When you see the rankings this year for a lot of different places, you'll see a team you haven't seen since the mid 90's - the Flower Mound Marcus Marauders on there. A team that was thumped in the second round of the playoffs is not a very likely top 25 team - but when you consider the whole offensive line is returning - more than half will be playing college ball - Coach Erwin's pedigree and the fact they have one of the best running backs in the state - you have the recipe for a team and a system that will be very hard to beat.
Marcus was one of the pioneers of the spread offense. In the early 1990's - Chris Sanders was flinging the ball around for thousands of yards before a lot of programs knew what the forward pass was. It is then ironic that in the day of everyone going to the spread - FM Marcus is innovative again with the I formation. Stephen Hopkins will be asked to handle a lot of traffic. With great size and speed - he has the durability to do it. Brad L'Huiller has never lost a football game. The junior QB has been a winner in every subvarsity category there has been. The offensive line is pretty salty with Chase Douglas, the 6'6 - 275 pounder that can practically name his college. Ty Cloud and Cameron Hickey all return on a line that averages 6'3 - 300. Rhett Butler will provide size and a pass catching ability when Marcus does go to the air. Joel Free is a big sized possession receiver.
FM Marcus has always had a big defense. The kids in Flower Mound just seem to be bigger - and Coach Erwin has gotten the most out of that situation. Marcus had the unique situation of having both the offensive and defensive sophomores of the year with Daniel Noble leading the way on the defensive side of the ball. Jamison Holt returns to help anchor the middle of the 3-4 defense. He is a returning first team all district player. Taylor Hardin didn't quite get the growth spurt over the summer that they wanted - so they will move him to a free safety position - he was a defensive all district player last year. Depth will be pretty solid as well - Marcus will rotate a lot of players on the defensive side of the ball.
With all this hype, Marcus has one small problem. Their district is brutal. Their schedule is brutal. Give Marcus a vote for toughest schedule of the year. They will play four teams that have won a state championship this century and two more that won the state championship in the 90's. Although they beat Hebron last season - a match-up against Southlake Carroll will be highly anticipated. The Marauders have not beaten cross town rival Flower Mound - despite having better teams several times. I do think Marcus will not meet the bang to hype ratio this year - but I do think they will be damn good. I think they will end up with no less than two losses - and lose in the second round - but I do think that this is a team that if they get confidence - they can enjoy a deep run - however - 8-5A will present a tough test in the second round and Euless Trinity in the fourth round could spell trouble for Marcus. If Marcus slips up against Flower Mound - they could get Trinity in the first round. Still, there is no doubt that Marcus is a team to watch in the 2008 season.