Under the Microscope: 6-6A
We are previewing district six this week, which features a handful of talented teams at the top. Before we dive into the teams of district six, we have some breaking news. The Texas UIL announced on Tuesday morning that the start of the 5A and 6A football schedule would be pushed back to the weekend of September 24. This means the 5A and 6A State Championship Games won’t be played until sometime in January 2021.
On the other hand, every other classification will be kicking off on August 27. Those classifications will still have state championships the weekend of December 19. This also means that any 4A school that had a non-district game scheduled against a 5A team now has to find another team to play instead. The 100th season of UIL football in Texas will be vastly different than any we have ever had. If that means we get to play a complete football season, I am all for it. Now let’s talk some district six football.
Flower Mound Marcus Marauders
Flower Mound Marcus returns two of its most important and skilled playmakers from an 11-2 squad last year. LSU commit Garrett Nussmeier is back at quarterback and his top target J. Michael Sturdivant returns as well. Christian Espinoza is back for one last run to anchor the secondary while Hunter Sanders leads the front seven from defensive end. Nussmeier and Sturdivant are one of the most dangerous quarterback to wide receiver duos in the state, and are two of my favorite players to watch. This Marcus team should have very high hopes for the 2020 season with so much returning production to a team that went to the third round of the playoffs a year ago.
Lewisville Fighting Farmers
Lewisville returns a three-headed monster on offense. That monster is led by senior quarterback and three-star recruit Taylen Green. His top target is Armoni Winfield, who has offers from every major program in the nation. Running back Damien Martinez is back in the fold as well after rushing for eight touchdowns a season ago. The Fighting Farmers made the playoffs last season but got a tough first-round draw against Southlake Carroll and finished the season at 7-4. Isiah Stevens is another weapon at wide receiver for Green to throw to, and all of this will happen behind an experienced and talented offensive line. Tahj Martin, Giancarlo Lopez and Matthew Winger were all-district selections last season and will anchor the offensive line. This Lewisville offense should be explosive, and they will need to put a ton of points on the board. The defense for Lewisville will be one of the least experienced groups in the area. If the offense can put up points, it’ll take some pressure off the defense.
Hebron finished 8-3 in 2019 and lost to Denton Guyer in the opening round of the playoffs. The Hawks will have to replace their quarterback but there is an eye-popping amount of talent back at wide receiver for the new starting quarterback to throw to. Running back Isaiah Broadway is back for Hebron and Weston Conaway figures to take over at quarterback after seeing limited snaps last season. Among his top receivers are Kansas commit Jaddai Henry, Nick Frasier and Takoda Bridges. All-district safeties Mason Williamson and Vinson Miller will anchor a defense that has plenty of questions in the front seven. There is a foundation to build on and Hebron should be back in the playoffs in 2020.
Coppell finished just 4-6 in 2019 but returns a healthy amount of talent on both sides of the ball. Among those returning are quarterback Ryan Walker, running back Jason Ngwu and star receiver Anthony Black. Although he is only a junior, Black already has multiple power five offers for both football and basketball. As it stands right now, Black could go to his dad’s alma mater, Baylor, and play both football and basketball. Linebacker Walker Polk is just a junior and is back, along with a stout and experienced secondary, to lead the defense. I expect Coppell to make the playoffs because of all the talent returning on offense, and I expect Black to be a player to keep an eye on through the season.
Plano has posted back-to-back 5-5 seasons. The Wildcats are on the cusp of making the playoffs but need to take the next step in order to make it there. The quest to make the playoffs this year will rely on the play of Northwestern commit Tylan Hines at running back. Hines will run behind three returning starters on the offensive line. Those three will protect Oliver Towns, who is back for his third campaign as the starting quarterback. There is some production returning in the front seven, but the defense has some questions heading into the season.
Plano East Panthers
Plano East finished just 1-9 last season but returns its quarterback. Dylan Hayden will lead the Panthers again in 2020 and has several senior receivers to throw the ball to. Defensive end Sam Yanelli will lead the defense, but there are plenty of questions for Plano East heading into the season.
Plano West Wolves
Plano West broke its losing streak with a win over Plano East at the end of the season last year, but still finished just 1-9. The Wolves will need to replace a ton of production on offense, including at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. The ground game will be a feature part of this offense behind Tabren Yates and Kenai Ojobor. The offensive line returns starters Hunter Slocum and Carter Young to help block in what could be a rush heavy offensive attack. Linebacker Jacob Stephens topped 100 tackles last season and is back to lead the defense.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Lewisville Fighting Farmers. Lewisville is returning one of the most experienced and explosive offensive attacks in the metroplex. This will be a group to keep an eye on. Taylen Green recently committed to Boise State and he will pair with receiver Armoni Winfield to form a dangerous duo that will keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. If the defense can find some productive players, this team could have a much deeper playoff run in 2020.
Player to Watch
I had a tough time deciding where to go with my player to watch this week. I considered Coppell receiver Anthony Black and Lewisville receiver Armoni Winfield before ultimately deciding on Flower Mound Marcus receiver J. Michael Sturdivant. He is the best receiver on the best team with the best quarterback. Marcus had a deep playoff run last season and Sturdivant will have to step up in the playoffs if Marcus is to go any deeper. Sturdivant is talented and I believe he is up to the task.