Thursday , 26 April 2018

Joe Arriola: 5 Burning Questions Heading Into Fall Football

The high school football season can’t come soon enough for this reporter. I’ve never been more excited about the possibilities for all three programs in McKinney and I truly believe we will see several great team and individual performances this fall. Today we take a look at 5 of the biggest questions heading into the 2011 football season.

5. Will McKinney Boyd repeat as District 10-5A Champions?

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine doesn’t seem to think so. (More on that next time.)

But I, for one, fully expect the Broncos to receive their second consecutive District 10-5A Championship banner this fall. It wasn’t easy last year and it definitely won’t be easy this year but there is absolutely no reason why Boyd should not be able to repeat. Sure, the Garland Owls will be back and better and looking to take back district supremacy, but let’s not forget that the Broncos will not only be a better football team but a more experienced one as well. No doubt, Drake’s team has state championship goals in mind for 2011 and I don’t see the Broncos overlooking the importance of locking up the district’s top seed en route to what could be their best season in the school’s short, six-year history.

4. Just how good is McKinney High’s incoming freshman class?

One of the most popular sports stories on TSB recently has been my feature on incoming freshmen quarterback Brian Sutter, who will be suiting up for the Lions for the next four years. There hasn’t been this much buzz surrounding an incoming freshmen since Zach Lee finished his middle school career at Evans and left the Panthers for the Lions.

The same amount of buzz surrounded freshman class that included Lee. The group of ninth-graders that arrived at the MHS campus in 2006 were a highly-touted bunch and, in addition to the best quarterback McKinney has ever seen, featured Matt Lipka, Nate Leonard, and a running back by the name of Reggie Robinson, who left MHS after his sophomore year.

Now, exactly five years later McKinney High has received a freshman class with a similar hype surrounding its players. The Lions freshman 7-on-7 squad dominated its summer competition, finishing with an 8-0 record that included wins over both McKinney North and McKinney Boyd.

Sometimes 7-on-7 success translates to success on the football field and other times it can be deceiving. In the case of the Lions future ninth-graders, there’s nothing deceiving about it. These kids have the talent, focus, and team unity to get the job done as freshman and beyond. I can’t wait to see what they do when they get the pads on in August.

3. Can Hunter Walling have a senior season that erases the memory of Brylen Williams’ departure?

McKinney North received its first big loss of 2011 before so much as finishing spring football. After turning heads as a sophomore, Bulldogs quarterback Brylen Williams decided that he would not be returning to the North football team this fall.

The report I received mentioned that Williams was unhappy with being switched from the QB position to wide receiver. Not sure how much of the rumor is true but the important part of it is the fact that senior Hunter Walling will be under center when the Dawgs take the field this fall.

The loss of a player as athletic as Williams is a huge blow to a North program that benefited largely last season from having a scrambling, playmaker at QB. Many reporters, such as myself, expected Williams to be the future of the Bulldogs football team and since that has now changed all eyes are on Walling to take North to the playoffs in 2011. Obviously, the North coaches have a great deal of faith that Walling can lead the offense and with fellow senior Devin Smith joining him in the backfield, the Dawgs just might make headlines for their senior talent rather than their upcoming stars.

2. Which team – Lions or Bulldogs – will make the playoffs?

Here’s one prediction I will absolutely stand by. For the first time ever, two McKinney ISD football teams will make the playoffs. One of those teams will be McKinney Boyd and the other will either by McKinney High or McKinney North. So the question is, which of our Class 4A football teams will reach the postseason.

The real question should probably be, which team will win the Crosstown Showdown. Simply put – the winner of that game will be playing football in mid November and the loser will play 10 games and start an early offseason.

1. Who will be the Broncos starting QB this fall?

Veteran Tyler Phelps or rising star Curtis Ladd? That’s the question.

Both QB’s have seen playing time in 7-on-7 this summer and no matter which player earns the starting job, the Broncos offense will be in good hands. Phelps is a reliable senior, who in the biggest game in Boyd history, filled in for an injured Jonovan Griffin and lead the Broncos to a district title in South Garland. Most fans will remember that game for sophomore Bryan Driskell’s thrilling game-winning touchdown run. But the play that kept that drive alive was a third-down conversion by Phelps, who scrambled and dove across the marker for a new set of downs. After the game, Driskell called Phelps’ run the biggest play he had ever seen.

On the other hand, Ladd stole the show at the annual spring football game with a three-touchdown performance that included a 70-yard run. Like Phelps, he’s proven that he can not only throw the ball but if he gets in a jam in the backfield, he has the presence of mind and the athleticism to escape out of trouble using his legs. Ladd will most likely be McKinney Boyd’s quarterback of the future. So has that future arrived? Or will Phelps lead the way? It’s possible that the Broncos may try a duel quarterback system to start the year but eventually one player will win out. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

-Joe Arriola,

Make sure to check out the bottom of the screen for video highlights of last week’s 7-on-7 football game between McKinney North and McKinney High’s freshman teams…

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