The graduation of new Oregon State tailback Damien Haskins will undoubtedly hurt New Boston's offense, but new head coach Jamey Thomas definitely has talent to work with in 2013.

Haskins' 3,207 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns are irreplaceable, but six offensive starters return and eight defensive starters are back from a team that went 12-1 and reached the Class 2A Division I Region II championship game before falling to District 8-2A D-I rival Daingerfield.

Senior offensive lineman Wesley Holmes (6-1, 290) will lead the way for quarterback Aaron Conkleton and a new crop of playmakers, including sophomore tailback Devontae Wade and junior athletes Quinn Dedmon and Jeff Gladney, who made an impact on both sides of the ball last season as a sophomore.

Defensively, the Lions should once again be strong. Eight starters are back after holding opponents to 14.8 points per game last season. New Boston allowed seven or fewer points six times.

Thomas can depend on 6-foot-5, 200-pound Dale Roberts and fellow defensive end Dedric Draggoo to anchor the trenches, while linebacker Wes Teague and Charlotte-committed defensive back Jawuan Johnson give the Lions veteran leadership in the back seven.

New Boston and Daingerfield should once again fight for the district championship and have a good shot at meeting for the second consecutive year in the regional championship. Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine ranks New Boston No. 3 in its preseason poll, while's Friday Night Football magazine ranks the Lions 11th. 2013 Preseason Class 2A Poll


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