2020 Texas High School Season Preview: District 10-6A

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District 10-6A contains six schools from Dallas ISD, Mesquite ISD, and Rockwall ISD, and then stretches out to east Texas to include Tyler Lee. This district is nearly identical to District 11-6A from last realignment except for the addition of Dallas Skyline, which replaces Longview after the Lobos dropped down to 5A.

With the Mesquite ISD schools looking to replace their leading passers, rushers, and receivers from last year, star junior quarterbacks in Rockwall, plenty of Division I talent on display, and the guarantee of a new district champion after Longview drops down to 5A, there are plenty of storylines to follow in this district this year.

Here is what to watch for in District 10-6A this year.

Dallas Skyline Raiders (4184)

Last Season: 7-4; Defeated in bi-district by DeSoto

Head Coach: Herman Johnson: 3rd season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. Arlington- The season opener for the Raiders will be a good test in front of their own fans against an Arlington side that boasts a talented backfield duo in Kris Sims and BJ Rogers and went 9-4 a year ago, making a run to the regional semi-finals.

Player to watch: WR Quaydarius Davis- A 4-star commit to USC, who earned first team all-district honors last season after catching 36 passes for 515 yards and four touchdowns. He will be one of the top players in this district and will be a key part of the Raider offense.

Storylines: This Skyline team is going to be a force to be reckoned with in this district. Quarterback Darryl Richardson, who has an offer from Utah State, threw for 1,369 yards and 17 touchdowns last season as a sophomore and is back to lead the Raiders again this year. Last year’s District 8-6A Sophomore MVP running back Qualon Farrar, 453 rushing yards and five touchdowns, will be alongside Richardson in the backfield to create a dynamic duo for defenses to try and deal with. At receiver, Davis will be joined 6’4” junior receiver Ma’leeyon Winfield alongside him. Winfield, who has offers from three FBS programs currently in Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri, caught seven passes for 167 yards last year, but will likely play a bigger part in the offense this season. “We have talent coming back offensively,” Johnson said. “[Richardson, Farrar, Davis, and Winfield] are a big part of our offensive attack”. On the other side of the ball, there is just as much talent. “I am more pleased with the number of returners on defense,” Johnson said. “We have size and speed returning on defense and depth on the defensive side of the ball. It should be an exciting season if we get to play football.” 6’4” and 330-pound defensive tackle Bear Alexander, who has 28 Division I offers, had to play JV last year due to transfer rules, but he will be a force on the line for the Raiders this season. The secondary will be anchored by three-star safety Isaiah Nwokobia, a SMU commit, who was a first team all-district selection last year. This Raiders team has plenty of talent that could play at the next level. Now they will look to come together and make a deeper run in the playoffs after getting knocked out by DeSoto in the bi-district round the past two seasons.

Mesquite Skeeters (2629)

Last Season: 8-4: Defeated in area round by Prosper

Head Coach: Jeff Fleener: 4th season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. Flower Mound- Both teams are coming off 8-4 seasons and area round appearances last year. Both teams will be aiming to start the season off on the right foot and prove that they have what it takes to defeat playoff-caliber opposition.

Player to watch: LB Jayden Brown- A first team all-district selection the past two years and one of the leading tacklers for the Skeeters in 2019. The Skeeters will look for him to be an anchor for their defense at linebacker.

Storylines: Mesquite has a lot of roster turnover to deal with on offense in key positions. Their starting quarterback, running back, leading receiver, and three offensive linemen who received district honors all graduated. Quarterback is a question mark, while senior Jacob Fields is the leading returning rusher after racking up 139 yards on 18 carries last season. There are still plenty of weapons at receiver though. Second team all-district selection K.B. Frazier, 186 receiving yards, 6’4” senior Kevin Hodges, 164 receiving yards, and third team all-district selections Trey Rudd and Jacolby Thomas all return to provide a range of targets for the new quarterback. Defensively, there is plenty of turnover too as ten players who received district honors on that side of the ball graduated. This is why Brown’s experience will be crucial at linebacker. Up front on the defensive line, 5’7” and 275-pound defensive tackle Marlon Thompson-Leatch returns after being named District 11-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year last season. The Skeeters have plenty of potential, but they will be busy this offseason looking for players to fill the holes left by graduates as they look to make it to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Mesquite Horn Jaguars (2899)

Last Season: 3-7

Head Coach: Chris Hudler: 2nd season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 9/4- vs. Highland Park- A big test for the Jaguars as Highland Park, a perennial contender at the 5A level, comes to town. The Jaguars will look to improve on last year’s result when Highland Park defeated them 52-25.

Player to watch: S Marquis Edwards- One of the leading playmakers on the Horn defense last season, racking up 92 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an interception. His experience will be vital on a team that was senior heavy a year ago.

Storylines: The Jaguars have to deal with the graduation of their starting and backup quarterbacks, four leading rushers, and top two receivers. However, they do get the boost of RB Jalynn Lester, 607 rushing yards and six touchdowns, who transfers in from Dallas Skyline. There are plenty of options in the passing game as well as Sir’Elston Hill III, 69 receiving yards, WR Xavier Brown, a player with plenty of potential and offers from Kansas and William & Mary, and TE Derik Jackson Jr., a second team all-district selection, all return. There are more pieces to work with on a defense that will be led by Edwards. DL D’edrick Dotson, a second team selection, racked up 81 tackles a season ago and will be a force on the defensive line, while Casey Griffin, 65 total tackles, will be a key player at linebacker. In the secondary, DB John Burris III enters his third year on varsity and has offers from Austin Peay and Tennessee State after totaling 32 tackles last season. Heading into the season, the Jaguars will need playmakers to step up on offense and the returners on defense to be leaders as they look to get back to the heights they hit in 2018 when they made a run to the regional semifinals. 

North Mesquite Stallions (2515)

Last Season: 2-8

Head Coach: Tim Seder: 3rd season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 9/11 vs. Lakeview Centennial- North Mesquite scored a big win against Centennial last year defeating them 33-14. Centennial went on to make the playoffs and has one of the best running backs in the state in Camar Wheaton, so this will be a big test, especially for the Stallions’ run defense. 

Player to watch: DT Davion Carter- One of the top junior defensive tackles in the state of Texas at 6’1” and 285 pounds. He has six Division I offers, including ones from Kansas, Baylor, and Houston. He earned second team all-district honors last year and set a new max by squatting 485 pounds back in January, showcasing the explosiveness he will bring to the defensive line. 

Storylines: These Stallions have potential despite only having one victory in district play the past two seasons. Although their quarterback, leading rusher, and leading receiver all graduated, there is still talent back. “We are very excited about the growth and some changes in our offense this upcoming season,” Seder said. “We have a good mix of returning players and young talent on offense.” Liam Thornton, a player that Seder said “has proven to us that he can lead this team and make throws to highlight a quality receiving core,” is back at quarterback after splitting time last season when he threw for 518 yards and three touchdowns. At running back, Kobie Norman, 270 rushing yards, and DeQuez Henderson, 136 rushing yards, will bring experience to that position after being third team all-district selections last season. “We believe strongly in the young men we have toting the ball for us as well,” Seder said. “Kobie Norman and Dequez Henderson have had great off-seasons in the weight room and on the track.  They both play with a chip on their shoulder and I am looking for big things from both of them this year.” Senior receivers Christian Perales, 325 receiving yards, and Marcus Yow, 137 receiving yards, both return after solid seasons last year, while Seder said “we are excited about some of the up-and-comers [at receiver] like [senior] Jonathan Armstrong, [junior] Curtis Brown, [junior] Luca Morales, and [sophomore] Cordale Russell to have breakout years.” On defense, Carter will be a standout talent in the trenches. “Davion understands leverage and how to use his strength to his advantage. His strong work ethic has allowed him to grow in his mechanics and knowledge of the position,” Seder said. “His presence in the middle of our defense will allow others to be singled up to make plays, but his greatest attribute will be the servant leadership mentality he brings everyday to our team. I am looking forward to the great strides he’ll make this year because of all the hard work he’s put in.” He will be joined by DE Dominique Miles, LB Timothy Cobb Jr., LB Tommy Doan, and CB Jaylan Mosley, who were all third team all-district selections last year. The Stallions have pieces back on both sides of the ball, but they will need these returning players to take a step forward as they look to find more success in this district this year.

Rockwall Yellowjackets (2778)

Last Season: 12-3; Defeated by Duncanville in state semifinals

Head Coach: Trey Brooks: 1st season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 9/18 vs. Highland Park- This game was an instant classic a year ago with Highland Park squeaking out a 66-59 victory. It should be another highly anticipated showdown between two of the best programs in the DFW area currently.

Player to watch: QB Braedyn Locke- Burst onto the scene a year ago as a sophomore, throwing for 4,305 yards and 52 touchdowns. He has picked up offers from Kansas, Miami (FL), and SMU and will be the leader of the Yellowjacket offense again this season.

Storylines: Trey Brooks was promoted to head coach from the offensive coordinator position after Rodney Webb left to take over the Denton Guyer job after seven years at the helm. Brooks and the Yellowjackets have some reloading to do this year after both star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back Zach Henry graduated. “You can never really replace a player like Jaxon, but I think the key for us will be balance,” Brooks said. “We will continue to be an extremely fast-paced offense with Braedyn running the show, and I think that tempo will be a real strength for us.” Senior Brenden Bayes is the leading returning receiver after catching 16 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns last season, and Brooks noted that he and Caden Marshall, 167 receiving yards, are primed to play big roles in the offense. Brooks also said that junior Brennan Ray, “a very skilled H-back”, is another key returnee this season. At running back, Brooks expects the position to be “one that we will fill by committee, but we have some very capable backs that we hope will step up for us.” One to keep an eye on is sophomore Zach Hernandez, who saw playing time as a freshman last year. Youth like Hernandez could be a key factor for the Yellowjackets this year. “I am really excited about some of the young talent coming up from a 10-0 ninth grade team, and an 8-1 JV team,” Brooks said. “We’ve got several skill players from those groups that could be big varsity contributors.”  Up front there is more experience, as offensive linemen Liam Zalka, and Carson Haynes both return after earning district honors last season. The defensive line will be led by senior NG Edward Gonazales, who was a second team all-district selection after amassing 58 total tackles, and DE Jack Deapen, a third team selection last season. The secondary also has key pieces back as Drew Molck and Corey Kelley, 70 tackles, return at safety after they were third team selections last season. The loss of the likes of Smith-Njigba and Henry will hurt, but with key players back on defense and Locke leading the way on offense, it would be foolish to overlook these Yellowjackets.

Rockwall-Heath Hawks (2578)

Last Season: 5-5

Head Coach: Mike Spradlin: 2nd season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 9/17 vs. McKinney North- The Hawks final game before they begin conference play. McKinney North defeated Rockwall-Heath 56-34 in non-district play last season, so this game will be a good indication of where the Hawks stand heading into district play.

Player to watch: QB Josh Hoover- Had an incredibly impressive sophomore season as he threw for 2,934 yards and 32 touchdowns, earning first team all-district honors. He has picked up four Division I offers so far from Arkansas, North Texas, Incarnate Word, and Illinois State.

Storylines: With the amount of players returning, this season will be a big chance for the Hawks to take another step in the right direction. Hoover will be joined in the backfield by a tandem of talented running backs in fellow junior Zach Evans, 794 rushing yards and second team all-district honors, and senior running back Preston Landis, 456 rushing yards. The Hawks leading receiver from last season graduated, but Corban Cleveland, 956 receiving yards, returns to lead the receiving corps. Fellow receivers Jordan Nabors, 319 receiving yards, and Jay Fair, 83 receiving yards and three touchdowns, could be key additions as they both transfer in from Garland Sachse. Up front, offensive linemen Hunter Smith, Carson Fichtel, Sebastian Martinez, and Joshua Peacock all return to provide protection for these talented skill players after earning district honors last season. Linebacker Grady Brewer is back to lead in the heart of defense after racking up 145 tackles and earning first team all-district honors. Safety Bryson Elbert, 58 tackles, and defensive lineman Trae Martin, 71 tackles and 9 sacks, both return after being third team selections. The Hawks have a lot of talent back and have a good chance to take another step forward as they look to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Tyler Lee Red Raiders (2304)

Last Season: 6-5; Defeated in bi-district by Waco Midway

Head Coach: Joe Willis: 1st season as head coach

Non-District game to watch: 9/4 vs. John Tyler- The 65th edition of the Rose City Rivalry, which John Tyler leads 33-30-1. Tyler Lee took last season’s edition 34-7 in a commanding victory, but John Tyler will be looking to bounce back from that defeat after going 3-8 a season ago.

Player to watch: RB/CB Jamarion Miller- A first team all-district selection last season as a sophomore after rushing for 1,031 yards and ten touchdowns. He has earned five Division I offers, including ones from Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and SMU, and is set to be a key part of the Red Raiders backfield this season.

Storylines: Kurt Traylor departs after three seasons at the helm in Tyler to work under his brother as the tight end coach at UTSA. Joe Willis, who comes over from Colleyville Heritage, was tabbed as the new head coach in January. He will have a talented backfield at his disposal. Quarterback Trent Adams is back behind center after throwing for 1,069 yards and earning second team honors a year ago. At running back, Miller will be joined by fellow junior Bryson Donnell, 641 rushing yards, 137 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, to create a one-two punch for the Red Raiders. This backfield talent will have plenty of experience providing key blocks for them as Dion Daniels, Donaven Jordan, Kah’lil Montague, and Kade Fry all return on the offensive line after earning district honors. On the other side of the ball, DT Chris Harris, a first team selection last season, and DE Garfield Lawrence, who currently has 15 Division I offers, will anchor the defensive line. At linebacker Jack Janis, 95 tackles including 14 for loss, will be a key returner. In the secondary, Miller plays corner as well and earned second team honors at that position last season.  Jakelyn Morgan, 37 tackles and two interceptions, will join Miller at corner after transferring back to Tyler Lee after spending his junior year at The Brook Hill School. With a talented backfield and Division I talent back on defense, Willis has plenty to work with as he looks to get Tyler Lee back to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

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