STYLES
Sunnyvale, led by near 1,000-yard passing sophomore quarterback Ronnie Mcada (68-121, 863 yards, 10 TD, 6 INT) and and leading receiver junior Trevor Tutle (17 rec, 224 yards, 4 TD), will look to score 40 or more points for the sixth time in nine games. The Raiders were held to 15 or fewer in each of their three losses.
Mcada has amassed 1,407 of Sunnyvale’s 2,620 yards of total offense and had a hand in 12 of its 27 touchdowns. He leads the team in rushing with 573 yards and six touchdowns.
While the Panthers will look to their defense — namely senior linebacker Lonnie Brooks (5 TK vs. Grandview) and defensive backs Jagger Dixon (14 TK, INT vs. Grandview), Tariq Massey (5 TK, 2 INT vs. Grandview), and Gunner Petty (4 TK vs. Grandview) — to shut down Sunnyvale’s high-scoring offense. Maypearl will also need its bruising power-run game, headlined by a 1,000-yard rusher and another 113 yards shy of the mark.
Dixon leads the Panthers in ground yardage, tallying 1,019 and seven touchdowns on 113 carries in seven games. He’s followed closely by Petty, who has 887 and 12 touchdowns on 11 carries. Petty’s also thrown for 647 yards, has seven touchdowns against five interceptions and a completion percentage hovering around 41 percent.
Although this Sunnyvale team is young, they have been able to produce on offense and shut down teams in recent weeks on defense — namely through two of its two-way stars, Devin Sterling and Chance Work — making containing Sunnyvale a daunting task for Maypearl’s defense.
Maypearl and Sunnyvale will meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Raider Stadium.
The Raiders are 3-1 when playing at home in 2017 and the Panthers are 2-2 on the road, with one of those coming against state-ranked and district title contender Kemp. Maypearl fell 63-14 last season to the eventual 11-1 overall and 7-0 undisputed District 6-3A champions on the road.
Sunnyvale has won the last four matchups, dating back to 2011, by an average margin of 41.5 points. Maypearl’s last victory came at W.G. Roesler Stadium in 2010 via a 35-0 shutout.
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