ETSN.fm 2013 Preseason Class 5A/4A Poll: No. 5 Sulphur Springs
Coming off back-to-back eight-win seasons, Sulphur Springs is primed for another successful campaign with 13 returning starters under veteran head coach Greg Owens.
The Wildcats boast one of East Texas' most exciting players in Willy Ivery, who is a human highlight reel with the ball in his hands. As a junior, Ivery accounted for 29 total touchdowns and averaged 11.3 yards per touch over his 86 rushes and 54 catches, amassing almost 1,600 yards from scrimmage.
He and four other starters are back to lead an offense that averaged 46.8 points per game a year ago. The Wildcats should be strong along the offensive front after starting multiple sophomores a year ago.
The big question mark on offense is who plays quarterback after the graduation of Brad Macek, a 2,300-yard passer in 2012.
The answer? Maybe Ivery, and also highly-recruited junior Larry Pryor. Both players hold multiple Division I FBS offers, Ivery as an athlete and Pryor as a safety.
Regardless of what happens on offense, Pryor will team with classmate Zach Spigner to give Sulphur Springs one of East Texas' top safety tandems. The duo combined for almost 200 tackles as sophomores and give Owens two proven playmakers for two more seasons. They are 2 of 8 returning defensive starters who should be able to improve on the 39.4 points per game the 'Cats surrendered last season.
Sulphur Springs enters the fall as the frontrunner for the District 14-4A championship, which would be the Wildcats' second in a row if they win it. Interstate 30 rivals Mount Pleasant and Texas High could be obstacles in that quest. Sulphur Springs hosts Mount Pleasant in the 14-4A opener Oct. 11 before traveling to Texas High the next week.
Sulphur Springs should extend its playoff streak to seven years and have a good chance at giving Owens his 12th playoff win in his eighth season at the helm.