Welcome to this week’s sports column in which I take a look at the fall football predictions in the 2011 issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. This magazine has been dubbed “The Bible of Texas Football” and I remember picking it up when I was a player and every year since I became a sports reporter.
If you’re not familiar with the magazine, one of the things it does is predict the outcomes of every high school football district in the state of Texas. Today I’ll take a look at where Texas Football has ranked the McKinney High Lions and decide if I agree or disagree with the prediction.
Let’s get started.
District 10-4A Predictions
1. Highland Park
5. McKinney North
6. Richardson Pearce
7. McKinney High
8. Wylie East
Offensive MVP: Dalton Stogner (wide receiver) – Highland Park
Defensive MVP: Terrell Burt (defensive back) – Wylie
I disagreed with Texas Football’s prediction that McKinney Boyd would finish second-place in District 10-5A behind Garland. At the same time, I could definitely see a scenario where the Broncos don’t repeat as district champions.
When it comes to the North Bulldogs, I was pretty sold on their prediction that the Dawgs would take fifth but I still think North is a good enough team to earn that fourth playoff spot.
Now, when it comes to the McKinney High prediction – I’m just not buying it. The Lions are predicted to finish next to last in District 10-4A just in front of second year program, Wylie East. I believe the Lions have enough talent to compete with the top teams in the district including Highland Park and Wylie.
Texas football wrote that the Lions are a team looking to regroup after losing 31 seniors. MHS may have lost a lot of seniors but they also played several young players last season and will return to the field this fall with varsity-experienced juniors. And not just any juniors but juniors who were part of an impressive season finale effort against defending district champion Highland Park. The Scots came into Ron Poe Stadium looking to cruise to an undefeated district record but the Lions, who were battling for a chance at the playoffs, kept the game interesting until finally running out of steam in the fourth quarter. I was standing about five feet away from the huddle when coach Jeff Smith gave his final comments to his players and you could just tell that this was a team that would be back in a big way in 2011. Well, here we are a little over a month away from the start of the season and if their 7-on-7 play is any indicator of what we’ll see this fall, the Lions offense should be a handful for most every defense in the district.
An injury to star running back Damion Willis last season forced T.J Tarver to step up his game as a starter. Tarver not only managed to pick up the slack but he bulldozed his way through opposing defenses and earned a football scholarship to Abilene Christian. With both players entering collegiate play this fall, one of the big questions for the Lions is whether former linebacker Marquez Husband can take over a traditionally powerful Lions rushing attack. Husband isn’t known as an offensive player so nobody really knows what to expect from the junior running back.
The same can be said for a lot of other positions and players on this team. I don’t really blame Texas Football for placing the Lions where they have because, quite frankly, they have a lot of unproven players. As someone who has followed this team very closely in the spring and summer I can tell you that the Lions are going to have a lot of potential playmakers on this roster. Not to mention, they have an outstanding freshman class.
I completely understand why the Lions are picked to finish seventh in the district but if there’s one thing I can and will guarantee it’s that there is no way that’s going to happen. If the Lions live up to their potential, I could see them being a good enough team to finish as high as third in the district. I have a hard time believing they’ll finish any lower than fifth.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com