The temperatures are cooler and thoughts are turning toward the holidays.
That can mean only one thing in Texas — high school football playoffs.
Teams begin what they hope is a march toward state championships. They would love to end up in Arlington the week before Christmas.
Several teams in East Texas have legitimate shots at making reservations for AT&T Stadium.
The Whitehouse Wildcats, fresh off a thrilling District 16-4A championship victory — a 55-54 win over John Tyler, are eyeing the big prize.
With an offensive juggernaut led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Jake Parker, the Wildcats are one of the favorites to be playing at the Cowboys’ home field in December.
Mahomes, the Texas Tech commit, has accounted for 52 touchdowns — 10 rushing and 42 passing. He has hit on 229 of 379 pass attempts for 3,590 yards. In those 397 attempts, he has but four interceptions.
Parker (53-1,101, 8 TDs) tops the receiving corps. He is averaging 20.77 yards per catch. Ryan Cheatham has hauled in 43 receptions for 470 yards and seven touchdowns.
The squad is 10-0 for the first time in school history, and hopeful of making it win No. 11 Friday in Mesquite against 15-4A Arlington Seguin.
Game time for the Class 4A Division II bi-district game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Last year, Whitehouse won its bi-district contest 42-32 over Ennis before falling 63-56 to Wylie East in area play.
The Wildcats have their eye on No. 1 in more ways than one as the Cougars are led by quarterback Kelton Moore, who sports No. 1 on his jersey.
Moore (6-0, 200) not only leads the squad in passing (111 of 171 for 1,434 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs), but also rushing (266-1,922 yards, 27 TDs).
Moore has received a scholarship offer from Nevada and has interest from Rice, Houston, Tulsa and North Texas.
His favorite receiver is Gary Jolivet (30-399, 4 TDs).
The winner of the Whitehouse-Arlington Seguin matchup will meet either Sulphur Springs or Denison in the area round next week.
The Athens Hornets’ fans may not like seeing the Blue & Gold of Chapel Hill.
After all, the Bulldogs have not been too kind to the Maroon-clad Hornets. Chapel Hill has an eight-game winning streak against the Hornets, including defeating Athens for the district title in 2010 and knocking the team out of a chance for the playoffs in 2011.
The clubs meet Friday on Earl Campbell Field at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Kickoff for the Class 3A Division I bi-district game is 7:30 p.m.
Still, there is plenty of buzz surround the Hornets, who sport their first unbeaten regular season in school history.
The Hornets play an old-school, smashmouth brand of ball. Sophomore fullback Logan Fuller leads the way. He set a school record for most rushing yards in a season — 1,540 yards, along with 25 touchdowns.
Also, junior tailback Devin Hall has rushed for 1,180 yards and 13 TDs.
While the Bulldogs have four more losses than the Hornets, Chapel Hill had one of the toughest schedules in the state with those defeats coming to Class 4A No. 3-ranked Whitehouse (42-34) and 3A powerhouses Carthage (52-22), Gilmer (56-28) and Kilgore (42-25).
All of those squads were in the top 10 — and remain there — when Chapel Hill played them. That group has a record of 37-2.
Chapel Hill is led by dual-threat quarterback Andrew Black, who has 777 yards and 13 TDs on the ground, while hitting on 145 of 263 pass attempts for 2,090 yards and 21 TDs.
Other tops rushers are Wesley Thompson (84-707, 10 TDs), Jesse Mumphrey (60-451, 8 TDs) and Joseph Clark (41-331, 4 TDs).
The top target for Black is Gabriel Robinson (42-883, 11 TDs).
The winner of the contest meets Paris or Crandall next week in area play.