The staff at TexasPrepInsider.com would like to welcome Abilene to the metroplex! As they are in a metroplex district, they will be classified as a metroplex team. I suppose technically then, a metroplex team finally beat Southlake Carroll. It was indeed the Abilene Eagles who slayed the Dragons last season and knocked them out of the playoffs. This year, 7 starters return from that team, but the star who knocked out Riley Dodge returns - and he is a good one.
Stephen Warren runs the offense this season. He is the coach's son and Coach Warren is very proud of his son. He led the team to a consolation bracket victory and a 7-1 state tournament record with minimum mistakes. He only threw 2 interceptions over the nearly 6 hours of game time - so he certainly has good intelligence at the position. Zach Bass is a running back who is very speedy and could really complement the team this year. The offensive line will be a strength with Drew Carroll and Alec Egan. The receivers will be led by John Reynolds.
Defensively is where Abilene will be very strong. Chris Williams broke Riley Dodge's collarbone with an earth shattering clean hit. The nationally ranked linebacker returns this season with great speed and size. Nathan Ashlock and Justin Carroll join him at the linebacking position. The defensive line will be led by PJ Butler. Abilene sometimes gets into multiple formations - they ran a 2-9 type of defense last year - this team may not have the same type of speed and size to make that work. Cameron Walding will lead the secondary with Karsten Goodman being an up and coming strong safety.
Overall, Abilene is a team that I do not think will be as good as they were last year - but certainly this is a team that deserves a high ranking and will be one of the better teams. I don't think they'll be as good as they were last year - and I have a hard time seeing them get past the third round when they match up with the DFW powers on the second half of the bracket. Last year was a special team that made a special run. I also think that they may not benefit from the lack of competition. They were "up" almost every district game last year in a huge heated rivalry. They may lose that edge playing against Paschal and Haltom week after week. Still, I look for an undefeated district run and at least two strong playoff games before having trouble in the third week of the playoffs.