DCTF predicts playoffs for Sachse, WHS, WE, but not PESH
By Greg Ford
Summer is now officially upon us.
Just recently, the professional hockey and basketball seasons ended with Chicago and the Golden State claiming those respective crowns.
Now, as the Texas heat settles in for the next few months, most folks around the Lone Star State will be focused on one thing: the start of football season.
Well, that is officially a couple of months away — the high school season kicks off in late August — yet that doesn’t mean the speculation as to who’ll be wearing the championship crown, or at least competing for it, can’t take place.
At the prep level, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has released its statewide look and accompanying set of predictions.
Locally, three teams, Wylie East, Wylie and Sachse are projected to make the postseason, while another, Plano East, is predicted to fall just short in what is one of the toughest districts in Texas.
Wylie East, which made the 2014 postseason following a one-year absence, returns a plethora of talent, which DCTF projects will result in the Raiders finishing second in District 10-5A, with Lovejoy taking the title and Wylie finishing third. McKinney North was predicted to take fourth place.
None of those teams, though, is projected to win a regional title, much less a state crown, with the latter champions predicted to be Aledo (Div. I) and Cedar Park (Div. II). However, East is seen as a “Team on the Rise,” primarily because the Raiders return talent such as Braden Shewmake (quarterback), Eno Benjamin (running back) and Jared Wyatt (wide receiver).
The latter two combined for 2,767 yards in total offense and 39 touchdowns in 2014, while Shewmake threw 22 touchdown passes last season. They were all key parts of 2014 squad that made the playoffs, but fell 77-63 to Frisco Heritage in the bi-district round.
Wylie made it to the second round, where it fell to Rockwall Heath, and it appears the Pirates once again have the firepower to be a playoff participant.
Offensively, Emilio Ames is slated to take over at quarterback for the graduated Carsen Cook, but he will have some weapons that made the latter’s job much easier in 2014. Two of them are wide receivers Jordan Whaley (11 touchdowns in 2014), Tyrell Mauzy, Kollier Knight and Justin Pegues.
Defense, which has been a Wylie staple in past seasons, should once again be a strong point for the Pirates, despite losing some talent from the 2014 team. Among the returnees that DCTF cites are linebackers Lorenzo Keck, Max Lopez and Nathan Weisser, as well as defensive lineman Taylor Green.
There’s talent aplenty at Sachse on both sides of the ball, and for that reason DCTF predicts the Mustangs will be back in the playoffs after a one-year absence. Prior to missing the 2014 postseason, Sachse had been a playoff participant for three straight seasons.
Offensively, Sachse must fill holes at quarterback and running back, but it does return the highly-recruited Devin Duvernay at wide receiver. The incoming senior has been a big-play threat the last two seasons, and this past spring he brought home Sachse’s first state crown by winning the 100 meters in Austin.
Also back for one more season is Devin’s brother Donovan, who is a highly prized defensive back and wide receiver. Jared Mayden is another defensive back who is being recruited by Div. I colleges, and DCTF foresees him as its preseason pick for 11-6A’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The Mustangs are projected to finish third in the 11-6A standings behind Rockwall and Rowlett; quarterback Will Reed, the DCTF choice for Offensive Player of the Year, leads the former. Tyler Lee is picked to be the fourth-place team.
At Plano East, the Panthers begin season No. 2 under the guidance of Joey McCullough, and with a group of veteran players who are a year older and wiser.
However, PESH also plays in 6-6A, a district that’s home to defending state champ Allen and other top programs. The Eagles are expected to win the district, with McKinney Boyd, Plano and Flower Mound Marcus grabbing the other three playoff spots.
If the Panthers are to break into top four, they’ll do it behind the legs of wide receivers Ade Omotosho and Tim Wilson, who combined for eight touchdowns last season, the arm of Miklo Smalls (11 touchdown passes) and a ground game that’ll feature the likes of Desmond Bowden, Trey Hunter, Nathan Miller and Jonathon Meadors.
Defensively, East will be operating out of a 4-3 formation, which is designed to better fit their talent. Part of that alignment will feature Anthony Hines at middle linebacker, where the versatile linebacker will be able to use his speed and agility.