2008 Centex District Preview: 26-4A

Now back in Region IV this district is once again exclusive to the Austin I.S.D. 4A schools. Tomes have changed for the district with LBJ now the district frontrunner and as the season draws closer,the fate of the former Johnston High School remains up in the air.

How They Rank:
1 – Austin LBJ
2 – Austin Crockett
3 – Austin Travis
4 – Austin McCallum
5 – Austin Reagan
6 – Austin Lanier
7 – Austin East Side (formerly Johnston)
Division I playoff teams denoted by (*)

Jeff's Take:
It was not long ago that during the preseason it was customary to write this district as one that could not be taken seriously come playoff time, despite the fact that teams had to qualify for postseason play. But given the recent success of McCallum and more recently LBJ in postseason, the district has seen it share of positive playoff results in recent years. LBJ will have a new coach as Demo Odems steps in to replace Claude Mathis, but the Jaguars are chock full of talent including 2009 blue chip prospects Kerry Hyder and Jeremy Moore. After the Jags Crockett on paper has the most talent, led by a talented running back duo of Mark Davis and Darrell Cantu-Harkless, but the Cougars are lumped in with Travis and McCallum as the three teams trying to catch LBJ. Reagan could finally be turning the corner under Coach Paul Darby and the focal point of the building job on Austin's east side now centers around talented sophomore quarterback Jaquarius Daniels. Lanier will need to find some skill talent and help and linebacker and in the secondary to go along with what should be solid line play. East Side will be renamed before the start of the season after Johnston was ordered to be shut down by the Texas Education Agency due to the schools failure to meet the state's requirements on standardized testing. As of press time A.I.S.D. was still unsure on whether the new high school will even play a varsity schedule in 2008.

Team on the Rise: Crockett
Coach John Waugh has had talent over the last few seasons and this should be the year that the Cougars can cash in with a playoff berth. Cantu-Harkless will also handle punting and kick return duties and will be one of the best all-around offensive threats in the Austin area in 2008. Crockett's defensive line could potentially be the best in the district thanks to junior tackle Josh Mullins and senior end Kevin Park.

Team on the Decline: McCallum
The Knights barely made it to the playoffs last season, thanks to a multiple-overtime victory over Travis, and Coach Pat Honeycutt has to once again reload after losing a talented senior class. They do have seven starters back on defense and the strength of the offense will be the line led by first team all-District center Colton Collins. Sophomore Colton Lusson will look to continue the line of successful Lusson quarterbacks for the Knights.

Best Non-District Game: Week 3, LBJ at Killeen Shoemaker
Talk about speed, this game will feature plenty of that and then some. The game against the Grey Wolves will finish off a tough non-district schedule for the Jaguars.

Best District Game: Week 9, Travis at McCallum
A rematch of last year's classic that saw Travis blow a huge fourth quarter lead. Now the Rebels, with most of the biggest offensive guns back from last season, will look to settle the score in a game that is sure to have playoff implications.

PRESEASON PLAYER SUPERLATIVES
District MVP: Kerry Hyder, LB, LBJ
Offensive MVP: Darrell Cantu-Harkless, RB, Crockett
Defensive MVP: Kevin Park, DE, Crockett
Best Passer: Drew McGarrahan, Travis
Best Runner: Omasha Brantley, LBJ
Best Receiver: Jeremy Moore, LBJ
Best Offensive Lineman: Colton Collins, McCallum
Best Defensive Lineman: Kevin Park, Crockett
Best Linebacker: Kerry Hyder, LBJ
Best Defensive Back: Courtney Moore, LBJ
Best Special Teamer: Darrell Cantu-Harkless, K/P/KR, Crockett

RECRUITING WATCH
Best 2009 Offensive Prospect: Jeremy Moore, WR, LBJ
Best 2009 Defensive Prospect: Kerry Hyder, DE, LBJ
Best 2010 Offensive Prospect: Mark Davis, RB, Crockett
Best 2010 Defensive Prospect: Josh Mullins, DT, Crockett
Best 2011 Prospect: Jaquarius Daniels, QB, Reagan


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