Under the Microscope: 4-6A
Cover Photo via @masonhays7 on Twitter
The new district four is a carbon copy of the old district five - but without Denton Guyer. The Guyer Wildcats stayed put in district five, and I will have a preview that loaded district next week. This week we’re previewing a district that features one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and several teams with new head coaches. Let’s dive into district 4-6A!
Southlake Carroll Dragons
Southlake Carroll’s season ended at the hands of the Duncanville Panthers for a second straight year last fall. The Dragons have put together back-to-back 13-1 seasons under 3rd year head coach Riley Dodge and looked even more impressive doing it last season behind quarterback Quinn Ewers. The dynamic signal caller is the top ranked quarterback in the nation for the class of 2022 and the next in a long line of great Southlake Carroll quarterbacks. He’ll have Minnesota commit Brady Boyd to throw to. Owen Allen is back at running back for the next several years after an impressive freshman season. Southlake Carroll has one of the best offensive attacks in the entire state of Texas. The defense has questions though. The Dragons graduated tons of talent from last year’s defense and will have to rebuild quickly in 2020. Hawaii commit Cinque Williams will lead the secondary, but the Dragons will need players to step up at other positions. The defense could be what stands between Southlake Carroll and another state championship.
Keller finished the 2019 season with a 7-4 record and the Indians have made three straight playoff appearances under head coach Carl Stralow for the first time since the 1960’s. Keller returns dynamic quarterback Hayden Anderson but loses star running back Enoch Ntchobo. Wide receiver Mason Hays figures to be one of Anderson’s top targets. Plenty of talent returns along the offensive line as well, headlined by Landon Blubaugh and Hilton Marsh. Star defensive lineman Nick Ravalico returns, as does defensive back Zac O’Day. All-district punter Clayton Thomas can really flip the field when the Indians need him to, and he will give the special teams a nice boost this season. The big question mark is at running back for a Keller team that is returning plenty of talent from last season’s playoff squad. I think Keller is the clear-cut second-best team in this district and the Indians should make the playoffs in 2020.
Eaton finished the 2019 season with a 4-6 record and missed out on the playoffs after fading down the stretch. Close losses against Keller, Central and Byron Nelson sunk the Eagles playoff aspirations. Eaton has plenty of talent returning this season and the Eagles are my pick of the teams who missed out on the playoffs last year to move in and fill the spot vacated by Denton Guyer. Eaton will have a strong offensive line behind the returning leadership of Heston Edwards and Hunter Erb and they will block for running back Jahbez Hawkins. Braden St. Ama figures to take over at quarterback after playing multiple positions last season. St. Ama will have plenty of returning production at receiver to throw to, led by Max McCuiston. Three-star defensive end Jayden Gray returns to lead the defense along with safety Jalen Thompson. I expect a big year out of an Eaton team returning a lot of talent.
Keller Central Chargers
Former Central defensive coordinator Mike Sports (one of our favorite names) has been promoted to head coach! The Chargers shouldn’t miss a beat this fall as Sports is already familiar with the program and his players. Central finished 2019 with a 7-4 record and a first-round playoff exit against Flower Mound Marcus. The Chargers return receiver Paolo Venezuela but will be a relatively young squad this fall. Athlete Landon Walker will compete for the starting quarterback job but is a capable receiver as well. Central has a lot of plug and play athletes and the Chargers could have a number of guys who play multiple positions throughout the season. Whatever Sports decides is best for his team, it will be crucial for him to figure out what works early in the season.
Byron Nelson Bobcats
Byron Nelson didn’t win a game until its final game of the season in 2019. Although the Bobcats finished just 1-9, they were competitive in several other games. Running back Max Modeste and offensive guard Femi Sakiri are both three-star recruits heading to UCONN and will lead the Bobcats on offense this fall. Experience at the quarterback position is always important and the Bobcats have just that in the form of three-year starter Hudson White. Byron Nelson will be another team to keep an eye on as one that could move into the playoff picture in 2020.
Timber Creek Falcons
Timber Creek has a new man at the helm! Marshall Williams inherits a Falcon squad that finished the 2019 season with a 3-7 record. Williams comes over from district rival Southlake Carroll, where he was the offensive coordinator for the Dragons. Two of the Falcons three wins last season came in district play, giving Williams a foundation to build on. Timber Creek could sneak into the playoffs if it’s able to double its district win total from a year ago. The Falcons lost by three points to Eaton but would need to win that game and find another win on the schedule this fall for a playoff appearance to be in the cards. Speedy running back Kaden Bess is back to lead the offense and tight end Mason McCrary will be a good target for whoever wins the quarterback battle. Cameron Minix is Timber Creek’s star on defense. The defensive back will bring a physical mindset to the defense.
Fossil Ridge Panthers
Fossil Ridge really struggled in 2019, finishing the season with a 1-9 record. The lone win came in district play against Byron Nelson. Coach Derrick Ramsey comes in after serving as the defensive coordinator for a Denton Guyer team that made a state championship appearance a year ago. Now Ramsey has some work to do to get this Panthers squad back to the playoffs. Fossil Ridge is returning plenty of talent at wide receiver but replacing Colione Evans at running back won’t be easy. As always, Fossil Ridge should have a decent defense. Linebacker Jordan Ederson is back to lead the group and cornerback Jaylen Grigsby is a playmaker as well. There are a lot of holes to fill on offense and Fossil Ridge will need to find a handful of playmakers early on in the season if the Panthers expect to make the playoffs this season.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Keller Indians. Southlake Carroll will draw the most attention of any team in this district, and for good reason. One of the most prolific quarterbacks in school history has returned to coach the team, and his protégé is one of the top ranked quarterbacks in the nation. But who will finish second in this district? My pick is the Keller Indians. Keller will be looking for that elusive playoff win this season and should get it. The Indians return more talent than they have in a long time and they’ll matchup with a team from district three in the first round. I expect a big year from quarterback Hayden Anderson and wide receiver Mason Hays, and I am interested to see just how often Blue Lights will be shining in 2020.
Players to Watch
I couldn’t choose! My players to watch are Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers and running back Owen Allen. Ewers passed for over 4,000 yards and 54 total touchdowns in his sophomore season and Allen rushed for 23 touchdowns as a freshman. Show me a better young duo in the nation! You can’t! These two, along with Brady Boyd- will form a three-headed monster on offense for a team that will compete for a championship.