TPI Centex 5A Top 10: No. 10 A&M Consolidated

After an early playoff exit in 2006, the Tigers of A&M Consolidated will have to reload in several key spots after some heavy losses graduation as they try to capture another District 13-5A title.

The Tigers of A&M Consolidated had serious state title hopes entering the 2006 season with the return of several key players from a 2005 squad that game up one win shy of the 5A-I state finals. The Tigers went 8-1 during the regular season and won District 13-5A but were shockingly blasted by a red hot Round Rock team in the opening round of the playoffs.

Now coach Jim Slaughter must retool his team for the '07 season as several key players, most notably linebacker Drew Dudley (Kansas), receiver Detron Lewis (Texas Tech), and running back Daniel Palmer (UTEP), are gone.

Quarterback Dominic Preston, a 6-foot-2-inch very athletic signal caller, will step in to lead the offense and he will have a new array of skill talent around him as he grows into the position. Preston looked sharp in 7-on-7's this summer and gives the added dimension to the quarterback of being able to make plays with his legs. He will likely lean on all-District tight end Andrew Ellison until other offensive weapons can develop. A solid offensive line returns for the Tigers led by all-District returnees Jose Quintana and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Consol's defense welcomes back four starters but none of the four earned all-District first or second team honors last season, meaning players like linebacker Brandon Strain, lineman Cole Hanks, and defensive back Brandon Groff will need to step up.

The Tigers will also look for someone to step up in the kicking game to replace Baylor signee Shea Brewster, who did an admirable job after Matt Szymanski left the Tigers a year early to enroll at Texas A&M. Consol is almost a lock to make the playoffs out of District 13-5A but the question mark will be winning the district title.

Like Slaughter's recent Consol teams, these Tigers have a lot of talent. They will be young however and the young players will need to get accustomed to Friday nights in a hurry as the Tigers will tangle with a veteran Killeen Ellison club for the league crown.

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