Earlier in the decade, Lubbock Monterey was the nice trivia answer for a team that has gone to at least the third round in at least three straight years. Although they haven't been as successful the last couple of years - Monterey is always a tough out. Southlake was aware of that in their famous game in Lubbock - and Mansfield Timberview had a hard time getting rid of them in the playoffs last season. 10 starters return from last year's 6-6 team. The feeder schools did pretty well, but with a tougher district, Monterey is in danger of not making the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They go from having a 67% chance of making the playoffs to only a 40% chance and only one non-district game.
The team is going to have to turnover some new skill players this season. The impending starter looks to be Matt Hensley. The undersized junior-to-be has shown good leadership in spring practice and should be the likely successor. The team is rich in running back talent this year as three running backs who received significant playing time last year return. Sage Floyd, Ashton Cerka and Matt Bearden all return from the team that racked up nearly 1800 yards rushing last season. Travis Nix is a top player and he will be on the offensive line - and help get the running game going this season.
Joe Wilborn is by and far the best player on the team, and he is a stud at defensive tackle. He led the team with 75 tackles and returns for a senior year bigger and stronger than ever. Kendon Woodard and Jordan Vestal will be asked to lead the secondary with Michael McNamara. The kicking game will be salty for the Plainsmen with Trey Cedbaca. Bearden may play both sides of the ball - and Reagan Sue is another linebacking prospect that will have to step up this season for Monterey to succeed.
Overall, Lubbock Monterey has jumped from a relatively easy district to a district where the competition will be fierce. They played three of the five additions to the district last season and went 1-2. I can't see Monterey finishing higher than fourth - but I think they will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs are decided. I think they will finish 5th and probably be very disappointed in that finish. They have the talent to finish higher - and the coaching is pretty solid; however, the district may be too tough for them to finish in the top half of the pack.