Booker T. Washington's War Eagles used an opportunistic defense and a balanced ground game en route to winning the District 20-4A title last fall. A repeat is a strong possibility for head coach Joel North's squad, as 20 lettermen and 12 starters return.
OFFENSIVE BACKS/RECEIVERS: Timothy Bryant will get the starting nod under center, replacing the versatile Earnest Eastland. He will have talented support to make his process easier, as 6-3, 255-pound Joshua LaBum will pound opponents from the fullback spot. Chris Thomas will also get his share of carries, but North is high on 225-pound RB Tristan Love. WR Darius Austin has 4.3 speed and is nearly impossible to contain one-on-one. He averaged more than 20 yards per catch last season with 10 touchdowns. Justin Thomas could benefit from teams too focused on Austin. Ryan Hillis and Kevin Washington will start at tight end.
OFFENSIVE LINE: This will clearly be the district's best unit. Antonio Doucet (6-6, 285) is the anchor of the unit and will garner the attention of college scouts this fall. Doucet looks small next to 340-pounder Marlon Ogletree, who also will have a busy mailbox filled with college inquiries. Joe Jones, Jr. and Asiel Anderson also enter their senior seasons, while sophomore Sherron Tillman is a 270-pounder beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
DEFENSIVE LINE: With the lack of depth on the roster, many of the starters on the offensive line will see action here as well, but junior Brandon Dunbar will be freed up to cause havoc. Fellow junior Michael Welch also comprises an interior that will rival anyone's in the area, while senior Jarrod Payne will provide the primary pass rush.
LINEBACKERS: Jarret Flowers is an all-district performer who had 62 tackles and a team-high 12 sacks. He is certainly on the radar of college scouts. Payne also will line up outside , while junior Melvin Riles brings more speed to the position.
SECONDARY: This is a unit that will not allow too many big plays. James Holloway (6-3, 200) is only a junior, giving him two more seasons to build on his four interception season from last fall. He's already gaining Division I attention. Maurice Mitchell also returns in the defensive backfield.
OVERALL: The War Eagles will look to use the same formula of success from last season: a patient offense and an aggressive defense. There's more than enough returning to see to it that a repeat title is in the offing.