Previews and predictions for notable Dallas-area Week 1 Texas high school football games (2023)

A look at notable games around the Dallas area heading into Week 1 of the #txhsfb season...

Hot ticket


South Oak Cliff vs. Duncanville

Where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium


For the fifth consecutive season, Duncanville and South Oak Cliff will square off in non-district play, but Friday’s matchup marks the first where both teams are reigning state champions. It is one of two matchups in Week 1 between North Texas teams that won championships last fall. Duncanville has dominated the series, beating SOC by a combined 165-43 in their last four matchups. Reginald Samples’ program will be the favorite to extend the win streak to five, as it returns key contributors on both sides of the ball — including five-star defensive lineman Colin Simmons, five-star junior wide receiver Dakorien Moore and four-star running back Caden Durham. South Oak Cliff, whose strength was defense last year, only returns one defensive starter — but will lean on offensive returners William Little at quarterback, 1,000-yard rusher Danny Green at running back and SMU commit Jamyri Cauley at wide receiver.

Previews and predictions for notable Dallas-area Week 1 Texas high school football games (1)

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Assimakopoulos’ pick: Duncanville 42, South Oak Cliff 14

10 high school football players to watch in Week 1: Colin Simmons, William Little face off


Spotlight on

Argyle vs. Melissa

Where: 8 p.m. Friday at Melissa’s Kenny Deel Stadium


Two of the state’s top 4A programs as of a few years ago enter their second seasons in 5A after winning their respective district titles and advancing four or more rounds deep last year. Argyle has won four of the last five meetings between the two programs, including a 37-18 win last fall. Even though Argyle has controlled the series, Melissa returns more of its talent from last season and will be led by four-star defensive lineman Nigel Smith II, the most heavily recruited player in Melissa history. Argyle’s returning quarterback John Gailey will lead an offense that lost its top two rushers and one of two quarterbacks from last season.


Assimakopoulos’ pick: Melissa 28, Argyle 24

Allen vs. DeSoto

Where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium


Fresh off a Class 6A state championship, DeSoto and head coach Claude Mathis have their chance at revenge. Allen was DeSoto’s kryptonite in the mid-2010s, knocking Mathis’ program out of the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and winning three straight titles of its own in that span. Mathis will have his chance to secure the program’s first-ever win against Allen in front of Allen’s home stadium that seats 18,000. The matchup features some of the area’s top talent like Allen defensive lineman Zina Umeozulu and DeSoto quarterback DJ Bailey — the area’s preseason all-area offensive player of the year.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: DeSoto 45, Allen 28

Five Week 1 high school football storylines: DeSoto’s chance at revenge and a 5A showdown


McKinney vs. Longview

Where: 7 p.m. Thursday at McKinney ISD Stadium

McKinney had a breakout season in 2022, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2019 and advancing to the third round before falling to Southlake Carroll. Returning most of its talent, McKinney is poised for another strong year but will be challenged early by Class 5A state semifinalist Longview. McKinney’s defense is highlighted by linebackers Makhi Frazier (Oregon State) and Jonathan Agumadu (Oklahoma State) as well as safety Xavier Filsaime — the area’s No. 7 overall recruit committed to Florida — and cornerback Ashton McShane (Boston College). However, that veteran unit will have to stop the nation’s No. 1 running back recruit in Oklahoma pledge Taylor Tatum.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Longview 21, McKinney 17


Frisco Wakeland vs. Grapevine

Where: 8 p.m. Thursday at Grapevine’s Mustang-Panther Stadium

In a matchup between two top-20 area 5A teams, No. 20 Grapevine hosts returning quarterback Brennan Myer and No. 13 Frisco Wakeland in a non-district contest. Myer was one of the top quarterbacks, statistically, in the Dallas-area last season, throwing for 3,476 yards and 39 touchdowns while completing 68% of his passes. Wakeland also returns wide receiver Ashdyn Kahouch, who had 52 catches for 672 yards and a team-high 14 touchdowns. While Grapevine had a strong season last year, it graduated top running back Parker Polk (1,958 yards and 24 touchdowns) and brought in a new coach, Bob DeBesse. His first game won’t be an easy one but could shake up the area 5A rankings regardless.


Assimakopoulos’ pick: Frisco Wakeland 27, Grapevine 20

Denton Guyer vs. Rockwall-Heath

Where: 8 p.m. Friday at Rockwall’s Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium


The Rodney Webb era begins Friday night at Heath against his former team and reigning state semifinalist Denton Guyer. After a tumultuous offseason where a number of Heath players were hospitalized following a workout led by former coach John Harrell, Webb took over with the hopes of turning the program around. To do so, he will have to take down Guyer which thrived in Reed Heim’s first year as head coach last season but also lost two Oklahoma commits — quarterback Jackson Arnold and safety Peyton Bowen. Guyer’s top returner is Bowen’s brother Eli, who missed most of the playoffs last year with a season-ending injury. Heath returns quarterback Caleb Hoover, who threw for 1,852 yards and 16 touchdowns, as well as running back Malachi Tuesno, who rushed for 810 yards and 13 scores.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Denton Guyer 31, Rockwall-Heath 14

Flower Mound Marcus vs. Highland Park

Where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Flower Mound Marcus’ Marauder Stadium


Both Flower Mound Marcus and Highland Park are undergoing significant changes this year and will open the season facing one another for the second straight year. Marcus welcomes in new coach Mike Alexander, who was previously at Grapevine, and begins his first 6A head coaching job against Highland Park veteran Randy Allen. Allen, however, will be tasked with replacing 18 of 22 starters from last fall. Marcus’ top returners are on the offensive and defensive lines, as it has a pair of top-100 recruits — Jack Tanner and Will Upshaw — both committed to Tulsa. Highland Park will start Warren Peck at quarterback, who had limited reps last season with 24 completions for 273 yards.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Highland Park 34, Flower Mound Marcus 24

Argyle Liberty Christian vs. Prestonwood Christian

Where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Argyle Liberty Christian’s Warrior Stadium


Argyle Liberty Christian and Prestonwood Christian will both debut new quarterbacks on Friday. UConn commit Cole Welliver transferred to Liberty Christian from Flower Mound Marcus this offseason, and Tulane commit Kellen Tasby transferred to Prestonwood Christian from Little Elm. Both quarterbacks are top 100 area recruits — ranked 67th and 82nd, respectively. The two programs were among the top in TAPPS last season with Prestonwood Christian reaching the Division I state title game before falling to Parish Episcopal. The two programs faced off in Week 1 in 2022 with Liberty Christian stunning Prestonwood Christian 28-7 before going on to win 10 games last season.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Argyle Liberty Christian 28, Prestonwood Christian 20

Parish Episcopal vs. Aledo

Where: 8 p.m. Friday at Aledo’s Bearcat Stadium


One of the most shocking non-district finishes last season was when Ole Miss commit Daniel Demery came away with a game-sealing pass breakup against then-10-time state champion Aledo in a clash between the best of the UIL and TAPPS. Parish Episcopal faces a similar non-district schedule this fall loaded with UIL state champions and will look to kick off the season in a similar way against an Aledo team that won the Class 5A Division I state title last fall. Parish Episcopal won a title of its own, claiming its fourth consecutive TAPPS state championship. It returns Purdue pledges Sawyer Anderson at quarterback and Caleb Mitchell Irving, who leads a defense that will be tasked with stopping Aledo’s returning quarterback and TCU commit Hauss Hejny.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Aledo 35, Parish Episcopal 28

Lovejoy vs. College Station

Where: 7 p.m. Saturday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium


Another team that played at AT&T Stadium returns to DFW this weekend, as state finalist College Station takes on Lovejoy to open the season again this fall. Lovejoy won the matchup last year by a margin of 52-27. Chris Ross’ program returns quarterback Alexander Franklin, the starter in the 2021 season, as well as Texas commit Parker Livingstone at wide receiver and Ohio State pledge Payton Pierce at linebacker (the area’s No. 9 overall recruit). Lovejoy dropped two of its three non-district games last season and would benefit from a strong start against a team that came up one win short of the state title last year.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Lovejoy 30, College Station 21

Rockwall vs. Cedar Hill

Where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Frisco’s The Star


Cedar Hill struggled in 2022 but enters this fall with a new coach and some key returners on defense. Nick Ward took over for Carlos Lynn and will lean on cornerback Alexander Rodgers, an SMU commit, and defensive lineman Zhaiylen Scott, who holds offers from Memphis, SMU, UNT and others, as the program seeks to rebuild this fall. Rockwall is coming off a District 10-6A title and remains the favorite this fall, especially as it returns two promising quarterbacks in Mason Marshall and Wisconsin commit Landyn Locke.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Rockwall 38, Cedar Hill 14

Euless Trinity vs. Prosper

Where: 7 p.m. Friday at Prosper’s Children’s Health Stadium


Euless Trinity may have started last season 0-5, but it won four of its next five to qualify for the playoffs. Even during that difficult start, its game against Prosper was its closest, as Trinity lost just 17-13 in Week 1. Trinity had won 11 games the two seasons before but experienced growing pains in the first year under Aaron Lineweaver, who took over for his father Steve last fall. Prosper finds itself in that same position this year with Tyler Moore taking over as head coach this fall. In what will likely be a low-scoring matchup won in the trenches, a win for either program could be a significant confidence booster to kick off the season.

Assimakopoulos’ pick: Prosper 17, Euless Trinity 10

On Twitter: @Lassimak

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