High School: 2011 5A Preseason Countdown


5A NO. 1: ALLEN EAGLES

2010 record: 10-2

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 10-0

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 1

[+] EnlargeJonathan Williams and Alex Morris
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Running back Jonathan Williams and quarterback Alec Morris give Allen plenty of offensive firepower.
Division I commits: QB Alec Morris (Alabama), RB Jonathan Williams (Missouri), LB Thaddeus LaGrone (Baylor).

Why they’re here: Why wouldn't Allen be here?

With its high participation numbers and seemingly endless talent pool, the Eagles are a perennial state title contenders even in years when they don't have a lot of returning experience.

This year Allen has seven starters coming back on each side of the ball, a high number for a team that usually relies heavily on its senior classes.

It's not just quantity coming back, but quality, and at key positions. QB Morris shouldn't have any trouble improving on the 2,533 yards and 22 touchdowns produced as a junior. Williams has the potential to lead 5A area players in rushing after passing the 2,00-yard mark in 2010.

Morris has experienced receivers returning in Andrew Rodriquez and Oliver Pierce. OLs Jake Trotter and Mark Massey return after all-district seasons at a position where the Eagles never have a problem excelling.

With so much talent and experience, expectations are soaring in Allen, and anything short of a state title will be considered a disappointment.

Holes to fill: For any team, 14 returning starters is a big number. It's even bigger at Allen. There aren't many holes. Allen has to fill out its offensive line and secondary, but head coach Tom Westerberg's primary concern coming into the season was establishing depth.

Key game: at Plano, Sept. 23

5A No. 2: Trinity sets standard for excellence

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
12:01
AM CT

ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 2: EULESS TRINITY TROJANS


2010 record: 15-1

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 10-0

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 2

[+] EnlargeTrinity
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com UCLA recruit Hiva Latui anchors what is, as usual, a dominant offensive line for Euless Trinity.
Division I commits: OL Hiva Lutui, (UCLA).

Why they’re here: Trinity has lifted its football excellence to a new level in the last five years, reaching the state championship game four times, emerging victorious on three occasions. While the Trojans have had their share of great players, head coach Steve Lineweaver and his veteran coaching staff are masters at melding individuals from varied backgrounds into cohesive units.

Since 2004, Trinity has either won the state title or lost in the playoffs to the eventual state champion.

The Trojans can build their defense around linebacker Brian Nance, who recorded 174 tackles to go with four interceptions and three sacks in an all-state junior season. Defensive tackles Polo Manukainiu and Moahengi Latu and defensive back Iliau Moeakiola are other key returnees.

On offense, Kailahi Kautai completed 46-of-83 passes for 666 yards and four touchdown in a part-time quarterback role last season. The staple of all Trinity teams is its massive offensive line. This season should not be any different with guard Hiva Lutui, center Dillon Dillard and tackle Henry Lea’aetoa, three all-district selections.

Holes to fill: Graduation of running backs Terrence Tusan and Tevin Williams along with QB/WR Brandon Carter represented 4,000 yards of rushing yards last season. Joel Kimpela is the leading returning rusher with 410 yards and a 13-yard average per carry, but spent most of 2010 on the junior varsity. Enrique Oquendo is the leading returning receiver with four catches for 152 yards.

Key game: vs. Colleyville Heritage, Sept. 22
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 3: DALLAS SKYLINE RAIDERS

2010 Record: 9-3

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 9-1

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 3

Peter Jinkens & Thomas Johnson
Courtesy of Davide De PasLinebacker Peter Jinkens (left) and receiver Thomas Johnson, both Texas commits, give Skyline star power on both sides of the ball.
Division I commits: WR Thomas Johnson (Texas); LB Peter Jinkens (Texas)

Why they’re here: Skyline is one of the most talented all-around teams in the area -- or country, for that matter -- and will have a chance to prove it.

Coach Reginald Samples has scheduled a small taste of America before Skyline begins district play, facing Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway and Florida powerhouse Cocoa. Top-notch performances against these teams would not only help propel Skyline toward a Texas state title, but perhaps win over voters for a national title.

Skyline has FBS talent throughout both the offense and the defense, but LB Jinkens is the standout. He leads another speedy and athletic defense that will have no trouble shutting down opposing offenses, especially the ground game.

Holes to fill: Skyline really has no glaring holes going into the 2011 season, but the Raiders need to get off to a better start on offense then they did last year.

In his first year as a starter last season, QB Devonte Kincade needed several games to find a rhythm, and the offense never reached its full potential after suffering several injuries. If Kincade and the offense can hit the ground running and make it through a tough predistrict schedule, Skyline could be on its way to a state title.

Key game: at Dallas Jesuit, Oct. 7

5A No. 4: Martin in position to build on success

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
12:01
AM CT
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 4: ARLINGTON MARTIN WARRIORS


2010 record: 10-3

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 9-1

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: Unranked

Division I commits: DE Devonte Fields and K Jaden Oberkrom (TCU); OL Steven Baggett (Boise State); DB Eric Amoako and DB Stephen Amoako (Oregon).

Why they’re here: The Warriors won a school-record 10 games in 2010 and appear capable of building on that success with 12 returning starters, including eight on defense. Martin’s defense returns stars at every level: twin brothers Eric and Stephen Amoako in the secondary, Devonte Fields at end and Cameron Williams at linebacker. Offensively, the run-oriented Warriors return two blockers in Steven Baggett and Trey Enterline. Chris Turner, with 18 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns last season, is Martin’s top returning receiver. Kicker Jaden Oberkrom’s strong leg gives Martin another weapon should the situation call for a field goal. The Warriors have made the playoffs in five straight seasons, only to be eliminated by Euless Trinity four times.

Holes to fill: Brodie Lambert’s MVP play in leading Martin to the Red Bull Game Breakers 7-on-7 national title this summer eases concern about replacing Michigan-bound quarterback Russell Bellomy. But there is still the matter of the loss of Oklahoma-bound running back Danzel Williams, who rushed for 30 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards as a senior. Cameron Williams saw limited two-way duty as a running back duty last season and junior Kyle Hicks is another possibility.

Key game: vs. Arlington Bowie, Sept. 22

5A No. 5: DeSoto has holes at skill positions

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
12:01
AM CT
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 5: DeSOTO EAGLES

[+] EnlargeDontre Wilson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Dontre Wilson is DeSoto's leading returning receiver, but he caught only 11 passes last season.
2010 record: 11-3

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 8-2

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 7.

Division I commits: DB Bryson Echols and OL Curtis Riser (Texas); DE Michael Richardson (Texas A&M); DB Jalen Mills (LSU); RB Devin Rushing (Air Force Academy.)

Why they’re here: With a streak of 15 straight playoff appearances, winning seasons are a matter of course at DeSoto.

Claude Mathis’ team reached the Division I Region II finals last year, and 14 returning starters would like to take the final two steps this time.

The confidence-builder was finally getting past Dallas Skyline for the first time in three area-round playoff tries, and DeSoto did it convincingly, 38-0.

Three members of the Eagles’ defense have already made college commitments. One that hasn’t, senior linebacker Alex Lyons, averaged 11 tackles a game a year ago.

Devin Rushing is the top returning rusher with 570 yards and seven touchdowns.

Holes to fill: Senior Raheem Wilson and sophomore Dezmond White are the top candidates to succeed Ryan Polite, who passed for over 4,000 yards and 37 touchdowns in the final season of his four-year varsity career.

Also graduating were Polite’s top five receivers, representing 239 catches and 3,419 receiving yards. Three of the 11 catches by junior Dontre Wilson, the leading returning receiver, went for touchdowns last year.

In the Eagles’ three losses last season, opponents scored an average of 52 points.

Key game: at Longview, Nov. 4
5A NO. 6: SOUTHLAKE CARROLL DRAGONS

[+] EnlargeKenny Hill
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Kenny Hill has a year of experience as Southlake Carroll's quarterback and plenty of weapons around him.
2010 record: 10-4

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 9-1

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 5

Division I commits: WR Peyton Williams (Colorado), LB Will Davis (Kansas State)

Why they’re here: The Dragons have the most important advantage a team can have going into a season -- a big-time, playoff-tested quarterback.

A year after controversy at the position, junior Kenny Hill gives the Dragons a proven playmaker who could become the next in a long line of Division I quarterbacks to come out of the school.

And Hill will have plenty of weapons around him. Williams is a three-year starter at receiver. Zach Thomason and newcomer A.J. Ezzard are threats out of the backfield.

Defensively, coach Hal Wasson believes his team will be exceptional at linebacker, where Davis leads Carroll into its second year in the 3-4.

Holes to fill: How good Carroll's offense becomes may depend on the offensive line, where the Dragons return just one starter, although that starter happens to be a good one -- James Prince.

Key game: at Denton Guyer, Nov. 4

ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 7: COPPELL COWBOYS

[+] EnlargeJake Larson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Jake Larson steps into Coppell's starting quarterback job.
2010 record: 13-1

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 9-1

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 6

Division I commits: K Nick Jordan (Texas)

Why they’re here: It didn't take long for head coach Joe McBride to put his stamp on Coppell. During his two-year tenure, the Cowboys went from a threat to make the playoffs to a threat to win state.

McBride stresses playing extremely physical football in the trenches. That won't change 2011, particularly on offense where Coppell returns four linemen, including Division I prospects Sam Rice and Jake Williams.

Depth is the strength of Coppell's defensive line, but the unit also features top-end talent. DE William Udeh made first team all-district as a sophomore in 2010 and could blossom into a star this season.

Holes to fill: Coppell took a huge hit at the skill positions, losing QB Joe Minden and RB/WR Cam McDaniel, among others.

McBride likes what he has in new QB Jake Larson, who has the size and athleticism to develop into a Division I player. Sophomore Gavin McDaniel will likely take on his big brother Cam's role as running back and slot receiver.

Coppell also has to replace all of its linebackers, a unit that was arguably the best in the state in 2010.

Key game: at Southlake Carroll, Oct. 14

5A No. 8: Cedar Hill has experience on defense

August, 10, 2011
8/10/11
12:01
AM CT
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 8: CEDAR HILL LONGHORNS

2010 record: 8-4

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 8-2

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 4

Division I commit: OL Aderius Epps (Kansas State.)

Why they’re here: A school that didn’t register its first playoff football victory until 2006 has accumulated 13 in the last five seasons under coach Joey McGuire.

Experience on defense (seven returning starters) and team speed are notable strengths.
Top defenders include end David Harris, strong safety Dashune Barlow, linebacker Steven Taylor and tackle Darius Stubblefield.

Guards Epps and junior Anthony Pullins anchor a powerful offensive line. Talented junior Laquvionte Gonzalez is sure to get the ball a lot, either at receiver or running back.

Cedar Hill’s difficult nondistrict schedule could work to its rankings advantage should it pull off upsets over Allen and/or DeSoto.

Holes to fill: The graduation of three-year starting quarterback Driphus Jackson, a 2,900-yard passer, creates a void that Andre Anderson and Damion Hobbs will be called on to fill.

Anderson was the varsity backup last season and also contributed as a receiver. Hobbs quarterbacked the junior varsity to an 8-2 record. A spot at wide receiver likely will likely be consolation prize.

With the graduation of 1,300-yard receiver Lovett Gibson, the Longhorns are looking for a deep threat.

Key game: at Duncanville, Nov. 4

5A No. 9: Mesquite Horn knows road to success

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
12:01
AM CT
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 9: MESQUITE HORN JAGUARS

2010 record: 9-5

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 7-3

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: Unranked

Division I commit: DB/WR DeVante Harris (Oklahoma)

Why they’re here: The Jaguars relished road trips in 2010 on the way to a Region II final berth. Horn played at Stephenville (twice), Shreveport, La., Longview, Waco, Denton, Coppell and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The 2011 schedule will again be a test, but 12 returning starters should be all the better for the experience.

Harris, the son of Texas A&M product and former NFL veteran Rod Harris, will likely be catching passes from sophomore quarterback Destri White in addition to defending in his cornerback role. In three starts last season, White was 36-of-55 for 394 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Medgar Coleman (44 carries, 264 yards) gives Horn experience at running back.

Leading the defense will be a solid senior linebacker corps consisting of Richard Jones, Nick Lovett and Justin Kelly.

Since moving over from Royse City in 2008, Rodney Webb has guided the 10-year-old program to the playoffs in each season with increased win totals each year.

Holes to fill: White will be stepping into some big shoes. Last season’s quarterback, Collin Strahan, threw for 2,847 yards and 26 touchdowns and added 852 rushing yards.

The Jags graduated two 1,000-yard receivers in Jakeem Grant and JaCorey Shepherd. Horn will rely on juniors Kalan Elia and Colton King on the defensive front.

Key game: at DeSoto, Oct. 21

5A No. 10: Plano offense turns to QB Lagow

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
12:06
AM CT
ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:

5A NO. 10: PLANO WILDCATS

2010 record: 7-4

Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 8-2

ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 8

Division I commits: None.

Why they’re here: Plano's offense could end up one of the better units in the area as six players return on that side of the ball, including running back Kevin Merrill, who accounted for 751 total yards in a secondary role in Plano's backfield.

But the spotlight will be on new quarterback Richard Lagow, a 6-foot-5 junior who hasn't played a varsity game but is already generating buzz as a Division I recruit. He's a classic pro-style passer with all the tools to become a star. He led Plano's freshman team to a district title two years ago.

A solid offensive line returns in front of him, and WR L.J Ausama, WR Hunter Gore and TE Sam Leavitt give Lagow three capable pass catchers.

Holes to fill: With just three starters returning on defense, Plano will have a lot of plenty of work to do. The good news is that the three players returning -- DB Sam Morell, DE Dwayne Hicks and DE/LB Xavier Harbert -- are all-district caliber players.

Morell has generated interest on the recruiting trail, one reason why head coach Jaydon McCullough believes the secondary could end up being the strength of the defense. Newcomer Marcus Davis also impressed McCullough in the spring.

Key game: at Allen, Sept. 23

SPONSORED HEADLINES