The Tyler Lee Red Raiders may have only three wins in the last two years, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism in 2012.

Darrell Piske is Lee’s new head football coach, following one season from interim coach Randy Huffstickler and 15 from the school’s all-time winningest coach Mike Owens.

Everyone seems interested in what kind of changes Piske will bring to Lee, which suffered through a 1-9 season last year, its worst since 1983.

Piske, who coached the previous four seasons at Class 3A Fairfield, has a proven track record when it comes to turning around struggling programs. In the two years prior to Piske’s arrival, Fairfield accounted for just three victories.

The most talked-about player on the field is senior running back LaQuintas Wallace (5-10, 190), who had a disappointing junior season that was marred by injuries. If Wallace can remain on the field, he can make the transition for Piske and Co. a much smoother one.

Piske also plans to start senior Jordan Richardson (6-0, 175), a former wide receiver, at quarterback. Richardson, after impressing coaches in the spring, suffered a broken left fibula days before the spring game. Richardson is expected to be ready to go once the season starts.

Piske is hoping with Richardson under center the Red Raiders can improve by leaps and bounds on offense. Last season, Lee averaged just 15 points per game and was held to single digits four times.

Defensive end Del'kei Derrett (6-1, 240) anchors a unit that will need to improve after allowing 39 points per game in 2011.


5A/4A Countdown

No. 6: Texas High

No. 7: Jacksonville

No. 8: Whitehouse

No. 9: Hallsville

No. 10: Lindale