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Local football programs wrap up school year with spring games
The official kickoff to the 2012 football season is now on the radar after local high school teams concluded their offseason workouts with their spring games last week.
Both Sachse and Rowlett held their spring games last Tuesday and both events were buzzing with excitement after each had history-making seasons.
The Mustangs not only made the playoffs for the first time in school history, they also picked up their first postseason win with a victory over Jesuit in the bi-district round.
Sachse carried that enthusiasm into spring workouts, which wrapped up with the spring game at Williams Stadium.
"The spring game is always pretty vanilla, there is nothing fancy, but it is always good to give the kids a chance to perform," Sachse head coach Mark "Red" Behrens said. "We saw some positives, their attitudes are good and they have the right work habits, we will just to see how we gel chemistry-wise as we go on."
After a record-breaking offensive season, the Mustangs are breaking in new starters at both quarterback and running back, but Behrens said the candidates to fill those holes all had solid springs.
Junior Kent Myers was one of the team's top wide receivers last year but also got some experience under center running the offense. Tyrique Edwards, another junior to be, showed explosiveness during his first year on varsity and can be a game-changer in the fall. Austin Williams also showed promise at wide receiver last season.
The offensive line will be breaking in a pair of new starters, but should be solid.
The defense is also shaping up to be solid. The linebacker group is deep and talented with Bryan Hudson, Kantrell Hunter and Isaiah Smith, while Xavier Carroll and Jordan Ashcroft are back to anchor the secondary. Nose tackle Hunter Swain can wreak havoc on the line.
"The defense should be better, especially the back part. We've got some young guys on the defensive line, but everybody coming back will be getting better and hopefully the surprises help us out," Behrens said. "These guys have a lot of confidence after what happened last year, but they also aren't satisfied, they would be disappointed if they aren't back in the playoffs again."
Rowlett is no stranger to the postseason, having made seven consecutive trips, but they did something they had never accomplished before in making it to the regional quarterfinals a year ago.
That gave the players and fans plenty of reasons to smile at the spring game on Tuesday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
The Eagles had the luxury of having two veteran quarterbacks last year in Grant Bothun and Colton Kalmus, but are in the exact opposite situation this season needing to break in a new starter.
Whoever gets the call can feel good about having Jalen Rhodes in the backfield. Rhodes rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last year and is also a reliable pass-catcher. Rowlett is also looking for some big-play threats on the outside, but tight end Corey Manges could be poised to play a much larger role in the middle of the field.
Defensively, the Eagles could have one of the strongest lines in the district. Cedric Johnson had 46 tackles last season on his way to being named 10-5A district sophomore of the year, while Dominique Wyatt and Collis Walker are also among the returning leaders in tackles.
There will be some new faces in the back seven, but Rowlett will have a seasoned leader in Grant Dotsy, who had 56 tackles and three interceptions last season.
Horn is following in Rowlett's footsteps in that once it broke through to make the playoffs, it has not missed out since.
The Jaguars battled through a tough schedule and a slew of injuries last season, but still made it to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, despite having a losing record overall.
Horn concluded its offseason workouts with its spring game on Thursday at E.H. Hanby Stadium.
Despite being injured for parts of the year, quarterback Destri White still threw for 1,500 yards and will have loads of experience for his junior campaign.
Treyvon Marsh emerged as the season progressed and finished with 750 yards on the ground, while Brian O'Bannon also made a bigger impact toward the end of the year. Senior-to-be Erick Wren anchors the offensive line.
As is usually the case, Horn has loads of speed on defense, especially at linebacker with D.J. Green, who had 88 tackles last season, and Hunter Harwell. Colton King will return to lead the defensive line.
The secondary boasts plenty of talent, but it is unproven, with three underclassmen possibly stepping into starting roles.
It was just a few years ago that Poteet was the lone MISD team that did not conduct and official spring workout season, but that has changed with head coach Randy Jackson.
After taking the Pirates on a run to the state semifinals two years ago, Poteet again enjoyed a solid season with a 7-3 record, but a pair of one-point losses left them on the outside looking in at the playoffs due to a tiebreaker.
But after narrowly missing out on the postseason, the Pirates are hungry to get back and that was the focus this spring, which culminated with a game on Thursday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Poteet has a veteran leader at quarterback in Tanner Ramsey, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards, rushed for 425 yards and accounted for 25 touchdowns.
The Pirates will be breaking in a new running back, but have solid options on the outside in Anthony Jenkins and Buck Roges.
The defense was solid last year and should be once again, particularly in the secondary with Jamie Tolliver, Patrick Brackens and Jarret Ingram.