If you're looking for a dark horse in the District 11-6A playoff race, it might be the Tyler Lee Red Raiders.

Armed with a new head coach steeped in winning, and a quarterback with almost 20 Division I scholarship offers, Lee could be on the verge of a breakout season.

The Red Raiders are ranked No. 4 in ETSN.fm's Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll, the first 6A program to appear in the rankings.

Kurt Traylor, the younger brother of East Texas high school coaching legend and current SMU assistant Jeff Traylor, took over at Lee at the beginning of June following the sudden resignation of Clayton George, who lasted only one year.

Before arriving in Tyler, Kurt Traylor was part of a Gilmer staff that won three state championships since 2004 and has been to back-to-back Class 4A Division II semifinals.

In other words, he brings instant credibility to a Lee program that's fallen on hard times in recent years.

Since Mike Owens' resignation following the 2010 season, the Red Raiders' record is 18-43.

Lee certainly has players to work with in 2017, beginning with senior quarterback and University of Houston commit Chance Amie.

Last season, Amie passed for 1,556 yards, rushed for 1,260, and accounted for 27 touchdowns for an offense that averaged 34.2 points per game.

In addition to Amie, Lee welcomes back standout running back Ladarius Wickware, who rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 14 TD's as a sophomore.

Defense is where Lee must improve if it is to become a serious threat in 11-6A. Opponents averaged almost 42 points per contest against the Red Raiders' "D."

ETSN.fm Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll

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