Under the Microscope: 5A DII District 7
Cover Photo via @LHSRedhawkFB on Twitter
There are plenty of interesting storylines in 5A DII District 7 this season, that includes several good teams at the top who will be competing for the district championship. There are also a handful of teams that are a step away from making the playoffs. Let's take a look at each individual team.
Denison just missed out on the playoffs in 2019 after finishing with a 6-4 record. The Yellowjackets went 5-1 against teams in their new district. Couple that with a strong junior class and Denison is set up nicely for the next two years. Running back Jadarian Price has offers from Baylor and Ohio State among others. Price will help out quarterback Caleb Heavner tremendously. The Yellowjackets return plenty of talent in the junior class along the defensive line as well. Watch for Denison to make noise in district play over the next two years.
Frisco is back! One of my favorite storylines to follow last year was Frisco's rise to the top of the district. The Raccoons not only made the playoffs but won two playoff games en route to an 11-2 record. Frisco finished with a 5-1 record against teams in its new district and should be looking to start a tradition of deep playoff runs. Cole Hutson returns for his junior season on the offensive line and has offers from Texas and Oklahoma State, among others. Cornerback Chase Lowery is a three-star recruit and is back to anchor the defense in his senior season. With talent back on both sides of the ball, the Raccoons have the opportunity for another playoff run in 2020.
Lebanon Trail Blazers
Lebanon Trail took a step forward in 2019 but still finished with a 3-7 record. The Blazers will look to take another step forward with talent returning at wide receiver and along the offensive line. It won't be an easy task in a district with a handful of talented teams, but there is a foundation to build on here.
Frisco Liberty Redhawks
Frisco Liberty won one more game in 2019 than it did in 2018. The bad news is, the Redhawks only won one game in 2019 and it came against a Wakeland team they won’t face in district play in 2020. Liberty does return talent in the passing game in the form of Evan Stewart. The talented junior already has an impressive offer list. He'll have a nice target to throw to in senior tight end Connor Hulstein, who has a lengthy offer list as well. Liberty will need big seasons out of both if the Redhawks have any sort of postseason aspirations in 2020.
Frisco Memorial Warriors
Frisco Memorial started off 2019 with a win over Celina. That would be the only win for the Warriors in 2019, though there were several close losses. Memorial returns talent at wide receiver in junior Zion Steptoe and senior J’Kolbe Bulock. The Warriors also return talent on the offensive line but will need to play much better in 2020 to reach their goal of making the post-season.
Lake Dallas Falcons
Lake Dallas finished with a 3-7 record in 2019 and a 2-4 record against teams in its new district. The Falcons were on the wrong end of several close games last season but a playoff appearance could be in the cards if Lake Dallas can flip the script in 2020.
Lovejoy made the playoffs and finished with a 7-4 record a year ago. The Leopards finished 5-1 against teams in their new district and three of the four losses were close games. Lovejoy returns talent at wide receiver and figures to be in the playoff hunt once again.
Princeton failed to make the playoffs in 2019 after posting a 4-6 record. The Panthers won three games against teams in their new district but have some improving to do. None of Princeton’s losses were close games and the Panthers will struggle to make the playoffs with a similar performance in 2020.
Prosper Rock Hill Blue Hawks
We have a new team in Texas! Prosper Rock Hill will be playing varsity football for the first time in 2020. The Blue Hawks already have one of the nicer indoor football facilities in the metroplex, and that’s not to mention Children’s Health Stadium. Prosper High broke in the new state-of-the-art facility last year. The top facilities may not translate to immediate success though. It typically takes some time for a team to gel but we’ll be keeping a close eye on Rock Hill this fall.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Denison Yellowjackets. Denison is armed with a strong junior class and should contend for a district title each of the next two years. I am excited to watch that group grow together over the next several years. I am going to cheat this week and also mention two other teams here. Frisco Liberty and Frisco Memorial struggled last year but have the talent to make a run at a playoff spot. It will be interesting to see how the playoff picture shakes out in this district.
Player to Watch
My player to watch is Liberty wide receiver Evan Stewart. If Liberty wants to take the next step, it'll be Stewart who takes them there. The dynamic playmaker has his pick of nearly any college he wants to play at for the next four years, but what about this fall? He has one last shot at making the playoffs and I wouldn't be surprised to see Liberty sneak in.