2013 Football Preview: Edgewood Has Sights Set on District 8-2A Division II Title
All three playoff teams from District 8-2A Division II reached at least the second round of the playoffs in 2012, including an Edgewood team that hopes to build off its first 10-win season in 20 years.
But Cooper and Clarksville should once again be factors in the district-championship race, making 8-2A D-II one of the most intriguing league-title chases in the area.
District 8-2A Division II Preview
- Carlos Bolton, RB, Jr., Edgewood
- Colby Earley, LB, Jr., Cooper
- Erik Richards, QB, Sr., Bogata Rivercrest
- Demarcus Robinson, RB, Sr., Cooper
- Markevius Traylor, WR, Sr., Bogata Rivercrest
- Jackson Tyner, QB, Jr., Edgewood
- Edgewood at Clarksville, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27
- Alba-Golden at Bogata Rivercrest, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27
- Edgewood at Cooper, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 25
1. Cooper Bulldogs
Coach: Ronnie Green
2012 finish: 6-6 (Class 2A Division II area finalist)
Returning starters: 9 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- RB/DB Demarcus Robinson, Sr., 5-7, 160 (110 carries, 861 yards, 14 TDs; 80 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- LB Colby Earley, Jr., 5-10, 180 (145 tackles, 23 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT)
- RB/LB Grant Sepulveda, Sr., 5-10, 160 (55 carries, 340 yards, 3 TDs; 35 tackles, 11 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 5 recoveries)
- QB Kasey Leatherwood, Sr., 6-3, 170 (39 of 91, 596 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs)
- LB Austin Blakley, Sr., 5-11, 165 (69 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
- OL Trevor Mobley, Sr., 5-11, 220
- OL Tyler Williams, Sr., 6-0, 265
2013 outlook: There are big expectations for Cooper this season as the Bulldogs return more starters (14) than any other team in the district. Cooper's run-oriented offense should be in good hands with the return of Robinson and linemen Mobley and Williams opening up holes in front him. There's plenty of firepower on defense as well with the return of Earley, Sepulveda and Blakley at linebacker. Copper finished third in the district a season ago, but the Bulldogs lost by just one point to eventual league champion Clarksville. And Cooper gets 2012's district runner-up Edgewood at home this season.
2. Edgewood Bulldogs
Coach: Ryan Simmons
2012 finish: 10-2 (Class 2A Division II area finalist)
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 4 defensive
Players to watch
- RB/LB Carlos Bolton, Jr., 6-1, 175 (128 carries, 1,518 yards, 19 TDs; 32 tackles, 9 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 pass break-ups)
- QB Jackson Tyner, Jr., 6-4, 235 (11 of 36, 184 yards, 1 TD; 14 catches, 244 yards, 4 TDs; 24 carries, 185 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/DB Jakeb Hunter, Sr., 5-9, 165 (17 catches, 324 yards, 1 TD; 63 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 INTs, 7 pass break-ups)
- LB Jace Morgan, Sr., 6-0, 170 (68 tackles, 11 for loss, 1.5 sack, 3 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 pass break-up)
- LB Dakota Pickens, Sr. (88 tackles, 14 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)
- DL Kevin McClelland, Sr. (72 tackles, 12 for loss, 1 blocked kick)
Offense:Despite graduating its starting quarterback and most of its receiving options from 2012, there is reason to be optimistic about Edgewood's offense in 2013. Bolton burst onto the scene as a sophomore and appears to have a real shot at rushing for
2,000 yards after going for more than 1,500 in eight games at running back. Coach Simmons is also high on his new quarterback Tyner, the nephew of former NFL punter Scott Tyner. The younger Tyner got some experience backing up Jacob Sharff as season ago, and played a big role in the passing game at receiver. So his knowledge of the offense should be fine after serving a variety roles as a sophomore.
Defense: This side of the ball was a real strength in 2012 as the Bulldogs limited their opponents to just 16 points per game. Edgewood has only four defensive starters returning, but three of those should serve the new faces well after enjoying solid seasons last year. McClelland will anchor the defensive line, Morgan looks to pick up where he left off in 2012 at linebacker and Hunter emerged as an impact player in the secondary.
2013 outlook: Less than half of the starters are back from last season's 10-win team, but the quality of players returning figures to be solid pieces for Coach Simmons to build around with newcomers. Edgewood's only loss in district in 2012 came to league champion Clarksville in overtime, and the Bulldogs were able to take care of third-place Cooper by three scores. Edgewood looks as if it will be in the mix for the district championship again this year, but its two biggest threats (Clarksville and Cooper) are both road games.
3. Clarksville Blue Tigers
Coach: Dewaski Davis
2012 finish: 8-4 (Class 2A Division II Region II semifinalist)
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 3 defensive
Players to watch
- WR/LB Gemack Woodberry, Sr., 6-3, 185 (14 catches, 186 yards, 3 TDs; 69 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- QB Terrence Tinnell, Jr., 5-10, 175 (73 of 129, 1,070 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs)
- RB/DB Devon Sanders, Sr., 6-3, 185 (24 carries, 248 yards, 6 TDs; 23 tackles, 4 pass break-ups)
- OL Tyus Savage, Sr., 6-5, 235
- OL Jermaine Emmers, Sr., 5-11, 265
- DB Quadray Moreland, Sr., 5-9, 165 (9 tackles, 2 forced fumbles)
2013 outlook: Graduation wasn't kind to Clarksville, the reining district champion. The biggest playmaker lost was receiver Gary Moore, who has moved on to Texas Tech. With that being said, Coach Davis doesn't appear to be short on athletes this season. Woodberry is a dynamic impact player on both sides of the ball and should develop into Tinnell's favorite target in the passing game. Clarksville also has size and strength along the offensive line, which are rare commodities for a school that is not that far removed from Class A status. The Blue Tigers have some work to do on defense, which has just three starters back.
4. Bogata Rivercrest Rebels
Coach: Michael Pointer
2012 finish: 4-6
Returning starters: 3 offensive, 2 defensive
Players to watch
- QB Erik Richards, Sr., 6-1, 185 (135 of 247, 1,926 yards, 16 TDs, 11 INTs; 148 carries, 730 yards, 12 TDs
- WR/DL Markevius Traylor, Sr., 6-2, 180 (43 catches, 720 yards, 7 TDs; 43 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 1 pass break-up)
- OL Josh Werline, Sr., 5-11, 190
- OL Hayden Hanks, Jr., 6-0, 220
- WR Jasper Conway, Sr., 5-9, 160 (8 catches, 91 yards, TD)
2013 outlook: The Rebels finished one win short of qualifying for the playoffs last year, but graduation took its toll in the offseason. Rivercrest has just five total starters coming back, so it may be an uphill battle. But two of those players with starting experience are primed for big seasons after posting huge numbers as juniors in 2012. Richards is a true dual-threat quarterback after he led Rivercrest in rushing and combined for 28 touchdowns last year. Traylor could be in line for a 1,000-yard season at receiver after leading the team in receptions and yards a season ago.
5. Alba-Golden Panthers
Coach: Gary Schultz
2012 finish: 4-6
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 6 defensive
Players to watch
- RB/LB Edward Salinas, Jr., 5-6, 200 (50 carries, 268 yards, TD; 35 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
- DB Cannon Dean, Sr., 5-9, 150
- OL Austin Kennedy, Sr., 6-5, 265
- LB Brett Chrapowicki, Sr., 6-0, 180
- DT Gus Peacock, Jr., 5-10, 210
- RB Dalton Wright, Soph., 6-1, 220
Offense: There is work to be done after the Panthers lost seven offensive starters to graduation, including its top two rushers from 2012 -- Thomas Weissert and Will Ayers. But Salinas saw some work out of the backfield and should be able to pick up some of the slack. Wright is also an intriguing prospect at running back based solely on his size. Coach Schultz may also be making a switch at quarterback after Dean got most of the reps as a junior. Kyle Miller only attempted a couple of passes in 2012, but he figures to be in the mix for the starting job during summer two-a-day practices.
Defense: Alba-Golden began fast on defense, but faded down the stretch in 2012. The Panthers allowed opponents 28 points per game on the season, but Alba-Golden's scoring defense average was at 19.5 through the Panthers' first six games. However, the Panthers were outscored 168-79 over their final four, which yielded just one win. Coach Schultz expects the defense to be more consistent this season with the return of Peacock up front, Salins and Chrapowicki at linebacker and Dean in the secondary.
2013 outlook: The Panthers took fans for a ride in 2011 by capturing the school's first postseason win since 1984, but Alba-Golden struggled during the latter half of last year and lost its final three games. The Panthers finished two games out of a playoff berth a year ago, but if the current rule that allows four teams from each 2A district to make the postseason were in place in 2012, the Panthers would've been just a game out. If Alba-Golden can find replacements for the production Weissert and Ayers gave it last year, the Panthers figure to be in the mix for a return trip to the playoffs.
6. Como-Pickton Eagles
Coach: Conley Bland
2012 finish: 1-9
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 4 defensive
Players to watch
- OL Deion McGill, Sr., 6-0, 295
- WR/DB Fernando Alonso, Sr., 5-11, 160 (3 INTs)
- TE/DL Emilio Ramirez, Jr., 5-11, 200 (95 tackles)
- DB Blake Neal, Jr., 6-0, 160
- DE Caleb Boyd, Sr., 5-10, 180
Offense: The Eagles had trouble putting the ball in the end zone on a consistent basis in 2012, averaging just 17 points per game, and it could tough sledding once again this season with just five offensive starters returning. McGill may be Como-Pickton's best overall player on this side of the ball, but games are not won and lost based solely on offensive-line play. Coach Bland will need several new faces to step up at the skill positions in order to move the ball with more consistency and efficiency. Alonso and Ramirez have potential in the pass-catching department, but will need to be surrounded by a few more playmakers in order for the Eagles to keep up with the rest of the district.
Defense: It was a rough year all the way around for Como-Pickton, but it was especially disappointing on defense. The Eagles allowed opponents more than 48 points per game in 2012, making it virtually impossible for Como-Pickton to compete on weekly basis. Six teams eclipsed the 50-point plateau on the Eagles a season ago, so better play on the defensive side of the ball is a must as Como-Pickton seeks better results in 2013.
2013 outlook: The Eagles got off to an 0-9 start last season, but won its season finale which could give them a little something to build upon moving forward. Bottom line: significant improvement must be made on both sides of the ball if the Eagles wish to be included in the playoff conversation down the stretch. It might be too much to ask for a postseason berth this season, but at least two district wins would be a step in the right direction for a program that hasn't advanced beyond the regular seasons since 2004.
7. Paris Chisum Mustangs
Coach: Bo Wasurick
2012 finish: 0-10
Players to watch
- WR Geron Hicks, Sr.
- DE Kolton Hasley, Jr.
- CB Jared Matthews, Sr.
2013 outlook: There's only way to go after an 0-10 season, and that's up. Chisum brought in Wasurick, the ex-offensive coordinator at Class 5A Rockwall-Heath, to help turn things around for a program that's 4-26 over the last three season and hasn't made the playoffs since 2007. And Wasurick has his work cut out after the Mustangs were outscored on average 42-10 in 2012.