Wylie seeks to close tough season on high note against Plainview

PLAINVIEW (1-8, 0-4) AT WYLIE (0-9, 0-4)

7 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium, Abilene

What it means: This battle of Bulldogs is the last chance for either team to suit up this season, and in Wylie’s case, the final opportunity to avoid a winless campaign. Both teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention, so they’ll be playing to send their seniors out on a high note and take some positive momentum into the offseason. Wylie is coming off two of its better efforts of the season, falling 24-20 at Canyon Randall on Oct. 26 and 31-12 to state-ranked Lubbock Cooper last week. If it can perform at a similar level this week, coach Hugh Sandifer’s squad could snap an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season.

Players to watch: Coming off two of its best defensive performances of the year, Wylie will be looking to continue that trend against a Plainview offensive unit that has averaged just 8.7 points per game this season. That total is only slightly higher in league play, during which PHS has averaged 10.8 points per contest. Expect an aggressive game from the Wylie defense, which has been led this season by Brazos Ham (65 solo tackles, 18 assists, 9 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery) and Dayton Barnes (49 solos, 17 assists, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, 10 QB hurries).

Keys to victory: Plainview has only passed for 428 yards this season, so defeating coach Ryan Rhoades’ Bulldogs begins with stopping the run. If Wylie can hold backs Andrew Villa (117-482, 3 TDs), Peyton McNutt (52-290, 4 TDs) and Sergio Marquez (58-282, 3 TDs) in check, it should keep the PHS score total relatively low. At that point, it comes down to the offense executing at a high enough level to win. Expect a heavy dose of running back Bailey Hicks both on the ground and as a receiver as WHS tries to establish its patented ball-control offense against a Plainview defense that has allowed 39.3 points per game through its first four district contests.

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