IN PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
This article was written by George Watson in the FNF Magazine
WOLFFORTH FRENSHIP TIGERS
ENROLLMENT: 2,178 (3)
2014 RECORD: 9-3 6A Div. II Area Finalist
THE COACH: Brad Davis
THE PLAYERS: Hayden Harrison (Sr., LB), Ronald Awatt (Sr., RB), Tresten Kennard (Sr., QB), Kyle Barthold (Sr., DL), Jordan Mannon (Sr., WR), Christian Rodriguez (Sr., OL), Broderick Harrell (Sr., DB), Bryce Kiser (Sr., DB), Scott McIntire (Sr., RB), Jared Hallman (Sr., K), Deauzae Johnson (Jr., RB), Jacob Piel (Jr., OL), Brock Erculiani (So., QB)
THE WORD: Many on the South Plains wondered when (not if) the day would come when the Tigers moved up to the state’s largest classification and, even more, how they would fare when they got there. All they did was win their fourth straight district title and run their district winning streak to 21 games. Keeping that streak alive, however, may prove to be a bit tougher road with some of the losses suffered from 2014. The Tigers will be strongest on defense led by Harrison, who had 207 tackles and two fumble recoveries a year ago. He is joined by Kyle Barthold, who had 62 tackles. Kennard moves over to offense as the starting quarterback after serving as the backup in 2014, but Harrell and Kiser will more than make up for his absence. On offense, the Tigers lose standout running back Grant Sandercox but return equally talented senior Awatt, who rushed for 1,580 yards and 11 touchdowns. Frenship has a lot of holes to fill on offense, but plenty of talent waiting in the wings.
ENROLLMENT: 2,246 (1)
2014 RECORD: 10-2 6A Div. I Area Finalist
THE COACH: Mel Maxfield
THE PLAYERS: Ivory Jackson (Sr., DL), Anthony Geiger (Sr., RB), Micah Ortega (Sr., DB), Will Purvines (Sr., OL), Noah Sanchez (Sr., OL), Ellis Newkirk (Jr., DL), Jaylen Ford (So., RB), Alex Landers (Sr., DB), Jack Preston (Sr., QB/P)
THE WORD: If there is any school in Texas that exudes tradition, it is the Sandies, from expectations to their choice of uniforms. Their system is pretty old-school as well compared to the chuck-and-duck prevalence in offensive schemes today. Amarillo runs the traditional Wing-T to perfection, which makes them difficult for opponents who rarely see the scheme these days to stop. That system will be tested this season as Mel Maxfield must replace several key cogs from the last few years, especially in the backfield where it appears Preston will take over under center after seeing extremely limited action last year. He will be able to lean on returning senior Geiger, who rushed for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014. Amarillo will also have experience up front in Purvines, Sanchez and senior Anthony Chavez. Defense may be where the bigger holes are as Maxfield must replace his entire starting linebacking corps. Jackson is garnering plenty collegiate attention after recording 74 tackles and six sacks, he's a Texas Tech verbal commit. Ortega and Landers (2 INTs) are solid in the secondary.
AMARILLO TASCOSA REBELS
ENROLLMENT: 2,213 (2)
2014 RECORD: 9-3 6A Div. I Area Finalist
THE COACH: Ken Plunk
THE PLAYERS: Rambo Luhizo (Jr., RB), tim fields (Sr., RB), Brett Russell (Sr., RB), Bert Morris (Jr., WR), Blake Perdue (Sr., WR), Rogelio Loera (Sr., K), Keshon Cervantes (Sr., LB), Traevan John (Sr., LB), Alex Plunk (Sr., DB), Daniel Smith (Sr., DL), Si Pennington (Sr., DB)
THE WORD: How close were the Rebels from going undefeated in District 2-6A play? A one-point loss at Frenship and a two-touchdown loss to Amarillo High, which finished 1-2, respectively. That’s it. Of course, it could have worked the other way, beating Coronado by just four points and downing Monterey by a touchdown in overtime. The Rebels, though, appear poised to make another run to the playoffs, and if things can be shored up in the offensive backfield in time, could challenge again for the league crown. Head coach Ken Plunk has to replace seasoned veterans at quarterback and running back. Senior Spencer Isern looks to have the nod under center going into the year, while Luhizo, Fields and Russell combined for 1,218 rushing yards and 16 TDs. On the defensive side the Rebels are loaded with experience with the likes of Cervantes (82 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions), John (73 tackles, 2 sacks) and Alex Plunk (67 tackles, 3 INTs) among others. Pennington was very tough to throw against with eight pass breakups.
LUBBOCK MONTEREY PLAINSMEN
ENROLLMENT: 2,107.5 (5)
2014 RECORD: 5-7 6A Div. II Area Finalist
THE COACH: Wayne Hutchinson
THE PLAYERS: Shadrick Taylor (Sr., WR/DB), Corbin Whitfield (Jr., RB/DB), Dalton Marsh (Sr., LB), Nathan Neal (Sr., LB), Devin Chestnutt (Sr., LB), Baylor Mitchell (Sr., QB), Wes Hutchinson (Sr. WR), Caleb Nixon (Sr., LB), Taylor Williamson (Sr., K), Justice Hubbard ( Sr., OL), Trent Ward (Sr., RB/DB)
THE WORD: Kind of like Frenship, the Monterey Plainsmen faced a tough question moving up to Class 6A, but particularly how first-year head coach Wayne Hutchinson’s system would make the transition from Class 2A, where he won consecutive state championships at Stamford. It was a rough go at first, but the Plainsmen surged toward the end to go two rounds deep in the playoffs. They should be in solid shape to repeat the feat with seven returning starters on defense and a returning dual-threat quarterback in Mitchell, who threw for 1,247 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for 932 yards and nine scores. Monterey, however, will have to replace three-year starting running back Vincent Jackson. Defensively, Monterey will be led by a solid linebacking corps of Marsh (30 tackles, two fumble recoveries), Chestnutt (19 tackles) and Neal (33 tackles, 13 assists) and in the secondary by Whitfield (59 tackles, two fumble recoveries) and Taylor (22 tackles). It also won’t hurt to have a year in the system and a bi-district playoff victory under their belt.
LUBBOCK CORONADO MUSTANGS
ENROLLMENT: 2,213 (4)
2014 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Seth Parr
THE PLAYERS: Emoree Giddens (Sr., OL), Zach Stepp (Sr., WR), Kaleb Young (Sr., DL), Conner Dean (Sr., K), Christian Hayes (Jr., WR), Michael Houston (Sr., DB), Jeffrey McCutcheon (Sr., RB), Noah Sifrit (Jr., WR), Etan Thomas (Jr., WR), Jarrod Compton (So., RB), Quay Gray (So., QB), Jovan Griffin (Sr., DB), Seth Wood (Jr., LB), Mason Montoya (Jr., LB), Kellon Smith (Sr., OL), Kaleb Washington (Sr., WR), Daniel Witherspoon (Jr., DB) THE WORD: It was a year full of growing pains in 2014 for the Mustangs, who had to change from the spread option to the spread, the style Seth Parr used to turn Amarillo Caprock into a perennial playoff contender. The signs were there last year with some tremendous athletes on the offensive side, but the Mustangs struggled to hold a lead. Parr will have to find a new quarterback to run his wide open system, but there are plenty of talented players returning. It appears Gray will get that shot early on, but the versatile Hayes, who played quarterback on varsity as a freshman, could see time there as well. Stepp is a talented hybrid player who can line up at both tight end and wide receiver. Stepp, Sifrit, Thomas and Washington should form a solid receiving core. Giddens, at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, will anchor the offensive line, he’s a Texas Tech verbal commit. Young will be a stalwart on the defensive line, but the defense must collectively make some big strides if it wants to be competitive in district.