High School: 2011 Football District Preview

District 15-4A football season preview

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 15-4A
  • Corsicana (7-4, 6-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Phil Castles.
  • Ennis (2-8, 1-7). Coach: Jack Alvarez.
  • Forney (3-7, 2-6). Coach: Kevin Rush.
  • Lancaster (7-4, 5-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Chris Gilbert.
  • Mesquite Poteet (12-3, 6-2), lost in DII state semifinal. Coach: Randy Jackson.
  • Red Oak (6-4, 4-4). Coach: Mike Shields.
  • Terrell (5-5, 3-5). Coach: Darrell Jordan.
  • Waxahachie (4-6, 3-5). Coach: David Ream.
  • West Mesquite (10-3, 6-2), lost in DI regional semifinal. Coach: Mike Overton.
THE BIG QUESTION: Is Lancaster poised for a breakout season?

Under new coach Chris Gilbert, the Tigers will transition to more of a passing attack in their newly-installed ’Pistol’ formation. While Lancaster has enjoyed modest success the past few seasons, it has been lacking a deep playoff run its supporters crave. Going back 25 years, the Tigers have not won more than eight games in a season. But Gilbert is hoping for a breakthrough for his team in 15-4A, one of the state’s toughest districts. The Tigers return 22 lettermen and nine starters. A wrist injury forced starting quarterback Davon Hodge to miss much of the 2010, forcing then-freshman Nick Harvey to move over from defensive back. Harvey ended up being named the district’s top newcomer.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB Cameron Washington, WR Christian Hines, DE Chad Sterling, OL Roclan Drain, Corsicana; RB Sammy Walker, LB Boston Prachyl, Ennis; LB Patric Youngman, WR C.J. Rather, Forney; DB Nick Harvey, RB Tre White, WR La’Darius Newbold, Lancaster; DL Silas Firstley, WR Chase Graham, LB Craig Suits, Mesquite Poteet; RB Cameron Bausley, QB Claud Person, CB Luke Lamb, Red Oak; LB Montavious Morris, CB Jordan Richardson, RB Sabian Hubbard, Terrell; RB Robert Lowe Jr., LB Devin Walker, CB Quin Sargent, Waxahachie; RB Courtland Smith, LB Nick Akins, CB Cranston Jones, West Mesquite.

DID YOU KNOW?

With the return of Cameron Washington and Christian Hines, Corsicana has the top returning rusher and receiver, respectively, in the district... A conversion from defensive back to wide receiver should be easy enough for Poteet’s Chase Graham, who snagged 10 interceptions last season... West Mesquite freshman quarterback Chason Virgil compiled a solid summer 7-on-7 campaign and won the starting job... New Terrell coach Darrell Jordan returns to the area after guiding La Marque to the Class 4A Division II state championship game last season... Waxahachie is looking to rebound after its streak of consecutive playoff appearances was snapped last season at 20... Poteet coach Randy Jackson gained many state-wide Coach of the Year accolades after orchestrating a remarkable turn-around season in 2010, taking a team with an 0-10 record in 2009 to the state semifinals... Jack Alvarez, taking over as coach at Ennis for the retired Sam Harrell, guided Kirbyville to the Class 2A Division I state finals in 2009.


PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Corsicana
  2. Lancaster
  3. West Mesquite
  4. Waxahachie

District 12-4A football season preview

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 12-4A
  • Dallas Adams (2-8,2-4). Coach: Derick Roberson.
  • Dallas Conrad (7-4, 5-1), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Darren Duke.
  • Dallas Hillcrest (8-3, 6-0), lost in DII area. Coach: Andy Todd.
  • Dallas Jefferson (0-10, 0-6). Coach: David Haynes.
  • Dallas Lincoln (4-7, 3-3), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: James Argenti.
  • Dallas Spruce (1-8, 1-5). Coach: Carl Richardson.
  • Dallas Woodrow Wilson (8-3, 4-2), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Bobby Estes.
THE BIG QUESTION: Is this Woodrow’s big year to shine before the window closes?

Woodrow is known for being the only high school in Dallas that’s on a “first-name” basis with the city and for producing two Heisman Trophy winners.

The school has had a recent resurgence in football and had a second-place finish in 12-4A last season, but hey were a quick exit in the first game of the playoffs.

Woodrow returns players at key positions in QB Piers Christian and WR Shaquille Dottin, which solidifies one of the best offenses in the district.

Its top competitor is returning district champion Conrad, wich boasts the return of the district’s top rusher, Silas Jefferson.

Woodrow’s weakness is its lack of depth, which could be exploited next season.

If Woodrow is going to make a deep run in the playoffs, this is the year to make it happen.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

WR Kris Williams, DB/WR Shaquil Berry, Adams; QB Silas Jefferson, LB Johnathan Small, Conrad; ATH James Myles, QB Rocky Reyes, Hillcrest; DB Ulises Montalvo, LB/RB D’Ontrrius Jackson, Jefferson; QB Eric Neal, WR Derric Neal, LB Tabari McGaskey, Lincoln; OL Joshua Levy, DB DeAmonte Miles, RB Reginald Robertson, Spruce; QB Piers Christian, SS Andre Plata, WR Shaquille Dottin, Woodrow.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dallas Spruce is in its second year of varsity competition after having its athletic program shut down by the school district for two years... Dallas Lincoln is typically a threat for the top spot on the district, but returns only four starters and must work through inexperience to find success.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Woodrow
  2. Conrad
  3. Hillcrest
  4. Adams

District 11-4A football season preview

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
12:01
AM CT

DISTRICT 11-4A
  • Dallas Adamson (3-7, 0-7). Coach: Josh Ragsdale.
  • Dallas Carter (6-6, 5-2), lost in DI area. Coach: Scott Jackson.
  • Dallas Kimball (9-3, 6-1), lost in DI area. Coach: Carlton Nelson.
  • Dallas Molina (5-5, 2-5). Coach: Charles Deville.
  • Dallas Pinkston (4-6, 2-5). Coach: Gerald Jones.
  • Seagoville (6-5, 4-3), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Andy Gutierrez.
  • Dallas South Oak Cliff (10-2, 6-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Kendall Miller.
  • North Dallas (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Brad Peirson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will the Kimball’s bout with South Oak Cliff on Sept. 30 decide the 11-4A title?

After strong showings in 2010, Kimball and South Oak Cliff are the favorites to win District 11-4A. And in a district without much depth, upsets will be few and far between.

That places a huge emphasis on Kimball and South Oak Cliff’s game Sept. 30 at Sprague Stadium.

After missing the playoffs in 2009, Kimball stormed back into the postseason behind its class of 2013, a loaded group that shouldn’t have any problem getting Kimball back into the playoffs as juniors.

South Oak Cliff regularly produces some of the best athletes in the area. This year's batch includes a workhorse running back in Paul Franklin and six returning starters on defense, making the Golden Bears a threat yet again.

The one wild card in the district may be Carter. The storied Cowboys return 11 starters from a young team that rebounded from a rough start to finish third in the district in 2010.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB Qwaii Clark, QB Frank Mata, QB Keith Jackson, Adamson; QB Eddie Parrish, RB Jordan Griffin, DE Courtney Arnick, Carter; DE Andre Carter, QB Traveon Thibodeaux, RB Teriyon Gipson, Kimball; QB Miguel Ortiga, RB Shaquille Jones, WR Jacob Sandoval, Molina; WR Devonte Green, QB Roland Hyder, LB Trevon Roy, Pinkston; RB Kaillion Hughey, RB Dontrail Russell, WR Ashton Rosebud, Seagoville; RB Paul Franklin, WR Corey Callicut, QB Jevon Valentine, South Oak Cliff; WR Sean Miles, QB Jesse Garcia, RB John Jones, North Dallas.

DID YOU KNOW?

Only two of the teams that made the playoffs in 2009 made it in 2010 -- South Oak Cliff and Carter. … Scott Jackson steps in as head coach of Carter for the departed Allen Wilson. … Kimball DT Justin Manning is the younger brother of former Kimball standout DeMarcus Granger. The junior will likely be highly recruited in 2013.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Kimball
  2. South Oak Cliff
  3. Carter
  4. Seagoville

District 11-5A football season preview

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
12:01
AM CT

DISTRICT 11-5A

  • DeSoto (11-3, 4-1), lost in DI regional final. Coach: Claude Mathis
  • Longview (10-5, 4-1), lost in DII state semifinal. Coach: John King
  • Mesquite (1-9, 0-5). Coach: Robbie Robinson
  • Mesquite Horn (9-5, 3-2), lost in DII regional final. Coach: Rodney Webb
  • North Mesquite (5-5, 2-3). Coach: Mike Robinson.
  • Tyler Lee (2-9, 2-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Randy Huffstickler
THE BIG QUESTION: How will DeSoto replace record-setting quarterback Ryan Polite?

[+] EnlargeCurtis Riser
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comDeSoto offensive tackle Curtis Riser is one of the players to watch in District 11-5A.
In his four-year Eagles career, Polite was anything but to opposing defenses. He smashed all the school records by throwing for 10,688 yards and 94 touchdowns. In 2010, the Eagles went four rounds deep in the playoffs and averaged almost 47 point per game. Obviously, Polite’s graduation left big shoes to fill.

Senior Raheem Wilson won the fall competition over sophomore Dezmond White for the starting spot, but coach Claude Mathis said both will see action. Wilson led DeSoto to the state 7-on-7 football championship in July.

“We don’t expect Raheem to be Ryan Polite because Ryan had years of experience,’’ Mathis said.

An advantage for Wilson is the high level of talent that will surround him. Five seniors have already made college commitments, and opportunities await several more.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OT Curtis Riser, LB Alex Lyons, CB Bryson Echols, DE Michael Richardson, DeSoto; RB J’Haston Faggans, LB Jordan Burton, WR Eric Hawkins, Longview; WR/DB Kavaski Ervin, RB Junior Session, Mesquite; CB/WR DeVante Harris, LB Richard Jones, QB Destri White, Mesquite Horn; QB King Davis, RB Horace Borders, LB Darik Walker, North Mesquite; RB LaQuintas Wallace, QB Joseph Seeber, LB Austin Campbell, Tyler Lee.

DID YOU KNOW?

District 11-5A teams had a 10-4 postseason record last year with three teams advancing to the Region II finals. Longview and Mesquite Horn met for a second time last season in the Division II Region II final, with Longview winning 28-24. ... Mesquite Horn’s DeVante Harris, an Oklahoma commit, is the son of former Texas A&M and NFL player Rod Harris. ... Tyler Lee linebacker Austin Campbell is the nephew of the Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell. … Longview followed up two Class 4A state title game appearances by making it to the state semifinals in its return to Class 5A last season. … Tyler Lee defensive coordinator Randy Huffstickler was promoted to interim head coach in June after the resignation of Mike Owens.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. DeSoto
  2. Longview
  3. Mesquite Horn
  4. North Mesquite

District 10-4A football season preview

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 10-4A
  • Highland Park (12-1, 7-0), lost in DII regional semifinal. Coach: Randy Allen.
  • McKinney (4-6, 3-4). Coach: Jeff Smith.
  • McKinney North (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Mike Fecci.
  • Richardson J.J. Pearce (4-7, 3-4), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Randy Robertson.
  • Rockwall (6-5, 5-2), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Scott Smith.
  • Rockwall-Heath (5-5, 2-5). Coach: Mickey Moss.
  • Wylie (11-4, 5-2), lost in DI state semifinal. Coach: Bill Howard.
  • Wylie East (2-8, 0-7). Coach: Joe Lepsis.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will defense or offense win a championship?

The battle for the District 10-4A championship will be a two-man show again in 2011, starring the same two acts.

Highland Park enters the year as one of the top returning offenses in the area, boasting the triplets of QB Brady Burgin, WR Dalton Stogner and RB Preston Miller. The Scots run the spread with precision, clearing the way for Miller to run through defenses out of the traditional spread halfback position or receiving snaps out of the wildcat formation.

Challenging Highland Park again for the district top spot is Wylie, which returns at least one starter in every position group on defense.

However, Wylie’s question marks on offense -- especially at quarterback --make it the dark horse to beat out Highland Park. But it’s a situation Wylie is well accustomed to. The Pirates were a dark horse throughout the playoffs last season after finishing second in District 10-4A and rode their way all the way to the Division I state semifinals.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

WR Dalton Stogner, QB Brady Burgin, RB Preston Miller, OT Tanner Stone, Highland Park; WR Quentin Casner, QB Robert Somborn, McKinney; QB Hunter Walling, RB Devin Smith, WR Sam Lucania, McKinney North; ATH Corey Coleman, DB Cameron O’Reilly, Pearce; QB Wesley Davis, DL Robert Hurd, LB Jared Farrow, Rockwall; WR Amaris Fields, RB Jovan Hernandez, DE Jay Arnold, LB Raaquan Davis, Rockwall-Heath; OL Kyle Fuller, DB Terrell Burt, DL Noble Nwachukwu, LB Sean Watts, Wylie; ATH Jabari Anderson, WR Marcell Ateman, Wylie East.

DID YOU KNOW?

Rockwall-Heath RB Jovan Hernandez was one of the top hitters in the area last season for the Rockwall-Heath baseball team, helping the Hawks reach the 4A regional finals. … Wylie East is entering its second year of varsity football and is still looking for its first district win.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Highland Park
  2. Wylie
  3. Rockwall-Heath
  4. McKinney North

District 10-5A football season preview

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
12:01
AM CT

DISTRICT 10-5A

  • Garland (7-4, 5-2), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Jeff Jordan.
  • Garland Lakeview Centennial (3-7, 0-6 in 10-5A). Coach: Don Willis.
  • Garland Naaman Forest (2-8, 1-6). Coach: Mark Elam.
  • McKinney Boyd (9-3, 6-1), lost in DI area. Coach: Don Drake.
  • North Garland (1-9, 1-6). Coach: David Farris.
  • Rowlett (9-3, 6-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Kiff Hardin.
  • Sachse (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Mark Behrens.
  • South Garland (8-4, 5-2), lost in DII area. Coach: Mark Cox.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Garland rebound after a subpar 2010?

[+] EnlargeSeth Russell
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comQB Seth Russell looks to lift Garland back among the elite in 2011.
Winning seven games and making the playoffs would constitute a successful season for many area football teams.

Not for Garland.

The tradition-rich Owls stumbled last season, at least by Garland standards, finishing fourth in District 10-5A before bowing out to Dallas Skyline in bi-district.

But with quarterback Seth Russell returning and a stacked defense, Garland could find itself back among the elite in 2011.

Russell, a Kansas commit, will look to build on his junior season, which statistically did not go well -- 779 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

Even with an experienced quarterback, Garland will look to recommit to the power running game behind a new stable of running backs.

The Owls could have one of the better defenses in the district, as the unit returns several college recruits, including Damien Neroes and London Dial.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Seth Russell, LB Damien Neroes, WR Ja’Taveon Green, Garland; WR Jarvis Baxter, WR Sherrod Haynes, DB Deonte Morrison, Garland Lakeview Centennial; DE Lionel Phillips, LB Andrew Schobelock, WR Marcus Perkins, Garland Naaman Forrest; DE Jamal Palmer, WR Cameron Decell, RB Bryan Driskell, McKinney Boyd; WR Dai'Qwan Washington, DB Thomas Trimble, DE Derrick Phillips, North Garland; QB Grant Bothun, QB Colton Kalmus, WR Corey Chappell, Rowlett; QB Trent White, TE Jeff Guckenberg, OL Shane Weeks, Sachse; QB Trey Porter, DB Brice Brooks, OL Daniel Gutierrez, South Garland.

DID YOU KNOW?

Mark Cox takes over as head coach of South Garland after the retirement of Keith Wright. … Sachse has yet to make the playoffs in its seven years of existence. … Boyd RB Bryan Driskell is the younger brother of former Boyd standout James Driskell.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Garland
  2. Rowlett
  3. South Garland
  4. McKinney Boyd

District 9-5A football season preview

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 9-5A

  • Richardson Berkner (4-6, 3-4). Coach: Jim Ledford
  • Dallas Jesuit (6-5, 5-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Brandon Hickman
  • Dallas Lake Highlands (7-4, 6-1), lost in DII bi-district. Coach Scott Smith
  • Richardson (7-4, 4-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Brian Chandler
  • Dallas Samuell (3-7, 1-6). Coach: Steve Pierce
  • Dallas Skyline (9-3, 7-0), lost in DI area. Coach: Reginald Samples
  • Dallas Sunset (1-9, 0-7). Coach: Dennis McAdams
  • Dallas W. T. White (4-6, 2-5). Coach: Eric Ezar
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Jesuit challenge Skyline for the district title?

[+] EnlargeJake Oliver
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comReceiver Jake Oliver is a weapon for Dallas Jesuit, but the Rangers need to find a new quarterback to get him the ball.
Dallas Jesuit enters the 2011 season with a new stadium, a new coach, the returning district offensive player of the year and the best shot at giving Dallas Skyline a run at the district championship.

But is that enough?

Jesuit still must find a starting quarterback, between Jake Brezette and Brian Buell, to feed WR Jake Oliver, 2010 offensive player of the year for District 9-5A. While they keep the same offense, the Rangers are switching to a 4-2-5 defense to combat the spread offenses most of the district runs.

Skyline boasts one of the most talented rosters in the area and should have no problem with the rest of District 9-5A.

If all the pieces fall together neatly for Jesuit, the Oct. 7 game against Skyline could be circled as the district championship game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

DB Trey Caldwell, DL De’Shon Purtue, Berkner; WR Jake Oliver, DT Akuda Esin, RB Christian Franz, Jesuit; WR Devonte Sunwenghan, QB Michael Ketchmark, Lake Highlands; RB Derrick Jackson, RB Devante Branch, RB Cameron Booty, Richardson; DT Darian Allen, RB Devontrae Smith, Samuell; LB Peter Jenkins, WR Thomas Johnson, QB Devonte Kincade, Skyline; LB Simon Ochoa, Sunset; ATH Donald Snow, W.T. White.

DID YOU KNOW?

After head coach Brent Whitson left for South Grand Prairie, Richardson looked within district 9-5A for his replacement, hiring former Lake Highlands offensive coordinator Brian Chandler. … After running a two-quarterback system for part of 2010, Lake Highlands head coach Scott Smith has settled on Michael Ketchmark as the starter. ... Berkner fell just short of the playoffs in 2010 for just the second time in eight years.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Skyline
  2. Jesuit
  3. Lake Highlands
  4. Berkner

District 9-4A football season preview

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 9-4A

  • Carrollton Creekview (2-8, 2-5). Coach: Jay Cline.
  • Carrollton Newman Smith (7-6, 4-3) lost in DI regional semifinals. Coach: Paul Ressa.
  • Carrollton R.L. Turner (1-9, 1-6). Coach: Tyrone Larkins.
  • Frisco (4-6, 3-4). Coach: Vance Gibson.
  • Frisco Centennial (6-5, 5-2) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Mark Howard
  • Frisco Heritage (0-10, 0-7). Coach: Che Hendrix.
  • Frisco Liberty (12-1, 7-0) lost in DII regional semifinals. Coach: Galen Zimmerman.
  • Frisco Wakeland (8-3, 6-1) lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Marty Secord.
THE BIG QUESTION: How will Frisco ISD's expansion affect its football programs?

Nothing wreaks havoc on a high school football program like a school district opening a new school. It can destroy a championship team just as easily and quickly as it can produce it.

[+] EnlargeTripp Abbott
Travis L. Brown for ESPN.comTripp Abbott has helped Carrollton Newman Smith undergo a football renaissance the last two seasons.
Given Frisco ISD's aggressive expansion in recent years, it's hard to project how things will shake out in 9-4A, an eight-school district with five Frisco teams.

Coming off two stellar seasons, Frisco Liberty would be the obvious favorite in 9-4A, but its current senior class was split in half by the opening of Frisco Heritage. Liberty has just one offensive starter returning.

While having a class split has an affect that's easy to predict, but other changes that come with opening schools are more subtle. Zoning lines are redrawn. Players get rerouted to other programs. Growing areas of town may or may not produce football talent.

Who's in line to benefit from Frisco's expansion? Are Frisco Wakeland and Frisco Centennial capable of taking the next step and supplanting Liberty as Frisco's top program? Is Heritage a young program waiting to explode?

One team that's bound to benefit is Carrollton Newman Smith, which can maintain its stability while the Frisco programs deal with change.

PLAYERS TO WATCH


QB Miquan Robinson, LB Chris Weatherd, WR Stephen Buckner, Carrollton Creekview; DB Shawn Holmes, DE Karl Thomas, WR Tripp Abbott, Carrollton Newman Smith; QB Garon Goodspeed, RB J.P. Patterson, LB Fernando Barrera, Carrollton R.L. Turner; QB Eric Allen, RB Carlos Harris, WR Jordan Anderson, Frisco; LB Nick Bush, DB Austin Schotts, QB Lamar Jordan, Frisco Centennial; DE Elie Nabushosi, RB Brandon Guilford, QB Cole-Bailey Cantwell, Frisco Heritage; QB Zach Smith, DB Izaiah Robinson, RB Alonte Ryan, Frisco Liberty; QB Nick West, WR Brad Sicula, RB Devaughn Childress, Frisco Wakeland.

DID YOU KNOW?


Frisco Heritage hopes to tally its first win in school history after going 0-10 in its inaugural season. Heritage already has a new head coach in Che Hendrix, but he has all 22 starters back to work with. ... Newman Smith reached the third round of the playoffs for the second straight year, no small feat for a program that hadn't made the playoffs since 1983 prior to the two-year run. ... Carrollton R.L. Turner has won two games in the last four seasons.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Carrollton Newman Smith
  2. Frisco Wakeland
  3. Frisco Centennial
  4. Frisco Liberty

District 8-5A football season preview

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 8-5A
  • Allen (10-2, 6-1) lost in DI area. Coach: Tom Westerburg.
  • Flower Mound (7-4, 5-2) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Cody Vanderford.
  • Flower Mound Marcus (8-3, 5-2) lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Bryan Erwin.
  • Hebron (6-4, 4-3). Coach: Brian Brazil.
  • Lewisville (3-7, 1-6). Coach: Dick Olin.
  • Plano (7-4, 4-3) lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Jaydon McCullough.
  • Plano East (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Johnny Ringo.
  • Plano West (3-7, 0-7). Coach: Mike Hughes.
THE BIG QUESTION: Which playoff-caliber teams will get left out of the postseason?

It's a safe bet that Allen, a near-consensus No. 1 team in the state, will make the playoffs in District 8-5A.

After that, it's anybody's guess.

8-5A remains one of the deepest districts in the state, which means more than one team that would be a shoo-in for the postseason in another district will likely have to pack it up after 10 games.

Preseason predictions have varied wildly, with one publication's No. 2 pick landing at No. 6 on another publication's list.

Will Hebron fall just short again? Will the losses of Paul Millard and Hunter Lee prove too much for Flower Mound to overcome? Could a team with as much talent and tradition as Plano fail to make the playoffs like it came so close to doing in 2010? Will the return of QB Corey Wesley and RB Nathan Meadors get Plano East back in the playoffs?

In 8-5A, high school football's equivalent of the SEC, the only certainty is that deserving teams will get left out.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Alec Morris, RB Jonathan Williams, Thaddeus LaGrone, Allen; QB Marshall Williams, RB Connor Ashley, WR Brad Bush, Flower Mound; WR Deion Sanders Jr., RB Harvey Giddens, LB Joe Sikes, Flower Mound Marcus.WR Kiante' Griffin, DE Deatrich Wise, DB Jamal Adams, Hebron; RB Rodrick Williams, RB DeAndre Brown, DT Scott Ekpe, Lewisville; DE Xavier Harbert, DE Dwayne Hicks, QB Richard Lagow, Plano; LB Toby Obumseli, QB Corey Wesley, RB Nathan Meadors, Plano East; LB Bryce Cottrell, QB Carson Smith, WR Carlos Wiggins, Plano West.

DID YOU KNOW?

Allen is playing its last season in Eagle Stadium before it moves into its new $60 million facility. ... Plano West is riding a seven-game losing streak. The Wolves started 2010 3-0, only to lose out the rest of the season. ... Sophomore Cole Erwin takes over at QB for Flower Mound Marcus, pushing last year's starter, Deion Sanders Jr., to wide receiver.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Allen
  2. Plano
  3. Flower Mound Marcus
  4. Hebron

District 7-5A football season preview

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 7-5A
  • Coppell (13-1, 7-0), lost in DI regional finals. Coach: Joe McBride.
  • Denton Guyer (13-3, 6-1), lost in 5A DII state title game. Coach: John Walsh.
  • Justin Northwest (4-7, 3-4), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Bill Patterson.
  • Keller (3-7, 2-5). Coach: Kevin Atkinson.
  • Keller Central (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Bart Helsley.
  • Keller Fossil Ridge (2-8, 2-5). Coach: Tony Baccarini.
  • Saginaw (0-10, 0-7). Coach: Mike Peters.
  • Southlake Carroll (10-4, 5-2) lost in DII regional finals. Coach: Hal Wasson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Denton Guyer reload after graduating so many leaders?

Denton Guyer won one game in its first two years of varsity play. That was before the class of 2011 made its impact.

Led by QB J.W. Walsh, the outgoing seniors had Guyer competing for a state title on both the 4A and 5A levels for three years. Now that they're gone, observers are justifiably skeptical of Guyer's ability to reload.

But the notoriously confident Wildcats have no doubts. Coach John Walsh has built a program that he believes will contend for years to come, with a little help from a talent pool in the city of Denton that has produced an annual title contender in Denton Ryan.

The 2011 season will go a long way toward projecting Guyer's long-term outlook. With just seven starters returning from a team that came a scoring drive short of winning the 5A Division II title, the Wildcats need their next group of leaders to emerge.

Sophomore Jerrod Heard takes over for J.W. Walsh under center. While he certainly won't have the symbiotic relationship with Guyer's offense that the head coach's son had, Heard may be an even better athlete.

And plenty of Division I talent returns to help him. WR Conner Crane, a Stanford commit, gives Heard a top-flight target. Sebastian Williams leads a deep group of RBs. And Guyer's defensive front should be as nasty as ever with DE Dan Kottman, LB Dominic Ramacher and DT Cody Hennessee returning.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jake Larson, RB Gavin McDaniel, DB David Busby, Coppell; WR Allen Young, QB Draze Lawliss, DL Dominic Stewart, Justin Northwest; LB Chandler Watkins, QB Davis Webb, WR Cameron Martin, Keller; OL Simon Goines, DB Zach Sanchez, QB Tanner Tausch, Keller Central; DT Aaron Curry, QB Sheldon Nuese, WR Adonis Ramos, Keller Fossil Ridge; QB Kyle Webb, WR Eddie Nuno, OL Peter Lopez, Saginaw; QB Kenny Hill, LB Will Davis, WR Peyton Williams, Southlake Carroll.

DID YOU KNOW?

Head coach Bill Patterson guided Northwest to the playoffs just one year after the team went winless. ... Saginaw didn't fare as well as Guyer did in its first year in 5A. The Roughriders didn't win a game in 2010. ... Guyer wasn't the only Denton team to lose in a state title game. Denton Ryan fell to Austin Lake Travis in 4A DI.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Southlake Carroll
  2. Coppell
  3. Denton Guyer
  4. Justin Northwest

District 7-4A football season preview

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 7-4A
  • Arlington Seguin (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Carlos Lynn.
  • Burleson (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Jason Tucker.
  • Cleburne (1-9, 1-6). Coach: Phil Young.
  • Crowley (5-6, 4-3), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Chris James.
  • Everman (8-3, 7-0), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Dale Keeling.
  • Granbury (6-5, 4-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Scotty Pugh.
  • Joshua (0-10, 0-7). Coach: Jerry Bird.
  • Mansfield Summit (9-3, 6-1), lost in DI area. Coach: Travis Pride.
THE BIG QUESTION: Are there more final standings surprises in store from 7-4A to compare with the 2010 season?

When the dust settled in a reshuffled District 7-4A last season, Everman and Mansfield Summit finished in the top two spots as expected. Everman came into the season having won at least nine games in 10 straight seasons and Summit was dropping down from a pretty successful run in Class 5A.

But it would have been difficult to predict the third and fourth playoff spots would go to Crowley and Granbury.

Crowley, coming off a 3-7 season, hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2001. But that drought was nothing compared to Granbury, where the last previous playoff excursion came in 1977. Granbury was 1-9 in 2009 and 0-10 in 2008.

For teams like Burleson and Arlington Seguin that finished only a game out of third place, or even for one-win Cleburne or winless Joshua, the Crowley and Granbury success stories could prove inspirational this fall.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

DB Steven Aikens, DL Devante Richardson, Arlington Seguin; QB Barrett Cain, OL Derek Baldeschwiler, Burleson; WR Cooper Walls, Cleburne; LB Kyron Minter, RB Larry Cheeks, Crowley; LB Lincoln Richard, QB Devynn Birdow, DE Jacob Kennedy, Everman; RB Brandon Davis, OL Johnny Shepard, OL Jason Shepard, Granbury; RB/DB Riley Davis, Joshua; LB Micah Awe, DL Cortez Harris, DL Jacolby Robinson, Mansfield Summit.

DID YOU KNOW?

Everman’s first-round playoff exit snapped a string of five straight seasons in which it advanced at least to the third round. ... Granbury offensive lineman Johnny Shepard was named Class 4A all-state second team. ... Cleburne’s Cooper Walls, an all-district selection, is the top returning receiver statistically with 663 yards and four touchdowns. ... Crowley running back Larry Cheeks is the district’s leading returning rusher after gaining 1,121 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010. ... Burleson quarterback Barrett Cain returns after a frustrating 2010 when he missed nine games with an injury. ... Everman, known to favor the run over pass, has the top returning passer in Devynn Birdow. He threw for 998 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Everman
  2. Arlington Seguin
  3. Mansfield Summit
  4. Crowley

District 6-4A football season preview

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 6-4A
  • Fort Worth Arlington Heights (10-1, 9-0), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Ged Kates.
  • Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (4-6, 4-5). Coach: James Jeffries.
  • Fort Worth Dunbar (3-7, 3-6). Coach: Todd Lawson.
  • Fort Worth Eastern Hills (5-5, 5-4). Coach: Michael Prewitt.
  • Fort Worth North Side (0-10, 0-9). Coach Andy Mills.
  • Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt (6-5, 6-3), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Zachary Criss.
  • Fort Worth South Hills (3-7, 2-7). Coach: J.J. Resendez.
  • Fort Worth Southwest (8-4, 7-2), lost in DII area. Coach: Lanny Trammell.
  • Fort Worth Trimble Tech (1-9, 1-8). Coach: David Poggensee.
  • Fort Worth Western Hills (8-3, 8-1), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: John Naylor.
THE BIG QUESTION: Are the Fort Worth ISD schools closing the gap after years of playoff futility?

Signs seem to indicate football fortunes are on the upswing in Cowtown.

For instance, Southwest’s 38-37 bi-district win over Springtown in 2010 gave the Fort Worth ISD its second playoff victory in as many seasons.

More encouragement was provided by Arlington Heights. After a 10-0 regular season in 2010, Heights took Fort Worth Boswell to the wire before being eliminated, 52-49, in a bi-district game.

It was Heights in 2009 that snapped a seven-year string of first-round playoff knockouts for Fort Worth ISD teams with a win over Arlington Seguin.

Southwest and Heights should be solid again this season. Throw Dunbar, Western Hills and O.D. Wyatt into the mix, and the nine-week battle for the 6-4A title should be very entertaining.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Omar Valadez, LB Nate Guidry, LB Alex Faoro, Arlington Heights; DE Ryan Watkins, WR Jordan Moore, Carter-Riverside; WR/DB Anthony Lampkin, WR/DB Alex Johnson, Dunbar; WR Elijah Johnson, RB Shabravus Howard, Eastern Hills; RB Elias Medina, North Side; WR Deon Daniels, WR Ladell Marshall, O.D. Wyatt; Antwan Bradshaw, South Hills; QB Wesley Harris, RB Trey Colbert, FS Phillip Boyd, Southwest; DB Melvin Harper, Trimble Tech; OL Kenny Johnson, WR Mavrik Molina, Western Hills.

DID YOU KNOW?

Arlington Heights became the second Fort Worth ISD school to reach 10 wins in a season in seven years and the first since Southwest went 10-1 in 2007. ... The lone head coaching change in 6-4A this season is at North Side, where Andy Mills takes over a program that failed to win a game in 2010. ... With 10 members, District 6 has the most of any 4A district in the state. Two others (Districts 15 and 32) have nine schools. ... Dunbar’s Anthony Lampkin intercepted six passes last season. ... As a sophomore last season, Southwest quarterback Wesley Harris was named the district’s Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 1,570 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushing for 1,133 yards and 13 scores. ... Heights quarterback Omar Valdez threw for 2,400 yards and 30 scores in 2010.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Arlington Heights
  2. Southwest
  3. Western Hills
  4. O.D. Wyatt

District 6-5A football season preview

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 6-5A
  • Colleyville Heritage (9-3, 7-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Mike Fuller.
  • Euless Trinity (15-1, 8-0), lost in DI state final. Coach: Steve Lineweaver.
  • Grapevine (5-5, 4-4). Coach: Dave Henigan.
  • Haltom (2-8, 1-7). Coach: Scot Hafley.
  • Hurst L.D. Bell (6-5, 5-3) lost in DII bi-district. Coach Mark Smith.
  • Irving (1-9, 1-7). Coach Jim Bennett.
  • Irving MacArthur (4-6, 3-5). Coach: Brian Basil.
  • Irving Nimitz (6-5, 4-4), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Steven Hohenberger.
  • Richland (5-5, 3-5). Coach: Gene Wier.
THE BIG QUESTION: Is a different offensive mindset in store at Euless Trinity?

Look for Trinity to go back to its formula of power running mixed with occasional play-action passes due to the graduation of wide receiver/quarterback Brandon Carter, now at TCU.

Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver added wrinkles to take advantage of Carter a season ago, and the Trojans made it to the Division I state title game before falling to Pearland, 28-24.

“We changed our offense last year for Brandon with reverses and gimmicks to get the ball in his hands because he was so good at making things happen,’’ Lineweaver said. “Without him, we'll change back and look for ways to attack the defense.’’

Going back to the old way is not really a gamble. The previous three odd-numbered years have ended in state titles for Trinity.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

DE/TE Rex Montes, LB/RB Justin Vallilee, Colleyville Heritage; LB Brian Nance, OL Hiva Lutui, OL Henry Lea’aetoa, Euless Trinity; RB J.J. Gibbs, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Haltom; WR Bryan Popp, QB Brett Harbin, Grapevine; QB Kyle Romano, OL Kimo Tipoti, Hurst L.D. Bell; QB Paul Atwood, Irving; FS Taion Sells, QB Justin Chavez, Irving MacArthur; LB Mark Espinosa, TB/DB Steven Stewart, Irving Nimitz; LB Jeremiah Tshimanga, LB Mike Knoblach, Richland.

DID YOU KNOW?

Colleyville Heritage has an active streak of five straight playoff appearances, but four have ended in losses to Southlake Carroll. ... Euless Trinity will play its 10-game regular season in two stadiums, seven at home (Pennington Field) in Bedford and three at Irving Schools Stadium. ... Steve Hohenberger has Nimitz thinking like winners. Nimitz won only once in the 2007-08 seasons combined but has rebounded by making the playoffs each of the last two seasons. ... This season’s only change in head coaches in 6-5A is at L.D. Bell where assistant Mark Smith was promoted after Gary Olivo stepped down.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
  1. Euless Trinity
  2. Colleyville Heritage
  3. Grapevine
  4. Hurst L.D. Bell

District 5-4A football season preview

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
12:01
AM CT
DISTRICT 5-4A

  • Aledo (16-0, 7-0), won DII state title. Coach: Tim Buchanan.
  • Azle (2-8, 1-6). Coach: Devon Dorris.
  • Fort Worth Boswell (7-5, 5-2), lost in DI area. Coach: John Abendschan.
  • Fort Worth Brewer (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Paul Sharr.
  • Keller Timber Creek (3-7, 0-7). Coach: Kevin Golden.
  • North Richland Hills Birdville (9-4, 5-2), lost in DI regional semifinal. Coach: Jim Skinner.
  • Springtown (7-4, 5-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Brad Turner.
  • Trophy Club Byron Nelson (1-9, 0-74-6, 2-5). Coach: Brian Polk.
THE BIG QUESTION: How many more state records can Aledo running back Johnathan Gray set?

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Gray
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comJohnathan Gray, who broke the state record with 59 touchdowns last season, will try to lead Aledo to its third straight state title.
The Texas Longhorn commit broke the state season record for rushing touchdowns with 59 in 2010, while scoring 368 points.

Gray needs 12 overall touchdowns and 13 rushing scores in his senior season to break career state records in both categories.

With 7,003 career yards, Gray needs 3,295 yards to overtake Cayuga’s Traylon Shead (2006-2009) for second place on the state’s all-time rushing list. He needs 4,240 yards to overtake the mark of Sugar Land’s Ken Hall that has stood for better than a half-century.

Gray set state championship game records last year when he rushed for 323 yards and eight touchdowns in Aledo’s 69-34 rout of La Marque.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB Johnathan Gray, QB Matthew Bishop, OL Michael Wilson, SS Dayne Davis, Aledo; TE/DE Reese Richards, RB/DB Zach Wood, Azle; RB/CB Jonathan Epps, DL Steven August, Boswell; DE Anthony Washington, OL/DL James De La Rosa, Fort Worth Brewer; DT Mason White, WR Robert Lambe, Keller Timber Creek; RB Tyler Klutts, QB E.A. Northey, DT Nick Poole, NRH Birdville; LB Brandon Emmert, DB Billy Chappell, Springtown; RB Carlos Lowe, OL Ben Balduc, Trophy Club Byron Nelson.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aledo begins the season with a 29-game winning streak seeking its third straight state championship. ... Jonathan Epps of Boswell is one of the most well-rounded players in the district. Last season the running back/defensive back rushed for over 400 yards, had four interceptions and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. ... Birdville running back Tyler Klutts missed a 2,000-yard rushing season by less than 50 yards in 2010. ... Springtown is coming off a seven-win season that equals the best at the school in 12 years. … Trophy Club Byron Nelson won a respectable four games last year in its first varsity season with a roster composed of underclassmen.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Aledo
  2. North Richland Hills Birdville
  3. Fort Worth Boswell
  4. Springtown

District 5-5A football season preview

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
12:01
AM CT
[+] EnlargeJared Johnson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Quarterback Jared Johnson helps make South Grand Prairie a contender in District 7-5A.
DISTRICT 5-5A

  • Cedar Hill (8-4, 6-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Joey McGuire.
  • Duncanville (8-4, 6-1), lost in DI area. Coach: Jeff Dicus.
  • Grand Prairie (2-8, 0-7). Coach: Gary Bartel.
  • Mansfield (8-3, 5-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Jeff Hulme.
  • Mansfield Legacy (1-9, 1-6). Coach: Chris Melson.
  • Mansfield Timberview (3-7, 3-4). Coach: Mark Walker.
  • Midlothian (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Lee Wiginton.
  • South Grand Prairie (6-5, 4-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Brent Whitson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will the district title again be decided in the Week 10 Cedar Hill-Duncanville game?

Last season, Cedar Hill staged a fourth-quarter rally to edge Duncanville, 35-31, and both teams finished with 6-1 district records.

Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire’s plan is to use two quarterbacks, last year’s varsity backup Andre Anderson and Damion Hobbs off the junior varsity.

Duncanville must rebuild its defense after graduating all but two starters. Junior Cordray Love moves from cornerback to free safety and tackle Jamaal Fears lends experience up front.

The Longhorns and Panthers graduated significant skill players including their respective quarterbacks, giving hope for potential contenders South Grand Prairie and Mansfield.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OG Aderius Epps, QB/WR Andre Anderson, DE David Harris, LB Steven Taylor, Cedar Hill; WR Jeff Thomas, WR/DB Malcolm McKenney, RB Aaron Piper, Duncanville; WR Devante Lacy, Grand Prairie; DE Hassan Ridgeway, QB Jerod Evans, WR Gary Davis, Mansfield; LB Montreal Jett, QB DeCarlos Humphrey, Mansfield Legacy; QB Charles Taylor, DE Rene Lawson, Mansfield Timberview; LB Slater Gravens, QB Bryce Murphy, Midlothian, QB Jared Johnson, DB Abraham Hall, South Grand Prairie.

DID YOU KNOW?

Brent Whitson, fresh from an overhaul of the program at Richardson High, is South Grand Prairie’s fifth head coach in the school’s 43-year history. ... In Lee Wiginton’s debut season as head coach at Midlothian last year, the Panthers’ win total of five was four more than they had in their final season in Class 4A the previous year. ... Mansfield defensive end Hassan Ridgeway, a Texas commit, is hard to miss at 6-5 and 240 pounds, but Tigers opponents will try to do just that. … Cedar Hill has won or shared district titles in five of its last six season. ... Duncanville running back Aaron Piper averaged nine yards every time he touched the ball as a sophomore last season.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Cedar Hill
  2. Duncanville
  3. South Grand Prairie
  4. Mansfield

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