Several times throughout the insiders, we've talked about strong fourth place teams like Lewisville and Rowlett - teams that made noise despite the fourth place finish. Weatherford is the counter argument to that. The 3-7 team was blown out in the first round and looking at the JV and Freshman teams, things don't look much better. The district is actually a little harder this season bringing in Richland, Haltom and Abilene - so mediocrity will not be rewarded with a playoff berth this season. The Kangaroos return 7 starters from last season's team.
Michael Rucker is a great athlete and utility player. He can play quarterback, running back and wide receiver - and there could be a multitude of games where he does all three. When he goes out to another skill position, Chris Jackson will take over at quarterback. Willie Fielder's younger brother, Chris Fielder, starts at running back this season. Coltom Kamper will be a pretty solid running back to complement FIelder. The team will have to work on the offensive line, but Jeremy Tucker will be a standout on the line. There is a huge drop-off after that. Dakota Abernathy is the best receiver on the team.
Defensively, the team has some size but they just don't have the depth to compete and stay with the big boys. Cory Matlock leads the defensive line. The linebacking corps is respectable led by Derek Ogg, Will McGrath and Gabe Garner. The secondary will be undersized and be hard pressed to cover some of the athletic teams in the district. Leeman Samuel is the leader of the defensive secondary. He has good size and senior leadership qualities. Josh Blanton takes on kicking duties for the Kangaroos this season.
Weatherford can compete for the fourth playoff spot with Haltom, Burleson and North Crowley. I think they will end up 5th or 6th, depending on if they are able to knock off Haltom. The teams are pretty closely bunched in talent, so I could see Weatherford finishing as high as third if they jell and the team overachieves. I could also see them as low as 6th - just being able to beat Paschal. I think that scenario is much more likely than the third place hypothetical - which is why I place Weatherford at having a 3-7 season again - this time without the first round playoff game.