Every time that Mesquite Horn stepped on the field in 2016, the scoreboard at Mesquite Memorial Stadium or wherever the Jaguars were playing was going to be in for a workout. The offense was strong for Horn, averaging 41 points a game but the defense gave up just as nearly points as the offense did.
That said, the Jaguars were able to earn the fourth playoff spot in a District 11-6A that was full of explosive offenses. Their season ended in the bi-district round against The Woodlands, who would make a run to the state championship.
As he heads into his fifth year at Horn, head coach Chris Overton is looking to keep the momentum going for a team that has become a playoff regular over the last few years.
QB Chris Robison, WR Reggie Roberson, LB Ronald Reffell, LB Roman Pargas
As mentioned earlier, the Jaguars offense was explosive and senior quarterback Chris Robison was a big part of the reason why. The Oklahoma early-enrollee was in complete command of the offense, passing for 2,089 yards, 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Bob Stoops has a great quarterback to work with in Norman, as Robison was able to spread it out and get it out to his skill players in space.
The biggest hit that Mesquite Horn is taking heading into 2017 is at receiver. The Jaguars lose their top four producers at that position. The unit produced over 2,400 yards receiving and 26 touchdowns, which includes leading receiver Reggie Roberson. Roberson is heading to West Virginia to play for the Mountaineers and he will head to Morgantown off the heels of a great senior season (60 catches, 1,060 yards, 11 TD). The first team All-District selection will be one of several key playmakers from that unit gone, which includes Placido Isaac, Breon Emerson, and Katrell Blakely.
On the defensive side of the ball, Horn must also replace their top two linebackers in Ronald Reffell and Roman Pargas. Both were also first team All-District selections and the two leading tacklers on the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars do have a couple of guys behind them to lead the way but they’ll have to step in quickly to fill the void that these two leave behind.
QB Jermaine Givens, RB Cornell Caldwell, LB Cameron Schmitz, S BeeJay Williamson
With all the talent gone on offense, the Jaguars are hoping to lean on new playmakers to step up in 2017. One known entity that Overton knows he has is at quarterback where Jermaine Givens is slated to take over. Givens saw a good amount of playing time in 2016 and is more of a dual-threat under center than Robison. The Jaguars offense may look a little bit different next season and the running ability of Givens could be a big part of the equation.
With the losses at receiver and at running back, the Jaguars will look towards the few returners they have to step up. Cornell Caldwell is listed as a running back (586 yards rushing, 3 TDs), but he is also the team’s leading returning receiver (195 yards, 4 TD) in 2017. He’ll have to step up as a leader for the new faces at receiver and as a go-to target for Givens.
After being named Honorable Mention on the All-District team last year, Cameron Schmitz will be one of the guys that the defense relies on to fill the production of Reffell and Pargas. The rising senior finished with 50 tackles in 2016 and he’ll have his opportunity to shine next season.
Finally, BeeJay Williamson leads a secondary that also returns two All-District selections at corner. The junior safety finished with 48 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. For an offense that may take some time to find its footing, the secondary will be a crucial part of the Jaguars’ success.
Mesquite Horn plays in a district full of explosive offenses so the shootouts will most likely continue heading into 2017. The key for the Jaguars will be is how quickly the new playmakers on offense, particularly at receiver, get comfortable in their new roles. Chris Overton should have another fun team to watch this season and one that could find a way to get into the playoffs just like they did last year.