TPI Centex 3A & 2A Top 10: No. 9

Plesanton and Hearne both enjoyed nice playoff runs in 2006. Plesanton returns 18 total starters from last season while Hearne should be a contender in District 26-2A with 11 total starters back from an 8-5 club.

The TPI Preseason Central Texas 3A rankings continue with a look at the No. 9 team in the area, the Plesanton Eagles.

The Eagles and Coach Tab Dumont enjoyed a deep playoff run that ended with a state quarterfinal loss to Ingleside and after a 7-6 campaign, the Eagles will look to better themselves this season with nine starters back on each side of the ball.

Quarterback Niko Salinas accounted for over 3,000 yards of total offense last season and returns to guide the offense after he was named District MVP last season as a junior. Salinas will have plenty of playmakers around him, including first team all-District receiver Robert Benavidez as well as running back Phillip Pawlek and receiver Ray Baca, both of whom were second team all-District selections. Michael Rocha will anchor the offensive line after earning first team all-District honors as a junior.

The defense is chock full of all-District returnees as Benavidez and Baca will lead a very strong secondary along with second team all-District cornerback Conner Ellis. Robert Pyssen and Tyler Bryan will lead the defensive line while Matt Suddel returns after an all-District campaign at linebacker.

The Eagles should improve their win-loss record from last season, however getting the edge on Medina Valley for the District 27-3A title will be hard to come by.

In Class 2A the No. 9 team has had two straight deep playoff runs and the Hearne Eagles will be looking for more playoff success in 2006.

With 12 total starters, six on each side of the ball back, the Eagles will be fielding one of the most experienced teams in District 26-2A and feature one of the area's best prospects in senior two-way star Forrest Rucker. A first team all-District selection at both tight end and defensive end, Rucker has already committed to North Texas and headlines the returnees.

The key for Coach Ralph Lymas will be finding someone that can get Rucker the ball as quarterback Lloyd Turner is gone. Running back Alonzo Gurode will also play a prominent role in the offense after earning all-District honors as a sophomore and he will have a solid offensive line to run behind as junior William Moten anchors the group.

Defensively the Eagles will look to Rucker and all-District performers Darreus Bell and Andrew Washington to anchor what should be one of the best defensive lines in the district.

The Eagles should be in the playoffs once again this season, but the Eagles appear to simply be leading the pack of team in the league that will be trying to stop Lexington, a state semifinalist team last season, from repeating as district champions.

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