Cover Photo via @LHHS_Football on Twitter.
This week we go under the microscope on the teams of district seven! Jesuit joins Richardson and Irving schools in a district. The Rangers should be the favorites to win the district, but I also have my eye on Lake Highlands. Let’s take a look at how the playoff picture might shake out.
Jesuit has plenty of question marks following a deep playoff run a year ago. Running back Jake Taylor figures to play a big role in the offense and he will run behind lineman Ryan Lengyel and Matthew Craycraft. Those three are the only returning starters for Jesuit on offense. Robert Fitzgerald returns to lead a defensive unit that also returns just three starters. Gage Roy figures to step in at quarterback for the Rangers and his success will be crucial to Jesuit’s offense. I would be a little more comfortable with Jesuit’s odds to win this district if it returned more production, but I trust the Rangers will be able to replace graduated production just fine.
Lake Highlands Wildcats
Lake Highlands is clearly the second-best team in this district and should challenge Jesuit for the district crown. The Wildcats finished the 2019 season with an 8-4 record and a playoff win. I expect Lake Highlands to make it back to the playoffs, though there are some questions. Star quarterback Mitch Coulson returns after a successful junior season. Running back Noelle Whitehead joins Coulson in the backfield to form a duo that will give opposing teams headaches. Lake Highlands returns just one starter on the defensive side of the ball in talented linebacker Jeremiah Richards. He will anchor a defense littered with question marks heading into the season. I have only mentioned one other special teams’ player in my district previews, but Lake Highlands returns talented kicker Will Faris. This team needs to find playmakers on defense and fast. If Lake Highlands can do that, I believe this team could challenge for the district championship. If not, I still I expect a return trip to the playoffs.
Richardson Pearce Mustangs
Pearce made the playoffs in 2019 and finished with a 5-6 record. The Mustangs will have a new look on offense in 2020 with so much production having graduated. Tyriq Stubbs is a playmaker at running back but is the only known playmaker at this point for the offense. Stubbs will also play in the secondary on defense and the strength of this team is in the front seven with several returning playmakers at linebacker and along the line. This team could make the playoffs in 2020 if it can find playmakers at quarterback and wide receiver.
Richardson missed out on the playoffs last season following a 5-5 finish. Offensive linemen Drew Moss and Jaylyn White headline the production returning on offense, along with receivers Judah Allred and Aaron Bertrand. The defense will be the strength of this team with eight returning starters from last season’s squad. The linebacker position is particularly strong for the Eagles this season behind the leadership of Marcellus Dennis and Marcus Jackson. I expect Richardson to make the playoffs, though the Eagles will need to find a capable quarterback in order to do so.
Irving Nimitz Vikings
Nimitz returns an astounding 18 starters from a team that finished just 2-8 a year ago. The Vikings will need those returning starters to improve if a playoff spot is in the cards. The other factor helping Nimitz out is an easier district schedule. The big question for the Vikings is at quarterback. Whoever is named the starter will have a talented wide receiver to throw to in Brandon Williams, and a talented backfield mate in running back Eric Williams. Tadd Boone will lead a defensive unit that returns eight starters. If this squad develops, Nimitz could sneak into the playoffs in this district.
Irving MacArthur Cardinals
Billy Skinner takes over as head coach at MacArthur after coming over from Arlington Lamar. MacArthur has some rebuilding to do after a 2-8 finish last season. The Cardinals have to replace their starting quarterback and leading receiver but do return top rusher Daveion Morris. Sophomore quarterback Kylale Flye should contend for the starting quarterback job. Linebacker Justin Pierce will be a leader on defense. There are pieces in place, but MacArthur will have some rebuilding to do in 2020.
Richardson Berkner Rams
Berkner finished just 1-9 in 2019 and has some rebuilding to do in 2020. Devin Joshua highlights the six returning starters for Berkner after starring at both running back and linebacker last season for the Rams. Berkner will be a young squad next season that should expect some growing pains along the way.
Irving failed to win a game last season as the Tigers broke in a freshman at quarterback. Adrian Medina passed for more than 1,200 yards as a freshman and his top target was Jaylon Jackson, who is back as well. With 15 returning starters, Irving should be looking to capitalize on an easier district schedule and benefit from a more experienced team.
Team to Watch
My team to watch is the Lake Highlands Wildcats. Lake Highlands has a shot at competing for a district championship after spending the past few seasons in a district with Duncanville. Beating Jesuit won’t be an easy task, but Lake Highlands has more known playmakers on offense than the Rangers do. I expect the Wildcats to make the playoffs and I’ll have my eye on Lake Highlands this fall.
Player to Watch
My player to watch is Lake Highlands quarterback Mitch Coulson. If Lake Highlands is to take the district championship, Coulson will be the one to take them there. He has to have a big season in order for the Wildcats to win this district. I think Coulson has it in him and I am looking forward to that Jesuit- Lake Highlands district showdown.