2014 Football Preview: Edgewood + Alba-Golden Have Good Postseason Positioning in District 6-3A Division II
Alba-Golden, Edgewood and Grand Saline have been paired in District 6-3A Division II and all three schools should have slightly different goals in a group rounded out by Cooper, Lone Oak and Paris Chisum.
Edgewood looks like a team that could go far with Jackson Tyner at quarterback and a strong supporting cast of 12 returning staters. But the Bulldogs should get a run from Cooper, by far the most successful team from this group of six last season.
Alba-Golden appears to be on the cusp of a convincingly competitive season. That would be a big step forward after a .500 regular season last year. It's possible here in this district
Grand Saline is hoping to right the ship after a winless campaign last season. Is this a conducive district?
Let's take a look at the league.
District 6-3A Division II Preview
- Wyatt Bass, LB, Sr., Edgewood
- Colby Earley, LB, Sr., Cooper
- Ty Elie, LB, Soph. Edgewood
- Tyler Foiles, WR/CB, Paris Chsium
- Ira Franklin, RB, Sr., Cooper
- Jonathan Laprade, LB, Sr. Grand Saline
- Bret Loeffler, WR. Sr. Lone Oak
- Gus Peacock, TE/DL, Sr., Alba-Golden
- Tanner Phifer, LB, Sr., Cooper
- River Tolleson, LB, Jr. Lone Oak
- Jackson Tyner, QB/ATH, Sr., Edgewood
- Devin Shaw, RB, Sr., Lone Oak
- Kyle Walker, LB, Sr., Grand Saline
- Jake Williams, QB, Jr., Lone Oak
- Dalton Wright, RB, Jr. Alba-Golden
- Oct. 17 -- Edgewood at Cooper
- Oct. 24 -- Lone Oak at Edgewood
- Oct. 24 -- Alba-Golden at Paris Chisum
- Nov. 7 -- Lone Oak at Alba-Golden
1. Edgewood Bulldogs
Coach: Ryan Simmons
2013 finish: 8-3 (2A D-II bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 5 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
- QB/ATH Jackson Tyner, Sr., 6-5, 225 (1,374 passing yards, 14 TD passes, 518 rushing yards, 8 TDs; Rice commitment)
- LB Wyatt Bass, Sr., 5-10, 175 (42 tackles)
- LB Tye Elie, Soph. (2 INTs, 1 TD)
- DL Christian Davison, Sr., 6-2, 185
- WR/LB Jason Thompson, Sr., 6-1, 186
Offense: Things look very good here with Jackson Tyner in charge of the unit through his senior year. There's not a lot of standout skill play just yet, the Bulldogs took some key losses at those spots, but Tyner was able to pass for 1,373 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and can get things done on the ground with five touchdowns scored and 518 rushing yards. If things don't go as planned early in non-district play, the senior quarterback should be able to make some things happen on his own with a 6-5, 225-pound frame.
Edgewood's offensive line is in pretty good standing and the overall unit as a whole returns five starters. A team with 15 lettermen to seven lost to graduation likely holds the answers to offensive depth.
Defense: You'll find the team's immediate strength here. Edgewood returns seven starters and a playmaker at every level of its defense from a unit that allowed 22.6 points per game last season. Sophomore defensive back Ty Elie is someone Bulldogs fans can be excited about for years to come. He picked off two passes, including a pick-six as a freshman on varsity last season.
Wyatt Bass recorded 42 tackles from his linebacker spot and the defensive line has some meat with Christian Davison returning for his junior year. Linebacker Jason Thompson is an all-around athlete and could have a big senior season with his 6-1, 185 pound frame.
2014 outlook: Very good. While Cooper is projected to perform well after reaching the Class 2A Division II regional championship game, Edgewood has the most proven players in District 6-3A Division II.
Games against Cooper, Lone Oak and Alba-Golden will be slugfests, but Paris Chisum and Grand Saline's recent struggles have the Bulldogs in great preseason standing to clinch one of the district's four postseason berths.
2. Cooper Bulldogs
Coach: Ronnie Green
2013 finish: 13-1 (2A D-II regional finalist)
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- LB Colby Early, Sr., 5-10, 189 (127 tackles)
- RB Ira Franklin, Sr.
- LB Tanner Phifer, Sr.
2014 outlook: Cooper certainly has a lot of pride to defend in the district after making a run to the Class 2A Division II regional championship game and falling to Leonard by a touchdown. Its playoff outlook looks very good, and the Oct. 17 game against Edgewood very well could be the district title game.
That being said, the team has some major holes to fill. An offense that averaged 53 points per game returns just two starters. The defensive side of the ball looks much better with six experienced starters. That unit shut out opponents four times last season and held four more teams in the single digits.
3. Lone Oak Buffaloes
Coach: Lonnie Jordan (first year, OC at McKinney)
2013 finish: 7-4 (2A D-I bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 6 offensive, 5 defensive
Players to watch
- QB/DB Jake Williams, Jr., (2,500 passing yards, 36 TDs; 8 INTs)
- RB Devin Shaw, Sr., 5-10, 185 (1,550 rushing yards, 18 TDs)
- WR/DB Bret Loeffler, Sr., 6-0, 178 (42 catches, 709 yards, 9 TDs; 6 INTs)
- LB River Tolleson, Jr., 5-8, 170 (99 tackles)
- DE/TE Coleton Lasseter, 6-7, 220 (54 tackles)
2014 outlook: Here's the dark horse in the district race. Lone Oak certainly has the talent to compete with the top tier in the league and will sharpen itself with a balanced non-district schedule featuring Scurry-Rosser in the season-opener for both squads. Its offense could improve with head coach Lonnie Jordan's past coordinator experience at large schools in the Metroplex. Quarterback Jake Williams' credentials as a sophomore speak volumes about the player he can become, and he'll be supplemented by a great running back in Devin Shaw and receiver Bret Loeffler in their senior campaigns. Lone Oak's defense returns five starters from a squad that allowed 30.5 points per game, a number the Buffaloes will have to improve upon to contend with Edgewood and Cooper.
4. Alba-Golden Panthers
Coach: Gary Schultz
2013 finish: 5-6 (2A D-II bi-district finalist)
Returning starters: 8 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
- DL/TE Gus Peacock, Sr., 5-11, 215 (first-team all-district at both positions)
- RB/LB Dalton Wright, Jr., 6-2, 235 (second-team all-district running back)
- DB Kyle Morrow, Jr.
- OT Taylor Campbell, Sr., 6-2, 315
Offense: Alba-Golden certainly has the numbers and a little bit of playoff experience to compete. Gus Peacock is a big body that can do damage to teams underneath and up the middle of defenses as a tight end. Dalton Wright is a tailback the Panthers can lean on for two more years. When you have Taylor Campbell at tackle, 6-2 and 315 pounds, you're bound to win some battles in the trenches. Alba-Golden must improve on its total offensive output though, an average of 23.6 points per game and about 12 points in its six losses last season.
Defense: Peacock and Kyle Morrow will anchor a unit returning seven starters. The group allowed about 22 points per game and shut out two opponents that struggled all season. Alba-Golden's defense gave the team the opportunity to win two other games late. It's a great building block for the Panthers.
2014 outlook: There are certainly some troubling teams at the top of the district, but Paris Chisum and Grand Saline have rebuilding projects in front of them. Defeating both of those teams will go a long way in making the postseason once again. Other wins in the league certainly aren't out of the question with 15 returning staters and 16 lettermen to just five lost.
5. Paris Chisum Mustangs
Coach: Bo Wasurick
2013 finish: 4-6
Returning starters: N/A
Players to watch
- QB Nick Tisdell, Sr., 6-3, 195
- ATH Tyler Foiles, Sr., 6-0, 170
- WR/LB Tyler Hicks, Sr.
2014 outlook: Chisum will be in its second year under Bo Wasurick and that could yield dividends. The Mustangs beat up on some of the area's weakest teams but struggled against Lone Oak in non-district competition as well as Cooper and Alba-Golden in District 8-2A Division II. Its losses to the three opponents joining it in 6-3A Division II came by a margin of 177-38.
6. Grand Saline Indians
Coach: Michael Ridge
2013 finish: 0-10
Returning starters: 7 offensive, 7 defensive
Players to watch
- LB Jonathan LaPrade, Sr., 6-1, 205
- LB Justin Simmons, Jr., 6-0, 175
- QB Austen Truett, Sr., 5-11, 190
- RB Andy Gibson, Jr., 5-9, 165
- DE Elijah Cook, Soph., 6-3, 190
Offense: Grand Saline averaged 9.5 points last season, but injuries marred this side of the ball. The unit returns seven starters and will hopefully catch a break from the injury bug. Quarterback Austen Truett is supposed to be an athletic quarterback and will provide a nice one-two punch in the running attack with junior tailback Andy Gibson.
Defense: The Indians have a great looking defense headlined by big bodied linebackers. The unit struggled last season, but it was crippled by the offensive issues. Expect linebackers Jonathan LaPrade and Justin Simmons to have a big say in a respectable improvement this season.
2014 outlook: Head coach Michael Ridge's team has a big challenge in front of it, but the only place to go is up. Grand Saline went big with its non-district schedule and will take on Frankston, Winona, Harmony, Kerens and Hawkins before diving into District 6-3A Division II. The team will be battled tested and is likely to hang in there when adversity strikes in league play.