District 5-6A is once again going to be a battle field and once again, it looks like some familiar faces will headline this talented region.
Euless Trinity is expected to return to its typical form and bounce back from a 7-4 season — a disappointing effort by the Trojans’ standard. Southlake Carroll loses plenty of key contributors, but looks set for a reload in 2017 and while Hebron also needs to replace a decent portion of its starters, the Hawks are a forced to be reckoned with next season.
While many may expect Euless Trinity or Southlake Carroll to eventually secure the district, I’m going with the surprising pick in Hebron. I love that offense’s potential led by the 2016 district offensive MVP in Kansas quarterback commit Clayton Tune. On the perimeter, Tune will have a pair of Division I caliber receivers in Jaren Mitchell and Trejan Bridges. Though they lose a lot on defense and a 1,000-yard rusher in Derian Vaughn, I love the talented secondary and the explosive offense Hebron will feature next season.
Life in the 5-6A district will continue to have two of the more prominent programs in the state as the frontrunners of the district. Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity can once again be considered favorites within the district despite both teams looking for a replacement at quarterback.
Carroll finished with a 10-2 record and if it weren’t for an outstanding and elite program named DeSoto, Carroll could have easily made their way deeper into the playoffs.
Trinity gave the masses some headscratchers throughout the season as they almost missed the playoffs for the first time in 18 years and waited to the regular season finale to punch their ticket to the postseason. Trinity however proved they were still a force to be reckoned with as they took Allen down to the wire in the first round of the playoff last year in a losing but brilliant effort.
Hebron will also be a team to lookout for as they finished second in the district last year with an 8-4 record. Flower Mound Marcus totes some top 40 talent in the state on their roster this year and will also be welcoming former Denton head coach Kevin Atkinson so expect Marcus to make some noise in the district.
The rest of the district will be open season as those teams will fight to gain an edge, but all teams will look to try and knock off the almighty Southlake Carroll Dragons that looks to once again be the king of the summit.
Prediction: Southlake Carroll
I believe that this district comes down to two teams with questions on replacing talent and whether rising talent is ready to take the next step.
Southlake Carroll is the defending champ and do have pieces back, but they lose a ton of playmakers on both sides of the ball. They do bring quite a bit of talent in linebacker Jacob Doddridge and cornerback RJ Mickens (both first team all-district selections). Meanwhile, after finishing 8-4 a year ago, Hebron brings back several top playmakers in Verone McKinley, Trejan Bridges and Clayton Tune.
These two face off during the final week of the regular season with a potential district title on the line. Hebron is the tempting pick but I think Hal Wasson will have his entire team clicking by the time they hit the late season stretch. I like the Dragons by a nose.
Pick: Southlake Carroll
Alright, bear with me here: I’m taking Hebron to win this district.
I like the Hawks for a multitude of reasons, they face Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll at home, they return lots of juniors from a team that went 8-4, and the rest of the district is losing significant amounts of talent. This isn’t to say that those teams won’t be talented, teams like Euless Trinity and Soutlake Carroll always are, but the Hebron squad will be battle tested and ready.
They have all their important district games late in the season, they have the biggest ones at home, and they have a national star in Verone McKinley III, and they have Clayton Tune returning at quarterback. This is definitely a year that Hebron can break through.
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