The TAPPS Division I state champion this year will be a defending champion and an area team.
Defending Division I state champion Fort Worth Nolan faces last year’s Division II state champion, Plano Prestonwood, in Killeen on Saturday, in a rematch of a nail-biter from earlier in the year.
Nolan beat Prestonwood on a last-second field goal in a game that had 891 yards of offense combined from both teams.
“The main thing I was looking for was the snap,” Nolan head coach Joe Prud'homme said about the game-winning play. “I figured if the snap was good we’d be fine, and if the snap was bad we were in trouble.”
The snap was good and the kick was true off the foot of Hans Ingold, who had been pulled from his normal duties at wide receiver on the last drive of the game to ensure his leg was good to go.
Despite what Nolan has going for them -- the early-season win over Prestonwood and a Division I state championship last season -- Prud’homme said he doesn’t believe his team has the edge. In fact, he believes all of his team’s accolades give Prestonwood an underdog advantage.
“They’re going to want to make the point that we shouldn’t have beat them and they had a chance to beat us and they did,” Prud’homme said. “It was about even. And with them winning a state championship, they know how to do it. They are very capable of beating us.”
Another challenge facing the Vikings is the size difference between Prestonwood’s squad and Nolan, Prud’homme said.
What Nolan does have going for them is a ballenced offensive attack based on a foundation of rushing while mixing in play action and pass plays when needed.
“Offensively, we try and stay balanced. We want to be able to throw and run out of any formation or any play or look that we have,” Prud’homme said.
After Prestonwood quarterback Parker Ash picked apart the Nolan defense in the first game, throwing for 392 yards and three touchdowns, Prud’homme said he expects Prestonwood to depend on running back Kenneth Huggins and their rushing attack to mix things up in the state championship bout.
Whether Nolan is victorious on Saturday, the Vikings feel confident that their small, underrated private school is one of the top teams inside the city limits of Fort Worth.
“We feel like we can play with [Fort Worth public school teams].” Prud’homme said. “We don’t feel like we’re the team of Fort Worth, but we do feel like we’re one of the top two or three teams in the area.”