By Collin Wieder
Arlington High School football and winning have been synonymous since Head Coach Scott Peach’s arrival in 2002. Peach has had three teams with 10 or more wins during his tenure.
The Colts also made the playoffs six consecutive years from 2008-2013. However, The Colts have fallen a peg after a 4-6 campaign in 2014.
Peach thinks that some of last year’s struggles were due in part to the complacency of his team.
“I felt like last year, we thought we would just walk out there put on the Colt jersey and play,” Peach said. “We didn’t play with a sense of urgency, and we didn’t play with the intensity we needed to win football games.”
Peach has a tough task ahead of him this season since Arlington returns just eight total starters. But they do have a chance to build some great depth for the future. Junior quarterback Caelan Day will be the Colts’ signal caller in 2015. Day completed five of six passes last year for just 43 yards, but he will have solid line protection and playmakers in his first year as a starter.
Senior running back Duson Sproles steps in for two-year starter and Boise State commit Raymond Sheard. Sproles rushed for 300 yards last year and recorded five total touchdowns. Senior Alan Braxton (141 yards, two touchdowns) should share the running back duties with Sproles making them a nice one-two punch. Junior receiver Jack Carnes returns as the wideout with the most experience, so he is likely to be Days’ number one target.
The biggest strength in the Colts’ offensive game this year has to be their offensive line. Seniors Jordan Johnson, Josh Hutson and Oscar Gonzalez will lead the way for Arlington’s playoff hopes.
Peach had high praise for the seniors at the offensive line and running back positions.
“I think we will be much improved offensively,” Peach said. “We’ve got a lot of young talent around us in the receiving corp, and we’ve got a senior-led offensive line and running back system. Hutson, Gonzalez and Johnson have been three-year starters for us, so their experience is key. Duson Sproles and Alan Braxton are our strongest kids in the weight room and our hardest workers on the track. They are very explosive backs.”
The defense will need the experienced offense to make plays because they only return two starters from last year. Senior defensive end Jasen Christopher (41 tackles) and senior linebacker Matthew Anunda (66 tackles) are going to prep nine new starters for the Colts’ defense.
This extremely young defense will lean heavily on their senior leadership and junior safeties Dwayne Tate (33 tackles) and Ben Carroll (36 tackles). The two juniors should bolster a secondary that has zero starters coming back.
“This will be about as inexperienced as we have been on defense in a long time,” Peach said. “The bad thing about that is that they don’t have Friday night experience. The good thing is that they are excited about playing the game, and they are relentless to the football.”
Arlington hopes those new faces can lead them back to the top of a tough district. Martin, Lamar, Bowie and Sam Houston all have solid teams returning for the upcoming year making it a tough route to the playoffs. But it is something that Peach has become accustomed to in his time at Arlington.
They should make a decent run at the playoffs in 2015 if the young roster pans out. The Colts start their season this Friday against Duncanville at 7:30 p.m.