2008 District 5-4A Preview
Predicted Order of Finish
Division 1 Teams in All Caps
1. Wichita Falls Rider
2. DENTON RYAN
3. Wichita Falls
4. THE COLONY
5. Lake Dallas
6. Denton Guyer
7. Little Elm
Outlook: District 5-4A lost some depth when Sherman and Denison bolted for District 9-4A in realignment. However Lake Dallas, The Colony and Little Elm joining won't be much of a drop off. The bottom line here is Wichita Falls Rider is the prohibited favorite to not only win the district but also a contender to win it all. Denton Ryan and Wichita Falls should battle for second but Ryan is still a little bit deeper and more talented than the Coyotes. The Colony and Lake Dallas will be in a war for fourth place and the final playoff spot. Denton Guyer will be much improved this year and with some breaks they'll contend. The race for fourth will be one to watch because if Lake Dallas makes the playoffs it will send WF Rider to Division 1, but if Guyer or The Colony makes it that will send Rider to the easier Division II bracket. Little Elm was hurt by graduation and could struggle this year, while Denton High will round the field out as the Broncos are struggling to stay competitive.
Team by Team
Wichita Falls Rider Raiders: It's now or never for Wichita Falls Rider in 2008. HC Scott Ponder's squad has all the tools to bring home a state championship. On offense Rider returns 8 starters and the ringleader of the talent group is QB Shavodrick Beaver. The Michigan commit and District 5-4A MVP posted 31 touchdown passes and he's got the ability to beat you with his feet. RB Jurell Thompson who has committed to TCU, returns after rushing for nearly 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns while splitting time in the backfield. Throw in Oklahoma commit WR Eric Ward and the Raiders are flat loaded on offense. The defense has a few holes but there might not be a harder hitting LB in the state than James Chambers.
Denton Ryan Raiders: The drop to 4A two years ago didn't bring the playoff wins that most experts thought as the Raiders have been bounced two straight years in bi-district. Ryan does have some offensive firepower back with WR D.J. Beshears and RB Jay Catlin. Catlin is versatile enough to also play QB when needed. On defense LB Peyton Whitlock and DB Yahshua Williams are stand outs. Ryan's front line talent is still solid, but the difference from this Ryan team and the state title teams of the past is a lack of depth.
Wichita Falls Coyotes: Wichita Falls had a solid season last year posting an 8-4 record before falling in the area playoffs. The offense is led by QB Ben Henderson who is very talented but he's got to limit the mistakes for Old High to be able to compete with the elite teams. WR Antwone Moore leads a solid group of receivers, but the ground game is a question mark as junior RB Brenlan Allen will take over full time after starting two games as a sophomore. The defensive line should be salty for the Coyotes this season. John Eakin and Matt Ellis give good size and good pass rush ability on the defensive line. The linebacking corps will be led by Eduardo Nunez and Alex Cook. The secondary has questions but DB Joseph Cherry is the bright spot and Old High will build around him.
The Colony Cougars: The Colony had a breakout season last year. They almost made the playoffs - ending up in fourth place, but beat a couple of playoff teams. When a team returns its top two offensive threats, they immediately get put on notice. Tony Peoples is a pretty good running back. He eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark last season and had one of the top five rushing seasons in 4A in the Metroplex. Bryce Perkins was a bit of an underrated quarterback, but he returns this season and could lead an improved offensive attack. Defensively, The Colony had a sophomore stud last season in Josh Morrison. As a sophomore, he earned all-district status. With two more years and an offseason of development - he could become a huge force in the district. Linebacker play is very important in the 4-2-5 scheme that The Colony uses - and the linebackers are quick but a bit undersized at 5'9. Several super sophs will be asked to fill in in the secondary for a generally undersized crew. Overall TCHS will need to limit mistakes and their young defense will need to step up if they want to get over the hump and get into the playoffs.
Lake Dallas Falcons: Lake Dallas was not a team helped out by realignment. It was a team that was already in the frying pan - and now with 2 state ranked and large schools in the district, Lake Dallas is going to have to work extra hard to stick with its success over the last couple of years. Versatile QB James Franklin (9-4A sophomore of the year) who could emerge as one of the top 2010 prospects has the ability to take over a game and the Falcons feature a good RB in Jared Beggs. The defense is the weakness of the team - but Drew Hamilton led Lake Dallas to the sophomore sweep last season as he was the sophomore newcomer of the year on the defensive side of the ball. The LDHS secondary lacks size and speed and that's a big concern.
Denton Guyer Wildcats: Denton Guyer last year showed signs of progress and it carried over into the summer with a solid performance in seven on seven play. JW Walsh is expected to be the starting quarterback for Guyer. Although he will only be a sophomore, he will be a quarterback to watch. He already has the frame and success pedigree. A couple of good receivers in Matt Mose and Luke Russell will make his life a little easier. Deandre Wilson and Jamaine Wilhite will split time at running back. The offensive line will be tremendous with D-1 book ends Jesse Coffey and Kyle Clark. The defense will be pretty young. The defensive MVP for the 9-1 freshman team was Kamhram Jones. How he fares in the jump up to varsity could determine the strength of the linebacker corps. The defensive line looks solid led by Taylor Bible and Robert Satterfield. Cody Marley will provide the senior leadership in the middle. The secondary will be led by Kyler Freeman and Antonio Burton.
Little Elm Lobos: Little Elm was one of the rare teams that went 8-2 but did not make the playoffs. They were pre-ranked in the top 20 to start the season and then had two crucial losses in district play which kept them from reaching their full potential. If that wasn't good - they graduated their best class ever and only return 6 starters. The team has a lot of positions open and not much has been determined. Offensively, the skill players will be Chase Melton and Joey Merlene. Kramer Green may play running back. Young Kelvin White if he has a good August may earn his way into the starting role. Overall, Little Elm moves from a manageable district to a tough district. Couple in the loss of all of their talent and offensive production - Little Elm could be looking at an uphill climb.
Denton Broncos: Another long season could be in store for Denton High, the dilution of talent in the city of Denton has been a death blow to DHS football. There is hope as Denton has a good sophomore class and a junior class that is decent. This could mean the Broncos will be more competitive in 2009. The best unit for Denton is the secondary led by DB Kevin Harris, DB Billy McCarty and SS Denzell King.
Players to Watch:
Shavodrick Beaver, QB Wichita Falls Rider
Eric Ward, WR Wichita Falls Rider
Jurell Thompson, RB Wichita Falls Rider
Yahshua Williams, DB Denton Ryan
D.J. Beshears, WR Denton Ryan
Antwone Moore, WR Wichita Falls
Tony Peoples, RB The Colony
James Franklin, QB Lake Dallas