Crandall was hit hard by graduation last year returning 11 starters from last year's 3-7 team. It was the first Crandall Pirate team that hadn't made the playoffs in 10 years. Crandall looks to get back into the playoff picture this season but might find a tough road in a newly revamped District 12-3A - devoid of some of the traditional bad teams along the 175 corridor they are used to playing.
Offensively, Chad Honeycutt is the expected quarterback. He is a bit undersized and can go out to wide receiver if another quarterback emerges. Jared Pellman will be the anticipated running back for the Pirates. ONe of the bright spots will be the offensive line as Brett Russell could end up playing Saturday football. He has good size and good hands. Blake Wade is another young, up and coming offensive lineman.
Defensively, they will be very small up front on the defensive line. A lot of the linemen will be playing two ways which could wear them down at the end of the season. The linebacking corps is pretty solid. Josh Hardwick is a great football player. He returns with 134 tackles last season and was by far the leading returning tackler. Ryan Whisenhunt is a very small linebacker but has good football vision. Clay Rich is more of a prototypical linebacker. The secondary will be led by Desmond McCullar.
I have a hard time believing Crandall will make the playoffs this season. The games against Alvarado and Kaufman will determine if the Pirates can make the playoffs. They only need to win one. I don't view Ferris or Venus as a legitimate threat toward the third position. It could be a long year for Crandall - but they do have some winnably competitive games in non-district. I think the record will improve to at least .500, but I think they'll finish fourth place in this district - for the second straight year.