Gang of Six: Timberview refuses to give up

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has produced the fewest Class 4A and 5A regional finalists (six) since the UIL expanded 4A to four playoff teams per district in 2008. ESPN Dallas profiles the remaining teams.

Regular-season recap: A midseason 39-28 win over Duncanville gave Mansfield Timberview (11-2) the edge for the third spot in District 5-5A, behind the two teams it lost two in district play, Mansfield and Cedar Hill. Both losses were close battles, ending within one score. The team has played with a new passion since that Duncanville game to honor the memory of former Timberview offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died a week before the game.

5A Division II Region 1 final matchup: vs. Abilene (10-3), 2 p.m. Saturday, Denton's C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

Why they’re still here: The Wolves have the will to win. They’ve overcome two teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs that were more talented all around, but Timberview played mistake-free football and refused to give up. Last week it took a last-second effort by quarterback Chuck Taylor to advance past Abilene Cooper in Abilene.

QB profile: Taylor, a senior, is the other reason Timberview is still playing. His ability to make plays in clutch situations is Tebow-esque, especially in the way he’s able to create with his feet. He’s passed for 1,646 yards and 13 touchdowns this season and has rushed for 1,642 yards for 19 touchdowns. He plays with a drive to honor the memory of McCarty, his former position coach, and a chip on his shoulder for receiving no scholarship offers to play football. He will instead play baseball at the University of Texas-Arlington next year.

Unsung hero: Running back Josh Smith doesn’t get the credit he deserves while sharing carries with Taylor, but he trails the quarterback in rushing yards by only four and has found the end zone 16 times. Taylor’s ability to pick up yards rushing around the outside can make the middle of the field soft for Smith to pick up quality yardage.

Why they can win state: No team from this area plays with the kind of passion Timberview displays. The Wolves want to win this one for their coach, and there isn’t a team left in the state that intimidates this scrappy squad.