On Saturday, USA TODAY Super 25 No. 1 Allen faces a stern test when it faces off with Duncanville (Texas) High School, another Dallas-area power. The game will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, often called “Jerry World” after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and the hype might be almost as big as the venue.
RELATED: USA TODAY Super 25 Football Rankings
For while Allen has received well-earned plaudits and attention all year for its rise up the rankings, what Duncanville has done nearby has been at least as impressive.
The Panthers enter Saturday’s semifinal 13-0, just one weather-canceled game behind the Eagles’ 14-0 mark. They’re up to No. 11 in the Super 25, coming off a jaw-dropping 51-7 rout of previously undefeated Southlake Carroll (Texas) High School, which had entered that game just outside the Super 25 rankings itself. Yet, as impressive as that win was, there’s another number that tells the biggest tale of Duncanville’s dominance: 60.
The Panthers have allowed just 60 combined points all season … in 13 games. That’s an average of 4.6 points per game. By comparison, Allen has scored more than 60 points in a single game three times this year. Duncanville has yet to allow more than 14 points in any game — in a Week 2 48-14 victory against Evangel Christian from Louisiana and in a 30-14 playoff victory against South Grand Prairie — and have shut out six different opponents (6!). Keep in mind that these are Class 6A opponents in Dallas and the metro area, too. They’re not pushovers.
Take traditional power Dallas Skyline, for example. Both teams entered their match up undefeated, with Skyline players boasting that they were ready for Duncanville. They weren’t. The final score was 63-6, and we’ll refrain from further gory details in the interest of public decency.
So how is Allen going to score points against a defense so stout it has yet to allow a single point in the third quarter (that’s true, by the way)? Where is the weakness in a defense that has no fewer than four Division I recruits in the defensive backfield and speed and strength all over the field?
That’s a trick question, of course. There is no weakness in the Duncanville defense. The antidote will have to come from Allen’s most explosive playmakers, particularly Chosen 25 wide receiver Theo Wease and Ole Miss quarterback-commit Grant Tisdale. The Eagles are likely to employ plenty of running back Celdon Manning in option attacks with Tisdale, as one of Texas’ top rushing attacks will look to take hold. Finding creative ways to get the ball in Wease’s hands in situations when he is not blanketed by one of Duncanville’s elite DBs would help, too.
Yet the real answer may come in the turnover battle, as it so often does. As noted by the Dallas Morning News, Allen has turned the ball over just seven times all season. That’s one turnover every other game. Meanwhile, Duncanville’s defense has scored touchdowns on 12 different turnovers … more than their defense has allowed to opposing offenses.
Something’s got to give. And by Saturday evening, either Allen or Duncanville will have given way to a superior team, too.