The journey across north Dallas continues with District 5-6A. This district will create some new matchups as Denton Braswell and Little Elm move up from 5A and Allen, Prosper, McKinney, and McKinney Boyd all come over from District 9-6A to join Denton Guyer in 5-6A.Â With the defending state runner-up in Denton Guyer, Allen as the biggest high school in Texas, Prosper as a regional finalist, and Braswell and McKinney coming off seasons where they made the playoffs, this district will be a gauntlet for the teams involved. With all the talent that will be on display, here is what to watch for in this district this year.
Allen Eagles (6959)
Last Season: 11-1; Defeated in area round by Rockwall
Head Coach: Terry Gambill: 5th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/4 vs. Atascocita- The Houston vs. Dallas showdowns continue as Atascocita, coming off a 12-2 season and a regional finals appearance, travels north to square off against Allen on their home turf.
Player to watch: WR Blaine Green- He is coming off a season where he had 1,063 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He recently committed to Oklahoma State and will be a key target for the Eagles starting quarterback this year.
Stoeylines: Receivers Blaine and his twin brother Bryson Green were both first team all-district selections last season and have both committed to Oklahoma State. The Green brothers will be a headache for opposing defenses as they grapple with how to contain both of them this season. Leading rusher Jordan Johnson is back as well after rushing for 763 yards last season. He has 6 Division I offers including ones from Army, Navy, and Hawaii. The Eagles will have an intriguing quarterback battle to see who will lead this talented offense this season between General Booty, who transferred in from California, and Parker Wells, who transferred in from Garland Sachse. Allen will have some reloading to do on the defensive side of the ball as they graduated nine seniors who earned first or second team all-district honors. Cade Patton will be an important returner at cornerback after being a second team all-district selection last season. This Eagles team will need to gel quickly on defense, but their offense is star-studded and will be one to watch in the state of Texas this year. The will be motivated to make a deep run in the playoffs after last yearâ€™s heartbreaking 60-59 defeat to Rockwall in the area round.
Denton Braswell Bengals (2345)
Last Season (5A): 9-3; Defeated in area round by Red Oak
Head Coach: Cody Moore; 5th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/10 vs. Sachse- A good test for the Bengals as Sachse, who went 8-3 a season ago, comes to town to take on Braswell in its last home game before district play begins.
Player to watch: WR Cam Smith- An Oklahoma State commit, he will be a key target, coming off a season where he caught 76 passes for 1,259 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Storylines: Smith is joined by two other talented receivers in Jacob Hernandez, who had 821 receiving yards last year, and Jâ€™Kalon Carter, who had 605 receiving yards himself, to form a talented trio in the receiving corps that. The Bengals lost their quarterback and top two rushers from a year ago but senior RB Jamerion Sanford will be back after rushing for 542 yards and three touchdowns a season ago. Senior Tristan McClary is the favorite to take over at quarterback after serving in a jack-of-all-trades role as he played at safety, receiver, and on special teams a year ago. OT Erick Cade will anchor the offensive line and has offers from a multitude of Division I programs including Alabama, Ole Miss, and Texas. Smith could be one to watch on defense as well after being named first team all-district at cornerback last season, the position he will play for Oklahoma State. DE Braylen Butler will anchor the defensive line after being a first team selection a year ago. The Bengals are in for a challenge in this loaded district, but the talent is there for them to try and make it to the playoffs for the second year in a row in just their fifth season as a varsity program.
Denton Guyer Wildcats (2639)
Last Season: 14-2; Defeated by Westlake in 6A Division II title game
Head Coach: Rodney Webb: 1st season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/4 vs. Denton Ryan- A mouth-watering clash for supremacy in Denton ISD between two teams that made their respective state title games a year ago. This is the first time in five years these two teams have squared off with Ryan winning the last matchup 31-28 back in 2015.
Player to watch: QB Eli Stowers- The leader of this Guyer team. His injury in the state title game is a large reason why the Wildcats were shutout against Westlake 24-0. A Texas A&M commit, he threw for 2,885 yards, ran for 1,127 more, and totaled 47 touchdowns on the season.
Storylines: Rodney Webb comes over from Rockwall to replace John Walsh who stepped down after 14 seasons at the helm and ended up taking the San Marcos in May. Stowers will be determined to lead the Wildcats back to the title game after last yearâ€™s heartbreak. He will need to find some new targets though after his five leading receivers and leading rusher graduated. Senior Ty Alridge and junior BJ Phillips will both be options at running back after each had over 200 rushing yards last season, while wide receiver KJ Liggins has offers from six Division I programs, including Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Georgia. Whichever skill players end up stepping up, they will be protected by an offensive line that is anchored by seniors Gabe Blair and Knox Boyd who each have at least 10 Division I offers. The Guyer defense, however, will be something to watch this season. CB Deuce Harmon is a Texas A&M commit and had 45 tackles and two interceptions a year ago. LB Jordan Eubanks had 63 total tackles himself and recently committed to Florida State. On the defensive line, there is yet another Division I prospect as Baylor commit Cooper Lanz returns after a junior season where he had 80 tackles, including 24 TFL. â€œIâ€™m extremely impressed with the work ethic of this bunch of kids,â€ Webb said. â€œThe greatest strength of this team will be their physicality, which is born from a top-notch strength and conditioning program.â€Â Their defense is loaded and Stowers is one of the top quarterbacks in Texas. If they can replace their departed skill players, this Guyer team will have their eyes set on another deep playoff run.
Little Elm Lobos (2269)
Last Season (5A): 3-7
Head Coach: Kendrick Brown: 7th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. L.D. Bell- The season opener will see Little Elm get its first test as a 6A program when it welcomes L.D. Bell, which will bring its triple option offense to town, as both teams look to rebound from 3-7 seasons a year ago.
Player to watch: QB John Mateer- The junior will enter his third season as the starter after throwing for 1,593 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. The Lobos will rely on his experience as they make the step up to this difficult 6A district.
Storylines: Little Elm has a number of returning juniors primed to lead its offense this fall. Mateer will be joined in the backfield by fellow junior Jason Jackson, who was a second team all-district selection a year ago after rushing for 745 yards and 8 touchdowns. At receiver, juniors Josh Joseph, who had 348 receiving yards a year ago, and slot man Vashawn Thomas, who had 276 receiving yards, return to give Mateer some experienced targets. On defense, Jax Brown, a second team all-district selection a year ago who recently picked up an offer from Colorado State, will anchor the defensive line. Seniors Jonas Garrett and Rocky Navarette will be two players to watch at linebacker after being district honorable mentions a year ago. This is an incredibly tough district for the Lobos to step up into, so they will need to rely on their returning lettermen on both sides of the ball as they look to make some noise at the 6A level.
McKinney Lions (3049)
Last Season: 7-5; Defeated in area round by Waco Midway
Head Coach: Marcus Shavers: 3rd season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. Har-Ber Springdale (AR)- The home opener for the Lions will be an out-of-state test as Har-Ber Springdale, a talented team that is coming off an 8-4 season, comes to visit from Arkansas.
Player to watch: DE Jonathan Jones- A threat off the edge at 6â€™4â€ and 240 pounds. He has caught the eyes of colleges across the nation and recently announced his top five schools for consideration as Baylor, Texas, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Storylines: The Lions have a loaded backfield coming back offensively this year. Junior quarterback Sampson Nazarko has the keys to the offense after throwing for 2,403 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Then there is a three-headed monster at running back. Junior Laâ€™Marrya Ransem, 916 rushing yards a year ago, and seniors R.J. Carver, 739 rushing yards, and O.J. Reed, 624 rushing yards, will provide the Lions plenty of depth at running back to rotate in throughout the game. This will be crucial as TE Elijah Saintjuste, who had 106 receiving yards a year ago, is the only returning receiver who had double-digits catches last year. On defense, Jones will anchor the line and will look to spend a lot of time in opposing teamsâ€™ backfields. Washington State commit safety Adrian Shepherd will look to lead the secondary alongside Northern Arizona commit Kobe Walton, who comes in from West Mesquite. On special teams, K/P Seth Cox, who is also a star pitcher for the Lions, will be a weapon after being named a first team all-district punter and second team kicker last season. These Lions have plenty of talent back on both sides of the ball as they look to make it back to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
McKinney Boyd Broncos (2841)
Last Season: 3-7
Head Coach: Joe McBride: 2nd season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/29 vs. Midwest City (OK)- The season opener will see the Broncos tested by an out-of-state visitor in Midwest City from Oklahoma, a playoff team who went 4-7 a year ago.
Â Player to watch: QB Carter Whitefield- Starred as a sophomore last year, throwing for 1,582 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Broncos will need Whitefield to continue to develop and perform at a high level as a lot of talent around him offensively graduated.
Storylines: Whitefield will have a lot of new faces around him this year after the Broncosâ€™ top two rushers and six leading receivers from last season graduated. The receiver room was hit so hard by graduation that RB Julius Thompson Jr. is the lone returning player who had a reception last year. On defense, there are some more pieces returning. Junior linebacker Jimmy Fex is back after being named the District 9-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year last season, while fellow linebacker senior Matteo Bianchi, who has an offer from Abilene Christian, also returns after totaling 89 tackles a year ago. On the defensive line, Ben Belk and Mason Hanes both return after being district honorable mentions last season. The Broncos also have P Connor Dailey, who was named second team all-state by the Associated Press Sports Editors last season. The key for the Broncos will be finding production on offense as they look to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Prosper Eagles (2699)
Last Season: 11-3; Defeated by Rockwall in regional finals
Head Coach: Brandon Schmidt: 5th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/11 @Southlake Carroll- A big time non-district road trip for Prosper against a team that went 13-1 a year ago. This battle between two teams who both made it to the regional finals last season will give a good idea of how these two will perform against top tier teams come playoff time in November.
Player to watch: QB Jackson Berry- Starred a year ago after throwing for 3,129 yards and 37 touchdowns, which earned him first team all-district honors. He has picked up three Division I offers and will be a quarterback to watch not just for Prosper but in the DFW area as the season progresses.
Storylines: The Eagles have talent back from the team that made the run to the regional finals last season. Berry returns along with the versatile junior Tyler Bailey who caught 64 passes for 726 yards and rushed for 675 more on the ground, totaling 18 touchdowns in the process. San Diego State commit TE Cameron Harpole, who had 468 receiving yards a year ago, is back as well as WR Keaton Nickerson, who had 476 receiving yards himself last season. This wealth of returning options will give Berry plenty of targets to throw to on an offense that averaged just over 37 points per game a season ago. On the other side of the ball, look for linebackers Aidan Siano, a Rice commit, and Mason Jolley, a Tulsa commit, to be key playmakers on defense. Senior James Eckrote will anchor the defensive line after being a first team all-district selection last year.Â This district will make the Eagles battle tested come playoff time and, if they rely on their returning talent on both sides of the ball, they will be a team to watch when November rolls around.