The good news for the Montgomery Bears is that quarterback Xavier Webb will return for his senior season. That alone is a comforting thought to head coach John Bofing, whose team came within four points of reaching the Region III, Division II quarterfinals.
Webb, named the 18-4A offensive player of the year and recently committed to Rice, is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the area. He passed for 1,898 yards and 17 touchdowns while also running for 849 yards and 13 more scores. His versatility makes him a lethal combination that will carry the Bears.
The offense is not all Webb, though. Montgomery also returns its top two running backs, as FB Michael McCartha ran for 586 yards and five touchdowns; RB/WR Lyle Yates averaged four yards per carry and showed big-play potential (21.5 yards per catch) as a wideout.
OL Jake Hicks graduated, but the offensive line has depth and experience. Josh Alden, Matt Best, Jarrett Davis, the aptly named Tobyn Large, and Jason Slayton give the Bears a solid foundation to keep Webb producing his magic.
How successful the Bears become will determined by how well Bofing can retool a defense that said goodbye to four first team all-district members.
The team's strength will be at safety, where Yates was a second-team 18-4A member, while Luke Parker brings experience and two interceptions back to the secondary. The Bears will have the parts to rebuild, as the members of the offensive line will also be expected to contribute on the defensive side of the ball as well.
McCartha will return at linebacker; he will be joined by Colby Ogletree and Tyler Pilgrim. Beaux Leitz and Chase Riggs are the possible starters at corner.
As good as Webb was in 2006, he could be even better this fall. If so, the Bears will have the best chance to unseat 18-4A giant Brenham for the league's top spot.