DFW’s District 6-6A set for a competitive championship battle

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District 6-6A is another district found north of Dallas. It contains schools from Coppell ISD, Lewisville ISD, and Plano ISD.

Coppell and the Lewisville ISD schools are joined in this district by the three Plano schools, which come over from District 9-6A after realignment back in February, creating several new matchups.

With all three Plano schools hungry to bounce back after missing the playoffs last season, plenty of Division I talent in Lewisville ISD, and a Coppell team with a lot of returning experience, it is sure to be a competitive district.

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

Coppell Cowboys (4088.5)
Last Season: 4-6
Head Coach: Mike DeWitt: 7th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. Garland Sachse- The Cowboys’ home opener sees a Sachse team, which went 8-3 a year ago, come to town. This will be a chance for revenge for the Cowboys after Sachse edged Coppell 33-30 in the season opener one year ago.
Player to watch: WR Anthony Black- A three-sport, star athlete for the Cowboys, who had a breakout season as a sophomore last year, catching 39 passes for 762 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has 10 Division I offers for football, including ones from Baylor, Arkansas, and Kansas, and Division I basketball offers from North Texas and UT-Arlington, proving how versatile of an athlete he is.
Storylines: The Cowboys return key players at quarterback, running back, and receiver this season. Dual threat quarterback Ryan Walker, 1,410 passing yards and 232 rushing yards a year ago, and lead back Jason Ngwu, 843 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns, return to be leaders in the backfield as seniors. Black will lead the way at receiver, but the depth beneath him is murkier as he is the only returning receiver out of the Cowboys’ top six pass-catchers from a year ago. On defense, the Cowboys have a tandem of returning linebackers to watch. Senior outside linebacker Tim O’Hearn had 17 tackles for loss last season and recently picked up an offer from Lafayette. He is joined by junior Walker Polk, a first team all-district selection after racking up 86 tackles last season. Senior safety Zach Stricker, who had over 60 tackles and two interceptions last year, will be a leader in the secondary for the Cowboys. Tyler Reid will be a weapon on special teams after being named a first team all-district kicker and second team punter last season. These Cowboys have key players back on both sides of the ball as they look to get back on track after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2011.

Flower Mound Jaguars (3651)
Last Season: 8-4; Defeated in the area round by Duncanville
Head Coach: Brian Basil: 5th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 @ Mesquite- A showdown between two teams that went 8-4 a year ago as both made it to the area round. This game will be a good test for both teams as they open their seasons against a playoff-caliber opponent.
Player to watch: DE Stone Eby- One of the top defensive ends in Texas. He had 22.5 tackles for loss last season, which helped earn him first team all-district honors. Currently, he has 16 Division I offers, including ones from Baylor, Georgia Tech, and SMU.
Storylines: The Jaguars are coming off their first ever playoff victory in school history after they defeated Keller 31-30 in the bi-district round last season. This season, quarterback Nick Evers will be the favorite to take over the starting position from graduated Blake Short. He is regarded as one of the top junior quarterbacks in Texas and already has a power five offer from Kansas. The versatile junior Parker Clark, who can play both quarterback and receiver, is back after accumulating 762 receiving yards and throwing for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. “What impresses me about Nick and Parker is that they are both intense competitors who are committed to working hard and improving every day.  They both have an intense desire to compete at an elite level,” Basil said. “They both have playmaking qualities that we are excited about.  They are accurate with [the] football and capable of making big plays with their athleticism.” Running back will be a position to watch as Pierce Hudgens, the starter from last season, who rushed for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns, graduated and must be replaced. On defense, Eby will be joined on the line by DT Colton Vatne, who made a point of his strength during his quarantine workouts by pulling his family’s Suburban down his street. At middle linebacker, senior Landon Colby returns in the heart of defense after racking up 68 total tackles last season. In order to continue last year’s momentum, the Jaguars will need Evers to step in at the quarterback position and lead this Jaguar offense as they look to get back to the playoffs for the third year running.

Flower Mound Marcus Marauders (3094)
Last Season: 11-2; Defeated in regional semifinals by Amarillo Tascosa
Head Coach: Kevin Atkinson: 4th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 vs. Highland Park- One of the top 5A programs in Texas comes to town coming off an 11-2 season of their own. This will be a big test for the Marauders to open the season and will give an idea of how the team might fare come November.
Player to watch: QB Garrett Nussmeier- The District 6-6A MVP last season after throwing for 3,788 yards and 38 touchdowns. He is a LSU commit and will be looked upon to lead the Marauders on another playoff run in his senior season.
Storylines: The Marauders might have one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the DFW area with Nussmeier and his top target from last year, J.Michael Sturdivant. Sturdivant has 34 Division I offers and caught 87 passes for 1,125 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, so he and Nussmeier will certainly be a combination to watch. “I would say the thing that impresses me the most is the work ethic [Nussmeier and Sturdivant] both posses,” Atkinson said. “They will be very important to our offense this year. They have both proved themselves, so we are counting on J.Mike to be double teamed and that will help other receivers get open and it will also help our run game.” The beneficiary of that increased attention on Sturdivant could be junior Dallas Dudley, the number two receiver with 46 receptions for 665 yards last year. Tyler Gainey, a big 5’11” and 200-pound running back, is the leading rusher back from last season with 298 rushing yards after lead back Ty’son Edwards graduated. On defense, Gainey was a second-team selection for his play at linebacker last year as well. DL Hunter Sanders was a first team all-district selection last year and has picked up offers from Air Force, Abilene Christian, Army, and UL-Monroe. Junior safety Zach Ohlemeier and senior Christian Espinoza are back to anchor the secondary after being second team all-district selections a year ago. With Nussmeier and Sturdivant leading the way and talent back on defense, the Marauders will be a team to watch as they look to make another deep playoff run when November rolls around.

Lewisville Fighting Farmers (4468)
Last Season: 7-4; Defeated in Southlake Carroll in bi-district
Head Coach: Michael Odle: 4th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/11 @ Arlington Lamar- The final non-district game for the Fighting Farmers will be a showdown against a Lamar team that went 10-2 and made it to the area round a season ago. A win here and the Fighting Farmers would have some real momentum heading into district play.
Player to watch: QB Taylen Green- A very athletic player who was second team-all district last season after throwing for 2,217 yards and rushing for 445 more. He has caught the eye of Division I schools, accruing 7 Division I offers, including ones from UTEP, San Diego State, and Central Michigan.
Storylines: Watch out because the Fighting Farmers’ offense is going to be a force on the field this year. Green returns along with running back Damien Martinez, who starred as a sophomore last year and won the District 6-6A Offensive Newcomer of the Year Award as he ran for 619 yards and 8 touchdowns. Green’s top two receivers from a year ago are back as well. Junior Armani Winfield caught 58 passes for 758 yards and 8 touchdowns and currently has 34 Division I offers, including ones from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Alabama. Senior Isiah Stevens, who has three Division I offers himself, will complement Winfield after catching 38 passes for 551 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. They will have protection up front as Matthew Winger, Giancarlo Lopez, and Tahj Martin are all back on the offensive line after earning district mentions last season. On defense, there is a lot more work to be done after seven players who were named first or second team all-district graduated. Senior DE/OLB David Adegbenro was named second team all-district and will be bring key experience to the Fighting Farmer defense. The offense is poised to be one of the most experienced in the DFW area heading into the season. If the Farmers can fill the holes left on defense by departing seniors, they could be in for a special year.

Lewisville Hebron Hawks (3757)
Last Season: 8-3; Defeated in bi-district by Denton Guyer
Head Coach: Brian Brazil: 22nd season as head coach
Non-district game to watch: 8/28 vs. Denton Guyer- A chance for revenge for the Hawks against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs a season ago. Guyer went on to be the state runners-up, so this will be a big test for the Hawks on their home turf.
Player to watch: WR Nick Frazier- A first team all-district selection last season after racking up 650 receiving yards and six touchdowns. This caught the eye of Illinois State, which extended him an offer back in December.
Storylines: The Hawks also have a lot of experience returning at receiver. Frazier returns alongside 6’4” WR Jaddai Henry, a Kansas commit, who caught 11 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns a season ago. Nick Harris, who was a district honorable mention last season, completes this experienced trio as he returns after racking up 163 receiving yards. One player to watch is junior 5’9” WR Takoda Bridges. He is primed for a breakout season and already has an offer from Illinois State. “We are very talented at the receiver position and we have a quarterback that can get it to them,” Brazil said.  “We also have other receivers [besides Frazier, Henry, Harris, and Bridges] that will be catching balls this fall.  Excited to see how we do.” The Hawks do have to replace starting quarterback and leading rusher Carson Harris after he graduated. However, senior Weston Conaway saw snaps at the position last season, throwing for 454 yards on 42 pass attempts, so he will be the likely option to step in and lead the offense. On defense, the Hawks will be anchored in the secondary at safety by Vinson Miller and Mason Williamson, who were both first team all-district selections a year ago. 6’1” and 275 pound DT Mykell Sutton will be a key force along the defensive line after being a district honorable mention a year ago. The Hawks were knocked out by state runners-up Denton Guyer in the first round of playoffs last season. But if their quarterback can fill the hole left by Harris, with the talent at receiver and in the secondary, these Hawks will be a team to watch this season.

Plano Wildcats (4999)
Last Season: 5-5
Head Coach: Todd Ford: 1st season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 @Burleson Centennial- Ford’s first game as head coach will not be an easy one as the Wildcats travel to Burleson to take on a Centennial team that is coming off a 10-2 season and an area round appearance at the 5A level last season.
Player to watch: RB Tylan Hines- Rushed for 1,082 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning him first team all-district honors last season. He recently committed to Navy and will be a key component for the Wildcats on offense this fall.
Storylines: Todd Ford comes over from Lovejoy High School to take over the reins of a Plano program that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons. Luckily for him, the Wildcats have Hines back as well as senior quarterback Oliver Towns, who threw for 1,882 yards, rushed for 247 more, and totaled 28 touchdowns a season ago. Receiver is a big question mark as six out of the seven leading receivers from a year ago have graduated. Hines is the only returnee out of those seven, so there will be a search for replacements at receiver leading up to the season. On defense, LB Gavin Brand is back after racking up 66 total tackles last season. Stefen Browder is another returnee at linebacker, coming off a season where he had 34 tackles and two forced fumbles. “I have been very impressed with the players and their hunger to learn.  Having been away from the facility due to COVID-19, our players and staff have come back with an excitement to improve,” Ford said. “We fortunately have the rest of the summer to install our program and schemes.  August 3rd [The first day of conditioning permitted by the UIL] is right around the corner and the championship tradition at Plano Senior High is evident.” The Wildcats have Towns and Hines back to lead the team offensively, but Ford has a lot of holes elsewhere to fill as he aims to get the Wildcats back to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Plano East Panthers (5445.5)
Last Season: 1-9
Head Coach: Joey McCullough: 7th season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 8/28 @Allen- A massive challenge for their Panthers as they open their season against an Allen team coming off an 11-1 season. The Panthers will certainly be battle tested after this showdown.
Player to watch: QB Dylan Hayden- A dual-threat quarterback who will lead the offense this year as a senior. He threw for 725 yards last year and rushed for an additional 529 yards, totaling 13 touchdowns.
Storylines: The Panthers will look to get back to the heights that they hit in 2018 when they went 8-3. Hayden will lead the way for the offense under center. “His toughness is second to none, and [he doesn’t] mind putting his head down and getting the needed yardage,” McCullough said when asked about what impresses him about his quarterback. The Panthers’ leading rusher from last season graduated, but junior RB David Johnson returns after rushing for 133 yards a season ago. The top two leaders in receiving yards from last season for the Panthers also graduated, but seniors Jaydon Nava, Cameron Wood, and Damion Gunnels form a trio of returning players at that position. All three had over 100 receiving yards last season. On defense Sam Yanelli, who just picked up his first offer from East Texas Baptist University, will be one to watch on the defensive line. LB Austin Weeks, a 9-6A honorable mention last season, will be another key returnee on the defensive side of the ball. Ben Woodard, a soccer star for the Panthers as well, was a first team all-district selection as a punter last season and will be a weapon on special teams for the Panthers this year. As the Panthers look to bounce back from a disappointing season a year ago, they will look for Hayden’s playmaking ability on the offensive side of the ball to lead the team back to greener pastures.

Plano West Wolves (5579.5)
Last Season: 1-9
Head Coach: Tyler Soukup: 2nd season as head coach
Non-District game to watch: 9/[email protected] Elm- The lone road game for the Wolves on their non-conference slate sees them take on a Little Elm team that went 3-7 a year ago and is making the move up to 6A this season. This will be a big chance to gain some momentum heading into district play.
Player to watch: LB Jacob Stephens- A second team all-district selection a year ago after racking up 128 total tackles and 4 sacks. He will be a mainstay on the defense this year and has picked up 10 Division I offers heading into the season, including ones from Lamar, Prairie View A&M, and Texas Southern.
Storylines: The Wolves showed signs of improvement and notched a big 36-35 win over rivals Plano East last year to end their 34-game losing streak. This season the Wolves must find a new quarterback as both players who played the position last year graduated. 6’0” and 200-pound running back Tabren Yates will be a key returnee after rushing for 470 yards a year ago. Receiver is another position that must be filled heading into the season after the top five receivers from a year ago graduated. On defense, Stephens will be an anchor at linebacker, while on special teams, kicker and punter Jesse Velez also returns to provide much needed experience. The Wolves have a lot of talent to replace, so Soukup will be kept busy this offseason as he looks to continue to turn this program around.

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