People have said that this will be the year that Southlake will be down. Those critics might be right, but this is still a team that went 3 rounds deep and had a subvarsity set of teams go 27-5. Only 5 starters return and 22 lettermen, but the sophomore team has some good talent and there will be a lot of junior contributors who might have to earn their way into the rotation, but if they catch fire, they will be as dangerous of a team as any. Southlake has some players that saw the field last year despite not having starter status, so they are not as inexperienced as some may think.
Kyle Padron may not be the D1 talent that Southlake has had the last 6 years, but he is a pretty solid player. He almost led Southlake back to victory over Abilene last year, and his he has good size, vision and leadership. Tommy Avers will take over at running back. Again, Avers is a good player, but will be a step down from Tre Newton and Aaron Luna the past couple of seasons. The wide receivers will also be a step down from last season, but Josh Rake will be the best of the bunch. The offensive line has had at least one all-state lineman, and although that will likely continue, Matt Boyles is probably the best of the bunch.
The defense will probably have to carry the offense the first half of the year. The defensive line will be very good. Brayden Burnett is a manchild on the defensive line and will wreck through a lot of offensive lines. Jackson Richards is the prototypical Southlake move-in from Aledo - but he could be the highest recruited talent on the team the next two years. Cade Foster, the all-state kicker the last two years has always wanted to play linebacker and will finally get to do that. Mitchell Osborne is an up and coming linebacker who will also be a big part of the Southlake defense. The secondary will be led by Matt Rake and Ben Townsend. This is likely the weakest part of the team.
Southlake has averaged nearly 50 points a game in the regular season over the last 6 years. This will be the first season they will not get close to that number and they will likely have to play 4 quarters every single week. Southlake is going to have to win some 24-21 games over the next season. The game has 4-5 games that could go either way - and that has happened for the first time in a long time. Games against Galena Park North Shore, Arlington, Marcus, Plano West and Hebron will be very competitive games. I look for Southlake to split those games but likely lose in the second or fourth round, depending how the playoff seedings go. Look for Southlake to go 9-3 or 8-4 - but next year, they will be pretty darn good.