ETSN.fm 2013 Preseason Class A/Private Poll: No. 5 Joaquin
A tough second-round playoff draw prematurely ended Joaquin's strong 2012 football season, but the Rams hope to once again a solid campaign under veteran coach Wayne Gandy.
Joaquin ran the regular-season table last year, entering the playoffs with a 10-0 mark and a District 9-A Division I championship under the Rams' belts. But after a first-round bye, Joaquin met a ranked Bosqueville team in the second round and fell 21-20 in a heartbreaker.
Gandy lost a bevy of veterans on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, where the Rams return only three starters from last year's unit that allowed only 16.3 points per game.
But the almost run-exclusive offensive system has proven over the years to be relatively plug-and-play for Gandy, who has led Joaquin to an 83-42 record and eight playoff appearances in his first 11 seasons at the helm.
Expect a big year from 6-foot-3, 207-pound Lance Lawson, who will likely take over the quarterbacking duties from the graduated Will Vaughn. Lawson also returns as one of Joaquin's leading tacklers. Jonathon Rico and Gage Belrose could have big years running the ball as well.
Defensively, Lawson and lineman Keith Ferguson will try to transition all of the new faces into the system during the early part of the schedule, which features a season-opening matchup against 1A Division II preseason No. 1 Tenaha and a district tuneup against Class 2A Elkhart and 2,300-yard rusher Jeffery Wilson.
Despite all of the graduation losses, Joaquin is still ETSN.fm's pick to win the 9-A D-I title come November.