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Denton Record-Chronicle

Championship seasons for UNT, Guyer, Argyle help create ...

Great Expectations Inside: Ryan tackles change • Denton aims for playoffs • Argyle, Sanger feature top running backs


Good Luck to All of Our Local Teams & Have a Great Season!


A healthy heart is closer than you think. A new Heart Health Center in Denton At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, we want you to take your health to heart — literally. That’s why we’re proud to announce our new Heart Health Center, right here in Denton. People who have taken our heart health risk assessment and are at risk for heart disease can come in for a screening where we’ll tailor a care plan for their specific needs. And if care is needed beyond prevention planning, we offer procedures ranging from vascular treatments to open-heart surgery. As an accredited chest pain center, our patients receive advanced cardiovascular care. Find out if you’re at risk for heart disease by taking our risk assessment at TexasHealth.org/Denton-Heart.

1-877-THR-WELL | TexasHealth.org/Denton-Heart

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital. © 2014


KICKOFF

DRC Football

Football 2014

Section credits

The helmet logos on the high school pages are courtesy of Texas High School Helmet Project. The cover of the magazine, section introduction pages and trophies graphic were designed by staff artist Jason Lee. Cover photos were taken by David Minton.

Contents

North Texas Bowl win elevates expectations ............6-7 Family’s roots motivate Akunne ............8-9 Jimmerson ready for chance to start .....10 Extra points ..........................................14 Conference USA preview .................15-16 Veterans anchor offensive line .........17-18 UNT roster ............................................19 New DB coaches make impact ........20-21 UNT to lean on veteran DL duo .............23 Harris steps into key void ......................24 2013 in review special section UNT, Guyer, Argyle win titles .............55-66 Denton ISD schools Guyer ..............................................26-32 Ryan ...............................................33-37 Denton ............................................38-42 Area high schools Argyle, Sanger feature top RBs ........46-47 Preseason all-area team .................48-49 Composite schedule .............................51 Area district previews ............................53 Area high schools Lake Dallas .....................................67-70 Argyle .............................................73-76 Aubrey ............................................79-83 Krum ...............................................85-88 Sanger ............................................90-93 Pilot Point .......................................94-97 Ponder ..........................................98-101 Liberty ........................................102-105 State high school polls .......................106 2013 all-area team ............................107 Calvary .......................................108-110 Denton connections in college football Local products in college............ .111-114

Section staff

Director of sports Larry McBride .......lmcbride@dentonrc.com Section editor Brett Vito ....................bvito@dentonrc.com Staff writers Adam Boedeker..aboedeker@dentonrc.com Ben Baby .................bbaby@dentonrc.com Patrick Hayslip ......phayslip@dentonrc.com Photographers David Minton, Al Key Special contributors Justin Braaton, Tim Cato, Randy Cummings, Steve Gamel, Matt Garnett, Rich Luna

5

On the cover

Great Expectations

The Denton Record-Chronicle’s 2014 football preview magazine focuses on teams and players with high expectations. North Texas is coming off a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, just the third bowl victory in program history and its first since 2002. Guyer won the Class 4A Division I state title, while Argyle won the Class 3A Division II championship. All three programs, not to mention a few more in the Denton area, including Ryan and Denton, enter the season with high hopes.

August 28, 2014

Denton Record-Chronicle

Brett Vito SECTION OVERVIEW

Expectations run high for Denton teams The city of Denton is only a few months removed from one of the greater periods in local football history. Argyle and Guyer both won state championships in late December before North Texas finished off the city’s fantastic football voyage with a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Those games that stretched over the course of 12 days changed not only the way the 2013 season was viewed, but also altered expectations heading into an encore campaign this fall. The Denton Record-Chronicle examines those heightened expectations and the impact they will have in its annual football preview section. Evidence of high hopes when it comes to Denton football is everywhere. UNT was a perennial underdog since its four-year run as Sun Belt Conference champions ended in 2004. Last season, the Mean Green broke out and finished 9-4 in its first season in Conference USA. UNT was picked to win C-USA’s West Division in the league’s preseason poll, despite the fact the Mean Green returns just nine starters. UNT has some talented players returning, but has plenty of questions to answer heading into its season opener at Texas on Saturday. The same can be said for Guyer, which will turn to talented sophomore Shawn Robinson to replace Jerrod Heard. The former Guyer quarterback led the Wildcats to a second straight state Class 4A Division I title last season. That performance set up huge expectations for the Wildcats as they make the

Championship seasons for UNT, Guyer, Argyle help create ...

Great Expectations Inside: Ryan tackles change • Denton aims for playoffs • Argyle, Sanger feature top running backs

Four of the Denton area’s top players, clockwise from front, Ryan running back Maurice Gordon, Denton defensive end Dailon Holmes, Guyer defensive tackle Carl Thompson and North Texas offensive lineman Cyril Lemon will try to help their teams meet high expectations this season. Lemon is a key player for the Mean Green, which enters the year off a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Thompson helped Guyer win the Class 4A Division I state championship. Holmes will try to lead Denton back to the playoffs, while Gordon will be a key part of Ryan’s efforts to extend a streak of 14 consecutive playoff appearances.

jump to the new Class 6A, the largest in the state. Argyle will also look to reload after winning the Class 3A Division II state title. High expectations are a way of life at Ryan, where Dave Henigan takes over for new Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence, who built the Raiders into one of the state’s elite programs. Denton enters its first season in District 5-5A with one of the largest enrollment figures among Class 5A schools in the state and is expected to contend for a

playoff spot. If a few of Denton’s teams live up to expectations, it will be another banner year. UNT head coach Dan McCarney might have put it best this fall while talking about his fourth season with the Mean Green. “To maintain it and sustain it is the challenge and opportunity that we have,” McCarney said. UNT is just one of several Denton area teams coming off great seasons that are about to find out if they are up to the challenge.


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August 28, 2014

COVER STORY

DRC Football

Bowl win elevates UNT’s expectations By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Mason Y’Barbo could have been shuffling from class to class on North Texas’ campus or out with friends in Denton. It didn’t matter where he was. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to talk to the senior offensive lineman about UNT’s run to a nine-win season, a victory over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Mean Green’s hopes to build on that performance this fall, beginning with its season-opener at Texas. “You see people wearing green on campus now,” Y’Barbo said. “When I was out on the town it seemed like every week five new people would tell me, ‘I’m going to Austin. I’m so ready for the Longhorns game’ or ‘I already have my season tickets. I’ll be at every game.’ People have been excited in years past, but now there are expectations going into the season.” That’s new territory for the Mean Green after breaking a string of eight straight losing seasons. How UNT handles the challenge that new ground presents will be a critical factor in the Mean Green’s hopes to post a worthy encore to one of the more important campaigns in program history. UNT slogged through a miserable slump before a loaded senior class led the way to a 9-4 campaign. The Mean Green snapped a nine-year bowl drought last season that ranked as the sixth longest nationally. UNT hopes Y’Barbo and a few other key veterans can help the Mean Green build on that season and fill the large void left by a senior class that included program cornerstones linebacker Zach Orr, wide receiver Brelan Chancellor and quarterback Derek Thompson. “The challenge ahead is this — are we a real program, which means no matter who you lose or who gets injured or who graduates, can the next group come in and replace them?” McCarney wondered. “Or do we just disappear off the college football landscape for another 10 years?” One look at the history of UNT’s program and where it is now shows why McCarney struck a nerve with some long-time fans of the Mean Green when he posed that question. UNT has been in this position before only to squander the opportunity.

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney lifts up the Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy after the Mean Green knocked off UNLV 36-14 on New Year’s Day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The victory was just UNT’s third bowl win in program history and elevated expectations for the Mean Green for the upcoming season and beyond. The Mean Green posted four straight winning seasons under Hayden Fry from 1975-78 before he left for Iowa after the 1978 season. Five years later, UNT dropped to what was then Division I-AA. UNT resumed playing on the Division I level in 1995, but went 22 years without posting a winning season on the highest level of college football following its surge under Fry. UNT had another run of success from 2001-04 when the Mean Green played in four straight New Orleans Bowls. The crater McCarney had to dig out of when he arrived at UNT was created during the six straight losing seasons that followed. The hole was so deep that even McCarney needed two years to pull UNT out of it, allowing the Mean Green’s streak of

2013 A year to remember North Texas’ win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl was just one highlight in a memorable season that saw Guyer, below, and Argyle also win championships. For a look back, see Pages 55-66.

losing seasons to reach eight before the slide ended last year. UNT’s next opportunity to build its

program has arrived, as has a new set of circumstances that give the school a better opportunity than ever before to capitalize on last season’s success and create some long-term momentum. UNT opened Apogee Stadium, its $79 million football venue, in 2011 and escaped a crumbling Fouts Field. The school then made the move to Conference USA last year. UNT was the lone Texas school in the bottom-rung Sun Belt Conference for 12 years before becoming one of four in-state schools in C-USA last season. The payoff was immediate and included UNT’s appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl that wouldn’t have been possible if the school was still in the Sun See UNT on 7


COVER STORY

DRC Football

From Page 6

UNT Belt. C-USA had six bowl tie-ins in 2013, compared to just two for the Sun Belt. The Mean Green finished in a fourway tie for third in the overall C-USA standings last year. UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal sensed that the Mean Green’s bowl win elevated the school’s profile with Dallas-area alumni and recruits. Villarreal acted quickly by signing McCarney to a five-year extension after the season. UNT officials believe keeping McCarney in place will further solidVillarreal ify the program’s foundation. “To win a game like that on New Year’s Day gave us credibility,” Villarreal said. “People who had been on the side of the bandwagon have said they are now ready to get involved after that game.”

Increasing expectations Y’Barbo wasn’t the only person who felt the rising enthusiasm surrounding UNT’s program over the summer. McCarney could sense it as well. “I felt it all over Denton,” McCarney said. “People would roll down their windows at stop lights and say, ‘Best of luck, coach’ or ‘Hell of a job, coach.’ There wasn’t a whole lot of that going on the first two years I was here.” No one knows better than McCarney that Y’Barbo along with the recognition and praise comes rising expectations. UNT was picked to win C-USA’s West Division in the league’s preseason poll. Several bowl projections also include the Mean Green. The enthusiasm surrounding UNT’s program is also reflected in ticket sales. UNT surpassed the total number of season tickets it sold for the 2013 season by early August. School officials project the total number of season tickets sold to be up at least 30 percent by the time UNT opens its home schedule on Sept. 6 against SMU. The hope is that UNT can recreate the environment for its appearance at the

Heart of Dallas Bowl at home at Apogee Stadium. Thousands of Mean Green fans made the short drive to join a highly pro-UNT crowd of 38,380 at the Cotton Bowl and cheered the Mean Green on during just the third bowl win in program history. The fact that UNT has never sold out Apogee Stadium, which seats 30,850, has been a sore spot for school officials ever since the venue opened. UNT came up just short for the first game played in the venue in 2011, when 28,075 fans showed up to see the Mean Green fall to in-state rival Houston. UNT’s players and coaches know they need to continue to win and build momentum if the school is to build the type of fan base it needs to finally sell out the stadium. “It’s big for us to build on what we did last year and keep that enthusiasm going,” UNT offenJohnson sive lineman Antonio Johnson said. “The seniors set the bar high. We have to keep the momentum going and make sure the program keeps coming up.”

Can UNT capitalize? The challenge UNT now faces is finding a way to reach that goal in a season when it will depend on so many unproven players following the departure of its decorated senior class. Orr, Chancellor and safety Marcus Trice were first-team All-C-USA selections as seniors. Orr finished tied for third in UNT history with 365 career tackles, while Chancellor set a school record for career all-purpose yards with 5,503. Replacing those players won’t be easy. UNT has just nine starters returning and a host of key questions to answer. Only Utah State has fewer starters returning among major college teams with seven. McCarney said on the eve of two-adays that UNT has more open spots in its starting lineup and more questions to answer than at any time in his four seasons with the Mean Green. “We are adjusting really well,” said senior linebacker Derek Akunne, one of UNT’s few returning starters. “Other guys are stepping up and doing more.” UNT has little choice but to find some

new players to carry the load, both on and off the field. Orr set the tone for UNT’s breakout season with a passionate preseason speech in which he asked each of the Mean Green’s seniors to stand and accept the challenge of guiding the team out of its extended funk before its season-opener against Idaho. McCarney said he has players stepping in to fill the void, including senior defensive lineman Alexander Lincoln and junior wide receiver Carlos Harris. What might be an even bigger concern is the overall loss of talent Harris following the departure of 22 key seniors and the challenge of replacing the group’s overall contributions. UNT lacks the proven depth of talent it had last season, especially at the key spots that can make or break any college football team, including quarterback and middle linebacker. Navarro College transfer Josh Greer battled veteran backup Andrew McNulty throughout spring and fall practice before being named UNT’s starting quarterback on Monday. Greer played just six Greer games at Navarro in 2013 and lacks experience on the major college level that Thompson gained over his three years as the Mean Green’s starting quarterback. McNulty UNT also has questions on defense, where six of the seven players listed on the depth chart for the Heart of Dallas Bowl among its front seven on defense graduated. UNT’s hopes of filling the void those players left rests largely on the belief that the program has transformed under McCarney by bringing in more talented players and doing a better job of developing them than in previous years. Early signs signal those changes. Freshman defensive end Tillman Johnson worked his way into UNT’s immediate plans during two-a-days, while a few young skill position players, including redshirt freshman wide receiver Turner Smiley, have made an impression.

August 28, 2014

7

UNT’s hope is its handful of returning starters will mesh with those young players and help the Mean Green get on a roll like it did last season. UNT was sitting at 2-3 after a loss at Tulane on a last-second field goal before bouncing back to win six of its final seven regular-season games. All the Mean Green had to do was sit, wait and hear where it was headed in the bowl season. UNT’s players were unanimously in favor of playing in the Heart of Dallas Bowl because their friends and family could see them play. UNT got its wish in its first bowl game since the 2004 New Orleans Bowl and rolled past UNLV. UNT’s program and the expectations surrounding it changed that day. McCarney and the Mean Green are no longer trying to break out of a funk. They are now trying to get to a second straight bowl game and elevate the profile of the program. Considering how much has changed since last year, reaching the goal of posting a second winning season might not be easy. The Mean Green could always count on Chancellor to make a key catch in crunch time and Orr to make McCarney the critical tackle when UNT needed it. Who will make those plays now that those veterans are gone? What about the ambition UNT showed last year? Is it still there? UNT’s veterans believe it is. “We are still hungry and still have to have that attitude that we are underdogs,” senior offensive lineman Cyril Lemon said. “We can’t become complacent.” An appetite for wins following a successful season is a challenge Lemon UNT hasn’t faced in years and is part of the overall question the Mean Green must answer for the first time in a long time this fall. UNT spent nearly a decade searching for a way to kick its losing habits. Now that it’s broken through, does the Mean Green have staying power? McCarney and his players believe they do. They are about to find out if they are right.


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August 28, 2014

NORTH TEXAS

DRC Football

Family’s African roots motivate Akunne By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Images of bumpy dirt roads, small homes and farm animals cackling and grazing in the Aguata region of south central Nigeria still linger in Derek Akunne’s mind. The North Texas linebacker heard stories about his family’s home while growing up in Garland, but never fully understood what the environment was like until spending a month there in a hot and rainy summer in 2006. The experience still motivates Akunne. “When I think about being lazy or slacking off, I think about what my parents went through because they went through so much,” Derek Akunne said. “They crossed the sea to somewhere they have never been before to have better opportunities. You don’t want to squander the chance.” Sylvester and Philomena Akunne helped tend chickens and goats while growing up in the countryside before becoming teachers in their homeland, where subsistence agriculture is a way of life for many. Sylvester Akunne wanted his son to experience the rural African environment first-hand, visit with relatives and gain a better understanding of the opportunities within his grasp while growing up in the United States. Akunne capitalized on what life in the United States offers and has developed into a cornerstone for UNT’s defense. The former North Garland standout is all but assured of making his 25th straight start when UNT opens the season at Texas on Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin. At 6 feet tall, Akunne is a little short for a linebacker and wasn’t the most highly recruited player, but there might not be anyone who means more to UNT. Akunne enters his senior season with 200 career tackles after posting 90 last season, when he was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection. He’s also an honor roll student, who coaches and teammates describe as a study in contrasts. Akunne is always smiling and friendly off the field. On it, he’s as intense and focused as any player on UNT’s roster. “From the moment we got to know him in recruiting, we knew that he was

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas linebacker Derek Akunne names his parents, who immigrated from Nigeria, as his biggest influence in life. Akunne last returned to Nigeria in 2006, when he traveled to the Aguata region where several members of his family still live. Akunne is one of the Mean Green’s top defensive players and enters his senior season with 200 career tackles. special,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “He was quiet and reserved, but you talk about a gamer. He has it all — character, class, competitive excellence, leadership ability and pride.” Those traits are ones Akunne attributes in part to the influence of his parents, who lived comfortably in Nigeria. Both longed for more and eventually came to the United States. Sylvester Akunne left the country in the 1970s before Philomena Akunne followed in 1988. Derek, one of the couple’s four children, was born a few years later. “We came to the United States so that our children could have the opportunity to be what they wanted in life,” Philomena Akunne said. “We wanted to give them choices and then watch to see if they would make the best choices.” Akunne’s parents set an example along

UNT Derek Akunne North Texas linebacker Derek Akunne enters his senior season with 200 career tackles. The following is a look at his production: Year Tackles TFL* FF** INT 2011 20 2.5 0 0 2012 90 7.5 1 2 2013 90 4.5 1 0 Totals 200 14.5 2 2 *Tackles for loss **Fumbles forced

the way. His father earned a master’s degree from Alabama A&M, while his mother attended Platt College and became a registered nurse. The Akunnes now own a home health care service in the Dallas area, where Derek grew up in a far different environment than the one he learned about in Nigeria. Philomena Akunne described the

country and the Aguata region as unstable at times politically and economically. “It’s so different over there,” Akunne said. “I am so thankful to be here. I always heard stories of the way things were over there. To go over there was a real eye-opener.”

Adjusting to the United States

Sylvester Akunne grew up playing soccer in Nigeria and taught his sons the game. He didn’t know anything about American football before moving to the United States. “The first time I went to watch American football with a friend, I thought it was going to be a soccer game,” Sylvester Akunne said. “I wondered what the players were doing out there.” Derek Akunne eventually made the See AKUNNE on 9


DRC Football

NORTH TEXAS

August 28, 2014

9

From Page 8

Akunne switch to playing American football and developed into a star at North Garland, where he was an all-district offensive lineman and linebacker. Derek’s mother wasn’t as quick to adjust. “I’m still learning about it,” Philomena Akunne said. “I used to think football was too rough for me to watch. I still cringe, but I watch it to support him.” Derek Akunne has been handing out cringe-worthy hits since his days at Garland, but seemingly has been overlooked throughout his career. Only a handful of Football Bowl Subdivision programs recruited him, including Colorado State, Air Force and Western Kentucky. “Being an underdog and not being highly recruited motivates me,” Akunne said. “I have always had a chip on my shoulder.” That edge caught the attention of UNT’s coaches, who convinced Akunne just before Christmas in 2010 that the school was the perfect place to continue his career. “Derek is intelligent and kind of a throwback kid who isn’t outspoken,” former North Garland coach David Farris said at the time. “He loves the game, wants to get on the field any way he can and is very physical. North Texas got a gem.”

Finding his place at UNT Those words seem prophetic four years later as Akunne prepares for his senior season. The next few months will offer the biggest opportunity yet for him to shine at UNT and capitalize on the opportunities his parents provided. Akunne was overshadowed during the first three years of his career by Zach Orr, one of UNT’s all-time greats who finished his college career last season with 365 tackles, a total that tied for third in school history with Brad Kassell. “Derek’s going to need to take over and do what Zach Orr did for us last year,” UNT defensive coordinator John Skladany said this spring. “He has to be our glue and hold us together. If bad plays happen, he’s going to need to settle the team down and not panic. He has to be positive and be a leader.” Akunne has shown the potential to become the cornerstone for UNT’s defense throughout his first three years with the

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas linebacker Derek Akunne breaks up a pass intended for Ball State running back Horactio Banks last season at Apogee Stadium. Akunne has been one of the key members of the Mean Green’s defense the last two years and has posted 90 tackles in back-to-back seasons. He is the only returning starter in UNT’s front seven. Mean Green. He started the final three games of his freshman year and has been a fixture in UNT’s defense ever since. Akunne played one of the best games of his career last season in a nationally televised game against ninth-ranked Georgia. The game was deadlocked at 21-21 in the third quarter before the Bulldogs pulled away for a 45-21 win. Akunne posted a career-high 12 tackles and ripped the ball away from Georgia running back Todd Gurley in a fourth-quarter pileup before cornerback Kenny Buyers fell on it. That fumble was one of the highlight plays UNT made that day, when the Mean Green captured national attention by hanging with one of the country’s elite teams into the sec-

ond half. McCarney said people might not fully understand how vital Akunne is to UNT’s defense, despite performances like the one he put together against Georgia, but UNT’s coaches and players have always appreciated him. “Derek is developing into a big-time leader for us,” junior cornerback Zac Whitfield said. “He’s one of the most valuable guys we have because he knows our system, has been in it for a few years now and is helping the younger guys improve.” Derek’s parents will be watching. The Akunnes plans to make every home game and travel to as many away games as they can in their son’s final college season. Derek’s relatives back in

Nigeria, who the family talks to every month or so on the phone, will be kept up to date on his progress. “I’m excited and thrilled,” Philomena Akunne said of how her son has fared at UNT. “He’s very good and likes playing football. It’s amazing to me how well he has done.” Derek Akunne attributes his success in part to the lessons he learned from his parents, who came to the United States so their children would have better opportunities in life. A trip to Nigeria a few years ago showed Akunne what a difference that decision made for his family. “My parents are my big influences,” Akunne said. “I want to show that them coming here wasn’t a waste of time.”


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August 28, 2014

NORTH TEXAS

DRC Football

Jimmerson ready for chance to start By Brett Vito Staff Writer

There might not be a more proven path to success with the North Texas football program than earning the right to start at running back. Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Abner Haynes jump-started his career by starting for the Mean Green. So did Patrick Cobbs and Lance Dunbar, players who also went on to play in the NFL in just the last few seasons. Antoinne Jimmerson has a long way to go to follow in those players’ footsteps on the pro level, but he’s in position to be like them in one regard. The junior could join the list of players to start at running back for the Mean Green. Jimmerson entered fall practice listed at the top of a depth chart loaded with talented running backs and could get the start when UNT opens the season at Texas. The opportunity is one Jimmerson has been thinking about and preparing for the last several months after serving as a backup behind Brandin Byrd last season. “I have to keep working hard and remember what I learned from the other running backs who have been here like Dunbar and Byrd,” Jimmerson said. “They showed me how to be a leader and a great running back. Now I get to take over and be the captain.” That role was filled last season by Byrd, a player head coach Dan McCarney trusted and leaned on throughout a breakout season for the Mean Green. Byrd carried the ball 202 times and rolled up 1,075 yards as a senior. The former Copperas Cove standout finished his career ranked eighth on UNT’s all-time career rushing leaders list with 2,202 yards. McCarney has made it clear that he intends to rotate multiple running backs like last season. Jimmerson benefited from that approach when he posted 446 rushing yards as a sophomore and 544 yards as a freshman. Whether Jimmerson secures the right

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

NORTH TEXAS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Running back Antoinne Jimmerson has been a key weapon for North Texas for years and is on the verge of clearing the 1,000-yard mark in career rushing yards. The junior, who has 990 yards in two seasons, is in position to start and follow in the school’s long line of great running backs that includes Patrick Cobbs and Brandin Byrd.

to start will depend largely on his approach, not to mention the progress of Reggie Pegram. The senior missed the last five games of the 2013 season with a knee injury, but is back to full strength heading into the season. A host of other young running backs have also made an impression, including sophomore Rex Rollins. “Jimmerson has a lot of work to do to be our No. 1 guy,” McCarney said. “Reggie Pegram looks like a million bucks and Rex Rollins might be in the best shape of any running back on our team.” No matter what UNT’s rotation looks like, it’s safe to assume that Jimmerson will be a big part of it because of his dy-

namic playmaking ability. He exploded on the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2012 when he scored the game-winning touchdown in a 30-23 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on a swing pass he took 78 yards to the end zone. Last season, Jimmerson scored on a 42-yard run and a 46-yard reception in a key win over Rice. Jimmerson’s teammates can sense his determination to build on that performance this fall. “Jimmy is taking it seriously,” senior offensive lineman Antonio Johnson said of his opportunity to shine this season. See JIMMERSON on 13

MEAN GREEN Quick facts Conference: Conference USA 2013 Record: 9-4 (6-2 Sun Belt) Coach: Dan McCarney (18-19 in three seasons at UNT, 74-104 in 15 seasons overall) Returning starters: five on offense, four on defense Key Players: OL Cyril Lemon, OL Mason Y’Barbo, WR Carlos Harris, LB Derek Akunne, CB Kenny Buyers, S Lairamie Lee Offense: Spread Defense: 4-3 School enrollment: 36,168 Stadium: Apogee Stadium


DRC Football

August 28, 2014

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2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 30 ....................at Texas ........................7 p.m. Sept. 6 ........................SMU .........................11 a.m. Sept. 11 ............. Louisiana Tech ...................7 p.m. Sept. 20 ...............Nicholls State .............. 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4........................Indiana.............................TBA Oct. 11..................... at UAB* ....................2:30 p.m. Oct. 18............... Southern Miss* ...................6 p.m. Oct. 25..................... at Rice* ............................TBA Nov. 8 ................ Florida Atlantic*...................6 p.m. Nov. 15 ................... at UTEP*...........................TBA Nov. 22 .......... Florida International*......... 2:30 p.m. Nov. 29 ................... at UTSA*...........................TBA *TK Games

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NORTH TEXAS

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From Page 10

Jimmerson “He’s in position to be the top guy now. He learned from Byrd and from Reggie. I think he can do it.” UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales can see a difference in Jimmerson this year. “Jimmerson has lost weight and looks good,” Canales said. “He is quicker right now than we was at the end of last season.” History shows that Jimmerson, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 222 pounds, will have a good chance to become a prominent player in Conference USA and in program history if he can secure the starting job. UNT’s leading rusher has cleared the 1,000-yard mark in four of the last five seasons. Cobbs and Jamario Thomas won back-to-back national rushing titles in 2003 and 2004. UNT’s strategy of rotating running backs will likely prevent Jimmerson from putting up the kind of numbers Thomas did in 2004, when he rushed for 1,801 yards. That’s just fine with Jimmerson. “I like rotating running backs,” Jim-

13

August 28, 2014

UNT Career rushing leaders The following is a list of North Texas’ career rushing leaders. Junior Antoinne Jimmerson has 990 career yards and could make the list by the end of the season. UNT’s starting running back has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in four of the last five seasons: Seasons Yards Player 4,224 1. Lance Dunbar 2008-11 2. Patrick Cobbs 2001-05 4,050 3,496 3. Jamario Thomas 2004-07 4. Ja’Quay Wilburn 1997-00 3,120 2,417 5. Kevin Galbreath 2001-02 2,256 6. Bernard Jackson 1978-80 7. Darrin Collins 1986-89 2,220 2010-13 2,202 8. Brandin Byrd 9. Ken Bahnsen 1950-52 2,095 10. Terrance Brown 1992-93 2,077

merson said. “I want to get a lot of carries, but we have great running backs who can come in. The guys I will be sharing time with will be able to carry the load when I’m tired.” While Jimmerson doesn’t mind splitting duties, he is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Dunbar and Byrd, his former teammates who carried on the legacy of great starting running backs at UNT. “I feel like I’m ready,” Jimmerson said. “I’ve prayed about it, dreamed about it and worked every day to be that No. 1 guy.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas running back Antoinne Jimmerson (22) is brought down by UNLV defensive backs Peni Vea and Mike Horsey (32) in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Jimmerson will be a major part of UNT’s offense and could start the Mean Green’s opener at Texas.

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14

NORTH TEXAS

August 28, 2014

Position of strength

Extra points Keys to a successful year Point of concern

North Texas lost one of the more productive running backs in program history in Brandin Byrd after its win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. That hole is one the Mean Green appears more than capable of filling while rotating a number of talented running backs. Antoinne Jimmerson returns after rushing for 446 yards to rank second on the team in 2013. Reggie Pegram is expected to return to full strength after missing Pegram the final five games of the 2013 season with a knee injury, while Rex Rollins has shown potential in limited action. UNT also has a couple of talented freshmen to work with in Willie Ivery and Jeffrey Wilson, not to mention redshirt freshman Erick Evans. UNT head coach Dan McCarney said that watching the Mean Green’s running backs in fall practice has made him confident in the team’s depth and talent at the position. UNT had three players rush for at least 500 yards for the first time in school history in 2012 and could be in position to match that feat this fall, depending on how its rotation shapes up. UNT leaned on three running backs in 2012 before relying primarily on Byrd last season, when he rushed for 1,075 yards.

Key newcomers Many of the players moving into key roles for North Texas this season are backups who saw at least some action a year ago, but there appears to be a strong chance at least one of the Mean Green’s freshman wide receivers will play. UNT has a key slot reJohnson ceiver returning in Carlos Harris, but lost starters Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith to graduation. UNT head coach Dan McCarney said he anticipates at least one of his trio of freshman receivers — Tee Goree, O’Keeron Rutherford or Jalen Adams — playing. Freshman defensive end Tillman Johnson is also expected to play.

DRC Football

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas quarterback Josh Greer throws a pass during UNT’s spring game on April 12 at Apogee Stadium. The Navarro College transfer was named the Mean Green’s starting quarterback on Monday.

There was no bigger concern for North Texas heading into the season than who was going to start at quarterback following the departure of Derek Thompson, the MVP of the Mean Green’s Heart of Dallas Bowl win over UNLV. Navarro College transfer Josh Greer won a two-way battle with veteran backup Andrew McNulty for the job and will start at Texas on Saturday. UNT head coach Dan McCarney named Greer the Mean Green’s starter on Monday. “It has been a tremendous battle, no doubt about it,” McCarney said. “As you go out and evaluate quarterbacks, there are so many intangibles you are looking for — character, leadership, physical toughness, mental toughness, being coachable, all those things. “Both of those guys have all kinds of those attributes. In the end, Josh Greer made more plays, made more throws for big plays and made more throws for touchdowns. He was just a little more consistent than McNulty was starting back in March all the way through camp, but it has been very, very close.” The question now is if Greer can handle the job, guide UNT to a successful season and overcome a lack of college experience. The sophomore signed with UAB before transferring to Navarro, where he threw for 1,205 yards in six games. Greer will try to fill the void left by Thompson, who threw for 2,896 yards as a senior. “I have been preparing for this for a long time,” Greer said before Monday’s announcement. “If they call my name I will go down there [to Texas] and do the best I can.”

Game of the year North Texas’ home opener rekindles a long-term series with Dallas-area rival SMU this fall in what will be, by far, the most highly anticipated game of the season for the Mean Green. SMU has dominated one of the longest series in UNT history and enters the Sept. 6 game with a 28-4-1 edge. The game will be the first the teams have played since 2007. “Our record is 4-28 against SMU,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “Rivalry? What rivalry? We had better establish one between the white lines

where we have a chance and they have a chance. Do the math. There is no rivalry. We have to turn it back into a rivalry.” How UNT fares in that game against the McCarney Mustangs could set the tone for the season. The Mean Green will be an underdog in its season-opener Saturday at Texas. If UNT can’t upset the Longhorns, the Mean Green will have to knock off SMU to avoid falling into an

0-2 hole. UNT officials expect a large crowd for the nationally televised game against SMU. The Mean Green has won both games played between the teams in Denton, including a 24-6 win in 2006 that ranks among the more memorable nonconference wins for UNT in recent years. A repeat would be a huge momentum boost for UNT in what will be just its second game following last season’s win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

— Brett Vito


DRC Football

CONFERENCE USA PREVIEW

August 28, 2014

15

Marshall enters C-USA race as favorite By Brett Vito

C-USA Preseason poll

Staff Writer

Doc Holliday has plenty of reasons to feel confident in his team’s opportunity to make a run at the Conference USA title heading into his fifth season as Marshall’s head coach, none bigger than the return of arguably the league’s best player. The fact that Rakeem Cato is also the Thundering Herd’s starting quarterback only helps matters. “A team starts with a quarterback,” Holliday said. “Any time you have a good one, you have a chance.” Marshall has a great one in Cato, which is the reason the Thundering Herd enters the year with a shot at making history. Cato threw for 3,916 yards and 58 touchdowns as a junior and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 32 straight games, the longest streak in major college football. That run is one reason the coaches in C-USA named Cato the league’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Throw in the fact that defensive lineman James Rouse was named C-USA’s Defensive Player of the Year and is among 14 total returning starters and it’s easy to see why Marshall is considered one of the top mid-major teams in college football. The Thundering Herd was a unanimous pick to win C-USA’s East Division in the league’s preseason poll in a time of change for the conference. Western Kentucky and Old Dominion enter the league and will replace Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina, which jumped to the American Athletic Conference. “We don’t think that we have any pressure because this is where we want to be, the top of the top, the best of the best,” Cato said. “We have been working hard to be the best. We are ready.” There is nowhere close to as clear of a consensus when it comes to the favorites in C-USA’s West Division. UNT was picked to win the division in the league’s preseason poll. The Mean Green received 66 points and was a slight favorite over Rice and UTSA, which received 65 and 62 points, respectively. “Until someone moves you out of there, beats you and wins the conference you ought to be a major candidate to win this whole thing,” UNT coach Dan Mc-

The following is the preseason C-USA poll released by the league’s 13 head coaches: West Division Team............................................ Points 1. North Texas....................................... 66 2. Rice.................................................. 65 3. Texas-San Antonio............................. 62 4. Louisiana Tech.................................. 38 5. Southern Mississippi......................... 24 6. UTEP................................................. 18 East Division Team............................................ Points 1. Marshall........................................... 91 2. Middle Tennessee.............................. 73 3. Florida Atlantic.................................. 60 4. Western Kentucky.............................. 57 5. Old Dominion.................................... 33 6. UAB.................................................. 31 7. Florida International.......................... 19

C-USA All-conference team The following is the preseason All-C-USA team selected by the league’s 13 head coaches: Offensive Player of the Year Rakeem Cato, Sr., QB, Marshall Defensive Player of the Year James Rouse, Sr., DL, Marshall Special Teams Player of the Year Hunter Mullins, Sr., P, UAB

Marshall sports information

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was named the Preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,916 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior. Cato’s return is a big reason Marshall was picked to win the C-USA East Division title in the league’s preseason poll. Carney said of Rice. UTSA returns 19 starters and also looks like a threat to win the division. But none of the teams in the West Division appear to be a match for Marshall, which welcomes the challenge being the preseason favorite presents. “I hope that the expectations are warranted because that is where we want to be,” Holliday said. “I don’t want to be the

head coach anywhere the expectations are not extremely high.” Having Cato back gives Marshall an opportunity to meet those expectations and make a run at the C-USA title and maybe an unbeaten season. “It’s going to help to have Cato back,” Rouse said. “The quarterback position can make or break a team, and we have a great quarterback back.”

Offense QB Rakeem Cato, Sr., Marshall; RB Kenneth Dixon, Jr., Louisiana Tech; RB Aaron Jones, So., UTEP; OL Scott Inskeep, Sr., Texas-San Antonio; OL Chris Jasperse, Sr., Marshall; OL Cyril Lemon, Sr., North Texas; OL Clint Van Horn, Jr., Marshall; OL Mason Y’Barbo, Sr., North Texas; WR Jamarcus Nelson, Sr., UAB; WR Tommy Shuler, Sr., Marshall; WR Jordan Taylor., Sr., Rice; TE Eric Tomlinson, Sr., UTEP Defense DL Vernon Butler, Jr., Louisiana Tech; DL Christian Covington, Jr., Rice; DL Ra’Shawde Myers, Sr., Marshall; DL James Rouse, Sr., Marshall; LB T.T. Barber, Sr., Middle Tennessee; LB Evan McKelvey, Sr., Marshall; LB Andrae Kirk, Jr., Florida Atlantic; DB Kevin Byard, Jr., Middle Tennessee; DB Bryce Callahan, Sr., Rice; DB D’Joun Smith, Sr., Florida Atlantic; DB Triston Wade, Sr., UTSA Special Teams K Sean Ianno, Sr., UTSA; P Hunter Mullins, Sr., UAB; KR Autrey Golden, Jr., UTEP; PR Kenny Harrison, Sr., UTSA; LS Jesse Medrano, Sr., UTSA


16

August 28, 2014

West Division

LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS

Head coach: Skip Holtz (4-8 in one season at Louisiana Tech, 92-79 in 15 seasons overall) Team: 36 lettermen, five offensive, seven defensive starters return from a 4-8 team (3-5 C-USA, fifth West Division), 28 lettermen lost. Key player: Junior running back Kenneth Dixon rushed for 917 yards and four touchdowns, despite playing in just 10 games due to a knee injury, a performance that helped him earn secDixon ond-team All-C-USA honors. Outlook: Louisiana Tech suffered through a tough first season under Holtz, finishing 4-8, a stunning fall from the 9-3 record the Bulldogs posted in their final season under Sonny Dykes. Dixon is one of 12 returning starters and gives Louisiana Tech a player to build around. The return of quarterback Ryan Higgins should also help the Bulldogs. The sophomore split time with former Ryan standout Scotty Young before securing the job. Higgins went on to throw for 1,715 yards and should be benefit from the experience he gained last year while growing into the job.

RICE OWLS

Head coach: David Bailiff (40-48 in seven seasons at Rice, 61-63 in 10 seasons overall) Team: 43 lettermen, six offensive, five defensive starters return from a 10-4 team (7-1 C-USA, first West Division), 25 lettermen lost. Key player: Wide receiver Jordan Taylor caught 55 passes for 848 yards and eight touchdowns and was named second-team All-C-USA. Outlook: Rice won the C-USA West Division title and beat Marshall in the conference title game before falling to Mississippi State in the Taylor Liberty Bowl. Rice has some holes to fill, but should be among the league’s top teams again, especially if Driphus Jackson can adequately fill the hole left by the graduation of starting quarterback Taylor McHargue. Jackson has thrived in limited action the last two years. He came off the bench to lead Rice to 10 fourth-quarter points in a win over Kansas last season. Jackson played the second half in place of McHargue in the Armed Forces Bowl two years ago as a freshman and threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-14 win.

SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES

Head coach: Todd Monken (1-11 in one season at Southern Miss) Team: 56 lettermen, seven offensive, seven defensive starters return from a 1-11 team (1-7 C-USA, tied for fifth East Division), 26 lettermen lost. Key player: Quarterback Nick Mullens started six games as a freshman and threw for 1,776 yards and 13 touchdowns while growing into the job. Outlook: Southern Miss, a traditional C-USA power, has Mullens

CONFERENCE USA PREVIEW fallen on tough times and will look to rebound in its second season under Monken. The Golden Eagles have 14 starters returning and a quarterback with potential in Mullens, who threw for 370 yards in the Golden Eagles’ only win of the season, a 62-27 victory over UAB.

UTEP MINERS

Head coach: Sean Kugler (2-10 in one season at UTEP) Team: 43 lettermen, eight offensive, seven defensive starters return from a 2-10 team (1-7 C-USA, seventh West Division), 22 lettermen lost. Key player: Senior quarterback Jameill Showers threw for 1,263 yards in seven games, including 365 yards in a loss to Colorado State and will look to capitalize on his considerable potential in his final season with the Miners. Outlook: UTEP lost eight games by at least 14 points and was swept by four Texas opponents, including all Showers three of its in-state C-USA rivals. The Miners will look to rebound behind Showers, a Texas A&M transfer. UTEP has 15 starters returning, including sophomore running back Aaron Jones, who rushed for 811 yards as a freshman. While UTEP has some key offensive weapons returning, the key to its season will be improving on the defensive side of the ball after ranking 12th in C-USA with an average of 39.3 points allowed a game. The one bright spot defensively for the Miners was the play of freshman defensive backs Devin Cockrell and Dashone Smith. Cockrell led UTEP with 76 tackles, while Smith added 69 stops.

UTSA ROADRUNNERS

Head coach: Larry Coker (19-15 in three seasons at UTSA, 79-30 in nine seasons overall) Team: 54 lettermen, nine offensive, 10 defensive starters return from a 7-5 team (6-2 C-USA, tied for second in West Division), 11 lettermen lost. Key player: Senior safety Triston Wade was a second-team All-C-USA selection last season when he led UTSA with 94 tackles and also intercepted two passes. He is a preseason All-C-USA selection. Wade Outlook: UTSA finished in a tie with UNT for second place in the C-USA’s West Division and was one of the surprises in the league last year. The Roadrunners return 19 starters and could contend for the conference title if they find a way to replace standout quarterback Eric Soza. Former Trinity Valley standout Tucker Carter will have the first crack at the job in what could be a key season for UTSA’s program. The Roadrunners didn’t have the opportunity to play in a bowl game in 2013, despite finishing 7-5 because the school was still in the process of making the move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Roadrunners have 37 seniors on the roster, including 16 who are starters. UTSA will face a huge rebuilding project next season when those seniors graduate. The process will be a whole lot easier if a veteran team can capitalize on its opportunities and play in a bowl game this season.

EAST Division

FLORIDA ATLANTIC OWLS

Head coach: Charlie Partridge (first season at FAU) Team: 40 lettermen, six offensive, six defensive starters return from a 6-6 team (4-4 C-USA, fourth East Division), 23 lettermen lost. Key player: Senior cornerback D’Joun Smith ranked second nationally with 20 passes defended, finished third nationally with seven interceptions and will help anchor the Owls defense. Outlook: Partridge takes over after a strange offseason saga that saw former head Smith coach Carl Pelini resign in the wake of allegations of illegal drug use. FAU has just 12 starters returning, but that group includes some talented players who helped the Owls win their final four games in 2013.

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL PANTHERS

Head coach: Ron Turner (1-11 in one season at FIU, 43-72 in 10 seasons overall) Team: 54 lettermen, nine offensive, seven defensive starters return from a 1-11 team (1-7 C-USA, tied fifth East Division), 14 lettermen lost. Key player: FIU will likely turn to quarterback E.J. Hilliard to spark its offense. Hilliard threw for 775 yards as a sophomore while starting four games. Outlook: FIU has fallen on Hilliard hard times since making back-to-back bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011 under Mario Cristobal, winning just four games in the last two years combined. The Golden Panthers have 16 returning starters and must hope that experience pays off in their second season under Turner.

MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD

Head coach: Doc Holliday (27-24 in four seasons at Marshall) Team: 59 lettermen, five offensive, eight defensive starters return from a 10-4 team (7-1 C-USA, first East Division), 15 lettermen lost. Key player: Rakeem Cato was named the Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,916 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior and is considered a Heisman candidate. Outlook: Marshall is poised to make a run at the C-USA title Cato and maybe more in a season it returns most of the key players from a team that advanced to the conference title game and beat Maryland in the Military Bowl.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE BLUE RAIDERS

Head coach: Rick Stockstill (51-49 in eight seasons at MTSU) Team: 49 lettermen, four offensive, seven defensive starters return from an 8-5 team (6-2 C-USA, tied second East Division), 20 lettermen lost. Key player: Linebacker T.T. Barber led MTSU with 119 tackles, including 11.5 behind the line of

DRC Football

scrimmage last season and is a preseason All-CUSA selection. Outlook: MTSU has been remarkably consistent under Stockstill, winning at least six games in four of the last five seasons, including last year’s 8-5 mark that included a loss to Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl. Maintaining that streak could be tough with Barber only five offensive starters returning and no obvious choice to take over for Logan Kilgore at quarterback.

OLD DOMINION MONARCHS

Head coach: Bobby Wilder (46-14 in five seasons at ODU) Team: 43 lettermen, six offensive, 10 defensive starters return from an 8-4 team, 14 lettermen lost. Key player: ODU will lean on quarterback Taylor Heinicke to guide the way in its first season in C-USA after he threw Heinicke for 4,022 yards as a junior. Outlook: The Monarchs resurrected their football program in 2007 and have quickly moved up the college football ladder. ODU has 16 starters returning and will look to make an impact early at the FBS level.

UAB BLAZERS

Head coach: Bill Clark (first season at UAB, 11-4 in one season overall) Team: 47 lettermen, eight offensive, eight defensive starters return from a 2-10 team (1-7 C-USA, tied fifth East Division), 20 lettermen lost. Key player: Wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson caught 42 passes for 846 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and is a preseason All-C-USA pick. Outlook: Clark takes over for Garrick McGee, who left to join the staff at Arkansas Nelson after two seasons with the Blazers, who went 5-19 in his tenure at the school. Clark spent just one season as the head coach at Jacksonville State, but has deep Alabama ties that could pay dividends.

WESTERN KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS

Head coach: Jeff Brohm (first season at WKU) Team: 46 lettermen, nine offensive, four defensive starters return from an 8-4 team (4-3 Sun Belt, tied for third), 18 lettermen lost. Key player: Quarterback Brandon Doughty threw for 2,857 yards as a junior, a record for a WKU quarterback at the Football Bowl Subdivision level and will carry the Hilltoppers offense. Outlook: The Hilltoppers join C-USA in 2014, becoming the fifth team to make the jump from the Sun Belt. WKU Doughty has most of its key offensive players back, including Doughty, but must replace all but four starters on defense. The loss of so many key players in a season the Hilltoppers join C-USA could make for a challenging season. — Brett Vito


DRC Football

NORTH TEXAS

August 28, 2014

17

Veterans to anchor UNT offensive line

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas will lean on a trio of senior offensive linemen who are all entering their fourth season as starters. Guard Cyril Lemon, left, is on the watch list for the Lombardi and Outland trophies, while fellow guard Mason Y’Barbo, right, is also on the Lombardi list. Tackle Antonio Johnson is the third member of the key group.

Chemistry developed in three years starting together an asset for decorated trio By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Listening to the veteran members of North Texas’ offensive line talk about what makes them effective can sound a little like an anatomy lesson. Cyril Lemon, Mason Y’Barbo and Antonio Johnson might not be connected in the physical sense when they are on the field. But it feels that way for the core members of what will arguably be the Mean Green’s most important, not to mention talented, unit this season. Y’Barbo has started 37 games at left

guard, while Johnson has started 34 at left tackle. Across the way, Lemon has started 35 games at right guard and 37 overall. All three will be seniors this fall. “Playing together is second nature,” Y’Barbo said. “Antonio is like my left arm out there and Cyril is like a security blanket. You don’t even have to worry about the right side of the line with him out there. “There is definitely a connection. With the continuity that we have, you know where a guy is going to be before the ball

is even snapped.” That trio has helped make UNT’s offensive line one of the nation’s most impenetrable units over the last two years. The Mean Green has allowed 17 sacks in that span, the lowest total among teams playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision. A few players have mixed in with that trio over the last three years and will again this season, including second-year starting center Kaydon Kirby and guard Shawn McKinney. Those players have fit in before and should again because of the foundation UNT’s core trio provides.

Johnson and Y’Barbo both called Kirby one of the smartest players they have ever played with and credited McKinney for playing a key role last season. UNT coach Dan McCarney left little doubt as to what the expectations are for his offensive line. “The offensive line has to be our bell cows and lead not only our offense, but our whole team,” McCarney said. “There isn’t a position on our team that has guys with more experience.” See O-LINE on 18


18

NORTH TEXAS

August 28, 2014

From Page 17

O-Line Nor are there guys who received more preseason recognition. Lemon and Y’Barbo were both named to the preseason watch list for the Lombardi Award that goes to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker. Lemon was also named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy that is presented to the nation’s top interior lineman. The experience and overall talent UNT’s offensive linemen possess will be vital this fall when they will be charged with protecting a quarterback who won’t have nearly the same level of service time. UNT lost a three-year starting quarterback in Derek Thompson, who will be replaced by Navarro College transfer Josh Greer. There might not be a more important challenge for UNT offensively than finding a way to help Greer, who joined the Mean Green in December, settle into the starting role and establish a foundation for an offense with just five returning starters. The challenge is one UNT’s linemen take seriously.

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas offensive linemen Antonio Johnson, center, and Cyril Lemon, right, congratulate running back Reggie Pegram after Pegram scored a touchdown in a win over Middle Tennessee last season. “It’s absolutely important for us to provide the foundation for our offense,” Y’Barbo said. “If we do our jobs, then everyone else can do theirs. With three or four of us being seniors, it’s our responsibility. The offense will go as we go. It’s on our shoulders.” The way UNT’s veteran linemen have embraced that challenge and helped set the tone for the team is a comforting feeling for McCarney. “Those guys show our team every day how to practice and prepare,” McCarney

DRC Football

said. “When you go to work every day and coach a guy like Cyril Lemon? What a joy. He has started 37 straight games and never backed down from Alabama, LSU, Georgia, you name them. He has started every game since his freshman year and is getting so many honors — and deservedly so. No one is hungrier. When you have that, boy does it impact your young guys.” Few have a better perspective of what the group means to the Mean Green than running back Antoinne Jimmerson. The junior has capitalized on the holes UNT’s offensive line has cleared for him for two years and been influenced by the example they set. “Our offensive line is great,” Jimmerson said. “They work hard. Those guys are the first ones on the field and the last ones off it. They are smart. They are not the biggest guys out there, but they have the strength and heart.” They also have a connection developed over the course of years and the knowledge that UNT’s offense will rely heavily on them to set the tone this season. “We are the backbone of our offense,” Lemon said. “It all starts with us. We have to provide leadership. It all starts in the trenches. We have to be consistent.”

UNT Offensive line anchors North Texas has three seniors who are all entering their fourth seasons as starters in Antonio Johnson, Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo. The following is a look at each member of the group that will be one of the Mean Green’s key strengths: Antonio Johnson, tackle Johnson has started 34 games in his college career and is expected to continue that streak this season while protecting the edge as UNT’s left tackle. Cyril Lemon, guard Lemon has started all 37 games of his college career and is on the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award and is a preseason All-Conference USA pick. Mason Y’Barbo, guard Y’Barbo has started 37 straight games at guard and is on the Lombardi Award watch list. He was also named to the preseason All-Conference USA team.

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NORTH TEXAS

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August 28, 2014

19

Mean green Roster No. Player Pos. Ht. 1 Turner Smiley WR 6-0 2 Reggie Pegram RB 5-9 3 Tee Goree WR 6-3 3 Calvin Minor LB 6-3 4 Darvin Kidsy WR 6-0 5 Andrew McNulty QB 6-1 5 Matthew Dash DB 6-0 6 Dajon Williams QB 6-3 7 Connor Means QB 6-4 7 Derek Akunne LB 6-0 8 Josh Greer QB 6-5 8 Jamal Marshall LB 6-3 9 Carlos Harris WR 5-8 9 Sed Ellis LB 6-3 10 Rashad Jackson DB 5-10 10 Derrick Teegarden WR 6-0 11 Vershad Jackson DB 5-10 11 Darius Terrell WR 6-3 11 Sam Wells QB 6-0 13 Josh Cousins QB 6-1 13 James Jones DB 5-11 14 Chris Loving TE 6-4 14 Cedric Fernandes DB 5-10 15 Carl Caldwell WR 5-10 15 T.J. Tauaalo DT 6-2 16 Chad Davis DB 5-10 17 Cooper Jones TE 6-4 18 Marcus Smith TE 6-4 19 John Schilleci DB 6-0 20 Brandon Allen DB 6-0 20 Rex Rollins RB 6-1 21 Freddie Warner DB 5-10 22 Antoinne Jimmerson RB 5-9 23 Zac Whitfield DB 5-9 24 Erick Evans RB 5-9 24 Sheldon Wade DB 5-11 25 Andrew Tucker RB 6-0 26 Zach Paul PK 5-9 26 Jeffrey Wilson RB 6-0 27 Lairamie Lee DB 5-10 29 Willy Ivery RB 5-9 29 Brock Squier DB 5-9 30 Jarrian Roberts DE 6-2 30 Trevor Moore K 5-11 31 Kenny Buyers DB 5-11 32 Fred Scott LB 5-11 32 A.J. Ezzard RB 5-10 34 Kishawn McClain DB 5-11 36 Jalen Montgomery LB 5-11 36 Cannon Maki FB 6-0 37 Brandon Garner LB 5-11 38 Andrew Jones DB 6-1 39 Jarrod Lynn TE 6-0 39 Blake Bean LB 6-1 40 Blake Macek P 5-11 41 David Johnson DB 6-0 42 Chad Polk DE 6-0 43 Anthony Wallace LB 6-0 44 Kyle Jaskulske TE 6-3 45 Tarik Jefferson LB 6-0 46 A.J. Smith LB 6-2

Wt. 185 230 170 219 182 209 194 202 210 242 220 203 183 210 179 203 178 225 205 215 176 247 165 177 288 184 239 247 200 189 209 189 222 190 187 183 201 187 190 197 180 190 240 175 186 238 195 193 221 235 220 175 250 218 190 170 231 236 225 214 224

Yr. Rfr. Sr. Fr. So. So. Jr. Jr. Rfr. Fr. Sr. So. Jr. Jr. So. So. Sr. So. Sr. Fr. So. Sr. Jr. Fr. Sr. Fr. So. Jr. Jr. So. Jr. So. Jr. Jr. Jr. Rfr. Sr. Rfr. Jr. Fr. Sr. Fr. So. So. Fr. Jr. So. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Jr. Sr. So. Fr. Jr. Jr. Fr. Sr. Jr.

UNT Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 30 at Texas 7 p.m. Sept. 6 SMU 11 a.m. Sept. 11 Louisiana Tech * 7 p.m. Sept. 20 Nicholls State 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Indiana TBA Oct. 11 at UAB * 2:30 p.m. Oct.18 Southern Miss * 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at Rice* TBA Nov. 8 Florida Atlantic* 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at UTEP* TBA Nov. 22 Florida International* 2:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at UTSA* TBA *C-USA game 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 56 57 58 59 60 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 76 77 78 79 80 82 83 84 84 87 88 89 90 91 92 94 95 97 98 99

Terrance Johnson TE 6-4 Wylie Reinhardt TE 6-4 Daryl Mason DE 6-3 Kaydon Kirby OL 6-3 Jake Davis DS 6-0 Braelon Schwartz LB 6-0 Shawn McKinney OL 6-4 Blake Dunham DS 6-1 Malik Dilonga DE 6-4 Mason Y’Barbo OL 6-2 Tony Johnson DS 6-1 Joe Kaho DT 5-10 Avery Fortenberry OL 6-5 Cyril Lemon OL 6-3 Sid Moore DL 6-1 Sam Rice OL 6-4 Micah Thompson OL 6-4 Michael Banogu OL 6-5 Chris Miles OL 6-4 Eric Keena P 6-2 Bo Pullin OL 6-5 Sir Calvin Wallace DT 6-2 Antonio Johnson OL 6-5 Ryan Rentfro OL 6-4 Sean Clayton OL 6-2 Harrison Sorge OL 6-5 Travis Ellard OL 6-3 Connor Trussell OL 6-5 Dominick Walker OL 6-5 O’Keeron Rutherford WR 6-5 Clayton Adams WR 6-5 John Chelf WR 5-11 Jalen Adams WR 5-11 Quenton Brown DE 6-4 Cameron Brown WR 6-2 Tanner Smith TE 6-3 Corey Allison LB 5-11 Tillman Johnson DE 6-1 Austin Orr DT 6-4 LaJaylin Smith LB 6-0 Mustafa Haboul DT 6-0 Alexander Lincoln DT 6-2 Stephan Gehringer DL 6-1 Dutton Watson DT 6-3 Andy Flusche DE 6-3

229 266 247 329 220 220 358 235 252 297 218 253 298 315 257 302 310 282 291 170 320 296 302 313 285 305 256 296 299 185 211 187 161 235 205 237 225 243 277 219 267 275 267 283 261

Fr. So. Sr. So. Fr. Rfr. Sr. Sr. So. Sr. So. Jr. Fr. Sr. Rfr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Fr. So. Fr. So. Sr. So. Jr. Rfr. Jr. So. Rfr. Fr. So. Sr. Fr. Sr. So. Sr. Jr. Fr. Jr. Jr. So. Sr. So. So. Rfr.

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August 28, 2014

NORTH TEXAS

DRC Football

Assistants passing on NFL knowledge New UNT coaches Carter, Hicks played at highest of levels By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Perry Carter describes the extra knowledge he and fellow North Texas assistant coach LaMarcus Hicks will bring to the Mean Green’s secondary this season as “tidbits.” That knowledge can lead to an adjustment in the footwork UNT’s safeties use in pass coverage or where cornerbacks place their hands on receivers while trying to jam them at the line of scrimmage. Those small tools of the trade are what helped Carter and Hicks reach their dream of playing in the NFL, where Carter also worked as a coach. Both are passing those tools on to members of UNT’s secondary in their first season as assistant coaches with the Mean Green. UNT’s defensive backs are soaking up that knowledge and hoping

what they learn can help the Mean Green field one of the best defensive backfields in Conference USA this season. “They are both doing a good job and make sure that we get better each day,” UNT safety Lairamie Lee said. “I know that they have been to the highest level and that if I listen and do what they say, I will improve. They could help all of us get an opportunity to play at the next level.” Carter was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL draft and played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders before spending five seasons in the Canadian Football League. Hicks played two seasons with the Detroit Lions. UNT’s hope is that the duo can continue to develop a secondary the Mean Green is depending on to be one of its strengths this season. UNT returns three of its four starters in its defensive backfield — Lee and cornerbacks Kenny Buyers and James Jones. Zac Whitfield, who started the first two games of the season at cornerback and played a significant role throughout the

UNT New secondary coaches North Texas hired two new secondary coaches in Perry Carter and LaMarcus Hicks in the offseason. Both played in the NFL, where Carter also coached. Perry Carter, safeties Carter spent eight seasons coaching with the Houston Texans. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders after being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. LaMarcus Hicks, cornerbacks Hicks played two seasons for the Detroit Lions after finishing his college career at Iowa State, where he played for current UNT head coach Dan McCarney.

season, is also back. That is a stark contrast to the rest of the Mean Green’s defensive depth chart that underwent dramatic changes since last season, when UNT ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense with an av-

erage of 17.8 points allowed a game. UNT returns just one starter in its front seven in outside linebacker Derek Akunne and lost several of its cornerstone players to graduation, including All-C-USA linebacker Zach Orr and defensive end Aaron Bellazin. One of UNT’s strengths last season was the balance it had at all three levels of its defense. UNT featured a second-team all-conference defensive lineman in Bellazin and first-team picks at linebacker in Orr and in safety Marcus Trice, the only senior in UNT’s defensive backfield. “We want defense to set the tone for North Texas football and want to be known for being physical,” Buyers said. “We have a lot of experience back there in the secondary. If we can help the other guys catch up, it will help us to have a good defense again.” UNT coach Dan McCarney believes he landed two coaches who can help develop that talent in Carter and Hicks. See SECONDARY on 21

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NORTH TEXAS

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From Page 20

Secondary

The pair is among three coaches McCarney hired during a busy offseason that saw his staff lose three coaches. Safeties coach Noah Joseph and cornerbacks coach Ryan Walters joined the staffs at Indiana and Memphis, respectively, where McCarney said each received six-figure raises. Mike Nelson retired and was replaced by former South Florida defensive line coach Kevin Patrick. “I don’t think we missed a beat from a coaching standpoint,” McCarney said. “Right now we don’t have overall experience, but as far as coaching, accountability, maturity, communication and building relationships, they are exactly the type of guys who I lost. That is what we are looking for. When we lose really good coaches, we want to replace them with the same type of coaches. We’ve been able to do that.” Landing two coaches with NFL experience was a coup for McCarney, who used program ties to lure Carter and Hicks to UNT. Carter worked for UNT director of operations Scotty Conley at Texas A&M-Commerce, while Hicks played for McCarney at Iowa State. “It shows that Mac takes care of guys

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas cornerback Kenny Buyers closes in as Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue dives for the goal line during the Mean Green’s win over the Owls at Apogee Stadium last season. Buyers is one of three returning starters UNT’s new secondary coaches Perry Carter and LaMarcus Hicks will tutor this fall. he trusts,” Hicks said. “It’s neat to see the other side of it as a coach and to have been on it on both sides as a player and a coach with coach McCarney.” Hicks has spent just one season coaching on the college level at Rhodes College before spending the last two years coaching at the high school level. Carter spent eight seasons coaching with the Houston

Texans and one in NFL Europe before coming to UNT. Carter has also spent just one season coaching at the college level back in 2004, when Conley hired him at A&M-Commerce.

Both Carter and Hicks said they feel good about how the transition to coaching on the college level has gone so far. “Working with coach Carter, learning from him and a veteran staff while working with a veteran secondary has been good,” Hicks said. “The players are buying in to what we have to say.” UNT’s coaches and players believe that newfound level of trust has the Mean Green on course to improve on the performance of last season’s secondary. UNT’s defensive backs intercepted 16 passes in 2013, including five from Trice. “There is no question we feel good about the guys we have,” Carter said. “It’s always good to have some seasoned, veteran guys. There is no question we can have a good secondary this year. We have some guys who know what to do and how to do it.” UNT’s new secondary coaches are trying to provide some extra tools for those veteran players to use, skills they learned during their time in the NFL. “The knowledge that we have allows us to give them those little tidbits that they have not heard before that can make them better,” Carter said. “They are excited about it. Those little things can help them play faster.”

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August 28, 2014

23

Defensive line to lean on veteran duo By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Daryl Mason and Alexander Lincoln have operated in the shadows for most of their careers at North Texas. The reasons why were obvious. Both played significant roles, but were backups on a team with a host of talented defensive linemen who also happened to be some of the more memorable players in recent program history. There was Brandon McCoy, who served in the Army before playing for the Mean Green; Richard Abbe, the outgoing Lubbock native often seen wearing a huge cowboy hat and Aaron Bellazin, a sack artist who started every game last season. Mason and Lincoln weren’t quite as accomplished as players and certainly weren’t as colorful. This season will offer both the opportunity to step into the starting lineup and carve out individual legacies with the Mean Green. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity since I got here to be the guy that the whole team looks to,” Mason said. “I’ve been looking forward to it.” UNT’s hopes to build on one of the best defensive seasons in program history will depend at least in part on the duo’s ability to reach that goal. Head coach Dan McCarney is adamant that he wants to develop a rotation along UNT’s defensive front that will include somewhere in the neighborhood of eight players. The hope is that Mason and Lincoln can set the tone and build on what they accomplished as juniors. Mason started three games and finished with 12 tackles and a sack, while Lincoln posted 16 tackles and two sacks. UNT had six seniors who accounted for 24 of the team’s 39 sacks finish their careers last season, including Bellazin and McCoy, who finished with nine and six sacks, respectively. Bellazin ranks ninth in program history with 15 career sacks, while McCoy is 10th with 14 1/2. “This is definitely our chance to break out and make as many plays as we can,” Lincoln said. “Both of us want to go to the NFL. The scouts look at how you play in big games and will be watching this year, especially in the Texas game.” UNT opens its season against the

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas defensive end Daryl Mason chases Middle Tennessee quarterback Austin Grammer during the Mean Green’s win over the Blue Raiders last fall. UNT will look to Mason and defensive tackle Alexander Lincoln to anchor its defensive front following the departure of four senior starters who combined to account for 20 sacks in the 2013 season. Longhorns on Saturday. McCarney is looking for production from Mason and Lincoln not only in that game, but throughout the season. “They have both bought in to what we are doing and have played a lot of snaps,” McCarney said. “Even though they didn’t start last year, they contributed. They have seen a little bit of everything. “They are seniors. We need them to act like it, carry themselves like it and especially play like it. They are both coming on as leaders.” Both Mason and Lincoln credited new defensive line coach Kevin Patrick for aiding their development. The former South Florida defensive line coach took over UNT’s defensive line after Mike Nelson retired in the offseason. “Coach [Patrick] is teaching us more as far as technique,” Lincoln said. “We have more pass rush moves.”

Those extra moves helped Mason and Lincoln emerge as starters during spring practice. Both have continued to carve out larger roles during two-a-days in the fall. “Lincoln and Mason are definitely leaders for our defensive line,” junior defensive tackle Austin Orr said. “I have always respected them and looked up to them.” Mason and Lincoln enter their senior seasons at UNT looking to build on the respect they have earned and fill the void left by the starters who have overshadowed them throughout their careers. “We have some big shoes to fill,” Mason said. “We lost four starting defensive linemen. Everyone knows that. It’s no secret. We have younger guys who are looking to us now for leadership. That’s what we are trying to do — provide it.”

UNT Defensive line veterans

North Texas will depend on Daryl Mason and Alexander Lincoln to help fill the void left by the graduation of four starters on its defensive line. Here is a look at both: Daryl Mason, defensive end Mason started three games in the 2013 season, when he posted 12 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered another while playing in UNT’s defensive line rotation. Alexander Lincoln, defensive tackle Lincoln posted two sacks in 2013, when he finished with 16 tackles. The senior started six games as a sophomore and is a key part of UNT’s defensive line rotation.


24

NORTH TEXAS

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Harris to step into Chancellor’s shoes By Brett Vito Staff Writer

Carlos Harris understands the comparisons people make between him and one of the stars of recent North Texas history. Harris is among the smallest players on UNT’s roster who has used his speed and quickness to become a dangerous slot receiver — just like Brelan Chancellor. The former All-Conference USA selection set a UNT record with 5,503 all-purpose yards in his college career that wrapped up after last season’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. UNT will turn to Harris, who checks in at 5-foot-8 and 183 pounds, to help fill the void left by Chancellor, who was a smidgen bigger at 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds. “I’m compared to him a lot, but I’m my own player,” Harris said. “I took a lot from him and plan to use some of what he taught me. I learned a lot about technique from him.” It’s that same technique that has helped Harris become a significant con-

UNT Carlos Harris North Texas wide receiver Carlos Harris will step into the void left by Brelan Chancellor, the team’s top offensive weapon. The following is a look at Harris’ production: Receiving Year Rec. Yards Avg. TDs 2012 19 263 13.8 1 2013 47 553 11.8 2 Totals 66 816 12.4 3

tributor for UNT during his first two seasons in the program. The Frisco product posted 263 receiving yards in 2012, the most for a UNT freshman in three seasons, before breaking out last year when he caught 47 passes for 553 yards. UNT is hoping that performance is a sign of what is to come from Harris in a season when the Mean Green is looking to reload in terms of skill position players. Chancellor led UNT with 792 receiv-

Rings & Things

ing yards, but was just one of several key running backs and receivers who were seniors in 2013. UNT also lost wide receiver Darnell Smith (791 receiving yards) and running back Brandin Byrd (1,075 rushing yards). Harris found his niche while starting alongside those players last season. He helped the Mean Green convert third downs, but he needs to contribute much more this fall to help fill the void left by Chancellor. The former UNT speedster finished with 1,964 all-purpose yards on the year. He was involved in the running game and was also dangerous returning punts and kickoffs. Harris could fill a similar role. “He is really important to what we do offensively,” UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. “We need him to pick up where Brelan left off. He is dependable and made so many plays for us on third down. He’s really quick and is able to find holes in a defense. We have been able to get him in the match-

ups we want.” Harris is a nightmare for defenses when he lined up against a safety because of his quickness and ability to find holes in zone defenses. “I pride myself on helping the team stay on the field,” Harris said when asked about his prowess on third downs. “If the ball comes to me, I’m going to do what I can to keep us out there.” The challenge for Harris this season is to expand his role, soften the blow UNT suffered with the loss of Chancellor and help a new starting quarterback adjust. The Mean Green lost 0quarterback Derek Thompson to graduation and will turn to Josh Greer, a Navarro College transfer who joined UNT in December. “Last year, Carlos did a lot of great things for us, even with those other guys who were out there, had a lot of experience and made a lot of big plays,” UNT backup quarterback Andrew McNulty said. “Now he is a guy who has a lot of experience. He has the ability to make those same plays. We just have to find a way to get him the ball.”

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Denton ISD schools

Denton schools loaded with talent


26

August 28, 2014

COVER STORY

DRC Football

Guyer confident heading into Class 6A By Adam Boedeker Staff Writer

Over the past six seasons, the Guyer Wildcats have continued to climb the ladder of Texas high school football prominence. In December, their ascent culminated with a second consecutive Class 4A Division I state championship in their final game as a 4A program before a jump in February to the state’s largest classification, now known as Class 6A. As soon as Guyer got the expected news, the Wildcats were immediately talking about another state championship run at the highest level. “Expectations around here are always the same,” said senior defensive tackle Carl Thompson, who has started 32 games over the past two seasons. “It’s winning games and going for another state title, and nothing less than that. We know we have the talent at every position to go all the way.” It isn’t too often teams make deep playoff runs immediately after moving up in classification, but for Guyer, the feat is not unprecedented. When Guyer opens the season on Friday against preseason Class 6A No. 1 Allen, the two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champions, the Wildcats will be playing alongside the state’s big boys for the second time. Guyer’s first run through what was formerly known as Class 5A — the state’s largest classification — got off to a roaring start when the Wildcats made it to the Class 5A Division II state championship game and lost 24-21 to fellow newcomer Cibolo Steele. The Wildcats’ success since, including back-to-back state titles in Class 4A, has created expectations for Guyer to compete once again in its first season back with the state’s largest schools.

Go big or go home While the Wildcats’ 2010 season ended at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in the state championship game, their second game of that season was perhaps a harbinger of things to come a few months down the road. After a demolition of 4A’s Waxahachie in the season opener, Guyer played its first game in program history against a 5A team when it took on state pow-

ON THE COVER DISD schools Denton ISD schools

Denton schools loaded with talent

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Forner Denton ISD athletic director Ken Purcell congratulates Guyer head coach John Walsh after the Wildcats defeated San Antonio Brennan in the Class 4A Division I state championship game on December 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Guyer has won consecutive state titles and has high expectations as it moves into the new Class 6A. erhouse Cedar Hill. The end result was a 42-41 Cedar Hill overtime victory at AT&T Stadium. Guyer relied on its calling card, a punishing ground game, to rack up 320 rushing yards. Quarterback J.W. Walsh rushed for more than 200 yards against the Longhorns as Guyer announced its arrival on the big stage. While the game was surprising to some, Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said he knew exactly what was coming before the teams kicked off. “I’m a little bit different than everybody else was, because for me, it’s never changed,” McGuire said of his outside view of Guyer’s program. “Before they moved up, they were playing deep in the playoffs and couldn’t get past Longview [in two straight 4A state semifinals], and then they moved up. Every time we play them, it’s a dogfight. They’re one of the most physical programs we play.” After that loss, Guyer reeled off 12 wins in its next 14 games with its only losses coming to 5A powerhouse Coppell and Cibolo Steele. That stretch included a playoff win over Cedar Hill and two wins, including one in the postseason, over

Southlake Carroll. By that point, Guyer was fitting in nicely among the state’s biggest programs. Walsh said he remembers the feeling around his program when the Wildcats went toe-to-toe with Cedar Hill, and then knocked the Longhorns off later in the postseason. He knows what a good performance against a powerhouse program can do for confidence moving forward. “We don’t put a premium on our first game of the year, but we knew who Cedar Hill was,” Walsh said. “They were coming off a title not too many years before. Our guys had aspirations to be where they’d been at the 5A level. When we got done, we realized we’re an elite program, and we can beat the best of the best.” Fast-forward four years, and the Wildcats are ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press’ Class 6A preseason poll, counted among some of the top programs in the state. Now, like that first big-time game in 2010, Guyer is set to start things off with a bang this week when they open the season against Allen and Texas A&M pledge Kyler Murray, one of the top quarterbacks in the country. “I’m kind of tired of hearing, ‘Y’all only

The talented players returning from a breakout season in Denton football history, including, from left, Denton wide receiver Key’Andre Hearvey, Guyer running back Anthony Taylor and Ryan wide receiver Jordan Murray give all three teams confidence in their ability to build on their performance last season.

won because you’re 4A and blah, blah, blah. Y’all never played anybody,’” said senior cornerback Trey Woods, who also has started 32 games over the past two seasons. “This year, they’ll be able to see that we can play against the best. I’m excited. We’ll just see where it goes. I think we’re going to do great things.” That opener against Allen, which is atop several national high school football polls, will let the Wildcats know where they stand in a hurry. “We go into these games wanting to win it,” Walsh said. “I don’t tell them to go have fun and get better. That ain’t happening here. We are trying to make a statement and beat them.”

The time is right

Back in 2010 when the Wildcats moved up with the state’s biggest schools, Walsh had never coached in the state’s largest classification. Prior to his days at Guyer, he was a part of the staff at perennial 4A power Brownwood. When Guyer moved up to 5A in the 2010 UIL realignment, it was new territory for everyone involved, all the way to the top. But when he looked at his roster, which was highlighted by a senior class he’d been touting for years, he wasn’t too See WILDCATS on 27


COVER STORY

DRC Football

From Page 26

27

Now, I think we do.”

Wildcats concerned with the proposition of playing the likes of Cedar Hill and Southlake Carroll. That senior class included Walsh’s son, J.W., who is now the Oklahoma State quarterback, as well as do-it-all threat Josh Stewart, who signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans after declaring for the NFL draft this spring. The Wildcats’ four-wide receiver set was made up of four future Football Bowl Subdivision players. As a whole, that team had 15 players who went on to play college football. This year, the Wildcats actually have more players with offers from FBS programs going into the season than the 2010 team did. In all, nine players currently hold offers from FBS programs, and three have committed to Big 12 and Big Ten programs. That means the transition back to the state’s largest classification could be a smooth one again for the Wildcats. “I think the timing is extremely similar as far as how we feel about our personnel going into the season,” Walsh said. “When you go up to 6A, you better have depth, and we feel like we have some depth. Then you better have some playmakers with some good leadership, and we feel we’ve got that. I think the 2010 and ’14 seasons are eerily similar.” Those players holding offers include sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson, who already has offers from Texas and Nebraska. Robinson will replace Texas freshman Jerrod Heard, who led the Wildcats to those back-to-back state titles in Class 4A. While folks might question Guyer’s stability at quarterback without Heard, those in the know are becoming aware of Robinson’s ability and potential. Just ask McGuire, who could face Guyer in the area round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs in November. “I know they’re gonna be dang good again,” said McGuire, whose team beat Guyer by 10 points in last year’s opener before rolling to a 5A Division II state title. “Before it’s all said and done and the playoffs start, that sophomore QB — I know it’s hard because [Heard’s] a twotime state champion — might be better than what they had in the past two years.” The group of receivers doesn’t have the star power and senior leadership of Stewart and Quint Gardener (Minneso-

August 28, 2014

Business as usual

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Guyer head coach John Walsh will lead the Wildcats into the new Class 6A this fall fresh off winning a Class 4A Division I state title. ta), but Walsh said across the board this year’s wide receivers could match the production of the 2010 group. “There’s not a Tennessee Titan on here now, but as a unit I think it’s comparable,” Walsh said. “Someone needs to be the [Gardener]. When there wasn’t a great play, we’d throw it to him and he’d come down with it. Talent-wise, they’re there. If they can just take on the takeover-a-game mentality like those guys did, they have a chance.” While Robinson and several fellow FBS prospects at the skill positions should not take long to hit their stride offensively, Guyer’s defense is expected to be one the state’s best right off the bat. The Wildcats return eight defensive starters, including Thompson, a Kansas pledge. Safety Jordan Wallace has committed to Iowa State and a host of others players have FBS offers in hand. “Both defenses are real comparable,” Walsh said. “We were really good defensively [in 2010]. No one could run the ball on us, and we’re hoping for that right now. This defense showed they’re one of the top in Class 4A, and now they have to show they’re one of the top in 6A. That’s still to be determined.”

Taking center stage While McGuire said he never had any doubt Guyer would transition to the big stage of Texas high school football with relative ease, Walsh said the biggest difference he sees now is the outside perception of his program, as evidenced by its position in the preseason media poll. “When we jumped up back then, I don’t think anyone projected us to be a deep playoff team,” Walsh said. “This year, people are thinking we might make a run. We never saw the top 10 in 2010, I don’t think. We have a little more respect

across the state now.” With that changed perception has come a big target on Guyer’s back, as well — one that has been growing larger with each successful season. That success has also led to a perceived dislike of Walsh and his program from those outside of it, who label Guyer as a cocky program. Walsh said he will take it with a smile. “It’s funny. I’ll have my coaches’ friends saying, ‘What’s it like working for Walsh?’” he said with a chuckle. “Everyone thinks I’m a jerk and overconfident. We are a confident program with a confident coaching staff, and it bleeds to our kids. We back it up with our work ethic, from staff down to players. We just try to put a good product on the field. “If you don’t like the Guyer way, then get out of the way. There, I sound like a jerk there, too, don’t I?” As his team makes the jump to the state’s largest classification for a second time in four years, having not lost a game to a 4A opponent the past two seasons, Walsh said there is no more underdog role that can be relished by his team. He acknowledged, of course, the Wildcats will not be a favorite on Friday when they face Allen at North Texas’ Apogee Stadium, but other than that, he knows they won’t be sneaking up on anyone. “When it comes playoff time, no one’s saying, ‘Oh, Guyer doesn’t have a chance,’” Walsh said. “Our boys are now used to being the ones that are going to get everybody’s best game. In 2010, we lost a onepoint game to Cedar Hill, but after that, J.W. and Stewart played in four fourth quarters until the title game that year because we just blew people out. Most of the games, we were done at halftime. We kind of made our way in 2010 pretty quick. We just didn’t have that statewide respect.

Like Walsh said, his confidence filters down to his players, and one of the most veteran players on the team knows what is expected of he and his teammates this season. “We see ourselves as one of the best,” Woods said. “We work hard out here. We grind and push ourselves to be one of the top teams in Texas. Our swagger and all of that is real. We don’t just talk about it. We work hard to be at the top. That’s all you’re gonna see from us is hard work. People might say we’re cocky, or whatever, but we strive to back that up. We work hard so we can have that type of swagger. That’s what we do around here.” Woods said he and his teammates, including Thompson, have great expectations for their final high school season, and Guyer’s first year back on the biggest stage in Texas high school football. “It’s exciting to finish out [high school] and have a chance to be at the top of everything in the top division in Texas,” Thompson said. “It’s nice being able to say we can maybe win that state title and finish with a three-peat.” Walsh said it’s players like Thompson, Woods and fellow senior cornerback DeMarcus Owens who help keep Guyer’s expectations high heading into the 2014 season. Like successful players before them, they have experienced the rigors of playing deep into December and are inspirations for their teammates in the Wildcats’ newest endeavor. “Guys who haven’t been in the fire need to be in a huddle with guys who have,” Walsh said. “You look across and see Carl and know you were watching him in Arlington [in the state title game] when you were on JV. You know you have to get the job done for guys like that.” And once again, Walsh’s expectations after moving up are sky-high, thanks in large part to that senior-laden defense and the promise of Robinson under center. “My expectations are probably the same as they were in 2010,” Walsh said. “I knew going in with that group of J.W., [linebacker] Blake [Terry] and Stewart and [Gardener], that we’d be hard to beat. Once Shawn acclimates himself to the 6A thing and Guyer, I think we’ll be hard to beat. “I thought going into 2010 that we’d have a chance to be 5A champs. I think going into this year we can be 6A champs, no doubt about it.”


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August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Guyer’s Robinson flashes star power By Adam Boedeker Staff Writer

When Guyer head coach John Walsh hired Andrea Robinson as his new girls basketball coach, he thought he was getting a two-time state champion. That alone would have been a coup for the Guyer athletic director. After tips started pouring in from coaching buddies, including his new boss, former Ryan coach and new Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence, Walsh realized he had much more than a successful coach on his hands. Walsh had his quarterback of the future and replacement for Texas freshman Jerrod Heard. Meet Shawn Robinson, who just turned 15 years old and is 247Sports’ No. 1 ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation in the Class of 2017 and the next in a line of Guyer standouts. “I did not know about him when I hired Andrea,” Walsh said. “Everyone started telling me, ‘Hey, you hired Shawn’s mom.’ “Coach Florence was the first to tell me and then from that point it was a text here and there from a buddy telling me about this kid. I just got on Hudl [a website that features players’ video highlights], and it wasn’t hard to figure out. If that’s a freshman, let’s just get the whole family up here.” Robinson started as a 14-year-old freshman for Saginaw Chisholm Trail in its second year of existence in 2013, leading the young Rangers to a 3-7 record while passing for 1,123 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for another six scores and 624 yards. As the son of two coaches who has been around competition his entire life, Robinson is ready to be thrown into the fire of high-level Class 6A football as the quarterback for a team with state championship aspirations. Guyer won two straight Class 4A Division I state titles with Heard under center. “I love where I’m at,” Shawn Robinson said. “It’s different. You can go to any other 6A school, and I’m pretty sure I

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

GUYER: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Shawn Robinson could be the next in a long line of standout Guyer quarterbacks after joining the program in the offseason when his mother, Andrea, was named the Wildcats’ girls basketball coach. Robinson is ranked as the top dual-threat quarterback in the country in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.

can tell the difference with Guyer. Right when I came in, the atmosphere and everything about it was just at another level. You have to bring your game up, and if you don’t you’re going to be left behind.” Robinson’s mother was a successful girls basketball coach at Cedar Hill and Fort Worth Dunbar, earning four trips to Austin for the UIL state tournament and two state championship rings with Dunbar. His father, Othell, was the head coach at Fort Worth Eastern Hills and Fort Worth Polytechnic before heading to Chisholm Trail, where he was the assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2012. A year later, he was promoted to assistant head coach and offensive coordi-

nator in his son’s first high school season. After Andrea’s hiring, Walsh brought on Othell Robinson as a tight ends coach, meaning both he and his son were pressed into learning Guyer’s offense. But it wasn’t all foreign territory. In fact, Robinson had attended a coaching clinic when he was at Eastern Hills and soaked in a talk Walsh gave about Guyer’s renowned quarterback-based running game. “A lot of stuff we do here, we did it there [Chisholm Trail],” Othell Robinson said. “A lot of places try to do it the Guyer way with the read quarterback See GUYER on 32

WILDCATS Quick facts District: 5-6A 2013 Record: 14-2 (7-0 in District 5-4A) Coach: John Walsh (75-35 in eight seasons at Guyer) Returning starters: Four on offense, eight on defense Key Players: QB Shawn Robinson, RB Anthony Taylor, WR Alex Honey, DL Carl Thompson, DB Jordan Wallace, LB Michael Carrillo, DB DeMarcus Owens Offense: Multiple Defense: Multiple School enrollment: 2,291 Stadium: C.H. Collins Athletic Complex


DRC Football

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GUYER

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

31

Guyer expects big year from Carrillo By Adam Boedeker Staff Writer

When asked to predict how his teammate Michael Carrillo would perform at linebacker in 2014, senior defensive lineman Carl Thompson responded with a bit of a chuckle. “I’m expecting like 200 tackles — something crazy like that,” Thompson said, perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek. Even if he wasn’t completely serious, Thompson did point out that if anyone could rack up that many tackles, it’d be Carrillo, the only returning starter at linebacker heading into the season. “He’s one of the best players on our entire team,” said Thompson, who recently committed to Kansas. “He’s all over the field. He’s just really, really good. He has everything.” Carrillo, a junior who has been in the spotlight in Denton since his legendary

middle school football exploits at Crownover, was a part-timer as a sophomore outside linebacker when the 2013 season began. Carrillo was thrust into a full-time starting role because of an injury to a teammate and never relinquished it. “I was just waiting for my opportunity,” Carrillo said. “I knew what I had to do already. I just needed a chance.” There was never a doubt in Guyer head coach John Walsh’s mind that the young linebacker would run with the opportunity once he got it, and he was proven right. Carrillo ended up becoming a key member of what was arguably the best defense Guyer has fielded in its near-decade of existence. He finished the year with 123 tackles, including 36 behind the line of scrimmage, and recovered a fumble. See CARRILLO on 43

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Guyer linebacker Michael Carrillo began building his reputation as a standout player in middle school. The senior could be in for a big season after moving the strong-side linebacker spot in the Wildcats scheme.

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32

GUYER

August 28, 2014

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength

Brown will be an anchor as an undersized, athletic left tackle.

The Wildcats return eight starters from what was arguably their best defense in program history a year ago, and four of those starters make up the entire secondary. Cornerback Trey Woods has started 32 career games with an entire season to go. Fellow cornerback DeMarcus Owens has secured an offer from North Texas and has more on the Owens way. Both safeties return from last season with a year of experience under their belt, led by Iowa State pledge Jordan Wallace, who joins Ian Edwards in the defensive backfield with a ton of range and athleticism, as well as big-play ability.

Not much mystery here — Shawn Robinson steps under center at Guyer just a couple of months after his 15th birthday to direct the offense for a twotime defending state champion. Robinson’s unique blend of arm strength and athleticism, along with wisdom beyond his years, has him poised for a breakout season on the big stage after he started last year as a freshman for a young Saginaw Chisholm Trail program. Robinson won the job in the spring behind an impressive performance despite not having full knowledge of Guyer’s offense. Head coach John Walsh said it’s already second nature for his young quarterback.

point of concern

game of the year

Guyer has become known as a power program led by its players in the trenches and is usually plenty capable up front. That could be the case again this year, but it’s still up in the air. The Wildcats graduated all five starters from its state championship offensive line and will be breaking in an entirely new group with a new quarterback. Walsh said he feels good about a group of about 10 players playing in the five spots, but it could take some time for the unit to jell. Xavier

key newcomer

Normally a nondistrict game would be nothing to put too much stock in, but the 2014 season opener against Allen is a different story. The game on Aug. 29 at UNT’s Apogee Stadium will pit two twotime defending state champions against each other in a high-profile matchup that will be played in front of a packed house. Guyer will most definitely have its hands full against Texas A&M-bound All-American quarterback Kyler Murray & Co.

DRC Football

Wildcats Roster No. Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. 1 Adam Scott WR 5-8 165 Sr. 2 Carl Thompson DL 6-3 260 Sr. 3 Shawn Robinson QB 6-2 195 So. 4 DeMarcus Owens DB 5-10 180 Sr. 5 Alex Honey WR 6-4 190 Sr. 6 Michael Carrillo RB/LB 5-9 180 Jr. 7 David Haynes WR/QB 6-2 190 Sr. DB 5-9 175 Sr. 8 Trey Woods 9 Jackson Weatherford WR/DB 5-10 175 Sr. 10 Anthony Taylor RB 5-10 190 Sr. 11 Jordan Wallace DB 6-2 190 Sr. DB 6-2 190 Sr. 12 Ian Edwards 13 Dale Hodge RB/LB 6-0 190 Sr. 14 David Rolon RB/LB 5-8 185 Sr. 16 Brandon Daniel WR/DB 5-9 170 Jr. 18 Derek Watson DL 6-4 220 Sr. FB/QB 5-9 190 Jr. 19 Austin Luna WR/DB 5-10 175 Sr. 20 Josh Dixon 21 Ryan Griffin TE/DL 6-3 205 Sr. 22 Cameron Wax RB/DL 6-1 190 Jr. RB/LB 6-0 180 Sr. 23 Jorge Llanos LB 6-1 195 Sr. 24 Joe Silvaggio 25 Dharrius Timmons LB 5-10 190 Jr. TE/DL 6-1 205 Sr. 26 Brady Byrd 27 Bryce Brown WR/DB 5-9 160 Sr. 28 Tevan McAdams DL 6-2 210 Jr. 30 Jackson Mayo WR/DB 5-10 160 Jr. WR/DB 5-11 175 Jr. 31 Nick Horton 32 Connor Hinchey WR/LB 6-0 180 Sr. 34 Jose Carrillo RB/LB 5-9 170 Jr. 36 Dante Ramacher LB 5-10 185 Jr. 37 Myron Mason RB/DB 5-8 160 So. 38 Jacob Herbig DS 6-0 175 Sr. 39 Christian Moore RB/DB 5-10 180 So. 40 Lee Shaw WR/DB 5-9 160 Sr. WR/DB 5-9 165 Sr. 41 Joe Downing RB/DB 5-8 170 Sr. 42 Dylan Ozuna 43 Christian Hernandez RB/DB 5-9 170 Sr.

From Page 28

Guyer game. We didn’t block it the way Guyer does, though. The mesh stuff is all the same. We didn’t block it the same. The way we block it here at Guyer cleans it up. “They block it here for the quarterback. Most places just block it for the running back. Here, they protect the quarterback when he gets downhill. In a nutshell, he’s [Shawn] already done some of the stuff we do here.” When Robinson arrived at Guyer, he came into the middle of a heated derby to win the starting quarterback job. Already on campus were last year’s backup David Haynes, who was also a starting wide receiver, Nebraska pledge Kevin Dillman and former Prosper quarterback David Moore, another major college prospect. Haynes moved to wide receiver full-time and will now serve as Robinson’s backup. Dillman was ruled ineligible by the University Interscholastic League, while Moore moved to Georgia. Haynes said he was quickly impressed with Robin-

For the Denton Record-Chronicle/Matt Garnett

Guyer sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson throws a pass during the first day of practice at Guyer on Aug. 11. Robinson will start for the Wildcats in his first season in the program. son, not just because of his on-field ability but also because of his humble approach when he arrived at Guyer. “It was great how he handled everything,” Haynes said. “It’s hard to move schools and make new friends

GUYER Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 vs. Allen** 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Ennis 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 Wichita Falls Rider 7 p.m. 7 p.m. Sept. 26 Keller* Oct. 3 at Justin Northwest* 7 p.m. Keller Fossil Ridge* 7 p.m. Oct. 9 Oct. 17 Keller Central* 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Trophy Club Nelson* 7 p.m. Keller Timber Creek* 7 p.m. Oct. 30 Nov. 7 Ryan* 7 p.m. *District 5-6A games **at Apogee Stadium 44 Preston Villalobos WR/DB 45 Felipe Fontes RB/LB 46 Isiah Correa DL 47 Cooper Davenport TE/DL 49 Antonio Terzini K/P 50 Bernie Santos Jr. OL 52 Cody Giles OL/DL 54 P.J. Brousard OL/DL 55 Gunnar Chance OL 56 Tim Burley OL/DL 60 Dylan Palmer OL/DL 70 Xavier Brown OL 71 Ben Nwiba OL/DL 72 Gage Mallory OL/DL OL 74 Max Herbig 75 Chad Hickson OL/DL 77 Cesar Vidana OL 78 Austin Colpean OL 80 Victor Hubbard WR/DB 81 Doug Palmer TE/DL 82 Remington Reed TE/DL 88 Cameron Cooper TE/DL 92 Bryson Casmir K/P

5-9 160 Sr. 5-9 185 Jr. 5-10 270 Sr. 6-2 240 Sr. 5-10 160 Sr. 6-3 260 Sr. 5-9 200 Sr. 5-9 225 Jr. 5-11 245 Jr. 6-0 235 So. 5-10 230 Sr. 6-3 240 Sr. 6-1 210 Jr. 6-2 285 So. 6-1 250 Sr. 6-2 250 Jr. 6-1 265 Jr. 6-2 315 Sr. 6-1 175 Sr. 6-2 190 Sr. 6-2 210 Jr. 6-0 200 Sr. 5-9 160 So.

and fit in. He was just a really likable guy. He didn’t take a long time to get in with us. We all clicked really quickly.” Robinson is now set to be the next in line of Guyer three-year starting quarterbacks, following J.W. Walsh (Oklahoma State) and Heard, who is battling for the backup job at Texas as a freshman. Robinson said he’s hoping to pick up where Heard left off, but Walsh said he just wants his young quarterback focusing on being himself. “I don’t see shoes for him to fill,” Walsh said. “Jerrod took his shoes to Austin. Shawn’s got to do what Jerrod did and make his own way and not worry about who came before you. He’s already shown he can be our starting quarterback.” And with that, Walsh said Robinson’s grasp of the offense is light years beyond his young age. “Shawn is a coach’s kid and it shows as a sophomore, right now,” he said. “He’s extremely smart in our offense. I’m not having to dummy it down at all. He has a huge, accurate arm right now. Shawn has a senior defense, and he knows that. He has senior skill around him. We don’t have time for a sophomore. He has to be what Shawn’s gonna be for all these seniors.”


RYAN

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

33

Laws hopes to rule stout Ryan front By Ben Baby Staff Writer

It is nearly impossible to miss Ryan senior Dakota Laws’ towering figure on the team’s offensive line. Those who have been watching the Raiders over the past two seasons have gotten a good look at the Ryan left tackle who’s been a staple on the line of scrimmage. In fact, Laws represents a sense of stability that will be noticeably absent on this year’s edition of the Raiders. Ryan has an overhauled coaching staff and a depth chart where Laws is one of the few familiar names for a team that is coming off a season few expected. Gone are more than 50 seniors from a squad that reached the Class 5A Division II Region I finals, matching the deepest playoff run Ryan has ever made at the state’s highest classification. The maturation process Laws has undergone during that time is something Ryan offensive line coach Adrian Eaglin has been pleased with since Laws made his first start as a sophomore. Despite all the change at Ryan since the end of last season, the expectations are high for Laws and the rest of the Raiders. “When he was a sophomore, he was quiet and reserved — just unsure of himself,” Eaglin said. “Now, he’s quiet and confident. There’s a very big difference. There’s no uncertainty in his mind anymore. He’s very confident, very self-assured. I like it.” Eaglin compared the offensive lineman to a “church mouse” that sophomore year when he and the rest of the Raiders experienced the jump to Class 5A. The division has been renamed 6A but remains the home of the biggest schools in the state. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound left tackle said it feels like he’s been at Ryan forever, but he remembers when it didn’t always seem that way, especially when he made his varsity debut in the 2012 season opener at Corsicana. “I was so nervous,” Laws said. “I can’t even explain now nervous I was. I was shaking before the game.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

RYAN: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Dakota Laws is one of only five returning starters Dave Henigan will have to work with in his first season as Ryan’s head coach. The senior left tackle became a starter as a sophomore and will serve in a leadership capacity for the Raiders who advanced to the Class 5A Division II Region I final last season.

Things have drastically changed since. Laws is coming off a year in which he earned an Associated Press second-team all-state nod. He racked up 45 pancake blocks, allowed one sack and graded out at 90 percent. Laws has the potential to become the next Ryan offensive lineman to end up playing on college football’s big stage. Garrett Gramling graduated from Ryan in 2010 and saw action in every game for Texas A&M last season. He made two starts for the Aggies at left guard. Jordan Williams, a 2012 Ryan alum, is entering his redshirt sophomore season at Missouri. Even before Ryan head coach Dave

Henigan left Grapevine after five years and was hired to replace Joey Florence in February, he knew all about his future starting left tackle. “He’s a quality kid,” Henigan said. “That’s the first thing I noticed. I heard about him before I got here. You obviously walk in, and physically he’s an impressive kid. But what I saw was he’s smart and he’s got good character. He’s a worker and a leader.” Laws has been looking forward to this season, where he is one of the elder statesmen on a team that will feature an inexperienced quarterback. Ryan senior See RYAN on 37

RAIDERS Quick facts District: 5-6A 2013 record: 10-3 (3-2 in District 5-5A) Coach: Dave Henigan (56-52 in 10 years, first year at Ryan) Returning starters: four on offense, one on defense Key players: RB Maurice Gordon, WR Jordan Murray, QB Spencer Sanders, OT Dakota Laws, DE Donievin Oliver, DB Elijah Allen Offense: Multiple Defense: 4-2-5 School enrollment: 2,334 Stadium: C.H. Collins Athletic Complex


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August 28, 2014

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Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 ......................... Rockwall ........................... 7 p.m. Sept. 5 ..........................at Hebron ..................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 ....................... Wylie East.......................... 7 p.m. Sept. 26 .................. at Keller Central*..................... 7 p.m. Oct. 3................... Trophy Club Nelson*.................. 7 p.m. Oct. 9.................at Keller Timber Creek*................ 7 p.m. Oct. 16................at Keller Fossil Ridge*................. 7 p.m. Oct. 24............................ Keller* ............................. 7 p.m. Oct. 31.......................at Northwest*........................ 7 p.m. Nov. 7 ............................. Guyer*............................. 7 p.m. *District 5-6A games

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36

RYAN

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Oliver to follow in brother’s footsteps By Ben Baby Staff Writer

A couple years ago, there was a Ryan defensive tackle that wore the No. 94 and had “OLIVER” draped across the top of his back. His locker was a few paces to the right of the entrance to the Ryan locker room, and he had a nickname that was a play on his last name. That was Big O. Two years later, Little O has picked up where his older brother left off. Ryan senior defensive tackle Donievin Oliver is one of the few Raiders returning with any experience from last season. Oliver, along with junior defensive tackle Ken McLaurin, will anchor a defensive line that lost all four starters and the top substitute in the rotation. But the younger Oliver is certainly up for the task. McLaurin said the opportunity he and Oliver have this season is exciting.

“It’s very cool to know that we’re the guys this year,” McLaurin said. “Last year we were backups. Now it’s our time to make our mark on the program. It’s going to be a great opportunity.” All the key cogs on the defensive line that helped Ryan reach the Class 5A Division II regional finals graduated. Defensive end Sekou Clark ended up at Vanderbilt, while defensive tackle J.T. Williams signed with Southern Miss but left the program before the start of the season. Oliver originally didn’t start out on the defensive line. He was a linebacker his freshman year until a freshman team game against Denton. Oliver moved to defensive tackle, switched to the position full-time afterward and assumed his older brother’s number, locker and position. Desmond Oliver was a second-team See RAIDERS on 44

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Ryan defensive tackle Donievin Oliver will help anchor the Raiders defense this season, when he will try to build on a family legacy. His older brother Desmond Oliver was a two-time second-team all-district selection for the Raiders.

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RYAN

DRC Football

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength

Ryan’s offensive line was the biggest question mark coming into last season. This year the unit is easily the strongest the Raiders will have in 2014. Dakota Laws, a three-year starter, will lead the group. Tristan Brown and Skylar Hodges will also return to the most experienced unit Ryan will have at its disposal. The offensive line’s bigHodges gest task will be to keep a young quarterback healthy and open up holes for senior running back Maurice Gordon, who is set to have another strong year behind a standout Ryan front.

point of concern

For the last couple of years, the biggest question regarding the quarterback position was whether Mitchell Bridges could avoid serious injuries and remain on the field. With Bridges’ graduation following two years as the starter, Ryan opened the spring with three quarterbacks competing to be his reSanders placement. The winner is a kid who was in middle school during last year’s playoff run. Highly-touted freshman Spencer Sanders will take the helm of the Ryan offense when he makes his high school debut against Rockwall. Learning the ropes in the state’s highest classification and in a region like Dallas-Fort Worth is a highly unenviable task.

From Page 33

Ryan right guard Tristan Brown is another key cog on the Ryan offensive line and said Laws will be a big part of a strong front. “Week-in, week-out, Dakota brings a lot to the table,” Brown said. “I’ve been playing with him since freshman year. He’s came a long, long way.” And it helps that he truly enjoys the sport. When asked what he does in his free time, Laws said he recovers from practice, and he said it with a huge grin

key newcomer

August 28, 2014

37

Raiders Roster

game of the year

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan’s takes after his predecessor when it comes to his approach on the Raiders’ schedule. Like former Ryan head coach Joey Florence, Henigan believes the first district game of the season is the most important game on the schedule. Ryan Henigan opens District 5-6A play on Sept. 26 against Keller Central. Not only could the contest set the tone for the rest of district play, but it may play a key role in determining which of the four teams make the playoffs. The Raiders could find themselves scrapping for a playoff berth in the final week, and a win against Central could reduce stress when Week 11 rolls around.

No. Player Pos. Yr. QB/WR Sr. 2 Shomari Cann 3 Spencer Sanders QB Fr. 4 Alan Rojas DB/WR Jr. 5 Ken McLaurin DT Jr. 6 Randy Gray WR So. 7 Tanner Burch WR Sr. 8 Rodney Gladney WR Jr. 9 Javaris Steward DE So. 10 Delano Robinson DB So. 11 Nick Watts LB Jr. 13 Tre Rivera DB Sr. 14 Cade Kennedy WR Sr. 15 Eyion Willis DB Sr 16 Jason Gulley DB. So. K/P Jr. 18 J.D. Delarosa 20 Bryce Mason RB Jr. 21 Tyreke Davis LB So. DB Jr. 22 Austin Shanks 23 Marquese Mitchell DE Jr. 24 Jacob Sparks LB So. 25 Keith Cole RB Jr. 26 Drayllon Jeffrey WR Sr. WR Sr. 27 Jordan Murray 28 Maurice Gordon RB Sr. 29 Kennedy Pierson WR Sr. 30 Marquis Taylor RB Sr. DB Jr. 31 Sam McClanahan DB Sr. 32 Elijah Allen DB Jr. 33 Andrew Flores 34 Thomas Wilson LB So. 35 Tristan Greer DB Sr. 36 Julio Lara LB Sr. 37 Tavon Foster RB Sr. 38 Luis Estrada K/P Sr. DB Sr. 39 Brett Jones LB Sr. 40 Tanner Vann DE Jr. 42 Matt Pruett 43 Andrew Waggoner DE Sr.

44 48 50 52 53 55 56 57 58 60 62 63 65 70 72 73 75 76 77 80 81 83 90 94 99

and a laugh. He isn’t the loudest guy on the team. But as soon as the pads come on and Laws steps onto the field, that doesn’t matter. Brown “He’s a leader of our offensive line even though he’s not vocal,” Eaglin said. “His example is enough. That’s a testament to his integrity and his character, when his nonverbal [actions] are enough to make people act right. That’s saying something.” Coming into this season, Eaglin said Laws is much quicker and more agile

than he was two years ago. The tackle has also toned up and changed his body composition in a year where he will try to catch the eye of Laws college programs. Laws currently has an offer from Abilene Christian, but he said a couple schools are waiting to see the first few games of the season before they continue their pursuit. For those suitors to keep chasing Laws, Eaglin said he needs to have film of defensive linemen on their backs, play after play, the footage that turns loaned money into schol-

arship money. The position coach said Laws has the “acumen” and the “prowess” to accomplish that task. More importantly, Laws has the desire to make it at the next level. “The difference between good and great is details,” Eaglin said. “The great ones focus on the details. The great ones aren’t just satisfied with being good, and that’s what I’m hoping he’s going to do as a senior. “I’m hope he’s not just satisfied with being good and wants to be great, because he can be. I expect him to be. He’s a freaking stud.”

There will be a slew of newcomers for the Raiders this season, but Tyreke Davis could have the biggest impact among them. Davis will be a starting linebacker on a defense that returns just one starter from last year’s squad that reached the Class 5A Division II Davis regional finals. Davis’ athleticism is a big reason why the Ryan coaching staff is fond of the sophomore, who will also see time on offense. For Davis, being a playmaker runs in the family. His older brother was Xavier Gray, a Ryan wide receiver and two-year starter, who graduated this past spring after a solid career with the Raiders.

RYAN Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 Rockwall 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Hebron 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 Wylie East 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Keller Central* 7 p.m. Oct. 3 Trophy Club Nelson* 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at Keller Timber Creek* 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Keller Fossil Ridge* 7 p.m. Oct. 24 Keller* 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at Justin Northwest* 7 p.m. Nov. 7 Guyer* 7 p.m. *District 5-6A games Mario Caballero Jacob Kizer Cody Phillips Nathan Gonzales Skyler Hodges Davion Laveaux John Kizer Jacob Roberts Anthony Young Nick Back Jerrik Burson Kevin Kronenberger Kevin Lopez Kelby Stewart Nicolas Hernandez Tristan Brown Alexis Bernardino Dakota Laws David Bolisomi Jose Delgado Eddie Cartright Izaiah Tucker Justin Stonecipher Donievin Oliver Earnest Brown

DT Jr. DE Sr. DE Sr. DE Sr. OL Sr. LB Sr. OL Sr. OL Jr. OL Sr. OL Jr. OL Jr. OL Jr. DT Sr. OL Jr. OL Sr. OL Sr. OL Sr. OL Sr. OL Sr. WR Sr. WR Sr. WR Sr. DT Sr. DT Sr. DE So.


38

DENTON

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Rodriguez returns to power Denton By Patrick Hayslip Staff Writer

A year ago, Christian Rodriguez wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing football. The Denton senior carved out a niche since the fourth grade as a two-sport athlete who was equally comfortable on the football and soccer fields. Rodriguez was set to give up that routine the day before fall practice last season and narrow his focus to playing soccer. What started out as a discussion between Rodriguez and Denton coach Kevin Atkinson about that decision turned into a filibuster that lasted for hours, right up until Rodriguez relented and committed to return for one final football season. “He wasn’t totally bought in to being a football player,” Atkinson said. “He was kind of half in and half out. What I told him was, give me one year of you being all in and see how the magic happens. But don’t do something halfway and say, ‘I don’t like it.’” It wasn’t that Rodriguez didn’t enjoy football — he just didn’t like letting people down. Despite playing quarterback since he started playing the game, he hadn’t ever been comfortable with the pressure that came with the position, often finding himself shaking with nerves before games. “I just played through it and thought I’ll never be a varsity quarterback so no big deal,” Rodriguez said. “So coming up to my junior year last year, I decided it wasn’t for me.” Splitting snaps with last season’s starter Cy Ward, Rodriguez (1,185 yards passing and 11 touchdowns) eventually earned his share of opportunities and with his play gave Denton a chance at making the playoffs down the final stretch of district play. “He was a little behind to start the season, but once he started jelling in our offense and started to get a knack for what we did, then he became a special player,” Atkinson said. “He’s got a lot of leadership ability. He’s looked up to by all his

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

DENTON: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Denton quarterback Christian Rodriguez was ready to give up football and concentrate on soccer before the beginning of practice this fall. A talk with Broncos coach Kevin Atkinson changed Rodriguez’s mind and convinced him that he could be a part of a breakout season for Denton, which moves to a new district this year.

teammates.” At 5-foot-8, Rodriguez also looks up to some of his teammates, but his lack of size is easily offset by his pocket presence, strong arm and keen football IQ. “When I saw him working out with the freshmen in the spring, I noticed that he had a lot of touch on the football and that he had a contagious personality that you want to be around,” Atkinson said. “I knew that although he may not have the typical stature of a quarterback, he has all the intangible things.” “He’s got a great sense of awareness of what’s around him. He steps up in the pocket and creates plays with his feet when protection breaks down. He

throws with a lot of touch. He can throw the deep ball. His footwork is right on. He’s got a lot of things that other kids don’t possess.” Aside from his technique on the field or his work in the weight room, Rodriguez knows the importance of leadership at the quarterback position. There is a team-wide emphasis by Atkinson and his coaching staff on the significance of being selfless. Rodriguez takes this lesson to heart, always communicating with his teammates and taking the time to build relationships. “Of course I have stuff to work on like See DENTON on 42

BRONCOS Quick facts District: 5-5A 2013 record: 4-6 (2-5 in District 5-4A) Coach: Kevin Atkinson (7-13 in two seasons at Denton, 57-68 in 12 seasons overall) Returning starters: Seven on offense, five on defense Key players: QB Christian Rodriguez, WR Key’andre Hearvey, RB Xavier Scott, OL Judd Terry, CB Juan Campos. Offense: Spread Defense: 4-3 School Enrollment: 2,086 Stadium: Bronco Field


DRC Football

August 28, 2014

39

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DRC Football

August 28, 2014

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Date Opponent Aug. 29 ...................at Wilmer-Hutchins ............... Sept. 5 ......................... at Granbury..................... Sept. 12 ................ Carrollton Creekview ............. Sept. 26 ........... at Saginaw Chisholm Trail* ........ Oct. 3 .............................. Boswell* ....................... Oct. 10 ................... Fort Worth Brewer*............... Oct. 17 ................. at Wichita Falls Rider* ............ Oct. 24 ...............................Azle* .......................... Oct. 31 ......................... at Saginaw* .................... Nov. 7 ......................... Wichita Falls* ...................

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DRC Football

August 28, 2014

41

Denton turning to Scott for guidance By Patrick Hayslip Staff Writer

Denton running back Xavier Scott realized in the early stages of fall practice that he had to come out of his shell for the sake of his team. The junior could see that he needed to be a leader, not to mention a mentor, for his fellow running backs. The perfect opportunity to move into those roles arrived before a drill that had the Broncos huddled together. Scott quickly capitalized and spoke his mind. “You have to strive to be great,” he said. “You can’t just wake up and be great. You have to work for it.” Head coach Kevin Atkinson said Scott’s development as a player and leader was crucial for Denton’s progress as a program last season and is a factor in why the Broncos have people buzzing about the possibility of their return to the

playoffs. “He was kind of more of a silent leader,” Atkinson said. “He became vocal, which is good to see. “I’m excited that we don’t have just one more year with him, but two more. He’s like having another assistant coach on the field. He’s back there with the younger guys and the guys who aren’t familiar and he helps them.” With the graduation of a few running backs, Scott has the starting job all locked up, but recognizes that responsibilities come with the confidence that the team has placed in him. “I try to lead first so everybody can follow me,” Scott said. “I kind of knew that it would come to this because all the other running backs left. I’m the No. 1 running back here, so I’ve got to be a team leader and mature for the team.” See BRONCOS on 44

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Xavier Scott realized quickly this fall that he would have to fill a host of key roles for Denton this season, both from a playmaking and leadership standpoint. Broncos head coach Kevin Atkinson likes the way Scott is adjusting.

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42

DENTON

August 28, 2014

Extra Points Keys to a successful year Position of strength

Denton has several veterans returning who should form a talented defensive secondary the Broncos can depend on to be an asset. Junior Juan Campos, who will also play wide receiver as a two-way player, will be counted on to solidify the corner position. Junior corner Kobe Thomas-Joshua is untested, but had a solid summer and productive Campos fall, which has given Atkinson and the coaching staff much to be excited about. Sophomore running back Caleb Osuofa will also play both ways as the third corner in a revolving trio of Campos, Thomas-Joshua and Osuoa. Senior Gabriel Aranda returns for his final season will run the back end of the Broncos’ secondary as safety.

point of concern

Senior Key’andre Hearvey will draw a lot of attention from defensive backs and schemes from defensive coordinators in his final season, but the Broncos are still searching to replace what was last year’s position of strength — a trio of wide receivers they lost to graduation (Adarian Harris, Ke’Von Buris and Deandre Coleman). Many of the players trying to fill that void are young and inexperienced, but Atkinson looks for senior Israel Galvan, who moved over from defense, junior Semaj Griggs, sophomore Chris

Miller, and seniors Bradley Devore and Anthony Cunningham to all compete for spots while backup quarterback Brenton Broadbent has also moved to wide receiver.

key newcomer

With junior Xavier Scott leading the way at running back, Osuofa will help round out the position. The Broncos are poised to lean heavily on their rushing attack, so Osuofa will need to step in and complement Scott while showing a willingness to pass block. Atkinson expects big things out of the position that can provide a healthy 1-2 punch of the strength of Scott along with the quickness of Osuofa, who will also be counted on heavily in the Broncos’ secondary.

game of the year

Denton moved to District 5-5A this season and needs to get off to a fast start in its new league that includes Saginaw, Saginaw Boswell and Saginaw Chisholm Trail. The Broncos fell to Lake Dallas to open district play last year, which posed problems later on in a league that included powers Guyer and Trophy Club Nelson in addition to the Falcons. Denton will look to avoid a similar fate when it opens district play on Sept. 26 at Saginaw Chisholm Trail. The game will be Denton’s first chance to send a message to the rest of what should be a balanced district.

From Page 38

Denton

Denton Record-Chronicle/Al Key

Kevin Atkinson talks to quarterback Christian Rodriguez after practice earlier this fall. Rodriguez will play a key role for Denton as it aims to return to the playoffs.

my footwork and getting the ball out faster, but one thing I’ve really been focusing on is my leadership qualities and how I can be a better person,” Rodriguez said. “I want to lead and not follow. I want to stand out. When things get hard, I want to be the one who stands up.” After a 4-6 season last year, Rodriguez said he has never been as motivated as he is this season. He and the team’s goal is to help Denton make a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. “Everyone’s goal is state, but knowing Denton’s past and where we’ve come from, we’ve never been as close as we are as a team,” Rodriguez said.

DRC Football

BRONCOS Roster No. Player Pos. Yr. 2 Caleb Osuofa DB/RB So. 3 Israel Galvan DB Sr. WR Jr. 4 Semaj Griggs RB Jr. 5 Xavier Scott 6 Kobe Thomas-Joshua DB Jr. 7 Dustin Bryant LB Sr. 8 Juan Campos DB Jr. WR Jr. 10 Emerson Epsinoza WR Sr. 11 Curtis Stpehenson 12 Colt Atkinson QB So QB Jr. 13 Brenton Broadbent 14 Chris Miller WR So. WR Sr. 15 Bradley Devore DL Sr. 16 Trey Farley 17 Christian Rodriguez QB Sr. 18 Dailon Holmes DL Sr. 19 Key’andre Hearvey WR Sr. LB Sr. 20 Joey Jones DB Sr. 21 Courtney Green RB Sr. 22 Samon White 23 Alex Goff DB So. 24 Gabriel Arande DB Sr. 25 Hayden Gray LB Jr. RB Sr. 26 Alex McCann 27 Anthony Cunningham WR Sr. 28 Nick Apperson DB Sr. 29 CJ Hammonds WR Sr. 30 Drake Foster LB So. 31 Nick Marshall DB Sr. 32 Jackson Anderson RB Jr. 33 Antonio Mitchell DL So. 34 Dmonte Smart LB Sr. 35 Kyle Panter DL Sr. 36 Eric Borst DL So. 37 Javion Brewster DL Jr.

39 James Fuller 40 Mitch Damon 41 Cesar Esquivel 42 Titus Hawkins 43 Tyler Lawrence 44 Jared Aland 45 LaMonta Moss 46 Khyron Gooden 47 Adam Bershell 52 Justin Sanders 54 Rowdy Clark 55 Caleb Ridgway 56 Joe Gloria 57 David Deramee 62 Kade Wagner 64 Brendan Calhoun 65 Alexis Ventura 72 Spencer McDaniel 75 Grant Polley 77 Justin Lubone 78 Judd Terry 81 Robert Reyes

“Everyone wants to be in the playoffs. For me, playoffs would be my state because we haven’t seen this run here. I feel like some people don’t understand how hard we work here. I really want to help my team to the playoffs and give us some life.” After a recent practice, Rodriguez and junior running back Xavier Scott were driving back up to the school. On their way, they mentioned to each other how they felt like Denton was the place for them and this year was a time when the Broncos could break through and return to the playoffs. Instead of having goals for next year’s team, they want to leave expectations. “Ryan and Guyer have always been good, but I don’t want to be anywhere but Denton High,” Rodriguez said. “I

guess here I feel like I can help make the shoes to fill kind of starting last year. I wouldn’t want to go to Ryan or Guyer because I would have to fill shoes rather than help build the shoes and leave a legacy. We all want it so bad. We’ve been working so hard.” As for the pressure of the quarterback position and the pressure he has put on himself this season, Rodriguez said he couldn’t imagine his life without it. “I love it now,” Rodriguez said. “I guess that one thing that’s different about me is I used to hate disappointing people, and I would play for the wrong reasons. Coach Atkinson has really impacted me. He told me I had to be disciplined with myself. I love the pressure because that’s where you show your true self. I have definitely grown to love the pressure situations.”

DENTON Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Wilmer-Hutchins 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Granbury 7 p.m. Sept. 12 Carrollton Creekview 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Sag. Chisholm Trail* 7 p.m. Saginaw Boswell* 7 p.m. Oct. 3 Oct. 10 Fort Worth Brewer* 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Wichita Falls Rider* 7 p.m. Azle* 7 p.m. Oct. 24 Oct. 31 at Saginaw* 7 p.m. Wichita Falls* 7 p.m. Nov. 7 *District 5-5A games DL DL DB DL DL LB RB DL DL OL OL DL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL K

Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. So. Jr. Sr. So.


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HIGH SCHOOLS

August 28, 2014

43

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Guyer linebacker Michael Carrillo pulls away from Highland Park linebacker Daniel Gouskos (94) last season in a playoff game at Eagle Stadium in Allen. Carrillo has been a top player in Denton for years and will have an opportunity to boost his profile even more when he moves to the strong-side linebacker spot that Demontrie Taylor played last season before signing with Colorado State. Guyer coach John Walsh said Carrillo has the speed of a wide receiver.

From Page 31

Carrillo

This year, Carrillo will move to the other side of Guyer’s defense as a strong-side linebacker, where Walsh said he will be even more in the spotlight than he was last season as he replaces Demontrie Taylor, who is now at Colorado State. “He could basically be a wide receiver,” Walsh said of the 5-9, 180-pound Carrillo in reference to his speed. “Our most athletic linebacker who can cover and play the run has got to be that guy. You actually get bigger shots that the crowd sees in that spot, too, because you have guys catching balls taking swing routes. We can also blitz him off the edge from

there more.” When Walsh says Carrillo has the speed to cover wide receivers, he isn’t exaggerating. The former standout middle school tailback is not only the team’s top linebacker, but he also is a key part of the Wildcats’ return game. In a playoff win over Amarillo, Carrillo returned a punt 42 yards for a touchdown to put Guyer on the board before its offense even had a possession. He also averaged 25.8 yards per kickoff return, and Walsh said he’ll be used in both capacities this season. “That’s when everyone knew how good he was and that he had everything and could do it all,” Thompson said. “I knew he was a great linebacker — one of the best I’ve seen — but then he started tak-

ing kicks back, too? It kind of blew my mind.” Carrillo acknowledged the odd role for a starting linebacker but brushed it off as just coming naturally. “In a way, that’s just me touching the ball,” Carrillo said. “I used to touch the ball all the time [in middle school]. That’s just my way of getting the ball now. I’ve done it my whole life, so it comes pretty easy.” Come November, Walsh said Carrillo will be getting many more opportunities with the ball in his hands. “You won’t see it early, but come Week 9, 10 and in the playoffs we’ll use him in the backfield,” Walsh said. “He’ll be one of the best tailbacks in this region. He’s good.

“He has great vision. He has great hands. He can run with power. He’s what you want at tailback. He’ll be an impact player.” Then, everyone will get to see what made Carrillo a feared name in the middle school ranks at Crownover a few years back. “I’ve been here 10 years and he’s the most dominant middle school player in that time,” Walsh said. “There might have been someone before him, but since I’ve been here, he’s it. I don’t care if you’re talking about Ryan or Denton or whatever zone, he is the most dominant on both sides of the ball I’ve ever seen. Those guys, as sophomores, should be impact players. He just did what he’s supposed to do, and he’ll do it again this year.”


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From Page 36

Raiders

all-District 5-5A selection his junior and senior year and helped Ryan keep its playoff streak intact in 2012. Now, Donievin is in the same situation, as Ryan will try to fight through District 5-6A to make the playoffs for the 15th straight year and in the first year under Dave Henigan. Henigan took over for Joey Florence as Ryan’s head coach. Florence led the Raiders to the playoffs in each of his 14 seasons at Ryan before he took over as the Denton ISD athletic director. Henigan compared the little brothers of football players to the sons of coaches. “They see the tradition and they see the wins and that things build upon themselves,” Henigan said. “They’re constantly dreaming of being a part of that at some point. That success breeds upon itself. That’s huge. “That’s like coaches’ kids. Their whole life, they’re dreaming about being there for that team. I think it’s the same type of scenario.” Oliver might only stand 6 feet tall, but the 260-pounder’s strength caught the eye of new Ryan defensive line coach Sam Collins. Oliver’s max bench press is 335 pounds, which leads the team. Since Collins joined the staff at Ryan, he’s seen a change in Oliver’s presence in the locker room. “He’s done a really good job of taking over,” Collins said. “He’s night-and-day different from the spring, in regards to taking a leadership role and stepping up.” After seeing marginal playing time in 2013, Henigan said the strong-armed tackle will have an elevated role on a team that lost more than 50 seniors. “We’ll be relying on him to be more of a featured guy this year,” Henigan said. “He was more of a role player last year, but he’ll be a go-to guy this year. We expect him to have a great year.” McLaurin plays to the right of the Oliver and he knows that the duo will have to step up and make plays in a year where Ryan will be looking for playmakers. Once the Raiders step on the field against Rockwall on Aug. 29, the time for games will be over and it will be Oliver’s turn to carry the torch the 2013 seniors and his brother passed on. “It’s just different, but we know we gotta come and work hard,” Oliver said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s definitely not going to be easy going to the fourth round this year.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/Al Key

Denton running back Xavier Scott has developed into a leader and not just a playmaker for the Broncos heading into the season. Scott felt comfortable with taking on added responsibility after a solid season in which he rushed for 707 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Broncos are expected to lean on Scott even more this season to carry their offense.

From Page 41

Broncos

Scott ran with power, kept the ball secure and picked up yards after contact. He also contributed as a receiver and pass blocker and, possibly most important, was durable, a year ago. Despite playing in a pass­heavy offense last season, Scott racked up 120 carries for 707 yards and 11 touchdowns. What Atkinson likes about Scott more than that production is the influence he has on teammates. “We have a really special running back who’s a sophomore in Caleb Osuofa who will get some touches, too,” Atkinson said. “Some kids would feel

threatened by a really good back, and he’s not. He tries to help him. That says a lot about Xavier and the love that he has for his teammates. He wants everyone to improve. By him reinforcing the things that we stand for and what our coaches are demanding, it kind of validates his role.” With the receiving corps taking a hit to its depth, Atkinson expects a much more balanced attack this season, which is good for Scott because he expects a much bigger role this season as well. “He really helps out your passing game because they are going to be concerned about him, so that’s going to open up some one­-on­-one matchups in the passing game that we’re going to be able to take advantage of,” Atkinson said. “Peo-

ple are going to be geared up to stop him. As the game goes on, he gets better and better. That’s very important.” At 6 feet, 214 pounds, Scott will lean on his size to bust through holes in the defense, but he added speed and quickness in the offseason. The running backs have a goal of picking up four yards or more on each carry. Scott knows he can improve on last year’s efforts after averaging just less than six yards per carry. “Last year, I was really slow and not as explosive,” Scott said. “I can tell on the football field I’m getting quicker. When I’m doing drills and stuff, I try to go 10 yards every time to act like I’m getting the first down. If I do it in practice, I’m going to do it in a game.”


Area high schools

Ralston, Jackson give Argyle, Sanger high hopes


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COVER STORY

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Argyle, Sanger feature elite backs

Tre’von Jackson, Sanger, senior Jackson arrived at Sanger after leaving Denton and made an immediate impact last season, when he rushed for 1,843 yards and 31 touchdowns and earned honorable mention Class 3A all-state honors. Jackson burst on to the scene at Sanger, carrying the ball 23 times for 259 yards and five touchdowns in a 50-17 win over Pilot Point. The Indians first win since 2011 came in the third game of the season.

Nick Ralston, Arygle, senior Ralston has been on Argyle’s varsity team since he was a freshman and helped lead the Eagles to the Class 3A Division II state championship last season. He was offered a scholarship by Arizona State the day before the state title game and quickly committed. He rushed for 1,818 yards last season and was a Class 3A all-state selection.

Jackson, Ralston provide old school power attack By Ben Baby Staff Writer

Decades ago, when the game and those who played it were different, teams ran the ball a lot more. Formations like the Wing-T, the I-formation, the off-set I, the Wishbone, the Veer and the Double Wing were scattered throughout playbooks on Friday night. Those days are over. Now the Spread formation and its aerial arsenal has taken over and become the offense of choice. But around here, two schools will have the luxury of knowing their quarterbacks can turn around

and hand the ball to one of the area’s top running backs. Sanger’s Tre’von Jackson and Argyle’s Nick Ralston each played big roles in their respective team’s success last season and will need to duplicate their 2013 seasons as senior leaders. Ralston is looking for a shot at a second straight state championship before he enrolls at Arizona State in the spring. The effect of having a top tailback was not lost on Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath. “As much as the game has changed, running the football is still the most fundamental thing about being really good

on offense,” Galbreath said. “Whenever you establish yourself a strong running game, it opens up the passing game and opens up the windows for receivers being open and it makes it easier on your quarterback.” The benefits of a having an effective running back were easy to quantify last season. Jackson helped Sanger recover from a winless 2012 campaign in his inaugural season with the Indians and led them to the playoffs, where they lost to Frisco Lone Star by four points in a high-scoring 3A Division I bi-district See RUNNING BACKS on 47

ON THE COVER Area schools Area high schools

Ralston, Jackson give Argyle, Sanger high hopes

Running backs Nick Ralston of Argyle, left, and Tre’von Jackson of Sanger give their teams powerful rushing attacks.


COVER STORY

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August 28, 2014

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From Page 46

Running backs

playoff game. Argyle rode the back of its Arizona State-bound running back last season in its run to the Class 3A Division II state championship, the first football state title in school history. After two years of being in different districts, the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment reunited the two rivals for at least the next two years in District 6-4A (DI). Both teams will lean on the legs of their respective running backs. “If you can run the ball consistently and establish drives, I believe that kills the spirit of the opposition, and then scoring obviously puts points on the board,” Rodgers said. “It’s a huge contribution to success during a game. It’s the types of drives that you have. You have to establish a drive and punish them play after play after play.”

Coming to Sanger Before Jackson was the featured offensive weapon for the Indians, he spent two seasons at Denton. He traded the purple and gold jersey for the Sanger equivalent in yellow and purple and arrived at one of the lowest points in program history. Prior to Jackson’s arrival, the Indians suffered a slew of injuries and failed to win a game. The quiet tailback said he didn’t know what was going to happen when he got to Sanger. In the third game of the season against Pilot Point, Jackson carried the ball 23 times for 259 yards and five touchdowns, including two long scoring runs of 66 and 67 yards. Sanger defeated the Bearcats 50-17 to pick up its first win since 2011. “The first win we had, everybody was happy about it,” Jackson said. “That had never happened before. At Denton High, nobody ever got that excited over a win.” Jackson went on to run for 1,843 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior. He also hauled in 27 passes for 286 yards and another two scores for the Indians as he earned Associated Press Class 3A allstate honorable mention honors. But the play that signaled Jackson’s impact on the team came a week later against Boyd. In the second quarter of the contest, Jackson took a handoff from quarterback Brandon Mann and went up the middle. Mann looked down the field and saw a defender draped around Jackson’s legs and another defender on

Denton Record-Chronicle file photos

Argyle running back Nick Ralston, left, and Sanger running back Tre’von Jackson provide their teams punch in the running game and rank as two of the most talented running backs in the Denton area this season. Jackson’s shoulder pads. “I just started walking up there, looking for the next play, and I looked back and he took off,” Mann said. Jackson scampered for a 53-yard run and helped the Indians pick up a 55-35 win. Two years ago, Sanger had all-state quarterback Dane Evans leading the offense before he left to be a quarterback at Tulsa. This season, Galbreath said his team knows it can throw the ball well but will emphasize the establishment of the running game. “We’ve kind of gone back to that philosophy and mentality,” Galbreath said. “We feel like it worked well for us last year, and we’re going to continue to do that. Obviously right now we have an allstate running back and that helps.” Jackson wasn’t the only one in the area running over opposing defenses. His counterpart further south was also carving out a name for himself.

Climbing to the top As the playoffs heated up last December, the weather around the Dallas-Fort Worth area became more miserable and featured some postponed games. Rodgers knew he was going to need Ralston to carry the ball and the team in its area-round playoff game against Melissa. With rain and sleet falling in Prosper, Ralston delivered. He set the school record for most rushing yards in a game (365) and scored five touchdowns on a night where the Eagles only threw the ball six times. A few weeks later, Ralston had a 24-

hour span that kids can only dream of. Arizona State offered Ralston a scholarship the night before the Eagles defeated Fairfield 38-33 to win the first football state title in school history. “His durability was a big contribution to our success,” Rodgers said. “He’s a good leader. He wants us to achieve at a very high level. He’s a big team guy. I think the ability to run the ball with a big offensive line is key to helping our defense out. It’s key to winning close games.” He rushed for 1,818 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. Rodgers has been nearby to watch Ralston progress since he was in middle school. Ralston is in the same grade as Rodgers’ son, Cooper, who will be the starting quarterback for Argyle this season. Before the end of Ralston’s freshman season, he was seeing playing time for Argyle’s varsity team and was on the squad that lost in the 2011 Class 3A Division II state championship to Wimberley. Argyle took advantage of Ralston’s athleticism and lined him up at defensive end last season. In his first five plays in the regular season finale against Celina, he had three tackles and a forced fumble. The ascent Ralston has made since his first year is testament to his dedication in the weight room. Rodgers said Ralston’s added about 50 pounds since he’s been in high school and has made being in the gym a priority. Ralston isn’t satisfied with just one state championship ring. He’s been working toward adding another piece of jewelry to his collection before he enrolls at Arizona State in the spring.

“I’ve played a lot of games and we’ve been successful every year,” Ralston said. “I’ve gotten a lot of experience in these three years. This next year, I feel like I’m going to have a breakout year.”

Colliding paths

When the two teams met in 2011 in front of a local television audience, the running backs weren’t the featured attractions. Sanger featured Evans. Argyle trotted out Austin Aune, who was set to play at TCU but ended up in the New York Yankees’ minor-league system. Aune and Argyle bested Evans and the Indians in a 38-16 victory on the final week of the regular season. That was the last time the two teams played each other on the football field. The rivalry will be rekindled in Week 11, and this time the emphasis will be on the two men carrying the ball instead of the two that are throwing it. If Sanger builds on last season’s improvements and Argyle continues its dominant ways, it could match Jackson and the Indians against Ralston and the Eagles for a chance to claim the district crown. “The first nine games of the season, we have to take care of our business for that game to mean anything,” Galbreath said. “Assuming both teams take care of business, that’s going to be a huge game. It’s Sanger versus Argyle. It’s the 10th game of the year. Hopefully there’s a district championship riding on it. “Anytime you have a great player, it makes you feel like you have a chance against anybody.”


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August 28, 2014

PRESEASON ALL-AREA OFFENSE

OL Judd Terry, Denton, Sr.

QB Shawn Robinson, Guyer, So. Robinson came to Guyer in April after starting for Saginaw Chisholm Trail and immediately did enough to win the starting job and replace Texas freshman Jerrod Heard. As a freshman, Robinson passed for 1,123 yards while rushing for 624 yards.

Terry finished with 75 knockdowns as a junior and will be a vital player for Denton, which already has several injured players on its offensive line. Terry has an offer from North Texas and could see his offer list grow with a good season.

RB Tre’von Jackson, Sanger, Sr.

OL Xavier Brown, Guyer, Sr.

Jackson was a touchdown machine last season for a seven-win Sanger team, scoring 31 rushing touchdowns on 270 carries while finishing with 1,843yards. Jackson also amassed 286 receiving yards and caught two touchdown passes.

Guyer is no stranger to having smaller, athletic offensive linemen, and Brown is the next in line. As one of five new starters up front, Brown will man the left tackle spot. His long arms and reach make him a natural fit at the position.

RB Anthony Taylor, Guyer, Sr.

OL Dakota Laws, Ryan, Sr.

Head coach John Walsh said Taylor has a chance to be the best running back he’s ever coached. Taylor rushed for 1,096 yards and 19 touchdowns on 139 carries last season and has speed, vision and strength that make him a college prospect.

Laws provides Ryan’s offense some stability up front. Last year’s Associated Press second-team all-state selection is a three-year starter for a Ryan team with very few returning starters. Laws will anchor the Raiders offensive front.

WR Alex Honey, Guyer, Sr.

OL Dalton Montgomery, Lake Dallas, Sr.

Honey finished with 519 yards and six touchdowns last season and could see his list of college offers grow with another productive year. He has put on 10 pounds and grown an inch since last season and now has great size at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds.

WR Key’andre Hearvey, Denton, Sr. Hearvey will shoulder the load as Denton’s top downfield receiving threat after leading the Broncos with eight touchdowns to go along with 586 receiving yards in 2013, when he delivered several key late-game catches in clutch situations.

WR Keegan Brewer, Lake Dallas, Jr. Brewer had a breakout sophomore year for the Falcons in 2013, catching 41 passes for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns. The wide receiver will continue to be one of Lake Dallas’ top threats and will play a key role in the Falcons’ drive to return to the playoffs.

DRC Football

Montgomery was arguably Lake Dallas’ top offensive lineman last season. He graded out at 94 percent, tallied 13 pancakes and was named second-team All-District 5-4A. Montgomery will look to build on that performance this fall. The Dallas Morning News/John F. Rhodes

Argyle running back Nick Ralston carries the ball during the Class 3A Division II state championship game against Fairfield last season. Ralston is the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Player of the Year: RB Nick Ralston, Argyle Ralston is one of the main reasons the Argyle Eagles have been sporting state championship rings all summer. Ralston racked up 1,818 yards and 31 touchdowns for Argyle in their run to the Class 3A Division II state championship and an undefeated season. For the third straight year, the Arizona State pledge will start the season as Argyle’s top running back. Ever since Ralston was moved up to the varsity squad in the middle of his freshman year, he’s flourished. He even saw some time at defensive end during the end of last season, which is a testament to his athleticism. With the departure of allstate wide receiver Ian Sadler to Texas Tech, the burden of carrying Argyle’s offense falls on Ralston’s broad shoulders. But based on the body of work Ralston’s built over the last three seasons, that shouldn’t be a problem.

OL Matt Hiter, Argyle, Sr. Hiter was a big reason why the Eagles had a lot of success running the ball in 2013, when Argyle went undefeated and won the 3A Division II state title. Hiter will try to improve on a junior year in which he had 48 knockdowns and allowed just two sacks.

K Dakota Branch, Sanger, Jr. Branch showed a good leg and plenty of accuracy in his sophomore season for Sanger. Branch made 54 of his 57 PAT attempts and made two of his three field goal tries. Branch will be a key weapon for Sanger thanks to his accuracy.


PRESEASON ALL-AREA: DEFENSE

DRC Football

Holmes will anchor a Denton defensive line that is looking to reload after losing a few key players last season. The senior posted 43 tackles and three sacks while adding a fumble recovery. The senior is a major college prospect.

Sweatt posted 104 tackles as a sophomore and will move from linebacker to safety to maximize his playmaking ability. Sweatt’s addition to secondary will help soften the loss of standout safety Connor Wilson, who graduated this past spring.

LB Tyreke Davis, Ryan, So.

DL Lucas Greenwood, Pilot Point Sr.

Davis will immediately be one of Ryan’s best defensive players when he makes his first varsity start. The sophomore will play a key role in helping the Raiders find stability after losing 11 of 12 starters from last year’s defensive unit.

Greenwood posted 56 tackles as a junior last season from the defensive end position for a Pilot Point team that finished 7-4. Greenwood posted 13 tackles for loss and 11 sacks while adding a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

DL Josiah Tauaefa, Lake Dallas, Sr.

LB Michael Carrillo, Guyer, Jr.

Tauaefa racked up 31 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season while carrying on his family’s legacy at the school. Tauaefa has0 two older brothers who played college football. The younger brother should be a force for the Falcons.

Carrillo was one of the best players on Guyer’s state-title team as a sophomore and should improve as he moves to strongside linebacker. Last year, he racked up 123 tackles with 36 behind the line and also averaged 25.8 yards per kickoff return.

DL Derek Watson, Guyer, Sr.

DB Trey Woods, Guyer, Sr.

The senior burst onto the scene last year, using his athleticism to finish with seven sacks and 53 quarterback hurries. Watson racked up 63 tackles with 30 coming behind the line and also returned an interception for a touchdown.

Griffith will look to build on a solid junior season in which he posted 88 tackles, including seven behind the line of scrimmage, this fall. Griffith also showed a propensity for creating turnovers as he came up with two fumble recoveries.

LB Jarrod Huther, Sanger, Jr. Huther finished with 110 tackles last season and will look to build on that performance this fall. He showed ability as a pass rusher and finished with five sacks. The junior will start for the varsity team for the third consecutive season.

49

LB Taylor Sweatt, Argyle, Jr.

DL Dailon Holmes, Denton, Sr.

LB Hunter Griffith, Liberty, Sr.

August 28, 2014

Woods has started 32 games the past two seasons for Guyer’s two state championship defenses. The veteran cornerback had 11 pass breakups as a junior and came down with one interception. He also notched 45 tackles for the Wildcats. Denton Record-Chronicle file photo

Guyer defensive lineman Carl Thompson (19) intercepts a pass during a playoff game between Guyer and Saginaw last season. Thompson is the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Player of the Year: DL Carl Thompson, Guyer As a rock of Guyer’s defense for the past two seasons, Thompson has already played in more games in his career than many high school standouts can claim. He still has his senior season to go after starting in 32 games the past two seasons for the two-time defending state champions. Thompson, who’s ballooned to 6-3, 260 pounds, committed to Kansas over the summer. He’s a versatile defensive lineman who has dominated inside for the Wildcats but could just as easily move to a defensive end position, depending on the way he develops over the next few years. Last season, Thompson racked up 86 tackles, including 44 behind the line of scrimmage, to go with eight sacks and 27 quarterback hurries. Thompson’s long arms allowed him to bat down 11 pass attempts and intercept two passes.

DB DeMarcus Owens, Guyer, Sr. A hard-hitting physical presence at cornerback, Owens is set for a standout senior year after posting 39 tackles with eight pass breakups, a forced fumble and two interceptions a year ago. North Texas has offered Owens a scholarship.

DB Jordan Wallace, Guyer, Sr. Wallace established himself as a playmaking safety in his first year as a starter and committed to Iowa State in June. Wallace’s coverage skills were evident with 10 pass breakups, but he was also a ferocious tackler with 86 stops.


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August 28, 2014

The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton Announces Living for Zachary Heart Screenings

The “Living for Zachary Heart Screening” is a special screening program provided by The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton for youth ages 12-22 that can help detect heart abnormalities that may lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). This noninvasive screening package includes: • Electrocardiogram (EKG) • Limited 2D echocardiogram • Blood pressure screening

Living for Zachary Heart Screenings will be offered Monday – Friday at The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton. Call 1.800.4BAYLOR to schedule an appointment. Screening price: $100

Living for Zachary was founded in honor of Zachary Schrah, who collapsed in 2009 during a football practice due to SCA. After Zachary’s death, Living for Zachary, a non-profit organization, was established to raise awareness of SCA. For more information about Living for Zachary, call 877-LVG-4ZAC (877-584-4922) or visit www.living4zachary.org

Living4Zachary 2801 South Mayhill Rd., Denton, TX 76208 TheHeartHospitalBaylor.com/Denton

@Living4Zachary

Living for Zachary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Photography may include models or actors and may not represent actual patients. Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton or Baylor Scott & White Health. ©2014 Baylor Scott & White Health. BID THHBP_47 8.14 H2


DRC Football Friday, Aug.29 High schools Denton at Wilmer Hutchins, 7 p.m. Rockwall at Ryan, 7 p.m. Lake Dallas at Frisco Wakeland, 7 p.m. Allen at Guyer, 7:30 p.m. Abilene Wylie at Argyle, 7:30 p.m. Aubrey at Pottsboro, 7:30 p.m. Liberty at Celina, 7:30 p.m. Pilot Point at Krum, 7:30 p.m. FW Castleberry at Ponder, 7:30 p.m. Sanger at Melissa, 7:30 p.m. Greenville at Calvary, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30 Colleges UNT at Texas, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 High schools Denison vs. Argyle, AT&T Stadium, 2 p.m. Denton at Granbury, 7 p.m. Lake Dallas at Frisco Centennial, 7 p.m. Burkburnett at Aubrey, 7 p.m. Guyer at Ennis, 7:30 p.m. Ryan at Hebron, 7:30 p.m. Venus at Krum, 7:30 p.m. Springtown at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. Pilot Point at Anna, 7:30 p.m. Callisburg at Ponder, 7:30 p.m. Plainview at Sanger, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Harvest , 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 Colleges SMU at UNT, 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 High schools Wylie East at Ryan, 7 p.m.

COMPOSITE SCHEDULE Colleges Louisiana Tech at UNT, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 High schools Carrollton Creekview at Denton, 7 p.m. Wichita Falls Rider at Guyer, 7 p.m. Celina at Argyle, 7:30 p.m. Aubrey at Pilot Point, 7:30 p.m. Krum at Sanger, 7:30 p.m. Lake Dallas at Lovejoy, 7:30 p.m. Melissa at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. Ponder at Nocona, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Fulton Academy, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 High schools Kimball at Lake Dallas, 7:30 p.m. Argyle at Graham, 7:30 p.m. Van Alstyne at Aubrey, 7:30 p.m. Gunter at Pilot Point, 7:30 p.m. Krum at Paradise, 7:30 p.m. Howe at Ponder, 7:30 p.m. Sanger at Lone Grove, 7:30 p.m. Forestburg at Calvary, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 Colleges Nicholls State at UNT, 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 High schools Denton at Saginaw Chisholm Trail, 7 p.m. Keller at Guyer, 7 p.m. Ryan at Keller Central, 7 p.m. Argyle at Paris, 7:30 p.m. Aubrey at Carr. Ranchview, 7:30 p.m. Boyd at Krum, 7:30 p.m. Grapevine at Lake Dallas, 7:30 p.m. Fort Worth Nolan at Liberty, 7:30 p.m.

Bonham at Pilot Point, 7:30 p.m. Ponder at Tom Bean, 7:30 p.m. Sanger at Whitesboro, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 High schools Lake Dallas at FW Carter-Riverside, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 High schools Boswell at Denton, 7 p.m. Guyer at Northwest, 7 p.m. Trophy Club Nelson at Ryan, 7 p.m. Liberty at Bishop Lynch, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Tioga, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 Colleges UNT at Indiana, TBA Thursday, Oct. 9 High schools Keller Fossil Ridge at Guyer, 7 p.m. Ryan at Keller Timber Creek, 7 p.m. Argyle at Carr. Ranchview, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 High schools Fort Worth Brewer at Denton, 7 p.m. Birdville at Lake Dallas, 7:30 p.m. Bonham at Aubrey, 7:30 p.m. Krum at Bridgeport, 7:30 p.m. Liberty at Midland , 7:30 p.m. Pilot Point at Callisburg, 7:30 p.m. Ponder at Paradise, 7:30 p.m. Dallas Carter at Sanger, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Saint Jo, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11 Colleges UNT at UAB, 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 High schools Ryan at Keller Fossil Ridge, 7 p.m.

August 28, 2014

Lake Dallas at FW Eastern Hills, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17 High schools Denton at Wichita Falls Rider, 7 p.m. Keller Central at Guyer, 7 p.m. Dallas Hutchins at Argyle, 7:30 p.m. Aubrey at Krum, 7:30 p.m. Bishop Dunne at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. Van Alstyne at Pilot Point, 7:30 p.m. Boyd at Ponder, 7:30 p.m. Sanger at Carr. Ranchview, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Carrollton , 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 Colleges Southern Miss at UNT, TBA Friday, Oct. 24 High schools Azle at Denton, 7 p.m. Guyer at Trophy Club Nelson, 7 p.m. Keller at Ryan, 7 p.m. Argyle at Dallas Carter, 7:30 p.m. Bridgeport at Aubrey, 7:30 p.m. Krum at Anna, 7:30 p.m. Liberty at Trinity , 7:30 p.m. Pilot Point at Whitesboro, 7:30 p.m. Ponder at Brock, 7:30 p.m. Dallas Pinkston at Sanger, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 High schools Plainview at Calvary, 1 p.m. Colleges UNT at Rice, TBA Thursday, Oct. 30 High schools Keller Timber Creek at Guyer, 7 p.m.

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Friday, Oct. 31 High schools Denton at Saginaw, 7 p.m. Ryan at Northwest, 7 p.m. Dallas Pinkston at Argyle, 7:30 p.m. Celina at Aubrey, 7:30 p.m. Bonham at Krum, 7:30 p.m. FW Poly at Lake Dallas, 7:30 p.m. Prestonwood at Liberty, 7:30 p.m. Pilot Point at Pottsboro, 7:30 p.m. Bowie at Ponder, 7:30 p.m. Sanger at Wilmer-Hutchins, 7:30 p.m. Calvary at Christ the King, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6 High schools Lake Dallas at FW Dunbar, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7 High schools Wichita Falls at Denton, 7 p.m. Guyer at Ryan, 7 p.m. Argyle at Sanger, 7:30 p.m. Aubrey at Anna, 7:30 p.m. Liberty at John Paul II, 7:30 p.m. Farmersville at Pilot Point, 7:30 p.m. Ponder at Breckenridge, 7:30 p.m. Krum at Celina, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 Colleges Florida Atlantic at UNT, 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 Colleges UNT at UTEP, TBA Saturday, Nov. 22 Colleges Florida International at UNT, TBA Saturday, Nov. 29 Colleges UNT at UTSA, TBA

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DISTRICT PREVIEWS

DRC Football District 5-6A

Justin Northwest Texans Coach: Bill Poe 2013 record: 8-3 (5-2 in District 4-5A) Returning starters: five on offense, one on defense Keller Indians Coach: Carl Stralow 2013 record: 5-5 (2-5 in District 4-5A) Returning starters: four on offense, six on defense Keller Central Chargers Coach: Bart Helsley 2013 record: 5-6 (4-3 in District 4-5A ) Returning starters: eight on offense, four on defense Keller Fossil Ridge Panthers Coach: Tony Baccarini 2013 record: 9-4 (5-2 in District 4-5A) Returning starters: eight on offense, four on defense Keller Timber Creek Falcons Coach: Kevin Golden 2013 record: 2-8 (1-6 in District 4-5A) Returning starters: five on offense, six on defense Trophy Club Nelson Bobcats Coach: Brian Polk 2013 Record: 8-3 (5-2 in District 5-4A) Returning starters: four on offense, two on defense

District 5-5A

Azle Hornets Coach: Devon Dorris 2013 Record: 3-7 (1-6 in District 5-4A)

Returning starters: 10 on offense, seven on defense Fort Worth Brewer Bears Coach: Wade Griffin 2013 Record: 3-7 (0-7 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: six on offense, seven on defense Saginaw Roughriders Coach: Mike Peters 2013 Record: 5-6 (5-3 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: seven on offense, five on defense Saginaw Boswell Pioneers Coach: John Abendschan 2013 Record: 8-4 (7-1 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: five on offense, three on defense Saginaw Chisholm Trail Rangers Coach: Randall Hugg 2013 Record: 3-7 (3-5 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: 10 on offense, 11 on defense Wichita Falls Coyotes Coach: Danny Russell 2013 Record: 8-6 (4-3 in District 5-4A) Returning starters: eight on offense, seven on defense Wichita Fall Rider Raiders Coach: Marc Bindel 2013 Record: 8-3 (6-1 in District 5-4A) Returning starters: three on offense, five on defense

District 6-5A

Birdville Hawks Coach: Jim Skinner

2013 Record: 11-3 (6-2 District 5-4A) Returning starters: seven on offense, three on defense Fort Worth Carter-Riverside Eagles Coach: Jim Jeffries 2013 Record: 2-8 (2-6 District 6-4A) Returning starters: seven on offense, two on defense Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats Coach: Todd Lawson 2013 Record: 10-1 (8-0 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: seven on offense, three on defense Fort Worth Eastern Hills Highlanders Coach: Tracy Simien 2013 Record: 4-6 (4-4 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: five on offense, five on defense Fort Worth Polytechnic Parrots Coach: Chris Roberts 2013 Record: 1-9 (1-7 in District 6-4A) Returning starters: six on offense, seven on defense Grapevine Mustangs Coach: Randy Jackson 2013 Record: 1-9 (1-6 in District 6-5A) Returning starters: six on offense, six on defense

District 6-4A DI

Carrollton Ranchview Wolves Coach: Terry Smith 2013 record: 4-6 (1-3 in District 10-3A) Returning starters: eight on offense, five on defense Coach: Patrick Williams

August 28, 2014

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2013 record: 10-1 (7-0 in District 11-4A) Returning starters: four on offense, three on defense Wilmer-Hutchins Eagles Coach: Elzie Barnett 2013 record: 5-6 (2-1 District 11-3A) Returning starters: four on offense, eight on defense Dallas Pinkston Vikings Coach: Gerald Jones 2013 record: 3-7 (1-6 in District 11-4A) Returning starters: six on offense, five on defense

District 3-4A DII

Anna Coyotes Coach: Jason Heath 2013 Record: 3-8 (2-2 in District 12-3A) Returning starters: five on offense, three on defense Bridgeport Bulls Coach: Danny Henson 2013 Record: 0-10 (0-0 in District 9-3A) Returning starters: five on offense, four on defense Bonham Purple Warriors Coach: Cody Bounds 2013 record: 5-7 (2-2 in District 12-3A) Returning starters: five on offense, five on defense Celina Bobcats Coach: Bill Elliott 2013 Record: 9-2 (4-1 in District 10-3A) Returning starters: nine on offense, six on defense

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August 28, 2014

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A Year to Remember Championships won by UNT, Guyer, Argyle set tone for season


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DRC Football

August 28, 2014

Bowl win, state titles boost expectations By Brett Vito Staff Writer

North Texas players crowded around head coach Dan McCarney at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day as the celebration following the Mean Green’s win in the Heart of Dallas Bowl kicked into high gear. UNT’s 36-14 win over UNLV marked the third bowl victory in program history, a milestone that was even more memorable considering it came in the program’s 100th anniversary season.

“These 22 seniors will be remembered forever,” McCarney said of the veterans who guided UNT to the win on the field after the game. “Bowl champions, bowl champions, bowl champions.” UNT’s win capped one of the best years in the history of area football, one in which three local teams won titles. The run began at AT&T Stadium, where Argyle held off Fairfield 38-33 in the Class 3A Division II state championship game before Guyer knocked off San Antonio

Brennan 31-14 later that day for the 4A Division I title. “This is such a special moment for me, for my teammates, for everyone in this program,” Guyer senior defensive lineman Thomas Ferguson said. Quarterback Jerrod Heard rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another while accounting for 243 yards in the final game of his high school career that saw him lead the Wildcats to a pair of state titles.

Ian Sadler scored four touchdowns to lead Argyle past Fairfield, the last of them on a 3-yard run late in the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles the win. “I don’t know how to explain it,” Sadler said that day. “It was breathtaking.” The feeling was common in one of the finest seasons in Denton football history. The Record-Chronicle takes a look back at the year in this section through a collection of photos by staff photographer David Minton.

Triple Crown North Texas, Guyer, Argyle made the 2013 season memorable with championship campaigns.

Argyle

Guyer

North Texas

Argyle 38, Fairfield 33

Guyer 31, San Antonio Brennan 14

North Texas 36, UNLV 14

Class 3A Division II The Eagles won their first football state championship in their third state title game appearance.

Class 4A Division I

The Wildcats repeated as state champions and picked up the city of Denton’s fourth state title since 2001.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

The Mean Green picked up just the third bowl win in program history in its first bowl appearance since 2004.


August 28, 2014

DRC Football

57

Heart of Dallas Bowl North Texas’ 36-14 win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl was just the third bowl victory in program history. UNT played one of its best games of the season behind a host of key seniors, including quarterback Derek Thompson, the game’s Most Valuable Player.

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney led the Mean Green to its first bowl win since the 2002 New Orleans Bowl and then celebrated with his players, who are reflected in the bowl trophy. Derek Thompson, below, was among those players after throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors.


August 28, 2014

DRC Football

59

Heart of Dallas Bowl North Texas beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in front of a crowd of 38,380 at the Cotton Bowl. Most of those fans backed the Mean Green. UNT is hoping the win will help the program build momentum on the field and increase the size of its fan base.

North Texas linebacker Zach Orr (35) and cornerback James Jones celebrate during the Mean Green’s 36-14 win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Thousands of UNT fans came to the game at the Cotton Bowl, including several who dressed up for the occasion and spent the early morning hours tailgating before kickoff.


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Class 4A Division I state championship Guyer won its second straight state title by knocking off San Antonio Brennan behind quarterback Jerrod Heard, who rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another in the Wildcats’ 31-14 win.

Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard, above, guided the Wildcats to the Class 4A Division I state title at AT&T Stadium, capping a magical season. Guyer head coach John Walsh, bottom left, helped Guyer overcome the tragic death of Nate Maki, who fans honored at the state title game.


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August 28, 2014

Class 3A Division II state championship Argyle won its first state title by knocking off Fairfield 38-33 behind wide receiver Ian Sadler. The senior scored four touchdowns for the Eagles, including the game-winner on a 3-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

Argyle defensive back Reese Thompson, above, was one of several key players who helped lead the Eagles to their first state title under the direction of head coach Todd Rodgers, right. Wide receiver Ian Sadler, bottom left, scored four touchdowns in Argyle’s win over Fairfield in the title game, while Nick Ralston, bottom right, rushed for 70 yards.

DRC Football


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DRC Football

LAKE DALLAS

August 28, 2014

67

Haehn’s development key for Falcons By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Lake Dallas junior quarterback Dagan Haehn insisted before the start of fall practice he is not the same wide-eyed sophomore who was preparing for his first varsity start at this point last year. Some tell Haehn that he’s too hard on himself, but he believes he should have been better in 2013. “I hold myself to a higher standard and with that comes the responsibility of trying to make my team better,” Haehn said. “I think I did an adequate job of putting my team in the best position to win.” Haehn expects a better performance out of himself this fall as the Falcons expect to make the postseason after a rare absence last year. Lake Dallas missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, but you’d be hard pressed to pin that on Haehn. Coach Michael Young said Haehn’s performance in 2013 — he passed for 1,960 yards, rushed for 402 and accounted for 34 touchdowns — exceeded expectations. Haehn was one of a few constants on an injury-plagued roster. When then-senior wide receiver Josh Jackson — the team’s top playmaker coming into the year — fractured his foot against Trophy Club Nelson, Haehn was never rattled. As the injuries continued to mount, he improvised with a supporting cast that was just as inexperienced. The team closed the year with back-to-back wins but barely missed the playoffs. “There was a tough stretch last year where we were worried about Dagan,” Young said. “We had a young offensive line, we weren’t running the ball well and we had injuries. It was like a free-for-all on Dagan. He stayed with it, though. He’s as big a competitor as we’ve had, and he’s set for a breakout year.” With eight starters, including Haehn, back on offense, the Falcons believe they are playoff bound. He will have plenty of help. Junior wide receiver Keegan Brewer is as dynamic a replacement for Jackson as the

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

LAKE DALLAS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Lake Dallas quarterback Dagan Haehn gained valuable experience last season when he started for the Falcons for the first time. Lake Dallas expects Haehn to take a big step forward this year, when the Falcons will look to return to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time in 11 seasons in 2013.

Falcons could hope for, Young said. Despite missing a few games with injuries, Brewer led Lake Dallas with 800 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Brewer and Haehn have known each other for years, a relationship Lake Dallas hopes pays dividends. “Keegan and I have been on the same team since we were 7 years old so our chemistry is by far the best on the team,” Haehn said. “He knows where I want the ball, and I know where he’s going to be.” Couple that partnership with Josiah Tauaefa, a veteran offensive line and a burgeoning backfield led by Courtenay Holder, Aaron Bearry and Bryan Griffin and the Falcons may have their most bal-

anced team in years. “We’ve got depth at a lot of different positions,” Young said. “We hated to see someone like Josh [Jackson] get hurt last year, but it also gave us a chance to see what we needed to fix and what players we still had.” Haehn admits he still has a lot to learn, but he’s packed on 15 pounds and has attended various summer camps in hopes of putting together that breakout season everyone expects from him. “We expect to be playing into December, and I’m just doing what I need to do to put myself and the team in a position to make a good run,” Haehn said. “I am a leader and I want to make myself better.”

FALCONS Quick facts

District: 6-5A 2013 record: 6-4 (34, District 5-4A) Coach: Michael Young (70-32 in nine seasons at Lake Dallas) Returning starters: Eight on offense, five on defense Key players: DL/HB Josiah Tauaefa, QB Dagan Haehn, WR/RB Keegan Brewer, RB Courtenay Holder, OL Dalton Montgomery, OL Chase Stanley, OL Cody Pierce, DB Robert Jackson Offense: Spread Defense: 4-3 School Enrollment: 1,292 Stadium: Falcon Stadium


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Lake Dallas High School – Go Falcons! Lake Dallas Falcons 2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 ...at Frisco Wakeland......................7:00 p.m. Sept. 5 ....at Frisco Centennial ....................7:00 p.m. Sept. 12 ..at Lovejoy....................................7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ..Dallas Kimball .............................7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ..Grapevine* ..................................7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 ......at Fort Worth Carter-Riverside* ..7:00 p.m. Oct. 10 ....Birdville* ......................................7:00 p.m. Oct. 16 ....at Fort Worth Eastern Hills..........7:00 p.m. Oct. 31 ....at Fort Worth Poly .......................7:30 p.m. Nov. 6......at Fort Worth Dunbar ..................7:00 p.m. *District 6-5A Games

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LAKE DALLAS

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

69

Tauaefa’s role with Falcons to expand By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Josiah Tauaefa knew he might have an expanded role this year, but several times during spring practices, Lake Dallas’ star defensive tackle found himself getting randomly pulled out of team drills. “It was confusing because I wasn’t tired or hurt, but he [coach Michael Young] would just pull me out in the middle of practice or a scrimmage,� Tauaefa said. “When I asked him he said, ‘I need to find other people to see if this defense can play without you.’� The plan is for Tauaefa — who racked up 75 tackles as a junior and was named the District 5-4A Defensive MVP — to split time on offense as an H-back, which allows the Falcons to use the senior as a receiver, running back and blocker in what Young hopes is a more explosive offense. Tauaefa has great hands. He led the Falcons in receptions at the state 7-on-7

tournament in College Station. In limited action last year, he caught two passes for 17 yards and rushed for 21 yards and two touchdowns. That means quarterbacks should still keep their eyes on Tauaefa, Young said, whether he’s trying to tackle them or get open to catch a touchdown pass. The same warning goes to opposing defenses. “We wanted to use him more on offense last year,� Young said. “It was just hard to get him off the field on defense. When we had Josiah in on offense, it made us more balanced. That’s what we want.� Tauaefa is ready for the challenge and a little less time on the sideline. “I’m just trying to be in the best shape possible for my team, and how they ultimately decide to split me is up to them,� Tauaefa said. “I’m a defensive-minded guy, but this is awesome because it allows me to show what I can do with the ball in my hands. And I still get to hit people.�

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Lake Dallas defensive tackle Josiah Tauaefa will see his role expand this season when he will play on offense as an H-back. Tauaefa showed that he has good hands as a receiver this summer during the state 7-on-7 tournament.

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August 28, 2014

Extra Points Keys to a successful year

Position of strength

Until last year, Falcons coach Michael Young had never opened a season with a sophomore at quarterback. Even former Lake Dallas and Missouri standout James Franklin spent more time as a tight end as a sophomore before taking over the QB reins for his final two years. Haehn made it through his inaugural season and is now at the center of Brewer what Young feels is as explosive and deep an offense as he’s had in years. Haehn is more dangerous given the options at wide receiver. Keegan Brewer is a versatile playmaker and should replace Josh Jackson (Iowa) as the primary threat. Others will work in, but he’ll be flanked by the likes of Josh Rowe, Garrett Shackelford and Brett Sasser.

Point of concern

With Josiah Tauaefa — last year’s District 5-4A Defensive MVP — expected to split time on offense, Young wants to ensure the defensive line can hold up when his star player isn’t available. That won’t

be an easy task. Hunter Blanton injured his knee in spring drills and may be lost for the year, Young said. Couple that with Cooper Davenport, who moved, and Young has several holes to fill. Expect Micah Fitzgerald to move from outside linebacker to defensive end. Young also said he expects a bigger role from Devante Taylor.

Key newcomer

Young said this could be a big year for senior Josh Rowe. Rowe started in the secondary last year for the Falcons but will switch to wide receiver. Young also pointed to Fitzgerald’s versatility as a possible offensive threat with Tauaefa.

Game of the year

The key to the Falcons’ season is how they play against Grapevine in the District 6-5A opener. The game against the Mustangs is huge in that Lake Dallas will be coming off a nondistrict schedule where all four opponents made the playoffs in 2013. Young said opening district with a win goes a long way in setting the Falcons up for a return trip to the playoffs.

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Falcons Roster No. Player Ht. Wt. WR 6-1 1 Brett Sasser 2 Devante Taylor DL 6-0 3 Garrett Shackelford WR 6-2 4 Tim Gowans WR 5-7 5 Dagan Haehn QB 6-0 6 Jacob Galloway DB 5-7 7 Rhoman Albanese DB 6-1 DB 5-11 8 Josh Rowe 9 Nick Krygsman WR 6-1 10 Tommy Vela LB 5-9 11 Micah Fitzgerald LB 6-1 12 Keegan Brewer WR 5-11 13 JD Powell DB 6-1 14 Courtenay Holder RB 5-10 15 Walker Valceus TE 6-0 18 Dalton Collier QB 6-3 21 Shan Merriman DB 5-7 RB 5-8 22 Bryan Griffin 23 Robert Jackson DB 5-8 WR 6-1 24 Cole Proctor 25 Benny Gonzalez LB 5-11 26 Kyle Rountree DB 5-11 27 Tre McDowell RB 5-8 32 Stefan DeShazo DL 6-2 33 Aaron Bearry RB 5-8 35 Jeremy Beason DL 6-0 36 Tristan Bowen WR 6-0 LB 5-10 37 Jacob Peppard 40 Bryce Flynn LB 5-11 44 Kain Cox LB 5-9 DL 6-1 45 Josiah Tauaefa DL 5-10 48 Nick Mazzitelli OL 6-1 54 Marquis Bryant

Pos. Yr. 165 Sr. 205 Jr. 180 Sr. 170 Jr. 175 Jr. 145 Sr. 170 Sr. 180 Sr. 185 Sr. 165 Sr. 210 Sr. 165 Jr. 170 Sr. 170 Jr. 210 Sr. 180 Sr. 160 Sr. 160 So. 145 Sr. 185 Sr. 180 Sr. 180 Jr. 160 Sr. 225 Sr. 170 Sr. 180 Sr. 180 Jr. 170 Jr. 180 Sr. 180 Jr. 235 Sr. 200 Sr. 250 Sr.

LAKE DALLAS Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Frisco Wakeland 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Frisco Centennial 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Lovejoy 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 Dallas Kimball 7:30 p.m. Grapevine* 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 Oct. 2 at FW Carter-R’side* 7 p.m. Oct. 10 Birdville* 7 p.m. 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at FW Eastern Hills* Oct. 31 Fort Worth Poly* 7:30 p.m. at FW Dunbar* 7 p.m. Nov. 6 *District 6-5A games OL 6-2 220 Sr. 55 Trey Lusk 58 Hayden Brackett DL 6-1 270 Sr. 62 Jacob Biggerstaff DL 6-1 225 So. 70 Segun Ijiyera OL 6-2 225 So. 71 Chase Stanley OL 6-1 235 Jr. 72 Garrett Hunt DL 6-0 225 Sr. 74 Griffin Knox OL 6-2 260 Jr. 75 Cody Pierce OL 6-3 250 Jr. OL 5-10 220 Sr. 76 Jose Beltran 77 Travis Frederickson OL 5-10 300 Sr. 78 Walter Pond OL 5-10 275 Sr. 79 Dalton Montgomery OL 6-6 240 Sr. 80 Ben Williamson WR 6-0 175 Jr. WR 6-2 180 Jr. 81 Travis Guevara WR 5-11 155 Sr. 82 Drake Caine LB 5-11 175 Jr. 84 Devin Turner 85 Bryce MacDougall OL 5-11 185 Sr.

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ARGYLE

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

73

Coach’s son ready for leadership role By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Argyle senior quarterback Cooper Rodgers doesn’t have to play the waiting game anymore. Throughout last season, Rodgers, who also happens to be the son of head coach Todd Rodgers, was the backup to second-year starter Brandon Boyzuick. Perhaps a part of him felt he was capable of starting as a junior, but considering the team’s loaded roster — Argyle had 29 seniors during its unbeaten run to the Class 3A Division II state title — Rodgers patiently waited for his turn. “It [playing backup] was hard, but I knew Brandon would be the starter,” Cooper Rodgers said of his predecessor. “He did great, and I was a role player. I did my job then, but I know I can be successful and get the job done as a starter. I hope the team can rally around me.” Argyle’s newest starting quarterback will be expected to lead the defending state champions. Rodgers is the unquestioned starter, and the plan all along was for him to assume the reins in 2014, Todd Rodgers said. To put his son — and the team — in the best position to succeed this year, there was a debate prior to last season on whether it was better for Cooper to be a varsity backup or have him be the starter on junior varsity. The backup role won out. Rodgers attempted a pass in all but five games, completing 38 of his 59 attempts for 538 yards and six touchdowns. He was 10-for-12 for 119 yards and two touchdowns in a 57-12 playoff-opening win over Krum. “The thought in having him be the backup was that he would get more quality reps in that capacity,” the elder Rodgers said. “Cooper knew where he fit in the process and now is his chance to play. He understands how fast things fly on Friday nights.” Cooper represents a changing of the guard at Argyle. His father insists there is no loss for talent on his roster, but didn’t deny there are big shoes to fill — includ-

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

ARGYLE: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Argyle senior Cooper Rodgers waited in the wings while two-year starter Brandon Boyzuick ran the Eagles’ offense. Rodgers will have his chance to guide the Eagles this season, when he will start under center for the defending Class 3A Division II state champions.

ing those of do-it-all-threat Ian Sadler. The Texas Tech signee was one of four Football Bowl Subdivision recruits lost to graduation and perhaps the hardest to replace as he hurt opponents rushing, receiving and on special teams. Argyle’s head coach said catering to the versatility of the returning starters is the only way to replace a player like Sadler. The Eagles bring back five starters on offense and three on defense from last year’s state title team. That means using several athletes on both sides of the ball to make up for one dynamic player. Senior running back Nick Ralston tops that list. The Arizona State pledge rushed for 1,818 yards and 31 touchdowns last

year, and there are no signs of him slowing down behind a stout offensive line anchored by returning seniors Matt Waggoner and Matt Hiter. Junior tight end J.C. Chalk committed to Clemson over the summer and returns as a big target along with Gage McCook and Drew Estrada. Estrada is versatile enough to play any receiver position. Cooper Rodgers said with the team’s versatility and experience, the Eagles have the opportunity to be as good as last year’s squad. “We have a lot of guys playing different positions,” Cooper Rodgers said, “but everyone knows who to follow, and it’s my turn to be one of those leaders.”

EAGLES Quick facts

District: 6-4A (Division I) 2013 record: 16-0 (4-0, District 10-3A) Coach: Todd Rodgers (116-30 in 11 seasons at Argyle) Returning starters: Five on offense, three on defense Key players: RB/LB Nick Ralston, TE J.C. Chalk, OL Matt Hiter, WR/DB Drew Estrada, QB Cooper Rodgers, DB/RB Taylor Sweatt, OL Matt Waggoner, WR Gage McCook Offense: Spread Defense: 50 defense/multiple School enrollment: 698 Stadium: Eagle Stadium


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Argyle High School – Go Eagles! Argyle Eagles 2014 Football Schedule Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 29 .... Abilene Wylie......................7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ..... Denison (at AT&T Stadium)...2:00 p.m. Sept. 12 ... Celina .................................7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ... at Graham...........................7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ... at Paris ...............................7:30 p.m. Oct. 9....... at Carrollton Ranchview*....7:00 p.m. Oct. 17..... Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins*.......7:30 p.m. Oct. 24..... at Dallas Carter*.................7:30 p.m. Oct. 31..... Dallas Pinkston* .................7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 ...... at Sanger* ..........................7:30 p.m. *District 6-4A DI

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ARGYLE

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August 28, 2014

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New role a good fit for Argyle’s Sweatt By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

During halftime of last year’s game against Aubrey, the news of stalwart linebacker Sam Sizelove’s season-ending knee injury was an emotional topic in the Argyle locker room. The Kansas State signee was hurt early in the second quarter, leaving the Eagles with a big hole to fill two weeks before the playoffs. Rather than turn to another veteran, several players sought out then-sophomore backup Taylor Sweatt. “People came up to me in the locker room, even coaches, saying, ‘Sweatt, this is your time, it’s your turn to step up,’� said Sweatt, now a junior. “It was a lot to take on, but I guess I did a good job.� Sweatt hasn’t stepped off the field since. He was named the District 103A defensive newcomer of the year, but made a name for himself in the postseason, where his dominant play as a rush-

ing outside linebacker helped lead Argyle to its first state title. If that challenge wasn’t big enough, now the Eagles need Sweatt to switch from linebacker to free safety. Sweatt fills a major void left by Connor Wilson, who signed with Texas Tech but is no longer a member of the team. “He [Sweatt] is an accomplished player, and we feel he possesses the qualities to be a free safety,� Rodgers said. “Once he became a starter at outside linebacker and his confidence grew, he was a dynamic player. We evaluate our players every year, and we want him in the best possible spot to help this football team.� Sweatt is up for the challenge. “At linebacker, I got to attack constantly, but now I need to be more careful,� Sweatt said. “I’m the farthest guy back and if I get beat, it’s a touchdown. Whatever the coaches decide to do with me, I’m going to do it.�

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Taylor Sweatt burst on to the scene last season for Arygle when he filled in for Sam Sizelove after the Eagles’ star linebacker suffered a season-ending injury. Sweatt will move to safety this season and should be an impact player.

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DRC Football

Extra Points Keys to a successful year

position of strength

The Eagles ran roughshod over opposing defenses last year, amassing 3,841 yards for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Head coach Todd Rodgers hinted that stat could balloon in 2014 with a more experienced line, speedy receivers that can stretch a defense and the bruising running style of senior Ralston Nick Ralston (1,818 yards, 31 touchdowns). The offensive line is anchored by seniors Matt Waggoner and Matt Hiter and depth at running back is not an issue. Should Ralston take on a heavier workload defensively, Taylor Sweatt and Gage McCook are solid.

point of concern

Rodgers graduated 29 seniors from last year’s Class 3A Division II state championship squad, including four Football Bowl Subdivision recruits. Argyle is known for reloading instead of rebuilding, but it may take some time for a younger group of players to adjust to playing multiple positions while taking

on the expectations of Friday nights. “It’s all going to boil down to learning the scheme and being coachable,” Rodgers said. “This group is very athletic and can win a lot of games, they just don’t have experience. They need to prove they can do it.”

key newcomer

Rodgers said senior Hunter Markwardt could be huge for the Eagles with his speed, agility and commitment to the program. Markwardt will factor in at wide receiver and in the secondary, Rodgers said. Markwardt

game of the year

Argyle’s season opener against Abilene Wylie is again being looked at as a tone-setter. Last year, the Eagles jumped all over Wylie, which was ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press Class 3A state poll. But that was with a more veteran roster. If the Eagles can do it again with a younger group, it could be a sign of good things to come.

Eagles Roster No. Player 2 Dane Ledford 3 Drew Estrada 4 Hunter Markwardt Gage McCook 5 6 Zach Zembraski Taylor Sweatt 7 Trey Pruett 8 9 Erik Ramon Cooper Rodgers 10 11 John Tarwater 12 Spencer Cullen Scott Smith 13 14 Dylan Sadler 15 Colin DeBord 17 Blake DeWoody Colton Liggett 19 Austin Lee 20 22 Nick Ralston Pierce Davies 24 25 J.C. Chalk Hudson Speed 27 Caleb Holt 28 Alex Pound 30 Chase Carrick 32 Brett Lundy 33 Ryland King 35 Wade Pennington 36 40 Carter Wilson Turner Aune 41 42 Shane McKinney Jacob Forrer 43 Casey Harper 44 45 Matt Rowe Johnny Alday 48 Matt Waggoner 53

Pos. Yr. DB So. WR Jr. DB Sr. WR Jr. DB Sr. DB Jr. WR Sr. WR Sr. QB Sr. DB So. DB Jr. WR Jr. DB So. DB So. DB Sr. DB Jr. DB So. RB Sr. LB So. WR Jr. DL Jr. K Jr. DE Sr. DE Sr. DE So. DB Jr. DL So. DE Jr. DE So. LB Jr. DE Jr. LB So. LB Jr. DL Sr. OL Sr.

ARGYLE Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 Abilene Wylie 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Denison** 2 p.m. Sept. 12 Celina 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Graham 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at Paris 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Car. Ranchview* 7 p.m. Oct. 17 Wilmer-Hutchins* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Dallas Carter* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 Dallas Pinkston* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sanger* 7:30 p.m. *District 6-4AD1 ** at AT&T Stadium 56 61 62 64 65 66 70 72 73 74 75 77 79 81 83 89

Zack Lasley Brady Llewellyn Austin Bergstrom Bryce Hege Caelan Keenan Matt Castle David Bearden Adam Dyer Matt Hiter Jack Williams Zach Mahon Jaxon Frazier Ty Smith Chad Book Ryan Schleder Dakota Carpenter

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August 28, 2014

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AUBREY

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

79

Aubrey looks for spark from Cannon By Tim Cato For the Denton Record-Chronicle

A high school head coach is the proverbial father figure of any team. He sets the rules, works to help each player meet their potential and even gives out some life advice, all in his own distinctive way. That’s why it hasn’t been easy for Cole Cannon and other Aubrey football seniors. In four years, they’ve been led by three different head coaches and are transitioning to new coach Keith Ivy this season. “I guess it’s difficult, just adjusting, because they all have different schemes, different formations and defenses to get used to,” Cannon said. “It’s a little challenging.” Cannon was a freshman when Aubrey went 4-6 and G.A. Moore — the all-time win leader among Texas high school football coaches — retired. The defensive coordinator at the time, Mike Segleski, was promoted to head coach, but he resigned at the beginning of this year. Now, it’s Ivy’s turn. “Aubrey football hasn’t really been good these past few years,” Ivy said. “Not knocking any coaches or anything that’s gone on — they may have done a great job, I don’t know that — but the past is the past, and we’re looking to push forward and make great things happen here.” Cannon is at the center of what Ivy would like to do with the program this season. He is still trying to decide whether Cannon is a better fit at quarterback or running back, but either way, Cannon is a two-way starter and main weapon on offense. But as Ivy prepares for his first game on the Aubrey sideline, he’s also looked to Cannon as a leader from the first day they met — in a team meeting the week after spring break, right after Ivy took the job. “I thought he was, without a doubt, a leader [with] his presence, the way he took charge and his work ethic,” Ivy said. “He’s a kid we look to to lead our

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

AUBREY: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Cole Cannon has shown throughout his career at Aubrey that he can handle a variety of challenges and will take on several more this season when he will play quarterback or running back on offense and also see time on defense. Cannon’s exact role will be determined by Keith Ivy, the Chaparrals’ third head coach in four years.

program.” The two of them also met individually early on, and, as they both describe it, have a great relationship. “He seemed like he was a disciplined guy and that he thought we could be successful this year,” Cannon said about his first impressions of his new head coach. “He’s excited for the start of the season. I was happy he was here.” Receivers coach Carl Duncan is the only assistant coach who has been on staff since Cannon and his senior class joined the program four years ago, and even watched some of them in junior high before that. “Character-wise, they’re some of our

hardest workers, and I think their leadership skills will trickle down amongst the younger kids,” Duncan said. “It’s great to have a senior class that’s coachable.” It hasn’t been easy to endure the coaching changes, but as Cannon prepares for his final year of football, he’s happy to have Ivy at the helm. Ivy spent two years as the head coach at Seymour before accepting the job at Aubrey and has quickly built relationships with his new players, including Cannon. “I like him. I really like him,” Cannon said with a grin. “I’m looking forward to the season.”

CHAPARRALS Quick facts District: 3-4A (Division II) 2013 record: 2-8 (1-3 in District 10-3A) Coach: Keith Ivy (2311 in three years, first year at Aubrey) Returning starters: four on offense, seven on defense Key players: QB/DB Cole Cannon, RB/LB Phillip Wilds, RB/DB Tyler Williams, OL/DL Noah Vaughan, OL/DL Blake Stevens Offense: Multiple Defense: Multiple School enrollment: 535 Stadium: Chaparral Stadium


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Aubrey High School – Go Chaparrals! Aubrey Chaparrals 2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 ...........at Pottsboro............................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ............Burkburnett............................. 7:00 p.m. Sept. 12 ..........at Pilot Point........................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ..........Van Alstyne............................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ..........at Carrollton Ranchview......... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10............Bonham* ................................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17............at Krum* ................................. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24............Bridgeport* ............................. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31............Celina*.................................... 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 .............at Anna* ................................. 7:30 p.m. *District 3-4A DII

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AUBREY

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

81

Williams could give Aubrey some speed By Tim Cato For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Keidrien Wadley’s 12-yard touchdown run early in Aubrey’s 2013 season finale made one thing clear: The Carrollton Ranchview standout was simply too fast for the Aubrey defense. In its Nov. 8 game against Ranchview, Aubrey needed a win to move on to the playoffs. Instead, Wadley exploded with four rushing touchdowns and Aubrey’s year ended in a 46-22 loss. Led by senior defensive back Tyler Williams, Aubrey is hoping this season will be different. “We’re going to be fast,” Williams said. “We’re going to be flying to the football. “We’re a lot more disciplined than we were last year. I feel like we’re going to have a lot more success on defense.” ‘Play with speed’ is one of the two maxims that head coach Keith Ivy has been preaching to his defensive unit.

“We do have a few kids who can run well,” Ivy said. “With confidence, I think that the kids begin to develop a faster play in their game.” The other defensive key, one that Ivy has emphasized his entire coaching career, is physical play. “We’re not near as physical as we need to be,” he said. “We as a coaching staff, we’re trying to motivate and push that daily. We’re smart enough to know that the most physical football team generally wins games.” Last year, the Aubrey defense held each of its first five opponents under 30 points, but allowed a combined 154 points in its final three games. Aubrey has a rematch against Wadley and Carrollton Ranchview coming up on Sept. 26. “Being able to go and catch someone when they break out is useful,” Williams said. “We have a lot of speed back there [in our secondary].”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Aubrey defensive back Tyler Williams is expected to provide the Chaparrals additional speed this season. Aubrey struggled late last year defensively and hopes to improve after emphasizing speed under new coach Keith Ivy.

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AUBREY

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

Extra Points Keys to a successful year

position of strength

key newcomer

Senior Cole Cannon is Aubrey’s biggest offensive weapon — whether he plays quarterback or running back is just a matter of where he can be most effective. “We just want him in the best position to win games,” Aubrey coach Keith Ivy said. “He’s a dynamic player and we’re just trying to get Morrow the ball in his hands as much as we can.” Junior Russell Morrow is the other quarterback candidate. Ivy said he is working with both players to improve their mechanics, and that either way Morrow should have a big role next season.

Replacing graduated senior Evan Moore is no easy task — after all, he set school records with six field goals in a season and a 53-yard make. The kicking job will go to junior Carlos Pena, who Ivy said is “fairly consistent” from 35 to 40 yards. As it turns out, he can Pena do a little more than just kick. “[Kicking] is apparently all he had done before I got there,” Ivy said. “We noticed some athleticism on him and recruited him to play some [defensive end] as well.”

point of concern

Last year, Aubrey had a 14-7 lead on division rival Pilot Point before surrendering three touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 28-21 defeat last season. “We’re kind of motivated to keep the rivalry going,” Tyler Williams Williams said. Although the teams are no longer district rivals after the UIL realignment, they will face off in nondistrict play on Sept. 12.

After back-to-back 2-8 seasons, Ivy said his main concern is “just the fact they haven’t been that good.” The Chaparrals will try to regain a mental edge under the new head coach. “Mentally, [the worry is] to get over that hurdle that they believe that Ivy they can win,” Ivy said. “I’d say that’s probably the biggest challenge.”

game of the year

CHAPARRALS Roster

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. 1 Shingi Maraire RB/DB 5-9 150 So. 2 Joey Dye WR/DB 5-11 165 Jr. 3 Tanner Gardiner RB/DB 5-9 170 So. 4 Cameron Moore WR/DB 5-8 150 Jr. 5 Jon Delbosque RB/DB 5-10 160 Jr. 6 Josh Millican WR/DB 6-1 170 Sr. 7 Lucas Jones RB/LB 5-8 160 Sr. 8 Grayson Grisso QB/DB 6-1 180 So. 9 Hunter Hazen WR/DB 5-11 180 Jr. 11 Tyler Williams RB/DB 5-8 155 Sr. 12 Russell Morrow QB/LB 5-9 175 Jr. 14 Seth Even WR/DB 5-11 160 Jr. 15 Cesar Pena DE/K 5-10 180 Jr. 20 Cole Cannon QB/DB 5-8 165 Sr. 21 Blake Blackwell DE/TE 6-0 185 Sr. 22 Phillip Wilds RB/LB 6-0 195 Sr. 23 Norman Alambar RB/LB 5-9 215 Jr. 24 Miguel Antonio WR/LB 6-0 170 Jr. 30 Anthony Rouk RB/DB 5-9 170 Jr. 36 Ross Brumley RB/LB 5-10 185 Jr. 50 Austin Hill OL/DL 5-10 275 Sr. 51 Marco San Miguel OL/DL 5-10 185 Jr. 52 Kevin Williams OL/DL 5-11 200 Jr. 53 Enrique Perez OL/DL 5-8 185 Jr. 54 Noah Vaughan OL/DL 6-2 220 Sr. 55 Chandler Teague OL/LB 5-9 185 Sr.

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AUBREY Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Pottsboro 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Burkburnett 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Pilot Point 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 Van Alstyne 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at Carr. Ranchview 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 Bonham* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Krum* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 Bridgeport* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 Celina* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Anna* 7:30 p.m. *District 3-4A DII 56 David Gray 60 Blake Stevens 61 Nathan Ellison 64 Luke Hartman 65 Jacob Kendrick 70 Ramses Perez 72 Jordan May 76 Tyler Loftin 77 Hunter Bowman 82 Will Green

OL/DL 6-0 240 Jr. OL/DL 6-0 200 Sr. OL/DL 5-10 220 Jr. OL/DL 5-10 200 Sr. OL/DL 5-8 215 Jr. OL/DL 5-8 175 Jr. OL/DL 6-2 185 Jr. OL/DL 6-0 280 Jr. OL/DL 6-1 270 Jr. TE/DL 6-3 192 Jr.

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KRUM

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

85

Krum looking to rebound behind vets By Rich Luna For the Denton Record-Chronicle

There is a renewed sense of mission these days at Krum and with it, a sense of urgency. Krum, the new kid on the football block — a program that started in 2008 and is about to begin its third varsity season — took a punch to the gut last year that did not sit well with the Bobcats. Just six years ago, Krum began playing football at the middle school level under the direction of Gary Robinson, who built the program and guided the Bobcats into their first season in a UIL district in 2012. They surprised everyone with a 9-2 record and a spot in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, Krum was primed to take the next step by shooting for a district title and a deeper run in the state playoffs. But instead, it was a season of frustration. There was the highly public dismissal just before the start of the season of quarterback Caz Wojciak, who had been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Then on the second play of the season, running back Dane White, an all-district performer, suffered a broken bone in his foot that would cost him the entire season. Krum finished 3-8, with one district win and a loss in the first round of the playoffs to eventual Class 3A Division II state champion Argyle. “Every day when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning [for 5 a.m. practice], I sometimes think I don’t want to get up, but then I think about what we are out to prove this year,” said senior center Taylor Holley. “To be honest with you, we’re pretty [upset] about the season we had last year. It was hard for all of us. We take a lot of pride in this program. We’re playing for every player, every coach. We’re playing for this town. Yeah, we got a chip on our shoulder.” White felt the same way. “No one was happy with what happened to us last year,” the senior said. “We want to bounce back in a big way.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

KRUM: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Krum hopes to bounce back from a disappointing season behind offensive lineman Taylor Holley, right, and running back Dane White. The pair is among a host of Krum players who said they worked particularly hard during the offseason after finishing 3-8 a year ago, a precipitous drop from a 9-2 finish in 2012.

With 15 returning starters, including nine on offense, and a new district, 3-4A (DII), as the result of realignment, the Bobcats are confident of success in 2014. “The 2012 team had a chip on their shoulders,” Robinson said. The strength of Krum will be upfront with a veteran offensive line led by the 5-foot-10, 235-pound Holley and fellow seniors Andrew Ponce, Ely Sanchez, Colton Richards and Rey Vega. All squat more then 600 pounds while Richards topped 700 pounds. They worked hard on their conditioning to prepare for a no-huddle offense. “We know we have to be on the same

page, to move as one and to be able to read each other’s minds,” said Holley, who is getting interest from schools such as Tarleton State and Stephen F. Austin. “We hit the weights hard all year. We want to be an example for the younger kids. I’ve been pushing everyone.” The strength up front should help clear the way for the 6-foot, 210-pound White, who lost his junior season and underwent two surgeries. “I’m confident, everyone on this team is, on what we can achieve,” he said. “Looking back, it really was a fast recovery for me. I’ve improved my speed and I’m ready.”

BOBCATS Quick facts

District: 3-4A (Division II) 2013 Record: 3-8 (1-3 in District 9-3A) Coach: Gary Robinson: (18-14 in three seasons at Krum) Returning starters: 9 on offense, 6 on defense Key players: RB Dane White, QB Colten Graham, WR Matt Robinson, WR Jacob Enis, C Taylor Holley, OL Colton Richards Offense: Multiple Defense: 3-4 School enrollment: 550 Stadium: Bobcat Stadium


86

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

Krum High School – Go Bobcats! Krum Bobcats 2014 Football Schedule Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 29 ............ Pilot Point................7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ............. Venus ......................7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 ........... at Sanger ................7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ........... at Paradise..............7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ........... Boyd........................7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 ............. at Bridgeport*..........7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 ............. Aubrey* ...................7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 ............. at Anna* ..................7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 ............. Bonham* .................7:30 p.m. Nov. 7............... at Celina* ................7:30 p.m. *District 3-4A DII

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KRUM

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

87

Robinson plays on despite obstacles By Rich Luna For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Krum head coach Gary Robinson quickly realized junior wide receiver Matt Robinson has a fighting spirit and can-do attitude that cannot be measured in terms of receptions or interceptions. The young player of no relation to the head coach lives with Type 1 diabetes, the condition in which the body does not produce insulin. For the young Robinson, it has become a way of life. He wears an insulin pump, except during practice and games, but monitors his levels at all times to ensure his sugar levels are where they need to be. “I’ve never known a time in my life that I didn’t have to check my levels,” he said. “It’s just a part of who I am. It sometimes is more a mental struggle than a physical one. But I just keep telling myself I can do anything I want because I know what I need to do to control it.”

The disease hasn’t stopped Robinson from becoming a key player for Krum. After seeing limited playing time as a sophomore, the junior has shown he’s ready for significant playing time at wide receiver and in the secondary for the Bobcats. The Krum head coach said the junior could also start at cornerback. “He’s a natural receiver,” said Krum head coach Gary Robinson, who is of no relation. “He can run the routes and he’s got good hands.” He caught just four passes for 32 yards last year, including one touchdown. At 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, he’ll have to rely on his speed and quickness. Off the field, Robinson is as committed in the classroom, with plans to study engineering or architecture. “He’ll be one of those kids who will do really well in college,” Krum coach Gary Robinson said. “He’s one of those kids you hope your kid grows up to be like.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Krum wide receiver Matt Robinson appears poised for a breakout season, despite having Type 1 diabetes. The junior wears an insulin pump at all times, except for when he is participating in practice or playing in a game.

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88

KRUM

August 28, 2014

BOBCATS Roster

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength

a starting role in the secondary, saw limited playing time last year.

Krum’s offensive line will be the catalyst for the Bobcats this season. Led by 5-foot-10, 235-pound center Taylor Holley, the front five will consist of all seniors — Andrew Ponce (5-9, 255), Ely Sanchez (6-0, 320), Colton Richards (6-0, 300) and Rey Vega (5Ponce 11, 260). All squat more than 600 pounds, with Richards topping 700 pounds.

Spradley will be key to shoring up Krum’s linebacker corps. Head coach Gary Robinson has Spradley lined up to play the middle linebacker position. Spradley is a sophomore, but at 5-10, 190 pounds, he has the size to manage the inside defense and speed to get outside. With a young defense overall, Spradley’s development could help solidify the Bobcats.

point of concern

game of the year

Overall, the Bobcats are young, particularly on defense. Krum will have two sophomore starting linebackers in Coleton Spradley and Ryan Gipson and have several other sophomores contending for starting roles in the secondary, including Blaine Brooks Gipson and Brandon Reeves. Junior Matt Robinson, who is also up for

key newcomer

Despite Krum’s rough season in 2013, the Bobcats picked up the only district win they needed to earn a Class 3A Division II playoff berth out of a five-team district. But Krum will be competing with six teams for four playoff spots this season. If Krum handles business against Bridgeport, which did not win a game last season, a win over Anna could give the Bobcats the wins needed to make the postseason. Krum hosts Anna on Oct. 24.

DRC Football

No. Player

Pos. Wt. Pos. Yr.

2

Jacob Enis

WR/DB 6-0 175 Jr.

3

Matt Robinson

WR/DB 5-9 140 Jr.

4

Riley Marshall

WR/DB 5-11 175 Sr.

7

Blaine Brooks

WR/DB 5-5 130 So.

8

Justus Martinez

WR/DB 6-0 160 So.

9

Dakota May

10 Carter Stokes

WR/LB 6-0 185 So. WR/DB 5-9 145 Sr.

11 Colten Barnette WR/DB 5-7 140 Jr. 12 Brandon Reeves

QB/LB 5-8 150 So.

15 Bobby Zimmerman RB/LB 5-10 165 So. 17 Tyrone Emery

WR/DB 5-10 155 Sr.

18 Alex Styles

WR/DB 5-9 135 Jr.

19 Colten Graham

QB/LB 5-10 200 Jr.

20 Preston Shifflett WR/DB 5-9 145 So. 21 Preston Brooks

WR/DB 6-1 160 So.

KRUM Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 Pilot Point 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Venus 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Sanger 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Paradise 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 Boyd 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Bridgeport* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Aubrey* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Anna* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 Bonham* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Celina* 7:30 p.m. *District 3-4A DII 50 Chance Bledsoe

T/DE 6-0 285 Sr.

55 Taylor Holley

C/DE 5-10 235 Sr.

56 JR Gipson

C/DE 5-11 220 Jr.

58 Everett Gunnoe

T/DE 6-4 235 So.

23 Dane White

RB/LB

6-0 210 Sr.

60 Andrew Ponce

G/DE 5-9 255 Sr.

28 Jacob Spencer

RB/LB 6-0 160 Sr.

63 Isaiah Magana

G/DE 5-8 210 Jr.

30 DJ Hampton

RB/LB 5-11 190 Jr.

70 Ely Sanchez

G/NT 6-0 320 Sr.

32 Ryan Gipson

RB/LB 5-10 230 So.

72 Colton Richards

T/NT 6-0 300 Sr.

33 Tylor Morris

RB/LB 5-10 160 Jr.

75 T.J. Wiley

C/NT

42 Coleton Spradley RB/LB 5-10 190 So.

76 Rey Vega

T/DE 5-11 260 Sr.

44 Isaac Flores

TE/DE 6-2 210 Sr.

79 Tanner Polk

48 Jerry Horton

RB/LB 5-8 170 Jr.

88 Benny Watson

6-0 320 Sr.

T/DE 6-0 260 Jr. TE/DE

6-3 210 So.

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DRC Football

89

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SANGER

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Dynamic duo ready to power Sanger By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

During an early-season game last year at Boyd, Sanger quarterback Brandon Mann handed the ball off to his new running back, Tre’von Jackson, on a power play up the middle. There was nothing special about the call, and Mann didn’t think it would amount to much when Jackson was quickly tied up by four defenders. What happened next turned the routine into the spectacular. “I kept watching him [Tre’von] pump his legs,” Mann said. “He got out of it and took off down the left sideline for a 50-yard run. There were a lot of things he did last year that a regular running back couldn’t do. I’ve never had a running back as good as Tre’von.” Jackson said he’s never had a quarterback like Mann, who is built like a linebacker and is a bruising runner when he’s not showing off his arm strength. Both were first-time starters last year — Mann had just earned the quarterback role and Jackson moved in from Denton — and only played together for the first six games. Mann injured his right knee in a loss to Gainesville the next week and sat out the rest of the year. Jackson finished with 1,843 yards and 31 touchdowns, but insisted something was missing. “We were on a roll and all of a sudden our momentum went away,” Jackson said of Sanger, which started 4-2 but went 2-2 down the stretch without Mann, including a first-round playoff loss. “He’s an all-around QB and dangerous with the read-option. We have one more year.” With Mann and Jackson solidifying the Indians’ top two positions on offense, coach Chuck Galbreath said the rest of the team is steadily falling into place and could be tough to beat in 2014. That’s a refreshing statement for Galbreath. Two years ago Sanger went 0-10. Last year was labeled as an opportunity to make amends, but now players like Jackson believe making the playoffs for a second-straight season is just scratching the surface.

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

SANGER: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Sanger quarterback Brandon Mann saw his season come to a premature end last fall when he suffered a knee injury in a loss to Gainesville and is hoping to make up for lost time this season. Mann is a powerful runner and should provide a perfect complement for running back Tre’von Jackson.

The Indians return seven starters on each side of the ball. Offensively, that includes a deep offensive line led by seniors Brance Watts and Grayson Briney. Though the offensive scheme is runheavy, Galbreath will still depend on his receivers to get open downfield. Wide receiver Kyle Link is a dependable option and tight end Baley Garza gives Mann another big target and a way to make defenses pay for crowding the line of scrimmage. “We feel like we are a program that’s back on track,” Galbreath said. “We’re bringing a lot of kids back and we have a very good chance to be explosive.” It starts with Jackson and Mann,

who force defenses to stay on edge with Mann’s ability to throw and run the ball. Jackson is also a strong receiver. He caught 31 passes for 275 yards last year. “There will be plays where we put the ball right in Tre’von’s belly, but if Brandon pulls it back he’s going to have an open lane,” Galbreath said. “People say Tre’von is hard to bring down, but so is Brandon.” Mann said he is confident despite last year’s injury and eager to make up for lost time. If things go according to plan, the pair might have a long season ahead of them “We can go all the way [to state],” Jackson said. “We can. We just have to work hard.”

INDIANS Quick facts

District: 6-4A Division I 2013 record: 6-4 (22, District 9-3A) Coach: Chuck Galbreath (39-33 in seven seasons at Sanger) Returning starters: Seven on offense, Seven on defense Key players: RB Tre’von Jackson, QB Brandon Mann, OL Brance Watts, LB Jarrod Huther, DT Clay Worthey, DE Wilding Smith, WR Kyle Link, TE Baley Garza Offense: Multiple Defense: 4-2-5 School Enrollment: 768 Stadium: Indian Stadium


DRC Football

August 28, 2014

91

Sanger High School – Go Indians! Sanger Indians 2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 ......at Melissa............................7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 .......Plainview .............................7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 .....Krum....................................7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 .....at Lone Grove .....................7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 .....at Whitesboro......................7:30 p.m. Oct. 10.......Dallas Carter*......................7:30 p.m. Oct. 17.......at Carrollton Ranchview* ....7:30 p.m. Oct. 24.......Dallas Pinkston*..................7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.......at Wilmer-Hutchins* ............7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 ........Argyle*.................................7:30 p.m. *District 6-4A DI games

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92

SANGER

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Watts to clear way for Sanger’s backs By Steve Gamel For the Denton Record-Chronicle

As he sat down at a table in the Sanger fieldhouse with some of his teammates, running back Tre’von Jackson toyed with the idea of concocting different touchdown dances to share with each of his offensive linemen this season. There was just one problem. “You’re going to have to wait on us for a little while [to get down there],” senior center Brance Watts laughed. “That’s the thing about these guys, as offensive linemen, we never go unappreciated. Every time there is a big play, they [Jackson and Mann] are coming back to the huddle and thanking us.” Watts wants to be thanked with a deep playoff run, and he insists the Indians are in the business of winning. Watts is a four-year starter with quick feet, strength and versatility who will move to center after a dominant season

at right tackle. He helped pave the way for Jackson, who scored 31 touchdowns. The Indians have talent to surround him, but head coach Chuck Galbreath hinted he may have too much depth. “I won’t mention names, but I will say we came out of the spring feeling really good,” Galbreath said of his line, which has just one other returner in Grayson Briney. “Brance is the leader of the offensive line and football is very important to him. There’s a lot riding on him.” Watts said the offense took a major leap forward last year with Jackson in the fold, and should be harder to stop now that Mann is healthy. With those kinds of weapons, the offensive line must be ready to protect, he said. “I am very confident in this group,” Watts said. “There’s always pressure on the offensive line, but we’ll get it done and they [Jackson and Mann] are going to do what they do.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Sanger offensive lineman Brance Watts will move to center this season, which will be his fourth as a starter for the Indians. Watts is expected to help power Sanger’s running game and clear the way for running back Tre’von Jackson.

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SANGER

DRC Football

Extra Points Keys to a successful year

Position of strength

If there are two positions the Indians have zero questions entering the season, they are quarterback and running back. Tre’von Jackson returns for his second year at Sanger with a goal of improving on the 1,843 yards and 31 touchdowns he posted last year. Senior Brandon Mann is a duHuther al-threat QB and managed 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns before injuring his knee in a district loss to Gainesville. The duo will operate behind an offensive line that includes several newcomers, but is as deep a unit as coach Chuck Galbreath has deployed in recent memory. Brance Watts moves from right tackle to center. Defensively, there aren’t many holes. Linebacker Jarrod Huther returns after posting 110 tackles and five sacks in 2013. The defensive line is just as stout, with Wilding Smith (54 tackles) and Brandon Gehrke (49 tackles) returning.

point of concern

Galbreath said his biggest question mark each year is health. When Mann got hurt last year, it forced the team to change on the fly and it limited the offense’s potential. “It [injuries] is not necessarily something that we can control, but we will try the best we can,” Galbreath said.

key newcomer

Braven Smith and Ryan Pollard both turned in impressive freshman seasons and Galbreath is eager to see what they can do on the varsity level. Smith adds consistent hands to an already solid wide receiver group while Pollard should work in at outside linebacker.

Denton Record-Chronicle file photo

Sanger running back Tre’von Jackson dodges a defender in a game against Pilot Point last season. Jackson and the Indians hope to get off to a fast start this season, beginning with their opener at Melissa.

game of the year

The easy answer would be the Indians’ final regular-season game against longtime rival Argyle. But don’t overlook the season opener against Melissa, Galbreath said. Sanger has high hopes and that includes getting off to a fast start. Last year, the Indians opened the season with back-to-back losses to Dallas Madison and Liberty Christian. “It’s not the end of the world if we were to lose the first game, but it’s something that, if you win, it definitely sets you going in the right direction,” Galbreath said. “We hope to kick the season off right.”

No. Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. 1 Chance Cockrell WR/DB 5-10 150 Sr. 2 Walker Pyron WR/DB 5-8 145 Sr. 3 Dakota Branch K 5-11 150 Sr. 4 Clayton McCollom WR/DB 5-10 160 Jr. 5 Turner Barnes FB/LB 5-8 170 Jr. 6 Peyton Howard RB/DB 5-10 170 So. 7 Ryan Pollard RB/DB 5-8 165 So. 12 Logan Thomas WR/DB 5-8 160 Sr. 13 Jackson Havis WR/DB 5-10 170 Sr. 14 Damien Hallowell WR/DB 5-9 160 Sr. 15 David Bibb TE/LB 6-2 195 Sr. 17 T.J. Self TE/DE 6-1 190 Jr. 18 Brandon Mann QB/LB 6-1 205 Sr. 19 Blake Janczak WR/DB 5-10 170 Sr. 20 Tyler Gallardo WR/DE 6-0 180 Sr. 21 Tre’von Jackson RB/DB 5-10 200 Sr. 22 Grant Carter RB/DB 5-7 150 Jr. 23 Baley Garza TE/LB 6-2 230 Sr. 24 Heath Jones TE/DE 6-0 225 Jr. 25 Braven Smith WR/DE 6-4 170 So. 28 Josh Secrest WR/DB 5-9 160 Sr. 30 Lance Hunter RB/LB 5-10 170 Sr. 32 Kyle Link WR/DB 5-9 170 Sr. 33 Jarrod Huther RB/LB 6-0 210 Jr. 38 Koby Cochran WR/DB 5-8 150 Sr. 41 Ryan Farris WR/DB 5-8 160 Sr. 42 Collin Jones OL/DE 5-10 190 Sr. 50 Jonathan Hammons OL/DE 6-4 230 Jr. 51 Nick Pinzel OL/DL 6-2 195 So. 52 Ryan Langley OL/DL 5-9 260 Jr. 53 David Contreras OL/DL 5-11 210 Sr.

SCORE

SANGER Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Melissa 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Plainview 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 Krum 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Lone Grove 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at Whitesboro 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 Dallas Carter* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Carr. Ranchview* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 Dallas Pinkston* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Wilmer-Hutchins* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 Argyle* 7:30 p.m. *District 6-4A DI games 54 55 56 58 61 65 66 70 72 74 75 76 77 82 84

Brandon Gehrke Brance Watts Mikey Rodriguez Adrian Duran Dayton Howard Colten Robare Garrett Grayson Logan St. John Grayson Briney Dillon Williams William Venable Clay Worthey Zack Morris Wilding Smith Taylor Roach

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94

August 28, 2014

PILOT POINT

DRC Football

Pilot Point to lean on veteran talent By Randy Cummings For the Denton Record-Chronicle

No longer is merely reaching the playoffs the spoken goal of the Pilot Point Bearcats. They want more, they expect more and they seem to be positioned to achieve more in 2014. Just like the August weather, expectations for Pilot Point football are running hot this season — and for good reason. The Bearcats are loaded with experience and talent, and seven starters returning to both the offensive and defensive units are the just the start. “We feel like the combination of experience and senior leadership gives us an opportunity to compete,” said fourthyear head coach Rob Best. “We want to be competitive in our district, move forward in the playoffs and see if we can’t make a deeper run.” Pilot Point also has seven first-team all-district performers back from last year’s 7-4 team that qualified for the Class 2A playoffs but got knocked out in a bi-district loss to Farmersville. Another four returnees who earned second-team all-district honors a year ago will also be back in uniform. In addition, Hunter Balderas and DaCoven Bailey return after nabbing individual all-district honors as the top newcomer and all-purpose performer, respectively. Senior quarterback Travis Garrett, who has been the Bearcats’ starting signal-caller since midway through his freshman season, is one of 14 seniors on the roster who Best is relying on for leadership. Garrett was a unanimous first-team all-district pick a year ago after passing for 1,823 yards and rushing for a team-leading 889 yards. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to put the team at the next level,” said Garrett. Bailey, perhaps the district’s most electrifying player who can be used as a receiver, running back and returner on special teams, also believes the Bearcats have an opportunity to turn some heads in the playoffs. “To be honest, I think we can go all the way if we play to the best of our abilities,”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

PILOT POINT: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Travis Garrett, right, is entering his fourth season as Pilot Point’s starting quarterback. The senior was a firstteam all-district selection last season when he threw for 1,823 yards and rushed for an additional 889 yards. Linebacker Jacob David will also be a key player for Pilot Point after earning all-district honors last season.

Bailey said. “I just want to make big plays and do whatever I can to help out.” For the third consecutive season, Garrett’s success on the field will be critical for Pilot Point. His experience at directing the offense is bolstered by the return of starting linemen Tyrone Bruce, Basil Gist and Parker Hale. “We’ve talked to him [Garrett] about being the catalyst of the offense,” Best said. “His experience is vital to our performance. He’s grown with our offense . . . he’s grown as a leader and he’s grown as a football player. “He’s worked extremely hard this summer, and I think that’s going to translate

into an even [better] performer than he’s been — and he’s been very good.” The Bearcats’ defense is equally stocked with talented players, especially up front where unanimous first-team all-district nose guard John Groff will be joined by first-team all-district linebackers Jacob David and Jonah Fritz. Best hopes to have enough talented depth on his team to avoid having to play too many players both ways. “On defense we try to get a core of seven or eight players where that’s all they’ll do,” he said. “The same on offense. We feel that makes us fresher in the fourth quarter.”

BEARCATS Quick facts

District: 5-3A (Division II) 2014 record: 7-4 (5-1 in District 5-2A) Coach: Rob Best (1614 in three seasons at Pilot Point) Returning starters: Seven on offense, seven on defense Key players: QB Travis Garrett, RB/WR DaCoven Bailey, RB/DL John Groff, LB/RB Hunter Balderas, LB Jacob David, Offense: Spread Defense: 4-3 School Enrollment: 431 Stadium: Massey Stadium


August 28, 2014

DRC Football

95

Pilot Point High School – Go Bearcats! Pilot Point Bearcats 2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 .............. at Krum ........................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ............... at Anna......................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 ............. Aubrey.......................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ............. Gunter .......................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ............. Bonham........................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10............... at Callisburg*................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17............... Van Alstyne* ................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24............... at Whitesboro* ............. `7:30 p.m. Oct. 31............... at Pottsboro* ................ 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 ................ Farmersville* ................ 7:30 p.m. *District 5-3A DI

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August 28, 2014

PILOT POINT

DRC Football

Breakout year puts Bailey in spotlight By Randy Cummings For the Denton Record-Chronicle

A year ago, DaCoven Bailey snuck up on opponents. This season, they’ll all be expecting him. It will just be a matter of if they can stop him. The soft-spoken junior, who earned all-district all-purpose honors in 2013, won’t catch anybody by surprise this year. Not after he led the Bearcats in receiving with 64 catches — 14 more than any other teammate — and racked up 955 receiving yards while scoring nine touchdowns through the air. Bailey was the team’s third-leading rusher with 280 yards and posted the highest kickoff return average of 20 yards per return. Head coach Rob Best also stuck Bailey out in his secondary occasionally and he accumulated in 21 tackles (solo and assists), with six pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.

“He had a great statistical year, but also, he impacted games in terms of big plays,” said Best. “He came up big when we needed it. He’s very versatile and talented as a runner and as a pass-catcher.” After moving to Pilot Point from New Orleans as a second-grader in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bailey’s athleticism began catching the eyes of Best and his coaching staff when he was in the seventh grade. Best placed him on the varsity as a freshman in a backup role, which the coach believes prepped him for his outstanding sophomore season last year. “He gives us so many different options as to what we can do,” said fourth-year starting quarterback Travis Garrett. “We can put him in the backfield, we can put him out at wide receiver, we can put him in the slot, [or] we can put him in motion. You can put him any place on the field, and he’s going to be exciting.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Wide receiver DaCoven Bailey snuck up on opponents last season when he caught 64 passes for 955 yards and nine touchdowns. The junior will look to build on that performance this fall.

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PILOT POINT

DRC Football

Extra Points Keys to a successful year Position of strength

The Bearcats can flex their muscles in several areas this season, but in particular their cast of ball-carriers give them plenty of firepower and depth. It starts with senior quarterback Travis Garrett, who always has the option to pass or run in Pilot Point’s spread attack that emphasizes the run. Garrett, in fact, led the team a year ago with 889 yards on the Groff ground. Junior DaCoven Bailey and senior John Groff, two athletic veterans with speed, will get their share of carries with the ball, as will junior Hunter Balderas. Also in the mix to get some time at running back will be sophomore Taylor Barrett.

point of concern

key newcomer

Best is excited about the arrival of RyLee Hellman, a transfer from Aubrey, to his program this season. Hellman is a solid athlete who is expected to get time as the Bearcats’ slot receiver as well as a kickoff and punt returner. Best has seen Hellman in action as an opponent, so he’s got a good idea of Hellman’s skills and how best to use them.

game of the year

While the Bearcats always carry a little extra motivation when they face district foe Whitesboro, the Pilot Point players never have any problem getting sky-high for their annual battle against Highway 377 neighbor Aubrey. “We’re seven miles apart and a lot of the kids interact, go to church together and play summer sports together,” said Best.

Bearcats Roster No. Player Ht. Wt. 1 Travis Garrett QB/DB 6-0 2 Matthew Greenwood WR/DB 6-0 3 Christian Patten WR/DB 5-10 4 Riley Heckaman QB/DB 5-9 5 Creed Bright WR/DB 5-10 7 Ramiro Mendoza K 5-8 WR/DB 5-10 8 Jaron Wilson 9 Joseph Davis WR/DB 6-0 RB/DL 5-10 10 John Groff 11 Jalyn Marick WR/DB 5-11 TE/LB 6-1 12 Jacob David 14 Hunter Balderas QB/LB 5-1 15 RyLee Hellman WR/DB 5-8 K 5-9 18 Jesus Orta 19 Quincy Jones QB/DB 5-9 20 Chase Hammer RB/LB 5-10 21 Hunter Harmuth WR/DB 5-8 23 Tyler Gray WR/DB 5-7 24 Jonah Fritz TE/DE 6-0 27 Jamaal Anderson WR/DB 5-10 30 Exavion Bowen WR/DB 5-8 32 Athen Gochis RB/DL 5-9 33 DaCoven Bailey WR/DB 5-10 34 Ty Hellman RB/DB 5-6 40 Lucas Greenwood TE/DE 6-1 RB/LB 5-7 45 Taylor Barrett

Pos. Yr. 170 Sr. 170 Sr. 155 Jr. 150 Sr. 165 Sr. 165 Sr. 160 So. 165 Jr. 205 Sr. 145 Sr. 200 Sr. 195 Jr. 145 Jr. 150 Jr. 145 Fr. 165 So. 140 Jr. 155 Jr. 205 Sr. 160 Sr. 145 Jr. 180 Jr. 185 Jr. 145 Fr. 205 Sr. 145 So.

PILOT POINT Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Krum 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Anna 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 Aubrey 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 Gunter 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 Bonham 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Callisburg* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Van Alstyne* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Whitesboro* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Pottsboro* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 Farmersville* 7:30 p.m. *District 5-3A DI 47 Gage Martin TE/LB 6-0 155 So. 52 Austin Garcia OL/DE 6-3 175 Jr. 54 Rigoberto Benavidez OL/DL 5-10 355 Sr. OL/DL 5-8 235 Jr. 55 Tyrone Bruce 61 Francisco Estrada OL/DL 6-1 180 Jr. OL/DL 5-10 245 Jr. 66 Basil Gist 68 Parker Hale OL/DL 6-1 235 So. 70 Connor Brian OL/DL 6-4 305 So. 72 Carlos Giron OL/DL 5-10 265 So. 76 Zachary Lohbauer OL/DL 5-9 230 Sr. 77 Branson Burger OL/DL 5-10 225 Sr. WR/DB 6-0 160 So. 80 Rance Kenney 85 Clayton Williams WR/DB 6-1 160 Jr.

MeanGreenGameDay.net

MeanGreenGameDay.net

Two returning starters aren’t enough for head coach Rob Best to rest easy about his offensive line. Junior Tyrone Bruce returns at center and junior Basil Gist is back to start at right guard, giving the Bearcats a couple of experienced veterans to help mold the unit. Sophomore Parker

Hale started five games at left tackle, but is coming back from a shoulder injury that ended his 2013 season. Two key spots — left guard and right tackle — need to be filled. Connor Brian and Branson Burger are the early candidates to fill those two last spots.

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PONDER

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Dunlap to play vital role for Ponder By Patrick Hayslip Staff Writer

Trey Dunlap doesn’t shy away from contact. If there is someone in the senior’s way, he’s going to take the quickest route instead of the long way around. Ponder’s development as a program hasn’t been as direct, but thanks in part to Dunlap, the Lions believe they have arrived at their desired destination. “It’s changed tremendously,” Dunlap said of Ponder’s program. “It started off and was really one of those not-so popular places to be. We didn’t have much. Now, we’re at the point where we have what it takes.” Dunlap made the move from safety to linebacker last season and ranked second on the team in tackles. This season, Dunlap returns as the top tackler on the team. “Initially I was at safety, but I react a lot better with things closer to my face,” Dunlap said. “It’s a challenge obviously. It’s a pretty big weight on a person’s shoulders. Running back, you want to run away from the tackles and as a linebacker, you get to hit people. It’s pretty tough. You have to be ready for both sides and be a dual threat.” The Lions are looking to rebound from last season’s 3-7 finish and plan on featuring Dunlap as their main offensive threat. Junior quarterback Brady Anderson, who is no stranger to success after helping the Lions win the Class 2A state basketball title, will also play a key role. Dunlap said he relishes the belief the coaching staff has in him to play both sides of the ball. “It’s a task,” Dunlap said. “I mean, who doesn’t look forward to the Friday night lights? Being relied on twice on both sides of the ball, that’s a great feeling as a senior to have those coaches put that on me. I like the pressure.” Dunlap racked up 817 yards and eight touchdowns on 174 carries last season despite battling turf toe. Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke expects Dunlap to improve on that total and blossom behind a much-improved offensive line as

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

PONDER: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Trey Dunlap has played a key role in the development of Ponder’s program and will be a vital part of the Lions’ plans again this year. The senior led Ponder in tackles in 2013 and will play both ways this season when he will see time at running back and linebacker. Ponder is aiming to bounce back from a 3-7 finish.

the team puts even more focus this season on time of possession, ball control and tempo. “We’re going to be under center most of the time,” Schuelke said. “We’re a twobacks, tight end, Power-I type team. We’re one of the few teams around that still does that. Everybody is going to the spread and all that, which is fine, but if you don’t have the best athletes then you need to keep the ball away from the ones that do have the athletes. Our objective, offensively, is to keep the ball from them, take our time and score.” “If we run 70 plays in a game, 60 of them are running the football. We’re better all over. Every starter is better than they were

last year. Our front five linemen are so far ahead of where we were last year.” Dunlap started the first game of last season at quarterback, but Anderson took over the rest of way, to allow Dunlap to focus on his running game. The move paid off for Dunlap who has 1,011 rushing yards, a total that ranks third in school history behind Brennan Sooter (1,655 yards) and TJ Ferryman (1,013 yards). Dunlap also ranks second in school history in carries with 210. Only Sooter, who carried the ball 344 times, has more career rushing attempts. See PONDER on 101

LIONS Quick facts

District: 4-3A (Division I) 2013 record: 3-7 (1-5 in District 5-2A) Coach: Glen Schuelke (3-7 in one season at Ponder) Returning starters: Six on offense, six on defense Key players: OL/DL Chris Aivaliotis, OL Thomas Waite, RB Trey Dunlap, QB Brady Anderson, DE David Faughtenberry, Offense: Power-I Defense: Multiple School Enrollment: 369 Stadium: Ponder Field


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August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Ponder High School – Go Lions! Ponder Lions 2014 Football Schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 29 ..... Fort Worth Castleberry .... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ...... Callisburg......................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 .... at Nocona ........................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 .... Howe................................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 .... at Tom Bean .................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10...... at Paradise* ..................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17...... Boyd* ............................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24...... at Brock* .......................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31...... Bowie*.............................. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 ....... at Breckenridge* .............. 7:30 p.m. *District 4-3A DI games

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PONDER

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Ponder’s Aivaliotis growing as player By Patrick Hayslip Staff Writer

Filling a new role is a familiar challenge for Ponder offensive lineman Chris Aivaliotis. The senior was asked to play center a year ago for a team transitioning from a pass-heavy offense to a ground-andpound attack. The shift will continue this season when Aivaliotis will once again play a key part after moving over to right tackle to serve as running back Trey Dunlap’s personal battering ram. Aivaliotis welcomes those changes. “I love power-running football,” Aivaliotis said. “It’s whipping the other guy in front of you and driving him to the ground. It’s fun, especially for an offensive lineman because you love to do that. Pass protection is also nice, but I love to run over people all the time. It’s also nice to run the ball, keep the ball, run the

clock out and win the game.” Aivaliotis is well-equipped to help Ponder pound away at opponents, especially after pushing his weight from 260 pounds last season to 291 this year. Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke said he has noticed Aivaliotis’ growth. “He’s already a grown man physically, but the mental part of his game has also come a long way,” Schuelke said. “I think he’s figured out if we are going to win that he’s going to have to be a big part of it. He’s becoming a better leader.” That leadership ability is helping Ponder grow as a program. “I think it’s going to be really important,” Aivaliotis said of that growth. “We have a lot of new guys stepping up. They are really helping us out. We’re getting some good blocks and our pass protection has gotten a lot better than it was last year. I feel like we’ve improved a lot as an offensive line.”

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Ponder offensive lineman Chris Aivaliotis has grown as a player and as a leader and will fill a vital role in both capacities as the Lions make the transition from a passing offense to a run-based attack this season.

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PONDER

DRC Football

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength

The offensive line will play a huge role in the Lions’ commitment to be a runfirst wing formation team. Chris Aivaliotis, a 6-foot-1, 291-pound senior, will anchor the line while fellow senior lineman Thomas Waite, who checks in at 281 pounds, and senior tight end Ryder Perry, who Waite is 237 pounds, will also play big roles. Senior Zach Simpson will play center while juniors Jak King and Justin Wagner fill out the rest of the line.

point of concern

Winning close games will be a point of emphasis for this year’s Ponder squad. Head coach Glen Schuelke thinks last year’s district schedule would have been much different if Ponder could have gutted out more close victories. Letting a few of those close games get away is a problem Schuelke attributes to the mental side of the game — something they preach about every day of practice.

key newcomer

Schuelke and Lions expect big things out of sophomore Jonathan Aguilar, who will play on both sides of the ball this season. He’ll be a key wideout for quarterback Brady Anderson while also being counted on defensively Aguilar at safety.

game of the year

Ponder won just one district game last season, knocking off Paradise 2219. A move to 4-3A (Division I) will have the Lions in a largely reconstituted league this year, but the rematch between the teams could loom large for Ponder. The Lions will have just two district home games, making winning on the road in league play a necessity if Ponder is to make a run at a playoff berth. The first of those away games is against Paradise on Oct. 10. A win over the Panthers would send Ponder into a home game against Boyd with a load of momentum and a chance to improve to 2-0 in league play.

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August 28, 2014

Lions Roster No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. 1 Gabe Gomez 5-7 158 Jr. 2 Cole Gardner 6-1 172 Sr. 3 Trey Dunlap 6-2 170 Sr. 4 David Faughtenberry 6-3 180 Sr. 5 Jordan Freeman 5-11 155 Jr. 9 Shane Scott 6-0 170 So. 10 Magnum Sampson 6-2 170 Jr. 11 Jared Fredman 5-6 140 Jr. 12 Lance Fogle 6-0 167 Sr. 16 Brady Anderson 6-2 180 Jr. 17 Robert Pennington 5-10 150 Sr. 20 Jacob Whited 5-6 171 Sr. 5-7 146 So. 21 Jonathan Aguilar 22 J.J. Torres 5-9 170 Sr. 33 Hugo Aguilar 5-7 145 Sr. 34 Austin Bennett 5-11 182 Jr. 42 Justin Elder 6-0 158 Sr. 44 Ryder Perry 6-3 237 Sr. 50 Chris Aivaliotis 6-1 291 Sr. Jr. 51 Cristian Woolbright 5-11 225 5-11 222 Jr. 52 Mitch Fruth 6-2 196 Sr. 54 Phillip Benett 6-1 227 Jr. 55 Jak King

PONDER Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 FW Castleberry 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Callisburg 7:30 p.m. at Nocona 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Howe 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at Tom Bean 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Paradise* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Boyd* 7:30 p.m. at Brock* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 Oct. 31 Bowie* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at Breckenridge* 7:30 p.m. *District 4-3A DI games 62 66 71 77 78 79 89

From Page 98

Ben Dankestreiter Justin Stout Nick Thompson Justin Wagner Thomas Waite Zach Simpson Dustin Ferguson

5-10 5-11 6-3 5-9 6-0 6-1 6-2

208 178 240 204 281 202 180

Jr. So. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

playoff appearance in school history. “I see the season going really well,” Dunlap said. “We got some new coaches in. Last season was a work in progress, and we didn’t know the system. This year, I think we have the system down better. I think we have a chance at making the playoffs and going pretty far.”

Ponder

Dunlap will have a chance to break both of those records with this season’s commitment to the running game, and he believes Ponder is poised for its first

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102

LIBERTY

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Liberty ushers in new era under Hundley By Rich Luna For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Barton Hundley patrols the practice field, moving quietly from station to station. He spends a little more time with the defense — it’s hard to break old habits — and he captures the attention of players during team huddles. It may be a new era in Liberty Christian football, but there’s clearly a comfort level with Hundley in charge. For only the third time in school history, there will be a new head coach on the sideline, but Hundley is already well known on the Liberty campus. He had served as defensive backs coach for three seasons when he was promoted to head coach last spring after Greg Price was fired. “The most difficult thing [in transition] was as an assistant coach, there were a whole lot of things I didn’t have to think about,” he said as the Warriors prepared to break fall training at Camp Copass. “I have so many more administrative duties and things that I need to do, so it was nice to get back on the field. I feel more than good, I feel fantastic.” Hundley is clearly at home on the field. He was a standout defensive back at Kansas State and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1986. After his playing days, he coached at Hallsville, Wichita Falls and Lewisville before being hired by Price at Liberty. When the school announced it wanted to go a different direction with the football program, Hundley was selected to replace Price, who coached the Warriors for five seasons, taking them to two TAPPS state semifinal appearances and the championship game in 2009. That was the politics. Now it’s game time and Hundley, 50, has his focus on keeping his players true to the school’s values and to success on the field where the Warriors advanced to the state semifinals last year, losing to district rival Fort Worth Nolan, 55-20. The Warriors will not be rebuilding as much as reloading this season. A strong core of receivers and linebackers will

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

LIBERTY: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

New Liberty head coach Barton Hundley hopes to guide the Warriors to a successful season and the TAPPS playoffs in what is expected to be a tough district. The Warriors’ hopes to reach that goal will rest partly on wide receivers Hunter Griffith, right, and Givon Washington.

provide the leadership and experience. Seniors Hunter Griffith, Jordan Brown and Drew Hunnicutt, and junior Justus Lee combined for 69 catches for 1,122 yards last year. Junior Givon Washington joins the group, adding more depth to the passing game. “I think it’s a good group,” Griffith said. “We’re going to need to be quick off the ball. Camp has been a great experience for us. We came together.” The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Hunnicutt, possibly the most versatile player on the team, is the top returning passer (23 of 42 for 343 yards and four TDs), but he

may end up at wide receiver, with Nick Starkel (6-3, 170, junior) at quarterback. Ryan Vollenhals is the top returning running back after the Warriors lost JonAaron Howell to graduation. Howell rushed for 1,262 yards and 14 TDs last year, was a first-team all-state selection both at running back and safety. Vollenhals, a 5-8, 165-pound junior, rushed 33 times for 183 yards last season, but Hundley is high on his back’s abilities. “He’s got good vision, he’s quick and elusive,” Hundley said. “He also can run for power. We like what we see there.”

WARRIORS Quick facts

District: TAPPS District 1-1 2013 Record: 9-4 (4-2 in District 1-1) Coach: Barton Hundley (First season) Returning starters: Four on offense, seven on defense Key players: WR/DB Jordan Brown, OL/DL Jaden Cook, WR/LB Hunter Griffith, RB/ILB Kyleb Howell, QB/WR/DB Drew Hunnicutt, RB/DL Jeffrey Hugh, WR/DB Justus Lee, RB/DB Dakota Sanchez, OL/DL Tobyn Steffey, WR/DB Givon Washington. Offense: Spread Defense: 3-4


August 28, 2014

DRC Football

103

Liberty Christian High School–Go Warriors! Liberty Christian Warriors 2014 Football Schedule Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 ................at Celina........................................ 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 .................Springtown .................................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 ...............Melissa.......................................... 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 ...............Fort Worth Nolan* ........................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3...................at Bishop Lynch*........................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10.................at Midland Christian*..................... 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17.................Bishop Dunne* .............................. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24.................at Trinity Christian*........................ 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.................Prestonwood Christian* ................ 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 ..................at John Paul II* ............................. 7:30 p.m. *District Games

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104

LIBERTY

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Hunnicutt follows family’s tradition By Rich Luna For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Liberty’s Drew Hunnicutt didn’t have to look far to find inspiration for his success on the football field. Call it a family tradition. His grandfather, Cliff, played football at North Texas. His father, Mike, played football at Texas Tech. The youngest Hunnicutt, now a senior for the Warriors, is on track to follow their footsteps. He’s getting attention from Ivy League schools. “I’m excited about the possibility,� Hunnicutt said. “It’s still a ways off, but sure, I hope I get the chance to play at the next level.� Given his skills both on offense and defense, it would seem he would get his chance. Liberty first-year head coach Barton Hundley knows a thing or two about playing at the next level. Hundley was a

defensive back at Kansas State and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1986. “He can play at the next level,� Hundley said. “He’s made himself really good. � Hunnicutt will see plenty of playing time this season. He’s the top returning quarterback, having thrown for 343 yards and four touchdowns last season, but he could spend more time at wide receiver (129 yards in 2013). On defense, he’s a returning starter in the secondary. Hunnicutt focused on improving his footwork over the summer. He’s already proven he has good speed by running a 4.5 in the 40. He also ran the first leg on the school’s 1,600-meter relay team that won the state championship last spring. “It’s all about the first steps,� he said of his footwork. “I’ve worked to try and get a better jump. That’s where people get beat.�

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Drew Hunnicutt is aiming to follow his family’s football tradition by playing on the college level. Hunnicutt’s grandfather played at North Texas, while his father played at Texas Tech.

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LIBERTY

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

105

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength Liberty coach Barton Hundley likes his receivers and linebackers. “We’ve got some really good kids in those positions,” he said. “They’re big, fast, strong and experienced. They love to play football.” The Warriors are deep at receiver with Jordan Brown, Brown Hunter Griffith, Givon Washington and Justus Lee. Kyleb Howell, at 6-foot, 215 pounds, will be a catalyst at linebacker.

point of concern

The development of the offensive line will be critical for Liberty this season. The Warriors saw the majority of their key linemen graduate, including four-year starter Brad Lundblade. Cook Look for Cole Blaylock (5-9, 240), Zack Buckholtz (5-10, 220), Jaden Cook (5-11, 200), Tyler Cox (5-10, 260), Blake Harrison (6-0, 200), Matt Mullins (6-1, 260), Garrett Sawyer (5-10, Buckholtz 200) and Tobyn Steffey (5-10, 190) to be among the players bat-

tling for playing time and several open spots in the Warriors’ lineup.

key newcomer

Hundley is expecting big play from newcomer Cole Blaylock, who will see time at nose guard and the offensive line. At 5-9, 240, he’s a strong player, but will need to get his football groove going. He transferred from Marcus last year, but only played baseball. He decided to Blalock go back to football and could be a significant contributor.

game of the year

The season opener against perennial power Celina will be an immediate test for the Warriors. It’s a road game and will mark the debut for Hundley as a head coach. “They’re going to give us all we can handle,” Hundley said. “Every game is a big one, but we sure do want to start off strong.” Celina is also the type of game that will help preHundley pare the Warriors for a tough district schedule, opening with Fort Worth Nolan on Sept. 26 at home. Midland Christian, the 2012 Division II champ, joins the district this season.

Warriors Roster No. Player Ht. Wt. 2 Jordan Brown WR/DB 5-9 3 Hunter Griffith WR/LB 6-2 4 Tanner Moseley RB/OLB 5-9 5 Kason Howell RB/DB 5-11 6 Kyleb Howell RB/ILB 6-0 7 Zach Keller RB/DB 5-7 8 Drew Hunnicutt QB/DB 6-1 9 Justus Lee WR/DB 5-9 10 Dakota Sanchez RB/DB 5-8 11 Jalen Hurt WR/DB 5-8 12 Cole Irwin TE/OLB 6-1 14 Nick Starkel QB 6-3 21 Nelson Nicholson WR/DB 5-9 22 Givon Washington WR/DB 5-11 23 Dylan Hernandez RB/DB 5-8 24 Austin Horton WR/OLB 5-10 25 Ryan Vollenhals RB/DB 5-8 33 Jordan Parker WR/ILB 5-10 39 Hugh Jeffrey RB/DL 6-0 52 Tobyn Steffey OL/DL 5-10

Pos. Yr. 160 Sr. 225 Sr. 160 Sr. 160 Fr. 215 Jr. 155 Sr. 185 Sr. 170 Jr. 170 Jr. 140 So. 195 Sr. 170 Jr. 165 Sr. 150 Jr. 140 Jr. 175 Sr. 165 Jr. 175 Sr. 185 Sr. 190 Sr.

LIBERTY Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 at Celina 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 Springtown 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 Melissa 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 Fort Worth Nolan* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Bishop Lynch* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Midland Christian* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 Bishop Dunne* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Trinity Christian* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 Prestonwood* 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Plano John Paul II* 7:30 p.m. *TAPPS Division I District 1 55 Garrett Sawyer 56 Zack Buckholtz 72 Cole Blaylock 74 Matt Mullins 75 Jaden Cook 79 Tyler Cox 99 Cole Austin

OL/DL OL/DL OL/DL OL/DL OL/DL OL/DL K/P

5-10 5-10 5-9 6-1 5-11 5-10 5-9

200 220 240 260 200 260 170

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P: 940-294-2000 1301 S. Hwy. 377 | Argyle, TX 76226 www.LibertyChristian.com H2


106

STATE HIGH SCHOOL POLLS

August 28, 2014

DRC Football

The following is the Associated Press preseason Texas state high school football poll. Guyer, which won the Class 4A Division I state championship last season, opens at No. 7 in Class 6A, while Argyle, which won the Class 3A Division II title game, is ranked No. 6 in Class 4A

Class 6A School Point Prv 1. Allen (15) 231 ­— 2. Katy (5) 208 — 3. Cedar Hill (5) 204 — 4. DeSoto 172 — 5. Euless Trinity 119 — 6. Southlake Carroll 105 — 7. Guyer 79 — 8. Cibolo Steele 75 — 9. Lake Travis 68 — 10. Pearland 33 — Others receiving votes: 11, Dallas Skyline 21. 12, Galena Park North Shore 18. 13, Manvel 15. 14, San Antonio Brennan 13. 15, Coppell 6. 16, Arlington Martin 3. 17, Wolfforth Frenship 2. 18, Arlington Bowie 1. 18, Converse Judson 1. 18, Spring Westfield 1.

Class 5A School Points Prv 1. Aledo (17) 227 — 2. Ennis (4) 189 — 3. Longview (1) 184 — 4. A&M Consolidated (3) 162 — 5. Cedar Park 134 — 6. Brenham 107 — 7. Temple 97 — 8. Tyler 50 — 9. Richmond George Ranch 46 — 10. Mansfield Timberview 40 — Others receiving votes: 11, Abilene Cooper 30. 12, Dallas South Oak Cliff 20. 12, Mesquite Poteet 20. 14, Lufkin 18. 15, Wylie 9. 16, N. Richland Hills Birdville 6. 16, Rockwall-Heath 6. 18, West Mesquite 5. 18, Elgin 5. 18, CC Calallen 5. 21, Lucas Lovejoy 4. 22, Mansfield Summit 3. 22, McKinney North 3. 24, Frisco 2. 25, Georgetown 1. 25, Houston Stratford 1. 25, CC Flour Bluff 1.

Class 3A School Points Prv 1. Cisco (6) 213 — 183 — 2. Hallettsville (11) 3. Cameron Yoe (4) 174 — 4. Waskom (4) 167 — 5. Newton 125 — 6. Wall 111 — 7. New Boston 110 — 79 — 8. Daingerfield (tie) Franklin 79 — 10. Rockdale 43 — Others receiving votes: 11, Rogers 30. 12, East Bernard 14. 12, Corrigan-Camden 14. 14, Sonora 10. 15, Kirbyville 5. 15, White Oak 5. 17, Teague 3. 18, Malakoff 2. 18, Gunter 2. 18, Arp 2. 18, Pottsboro 2. 22, Eastland 1. 22, Glen Rose 1.

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Argyle takes the field before its 38-33 win over Fairfield in the Class 3A Division II state title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington last season. The Eagles open the 2014 campaign ranked sixth in the Associated Press Class 4A poll.

Class 2A Points Prv School 1. Refugio (12) 232 — 2. Mart (11) 221 — 3. Tenaha (2) 160 — 4. Albany 130 — 5. Hico 108 — 6. Canadian 97 — 7. Bremond 91 — 8. Centerville 88 — 9. Shiner 62 — 10. Falls City 58 — Others receiving votes: 11, Crawford 20. 12, Stamford 18. 13, Mason 17. 14, Stratford 15. 15, Chilton 13. 16, Seagraves 11. 17, Goldthwaite 7. 17, Wellington 7. 19, Iraan 5. 19, Muenster 5. 21, Alto 3. 21, Booker 3. 23, Hamlin 2. 24, Pineland West Sabine 1. 24, New Deal 1.

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Class 4A School Points Prv 1. Stephenville (14) 226 — 2. Navasota (4) 188 — 3. Graham (1) 134 — 4. Carthage 131 — 5. La Marque (2) 127 — 6. Argyle (3) 125 —

7. West Orange-Stark 98 — 8. Gilmer (1) 80 — (tie) Kilgore 80 — 10. Celina 70 — Others receiving votes: 11, La Vernia 38. 12, La Grange 18. 13, Liberty Hill 17. 14, Tyler Chapel Hill 10. 15, Fairfield 9. 16, Gladewater 8. 17, Sinton 7. 18, Kennedale 4. 19, Big Spring 2. 20, Abilene Wylie 1. 20, Coldspring-Oakhurst 1. 20, Tatum 1.

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DRC Football

2013 ALL-AREA TEAM The following is the Denton Record-Chronicle’s 2013 All-Area team Co-MVPs Jerrod Heard, QB, Guyer, Sr. Ian Sadler, WR, Argyle, Sr. Offensive Player of the Year Tre’von Jackson, Sanger, RB, Sanger Defensive Player of the Year Thomas Ferguson, Guyer, SL, Sr. Newcomer of the Year Dagan Haehn, Lake Dallas, QB, So. Two-way Player of the Year JonAaron Howell, Liberty, RB/DB, Sr.

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard cruises into the end zone for a touchdown last season in a game against Birdville. Heard was a Co-MVP of the Record-Chronicle’s 2013 all-area team.

Offense First team Mitchell Bridges, QB, Ryan, Sr. D.J. Breedlove, RB, Guyer, Sr. Nick Ralston, RB, Argyle, Jr. DaCoven Bailey, WR, Pilot Point, So. Keegan Brewer, WR, Lake Dallas, So. Key’andre Harvey, WR, Denton, Jr. Trent Willis, WR, Ryan, Sr. Hayden Hood, OL, Argyle, Sr. Tucker Cross, OL, Ryan, Sr. Jerod Fritsch, OL, Guyer, St. Hunter Krastin, OL, Guyer, Sr. Brad Lundblade, OL, Liberty, Sr. Cole Hedlund, K, Argyle, Sr. Second team Colby Moore, QB, Liberty, Sr. Brennan Ellis, RB, Krum, Sr. Xavier Scott, RB, Denton, So. Anthony Taylor, RB, Guyer, Jr. Tyronne Williams, RB, Ryan, Sr. KeVon Buris, WR, Denton, Sr. Alex Honey, WR, Guyer. Jr.

Bryan Barrett, OL, Guyer, Sr. Matt Hiter, OL, Argyle, Jr. Michael Castle, OL, Argyle, Sr. Austen Lange, OL, Sanger, Sr. Dakota Laws, OL, Ryan, Sr. Wyatt Broxson, UTIL, Sanger, Sr. Evan Moore, K, Aubrey, Sr. Defense First team Micah Capra, DL, Argyle, Sr. Lucas Greenwood, DL, Pilot Point, Jr. Reese Strait, DL, Ryan, Sr. Josiah Tauaefa, DL, Lake Dallas, Jr. Carl Thompson, DL, Guyer, Jr. Cole Carpenter, LB, Ryan, Sr. Michael Carrillo, LB, Guyer, So. Colton Hinnrichs, LB, Argyle, Sr. Demontrie Taylor, LB, Guyer, Sr. Ronnie Coleman, DB, Ryan, Sr. DeMarcus Owens, DB, Guyer, Jr. Reese Thompson, DB, Argyle, Sr. Connor Wilson, DB, Argyle, Sr. Second team John Groff, DL, Pilot Point, Jr. Aaron Maxwell, DL, Denton, Sr. Reagen Page, DL, Argyle, Sr. Nolan Robinson, DL, Ryan, Sr. Derek Watson, DL, Guyer, Jr. J.T. Williams, DL, Ryan, Sr. Sam Sizelove, LB, Argyle, Sr. Morgan Sprayberry, LB, Krum, Sr. Taylor Sweatt, LB, Argyle, So. Marcel Thomas, LB, Guyer, Sr. Paul Hunter, DB, Ryan, Sr. Jordan Wallace, DB, Guyer, Jr. Trey Woods, DB, Guyer, Jr. Christian Washington, DB, Ponder, Sr.

August 28, 2014

107

The Dallas Morning News/Vernon Bryant

Argyle wide receiver Ian Sadler carries the ball in a win over Gladewater during last season’s playoffs. Sadler was a Co-MVP of the Record-Chronicle’s 2013 all-area team.

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108

August 28, 2014

CALVARY

DRC Football

New quarterback takes over at Calvary By Randy Cummings For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Third-year Calvary head coach Lionel Gillespie isn’t shy admitting his lofty expectations for this year’s Lions team, and it appears the numbers seem to support his belief that good things can happen in 2014. For starters, he expects to suit up a roster of 18 players, a total that is rare in sixman football and gives Gillespie options to avoid relying on too many players having to play on both sides of the ball all the time. On that roster are five seniors and two juniors, as well as a total of five returning lettermen from last year’s squad, giving the Lions a more mature, experienced foundation for this season. Two public school transfers are expected to play major roles in making the Lions’ offense more explosive — the name of the game in six-man ball. “I’ve been here three years and this is definitely the most talented team that I’ve ever had,” said Gillespie. “I feel this team has a ton of talent and it’s up to us, the coaching staff, to bring out the best of their ability.” Sophomore running back Jacob Hood is back after receiving all-district honors last year despite playing in just six games before a knee injury derailed his season. Gillespie plans to also use Hood in a slot receiver role like he did a year ago. Calvary’s ground attack will also be bolstered by the presence of transfer Casey Scaggs from Sanger, who will play mostly in an upback position. The Lions’ offense, though, may depend on the arm and legs of newcomer Keishun Cuchens, a senior transfer from The Colony, who will take over at quarterback. Cuchens focused on basketball last year, but possesses the athletic ability and leadership qualities that have convinced Gillespie he can handle directing Calvary’s offense. “He’s very athletic and talented,” said Gillespie. “I’ve been watching him in [offseason] training and how he’s vocal. You know who is going to be a football player and who won’t pan out, and this

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

CALVARY: GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Keishun Cuchens transferred to Calvary from The Colony for his senior season and will take over at quarterback for the Lions. His athletic ability could make a big difference for Calvary, which has high hopes because of its new quarterback and a host of veteran players that will surround him this season.

guy is a real talent. “He’s definitely shown leadership characteristics. From what I’ve viewed in preseason workouts, he looks like a guy who wants to lift the guys up to the next level.” Gillespie said he would also consider occasionally moving Cuchens around on offense, utilizing his skills as a spread receiver or at running back. When Calvary opts to go to the air, returning starter Brayden Humphrey, a junior, and senior Brandon Eaton, who played football two years ago but chose to focus on basketball last season, provide capable targets in the passing game.

Last year inexperience on defense contributed to the Lions going 3-8, but two returning starters from that unit — junior Jake Tanis and sophomore Nathan Schaefer — will give the Lions some experience up front. Both players will probably rotate between linebacker and a defensive line position, with Schaefer, at 6-foot-2, lining up as a down lineman while Tanis attacks from a defensive end position. “Schaefer brings us intensity,” said Gillespie. “He never stops. And he really pushes his teammates. He doesn’t say See CALVARY on 110

LIONS Quick facts

District: TAPPS Six-Man Division II District 1 2013 Record: 3-8 (2-3, TAPPS Six-Man District 2-I) Coach: Lionel Gillespie (8-14 in two seasons at Calvary) Returning Starters: 2 on offense; 2 on defense Key Players: QB Keishun Cuchens, RB/DB Jacob Hood, WR Brandon Eaton Offense: Spread Defense: Multiple School Enrollment: 150 Stadium: Bronco Field


DRC Football

August 28, 2014

109

Denton Calvary Academy – Go Lions! Denton Calvary Lions 2014 Football Schedule

TK

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 .... Greenville Christian .......................7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 ..... at Harvest Christian (Watauga).....7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 ... at Fulton Academy (Heath) ...........7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 ... Forestburg .....................................7:30 p.m. Oct. 3....... at Tioga .........................................7:30 p.m. Oct. 10..... Saint Jo .........................................7:30 p.m. Oct. 17..... at Carrollton Christian Academy*.....7:30 p.m. Oct. 25..... Plainview Christian*.......................1:00 p.m. Oct. 31..... at Christ the King Cathedral*.........7:30 p.m. *District

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110

CALVARY

August 28, 2014

Extra Points Keys to a successful year position of strength

It’s rare that a coach points to his special teams as a key strength on his team, but Lions head coach Lionel Gillespie believes kicker Blake Mikeal — a freshman — can impact his team in several ways. “We have a really good kicker this year,� Gillespie said. “I’m very impressed with his foot and what he brings to the team.� Mikeal’s strong Mikeal leg means his kickoffs can regularly reach the end zone. And Gillespie said Mikeal has shown great consistency when booting field goals.

point of concern

Gillespie hopes to be able to keep his offensive standouts from tiring themselves by also playing on defense. To achieve that goal, he knows his starting secondary will be somewhat inexperienced heading into the season. Gillespie has been working on incorporating some zone coverage schemes. “I’m trying to do some different things to where we’re not always in manto-man coverage,� said Gillespie.

key newcomer

The Lions will turn to new quarterback Keishun Cuchens, one of two transfers to join the team. A senior from The Colony, Cuchens will rely on his athleticism to power Calvary’s attack both as a runner and passer. Gillespie plans to utilize Cuchens primarily at quarterback, but won’t hesitate to put him outside as a receiver or shift him over to a running back position.

game of the year

Since Calvary has moved into a new district, the players and coaches aren’t familiar with their new league opponents. But a well-known foe — Greenville Christian — appears on the 2014 schedule as the opening game. It was Greenville that knocked Calvary out in the state finals five years ago and has been a recent district rival until this season when the two were placed in different leagues. So just because the two schools are now nondistrict opponents doesn’t mean the Lions won’t eye this year’s contest as special. This year’s meeting is scheduled for Aug. 29 at home, one of just three home games on Calvary’s 2014 schedule.

DRC Football

Lions Roster No. Player Ht. Wt. 1 Jake Tanis WR/LB 6-0 3 Blake Mikeal QB/CB 5-5 4 Dallas Davis CB 5-11 CB 5-7 5 Lane Pirkle 6 Jacob Peters DE 5-9 7 Caleb Yosten QB/CB 5-10 8 Brandon Eaton WR/CB 6-1 9 Brayden Humphrey RB/CB 5-10 10 Keishun Cuchens QB/CB 6-0 11 Kyle Parson DE 5-11 12 Casey Scaggs QB/FS 6-2 18 Josh Elam QB/CB 5-8 19 Gavin Mercer WR/CB 5-11 20 Ben Oviedo C/DE 5-11 24 Nathan Schaeffer OT/DT 6-1 27 Jacob Hood RB/CB 5-6 DL 5-8 33 Mason Fellers

Pos. Yr. 170 Jr. 125 Fr. 130 Fr. 130 Fr. 200 Sr. 130 So. 165 Sr. 175 Jr. 160 Sr. 143 So. 200 Sr. 155 Sr 155 Jr. 170 Sr. 170 So. 140 So. 130 Fr.

CALVARY Schedule

Date Opponent Time Aug. 29 Greenville Christian 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Harvest Christian 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Fulton Academy 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 Forestburg 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Tioga Oct. 10 at Saint Jo 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Car. Christian* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Plainview Christian* 1 p.m. Oct. 31 at Christ the King* 7:30 p.m. *TAPPS Six-Man Division II District 1 Home games at Bronco Field

42 Matt Vines 44 Zach Croff 88 Mark Croff

From Page 108

DL 5-6 206 So. RB/DB 5-8 175 Fr. RB/DB 5-8 175 Fr.

fensive schemes to the playbook to prevent his secondary from being beaten as often in man-to-man situations. “I’m trying to apply more pressure,� Gillespie said. “I have guys in different key positions that I want to make plays. In six-man, it’s very rare to have a dominant defense, but I feel like we’ll have a defense that will make a lot of key stops. “But I’m really relying on our offense to carry us. I’m anticipating our offense to do great things.�

Calvary

a bunch, but he leads by example. And throughout the three years that I’ve been here, [Tanis] has gotten tougher and more aggressive.� Gillespie will switch to calling the defensive alignments and believes the experience his team gained a year ago will pay off. He’s also adding some new de-

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COLLEGES

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

111

Former area stars return on high note By Adam Boedeker Staff Writer

There are great expectations for Denton area schools this fall due to the seasons North Texas, Guyer and Argyle posted a year ago. Those story lines are just the beginning in a season a host of former Denton area players will figure prominently on a national level in college football for teams that have great expectations of their own. Several of those players will be back

in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with games scheduled at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium That series starts Saturday with one of the most highly anticipated early games of the college football season when topranked Florida State, the defending BCS champion, will travel to Arlington along with reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Jameis Winston. He’ll be opposed by former Guyer standout J.W. Walsh, who is entering his junior season as the team’s unquestioned starter for the

first time in a career spent splitting time with other players. The local stars of the game, however, could end up being two defensive ends from Denton in Ryan product Mario Edwards Jr. and Guyer-ex Jimmy Bean. Both players played the best games of their young careers in their teams’ bowl game, with Edwards’ coming in the national championship win over Auburn and Bean’s coming in a thrilling Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri. AT&T Stadium will host four big-

time college games this year with Texas-UCLA, Texas A&M-Arkansas and Texas Tech-Baylor all following the season-opening showdown between the Seminoles and Cowboys. All of those games will feature former area high school stars, including Texas Tech wide receiver Ian Sadler (Argyle), Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard (Guyer), Texas fullback Alex De La Torre (Ryan), Texas A&M offensive lineman Garrett Gramling (Ryan) and Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund (Argyle).

What to watch for nationally Denton is known for producing standout college players. The following is a look at a few in the current crop, including J.W. Walsh of Oklahoma State and Mario Edwards of Florida State, whose teams will face off Saturday at AT&T Stadium.

Associated Press/Eric Gay

J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State

Key game: Oklahoma State vs. Florida State, Saturday, AT&T Stadium Former Guyer standout J.W. Walsh enters the season as the unquestioned starter and leader for Oklahoma State. Walsh started five games and played in eight while racking up an average of 203.4 yards of offense a game. He threw for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Associated Press/Steve Cannon

Mario Edwards, Florida State

Key game: Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday, AT&T Stadium Edwards, a former Ryan standout, showed signs of coming into his own and capitalizing on the potential that made him one of the top prospects in the country in 2012 when he posted 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack in Florida State’s win over Auburn in the BCS national title game last season.

For more former local standouts playing across the country this season, see Pages 112-114


112

August 28, 2014

COLLEGES

DRC Football

The Dallas Morning News/Vernon Bryant

Bud Sasser, Missouri

Key game: Missouri at Texas A&M, Nov. 11, Kyle Field The former Ryan standout was a consistent performer for Missouri all season and made one of the highlight plays of the year for the Tigers in 2013. Sasser caught a lateral from quarterback Maty Mauk in the fourth quarter of a game at Georgia and hit L’Damian Washington for a 40-yard touchdown pass that helped the Tigers post their first road win over a top-10 ranked opponent since 1982. Sasser finished with 26 catches for 361 yards on the season. Sasser will return to Texas when Missouri plays at Texas A&M on Nov. 11.

Denton Record-Chronicle file photo

Conner Crane, Stanford

Denton Record-Chronicle file photo

Garrett Gramling, Texas A&M

Key game: Texas A&M at South Carolina, tonight, Williams-Brice Stadium The former Ryan standout, shown here on national signing day in 2010, enters his senior season at Texas A&M off a solid junior campaign in which he started in games against Vanderbilt and UTEP in addition to playing in every other game. He is expected to play tonight when the Aggies face South Carolina.

Key game: USC at Stanford, Sept. 6, Stanford Stadium Crane played on special teams last season and was Stanford’s Special Teams Player of the Week once last season. Crane, shown here during his career at Guyer will try to carve out a larger role this season.


COLLEGES

DRC Football

August 28, 2014

113

Denton Record-Chronicle /David Minton

Ellis Jefferson, Arizona State

Key game: Arizona State at Arizona, Nov. 28, Arizona Stadium Jefferson redshirted his first season at Arizona State and will try to carve out a role this season. The former Guyer standout will have his first opportunity to play in ASU’s rivalry game against Arizona in the Sun Devils’ final game of the regular season.

The Dallas Morning News/Garett Ray Fisbeck

Cole Hedlund, Arkansas

Key game: Arkansas at Texas A&M, Sept. 27, AT&T Stadium The former Argyle standout will have an opportunity to win the starting kicking job at Arkansas and could be on the field when the Razorbacks visit AT&T Stadium for an early game in Southeastern Conference play. Cole Hedlund’s older brother Chad is also a standout kicker and plays for Wake Forest.

Denton Record-Chronicle /David Minton

Alex De La Torre, Texas

Key game: North Texas at Texas, 7 p.m. Saturday, Royal-Memorial Stadium The former Ryan standout has made several key plays for Texas. The fullback caught a game-winning, 2-yard touchdown pass to lift the Longhorns past West Virginia last season and had one carry for 19 yards in a win over Kansas State. De La Torre will have a chance to add to that list of big plays Saturday when the Longhorns face North Texas, a team De La Torre knows well from his time in Denton.


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August 28, 2014

DRC Football

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

Dane Evans, Tulsa

Key game: Tulane at Tulsa, 7 p.m. today, H.A. Chapman Stadium Evans, a former Sanger standout, started five games last season when he threw for 898 yards while growing into the job. Evans competed for the job again in fall practice and could see action tonight when the Golden Hurricane opens its season with an American Athletic Conference game against fellow league newcomer and former Conference USA rival Tulane.

The Dallas Morning News/John F. Rhodes

Ian Sadler, Texas Tech

Key game: Texas at Texas Tech, Nov. 1, Jones AT&T Stadium Sadler was a dynamic playmaker for Argyle last season and helped lead the Eagles to a Class 3A Division II state title and will take his talents to Lubbock this fall to play for Texas Tech. Sadler could be a perfect fit in the Red Raiders’ high-flying attack and will have an opportunity to shine when Tech takes on rival Texas late in the season in Lubbock.

H2


BIG 12 SCHEDULE

DRC Football Saturday, Aug. 12 North Dakota State at Iowa State, 11 a.m. Alabama at West Virginia, 2:30 p.m. Stephen F. Austin at Kansas State, 6 p.m. Samford at TCU, 6 p.m. Central Arkansas at Texas Tech, 6 p.m. Louisiana Tech at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, AT&T Stadium, 7 p.m. North Texas at Texas, 7 p.m.

August 28, 2014

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What to watch for in the Big 12 There are several players with ties to Denton-area schools who will play for teams in the Big 12 this season. The following is a look at two key games.

Sunday, Aug. 31 SMU at Baylor, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 Oklahoma at Tulsa, 11 a.m. Kansas State at Iowa State, 11 a.m. Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m. Southeast Missouri State at Kansas, 6 p.m. Northeastern State at Baylor, 6:30 p.m. Brigham Young at Texas, 6:30 p.m. Towson at West Virginia, 6:30 p.m. Texas Tech at UTEP, 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 Baylor at Buffalo, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 West Virginia at Maryland, 11 a.m. Iowa State at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. Kansas at Duke, 2:30 p.m. Arkansas at Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m. Minnesota at TCU, 3 p.m. UTSA at Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. UCLA vs. Texas, AT&T Stadium, 7 p.m. Tennessee at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 Auburn at Kansas State, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 Oklahoma at West Virginia, TBA Central Michigan at Kansas, TBA Thursday, Sept. 25 Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 Baylor at Iowa State, TBA UTEP at Kansas State, TBA TCU at SMU, TBA Texas at Kansas, TBA Saturday, Oct. 4 Baylor at Texas TBA Kansas at West Virginia, TBA Iowa State at Oklahoma State, TBA Texas Tech at Kansas State, TBA Oklahoma at TCU, TBA Saturday, Oct. 11 West Virginia at Texas Tech,. TBA Oklahoma State at Kansas, TBA Texas vs. Oklahoma, Cotton Bowl, TBA TCU at Baylor, TBA Toledo at Iowa State, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 Kansas State at Oklahoma, TBA Baylor at West Virginia, TBA Oklahoma State at TCU. TBA Kansas at Texas Tech, TBA Iowa State at Texas, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 West Virginia at Oklahoma State, TBA Texas Tech at TCU, TBA

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

The Dallas Morning News/ Jeffrey McWhorter

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma at TCU

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 Bean, a former Guyer star, finished his first season as a starter for Oklahoma State on a high note when he posted 3.0 of his 9.5 tackles for loss on the season in a loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. He finished with 34 tackles on the year and will be a key force again when the Cowboys face Texas Tech and Ian Sadler. The former Argyle standout will be a freshman this fall and should see time in the Red Raiders’ offense that spreads the ball around to a variety of receivers. Sadler was a second-team, all-state selection as a senior.

TBA, Saturday, Oct. 4 Former Lake Dallas standout Daryl Williams, above, should play a key role for Oklahoma in the Sooners’ game against TCU and former Guyer offensive lineman Patrick Morris. Williams started the first 12 games of the 2013 season before playing left tackle in the Sooners’ game against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Williams was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches. Morris played in five games as a freshman last season and made the first start of his college career at left guard against SMU.

Texas at Kansas State, TBA Saturday, Nov.1 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, TBA Texas at Texas Tech, TBA Kansas at Baylor, TBA TCU at West Virgina, TBA Oklahoma at Iowa State, TBA Saturday, Nov. 8 Iowa State at Kansas, TBA Kansas State at TCU, TBA West Virginia at Texas, TBA

Baylor at Oklahoma, TBA Saturday, Nov. 15 Texas at Oklahoma State, TBA TCU at Kansas, TBA Oklahoma at Texas Tech, TBA

Thursday, Nov. 27 TCU at Texas, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 20 Kansas State at West Virginia, TBA

Saturday, Nov. 29 Kansas at Kansas State, TBA Baylor at Texas Tech, TBA West Virginia at Iowa State, TBA

Saturday, Nov. 22 Oklahoma State at Baylor, TBA Kansas at Oklahoma, TBA Texas Tech at Iowa State, TBA

Saturday, Dec. 6 Kansas State at Baylor, TBA Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, TBA Iowa State at TCU, TBA


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Friday, Aug. 29 Bowling Green at Western Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. UTSA at Houston, 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30 Troy at UAB, 11 a.m. Florida Atlantic at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. Hampton at Old Dominion, 2:30 Marshall at Miami (Ohio), 2:30 p.m. Rice at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. Bethune-Cookman at Florida International, 6 p.m. Louisiana Tech at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. Savannah State at Middle Tennessee, 6 p.m. Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. North Texas at Texas, 7 p.m. UTEP at New Mexico, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 Arizona at UTSA, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 Florida Atlantic at Alabama, 11 a.m. SMU at North Texas, 11 a.m. Western Kentucky at Illinois, 11 a.m. UAB at Mississippi State, 1 p.m. Middle Tennessee at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m. Old Dominion at North Carolina State, 5 p.m. Wagner at Florida Internationl, 5 p.m. Alcorn State at Southern Mississippi, 6 p.m. Louisiana Tech at Louisiana-Lafayette, 6 p.m. Rhode Island at Marshall, 6 p.m. Texas Tech at UTEP, 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 Louisiana Tech at North Texas, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 Ohio at Marshall, 11 a.m. Pittsburgh at Florida International, 11 a.m. Alabama A&M at UAB, 2:30 p.m. Southern Mississippi at Alabama, 5 p.m. Eastern Michigan at Old Dominion, 6 p.m. Tulsa at Florida Atlantic, 6 p.m. UTSA at Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee, 6 p.m. New Mexico State at UTEP, 7 p.m. Rice at Texas A&M, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 Nicholls State at North Texas, 2:30 p.m. Florida Atlantic at Wyoming, 3 p.m. Appalachian State at Southern Mississippi, 6 p.m. Northwestern State at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m. Louisville at Florida International, TBA Marshall at Akron, TBA Middle Tennessee at Memphis, TBA Old Dominion at Rice, TBA Friday, Sept. 26 Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 Florida International at UAB, 2:30 p.m. Western Kentucky at Navy, 2:30 p.m. Rice at Southern Mississippi, 6 p.m. Louisiana Tech at Auburn, TBA UTEP at Kansas State, TBA UTSA at Florida Atlantic, TBA Thursday, Oct. 2 Florida Atlantic at Florida International, 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 Southern Mississippi at Middle Tennessee, 11 a.m. New Mexico at UTSA, 2:30 p.m. Hawaii at Rice, 6 p.m. UAB at Western Kentucky, 6 p.m. UTEP at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m. Marshall at Old Dominion, TBA North Texas at Indiana, TBA Saturday, Oct. 11 Rice at Army, 11 a.m.

CONFERENCE USA SCHEDULE

DRC Football

What to watch for in C-USA North Texas will play its second season in Conference USA this fall after a successful debut that saw the Mean Green go 9-4. The following is a look at three key league games for UNT.

Louisiana Tech at North Texas

The News-Star/Dacia Idom

North Texas at Rice

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 UNT will open its second season in Conference USA play with a home game against Louisiana Tech at Apogee Stadium. The Mean Green beat the Bulldogs 28-13 last season when cornerback Zac Whitfield, above, returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown. The game will be a key early test in league play for UNT.

TBA Saturday, Oct. 25 One of the most memorable moments of the 2013 season for UNT was its win over Rice at Apogee Stadium on national television. UNT won 28-16 and made an eight-play goal-line stand after a holding call extended the drive. UNT cornerback James Jones, above made a key tackle in the stand. The rematch will be played in Houston at Rice Stadium.

TBA Saturday, Nov. 29 UNT will close its season with a game at UTSA, its emerging C-USA rival. UNT fell to the Roadrunners 21-13 at Apogee Stadium last season, despite a huge game from safety Lairamie Lee, above, who posted 12 tackles. UNT will look to avenge that loss when the Mean Green heads to the Alamodome for what could be a key game.

BYU at Middle Tennessee, 2:30 p.m. UAB at Florida Atlantic, 6 p.m. Southern Mississippi at UTEP, 7 p.m. Old Dominion at Vanderbilt, TBA Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech, TBA Saturday, Nov. 8 Louisiana Tech at UAB, 11 a.m. Florida International at Old Dominion, 2:30 p.m. UTEP at Western Kentucky, 3 p.m. Florida Atlantic at North Texas, 6 p.m. Marshall at Southern Mississippi, 6 p.m. UTSA at Rice, TBA Thursday, Nov. 13 Southern Mississippi at UTSA, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 Army at Western Kentucky, 11 a.m. Middle Tennessee at Florida International, 2:30 p.m.

North Texas at UTEP, 7 p.m. Rice at Marshall, TBA Friday, Nov. 21 UTEP at Rice, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 Louisiana Tech at Old Dominion, 12 p.m. Florida International at North Texas, 2:30 p.m. Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee, 6 p.m. Marshall at UAB, TBA UTSA at Western Kentucky, TBA Friday, Nov. 28 Western Kentucky at Marshall, 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29 Old Dominion at Florida Atlantic, 11 a.m. Rice at Louisiana Tech, 11 a.m. UAB at Southern Mississippi, 2:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee at UTEP, 6 p.m. North Texas at UTSA, TBA

Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton

North Texas at UAB, 2:30 p.m. Florida International at UTSA Old Dominion at UTEP, 7 p.m. Middle Tennessee at Marshall, TBA Saturday, Oct. 18 Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic, 11 a.m. UAB at Middle Tennessee, 2:30 p.m. Marshall at Florida International, 5 p.m. Southern Mississippi at North Texas, 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 Louisiana Tech at Southern Mississippi, 2:30 p.m. Old Dominion at Western Kentucky, 3 p.m. Florida Atlantic at Marshall, 6 p.m. UTEP at UTSA, 6 p.m. North Texas at Rice, TBA UAB at Arkansas, TBA Saturday, Nov. 1 Rice at Florida International, 11 a.m.

North Texas at UTSA


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