Playoffs could await Grapevine-Richland winner

GRAPEVINE (5-4, 4-3 6-5A) vs. RICHLAND (4-5, 3-4)

7:30 p.m. Friday at North Richland Hills‘ Birdville Fine Arts/Athletic Complex

When we saw them last: With a big defensive effort, Grapevine limited 3-6 Irving MacArthur to two first downs and won, 10-7. Meanwhile, quarterback Walker Burns rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in Richland’s 42-14 victory over 2-7 Irving Nimitz.

2010 result: Grapevine led 7-3 at halftime, then went on a 34-point scoring spree in the second half to defeat Richland, 41-23.

What’s at stake: The final available playoff berth in District 6-5A. Grapevine gets the spot with a win. Richland needs a win as well as a Euless Trinity victory over Irving MacArthur and a Colleyville Heritage win over Haltom.

Key matchup: Grapevine has scored only 10 points the last two weeks, while Richland has allowed only 20 points. The Mustangs’ Brett Harbin to Bryan Popp passing connection has resulted in 53 completions for 454 yards and three touchdowns. But in the last two games, they have connected only five times for 22 yards. Richland’s pass defense allows only 119 passing yards per game.

Players to watch: Harbin, a senior, has thrown for 1,070 yards and rushed for 491. Riley Albus has rushed for 453 yards for the Mustangs. For the Rebels, quarterback Burns is a bigger threat with his running. He leads the team with 957 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. The Rebels' defense is led by linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga.

Prediction: In what should be a defensive struggle, a slight edge to Grapevine with a better passing attack: Grapevine 16, Richland 15.