Arlington Lamar looked very impressive at 7 on 7. The last few years, the graduating everyone and replacing them with new players has not worked out favorably for Lamar. Last year - they ended with impressive wins over Arlington Martin and Arlington High to give some confidence. Lamar only returns 5 starters, but a semifinal run in 7 on 7 and 2 great victories in 11 man football should carry over and give this team some confidence.
Jim Poynter is the coach of the 7 on 7 team, so his son, Michael, has experienced having great leadership for quite sometime. He is the senior leader for Arlington Lamar and he has shown great leadership skills in 7 on 7. He has some great targets to throw to - including Tanner Buchele, all-state candidate David Acker and young Jefarian Douglas. Mark Cannon is a young running back who may see some time this season to complement Rafael Lee. The offensive line is not as big as years past - but Xavier Stewart looks to be a solid player with Andrew Arnot and Sam Thomas.
On the defensive line, Daniel Nguyen, Jordan Carter and Tucker Watkins look to anchor the crew. The linebackers led a defense that was shutting down teams left and right in 7 on 7. Matt Cartwright will lead the linebacking crew. The secondary played well in 7 man football but will it carry over to some of the physical receivers in the AISD district? Terrence Buchanan and Cliff Nysahebin will be two of the defensive secondary members to find out. The top tier of the district will have some elite receivers, so their success may drive the success of the defense.
On paper, Arlington looks like a better team than Lamar, but Lamar just seems to have this intangible quality that they find ways to win games that I haven't seen in Arlington. It has been a long drought for Lamar, but I believe they get back into the playoffs this season. I do believe they find a way to end up second in district - but although they have a great front 22 - if injuries or grades start to take their toll - Arlington Lamar might slip a bit - but I still think they are one of the best four teams in the district bar none. Look for a breakout season for Lamar with some playoff success - potentially three rounds.