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DFW Area Sleeper Teams?

Schools that may surprise in North Texas in the 2013 season

sleeper teams, 2013As school the football season prepares to kick off around the state, its is a good time to look at the schools that may be sleepers going into the playoffs.  The focus here will be teams in the Dallas/Fort Worth area:

Texas High School FootballPrinceton Panthers:  A team that surprised everybody last year going 10-2 (9-1 in the regular season), the best record since 1974 when they went 11-2, lost to a solid Gainesville squad 40-14 in the Area round of the playoffs. With former defensive coordinator Lee Wilkins now the head coach (Stacey Dillard is now AD) the speed and toughness that Dillard preached during his tenure is expected to be continued with Wilkins. While this team did lose some key position players they still have 11 returning starters 5 of which that are 1st team All-District. The Panthers top players, WR Jakari Dillard, QB Jourdan Blake, and RB Trey Jackson, are primary examples to the speed and toughness that this Panther football team prides itself on. The Panthers are slated to repeat the success they had last year, a part of that can be accredited to the relatively weak schedule that they have. The Panthers only loss last year came to a 9-3 Melissa team, the best record out of any team they played in the regular season, out of the rest teams on their schedule only 3 were above .500 and all 3 teams were 7-5. With a similar schedule this year it is highly likely they make the playoffs again and if there is a team to play Cinderella it’s the Princeton Panthers.

Texas high school footballCelina Bobcats:  Saying Celina is a sleeper is unusual for many Texas High School Football fans given their rich history. However this is a team that went 8-2 last year under new head coach Bill Elliot losing to Henderson again in the quarterfinals ( both by 20+ points). But we are talking about the Celina Bobcats who went undefeated in ’10 and ’11 during the regular season and impressively having only one game, against Dallas Plano Prestonwood, that ended in a single digit win They could never get over the hump to the championship losing to Lovejoy in the 2010 regionals and of course Henderson in the quarterfinals in 2011. Not many players are returning this year for Celina with, but they do have 3 retuning players that were 1st Team All-District: RB Connor Tolbert, DL Trenton Hambrick, and DB Braylin Brown. The spotlight however will be on the coach’s kid QB Nathan Elliot who had 1904 passing yards and 19 TDs last year he is the X-factor for this team and will determine how far they go. With 21 consecutive playoff appearances there a tight lock to make the playoffs, there true test comes in the playoffs though. With this high powered offense and a shutdown defense this Bobcat could be restored to glory.

Texas high school footballMesquite Skeeters:  Mesquite had a grueling schedule last year playing 7 teams above .500, and still went 11-1 (10-0 in the regular season). Their only loss was the eventual champions Allen in the second round. Mesquite has the unfortunate luck of being in a tough area with teams like Allen, Dallas Skyline, Southlake Carroll, and Desoto. So they are overlooked being a potential top team. Mesquite has a strong O-Line for top RB Tyson Reed to run through look for their running game to excel. Their defense looks to shine behind DB Charles Grant and LB Jalen Montgomery. The big question mark will be how QB Trey LeBlanc will replace the dual-threat Alex Cooper. If LeBlanc does well look for this team behind a strong running game, to run through the regular season and upsetting one of these top teams in the playoffs.

Texas high school footballPlano West Wolves:  A team that was the Cinderella last year after sneaking in to the playoffs with a 6-4 record and ended up winning 4 straight until losing to another Cinderella Austin Westlake (also 6-4) by a touchdown in the quarterfinals. However this team has 5 returning starters on offense with a good O-line led by OL Zach White and a dynamic backfield with RB’s Auston Anderson and Soso Jamabo, these two running backs could be the best duo in the state and look to run this offense to the endzone. However with only 2 defensive starters returning the inexperience of the defense could cause the Wolves to be in a lot of shoot-out games this season. So look for this offense, particularly the running game to lead this team into a tough schedule and attempt to challenge Allen for that top spot in the 10-5A region.

What do you think?  Who do you see that isn't getting enough attention?  Leave your comments here or via voicemail at 713-568-6331!

by William Russell
Lone Star Gridiron
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