Predicted Order of Finish
Division 1 Teams in All Caps
2. EMORY RAINS
3. Nevada Community
4. Quinlan Ford
Outlook: This is a district on paper that looks totally up for grabs. Defending Class 2A Division 1 Champion Farmersville headlines the field, but the Farmers took some hits to graduation. Emory Rains brings several key players back but they haven't won a big game yet. Nevada Community could finally break through and get the elusive postseason spot. Quinlan Ford will provide a stiff challenege, while Princeton and Lovejoy will likely bring up the rear.
Team by Team
Farmersville Farmers: Farmersville finally put it all together in 2007 by pulling the upset over two time defending state champion Tatum to take the Class 2A Division 1 State Championship. The Fighting Farmers lost their main running back and HC Keith Wright, but with six offensive starters back the cupboard is not bare. On offense Farmersville returns QB Austin Brooks who despite playing in a run oriented attack threw for 21 touchdown passes as a sophomore and he's a good running threat. RB Nickevian Taylor is back after earning first team all 13-2A honors and he'll team with sophomore Chase Wiggins who saw significant time as a freshman. Farmersville took some hits on defense and that's the big question mark.
Emory Rains Wildcats: Emory Rains went with a youth movement in 2007 and in many ways it paid off. The Wildcats took their lumps last year but new HC Brandon Kidd who came from River Oaks Castleberry has 18 letterman and 16 starters back which should make for a good season. On offense Emory Rains has QB Taylor Marshall back, in 2007 Marshall threw 10 touchdown passes. He's got good size and a rocket arm and with WR Colby Hoover available out wide, Marshall should have an even better 2008. Hoover had 48 receptions and was a first team all 10-3A performer. On defense, the Wildcats bring nine starters back and that should spell major improvement. LB Travis Gibson and DE Dakota Barker lead the front seven for the Wildcats.
Nevada Community Braves: The Braves are one of those teams who has never made the playoffs in school history. 2008 could be the year the Braves end that run, 16 starters are back in addition to getting QB B.J. Dale back after he missed all of 2007 with injuries suffered in a car accident. Tim Underwood and Randall Barber will share snaps in the backfield. A couple of good receivers for the Braves will be on the team. Tanner Marshall is probably the best of the bunch. Chance Crosetti and Phillip McEntyre will help out receiver duties. Some questions will be had defensively. Charlie White anchors the front line along with Samuell Powell. Linebackers seem pretty solid in Matthew Humphreys and Keondre Germany.
Quinlan Ford Panthers: Quinlan Ford had a very typical roller coaster 5-5 season in 2007. At times the Panthers looked like a viable playoff team but other times QFHS simply looked like a bad team. Quinlan hit their high water mark beating eventual Class 2A Division 1 State Champion Farmersville 28-27 in Week 5, but then Ford took four straight losses in District 10-3A play before closing with a big 57-6 win over Commerce. On offense, Quinlan Ford will be very young returning only two starters. One key returner is RB Nathan Riley who posted 3 rushing touchdowns last year. Only three starters are back on defense and that youth will make it difficult for QFHS to make a playoff push.
Princeton Panthers: Princeton made waves last year running the inventive Single Wing offense. They still went 2-8. This year, with a new coach in Stacey Dillard and a new offense, they look to spend this year rebuilding the team and getting some athletes back out there. Princeton, usually a basketball school, looks to put their name on the football map. On offense Princeton had questions at QB, as whoever takes the spot will be young and inexperienced. Brian Springmeyer is a versatile running back who should fare well in a spread offense. Shane Thompson is a hard hitting fullback. Derek Fort is a great tight end who will do well blocking. Princeton has a lot of work to do on defense as they gave up a ton of points last year.
Lovejoy Leopards: Lovejoy ISD has existed for the last few decades, but when students hit eight grade, students living in Lucas, St. Paul and Fairview would then go to Allen high school. Many of Allen's top quarterbacks for awhile came from this talent rich area. The area decided to seize local control and put a high school up and this will be their first season of varsity football. The aptly named Jim Bob Puckett coaches the Leopards. The team will use two quarterbacks. Last year's impressive QB was Austin Crisler. The running back last season was Blake Martin - in one game, he touched the ball 4 times for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is a threat to take it to the house whenever he touches it. Defensively, one of the stars of the Celina tournament, even in loss, was Matt Kotecki. The linebacker stumbled and bumbled for two touchdowns and has dominated the JV circuit. He can flat out play.
Players to Watch
Nickevian Taylor, RB Farmersville
Chase Wiggins, RB/DB Farmersville
Taylor Marshall, QB Emory Rains
B.J. Dale, QB Nevada Community
Blake Martin, RB Lovejoy