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QB battle shaping up for Heritage-Timberview

No. 7 COLLEYVILLE HERITAGE (9-1) vs. MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW (8-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie‘s Gopher-Warrior Bowl

What: Class 5A Division II Region I bi-district game.

When we saw them last: Colleyville Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-18 elimination of 4-6 Haltom. Timberview’s Josh Smith rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-7 Week 10 rout of 2-8 Mansfield Legacy.

Last in the playoffs: Colleyville Heritage lost to Southlake Carroll in a Class 5A Division II area playoff, 34-17, in 2010. Timberview lost to Denton Ryan in a Class 4A Division I area playoff, 49-14, in 2008.

What’s at stake: The winner advances to the area round to face the winner of the bi-district game between Flower Mound Marcus (9-1) Keller Fossil Ridge (6-4).

Key matchup: Both offenses rely heavily on their quarterbacks. The defense that can take the other team’s quarterback out of his rhythm should prevail. For Timberview’s defense, that means finding a way to apply pressure to Thomas in the pocket. For Colleyville Heritage, it means shutting down the darting scrambles of Timberview signal-caller Charles Taylor.

Players to watch: Colleyville Heritage’s Thomas, a junior, has gone over the 3,000-yard mark in passing yardage and has thrown 34 touchdowns. Nolan Brown leads the Panthers in receiving with 49 catches for 736 yards and eight touchdowns. Timberview's Taylor is a threat as a runner (1,286 yards, 15 touchdowns) and a passer (1,236 yards and 11 scores). Rickey Gross leads all Wolves receivers with 27 catches for 496 yards and seven touchdowns.

Prediction: It could five touchdowns to win this one: Timberview 35, Colleyville Heritage 31.