The Crusaders could be in for an interesting season with Randy McFarlin replacing head coach Coby Gipson and the loss of star receiver Judah Bell to SMU.

Interesting certainly does not mean bad. We're picking Tyler Bishop Gorman eighth in our preseason Class 2A/Private Schools poll.

McFarlin, who was promoted from defensive coordinator when Gipson left for a job with Howard Payne University, is not holding the bag ahead of a letdown season. The Crusaders are tied for the most returning starters alongside Bullard Brook Hill among the four TAPPS Division II, District 2 playoff squads from a season ago.

Twelve starters are back with six on offense and six on defense.

Returners include record-setting quarterback Jake Smith, Howard University receiver target Isaiah Haggerty and fellow receiver Tyler Hobbs.

Both receivers caught for more than 400 yards last season with Hobbs recording 1,079 yards in 11 games. Smith threw for 4,351 yards and recorded 40 touchdowns.

The Crusaders' defense allowed 465 points for a net of minus-nine points for the season, but the six returning starters should be able to get that number to dip. Rest assured McFarlin will continuing emphasizing the defensive side of the game as head coach.

Justin Duffie, a 6-foot-2 and 315-pound defensive lineman, is a great starting block for the unit. He should be able to retract opposing offensive lines, especially within district play.

Gorman is the second TAPPS team revealed in the poll and follows No. 9 Tyler Grace Community.

Both teams, however, will be chasing Dallas Christian for the league crown. Dallas Christian has at least tied for the District 2 title each season since 2012.

Gorman will get ready for the league schedule with high-profile non-district games against Class 3A competitors White Oak and Waskom. The Roughnecks feature a very good quarterback of their own in Heath Hood whereas Waskom is only one season removed from back-to-back state championships. Preseason Class 2A/Private Schools Poll

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