There was one virtual lock in any game involving El Dorado in 2016: lots and lots of offense. The Aztecs finished the season averaging more than 500 yards and 47.5 points per game, putting up some eye-popping numbers. However, their season ended early in the bi-district round. El Dorado fell to Midland High 73-52 in a game that was more basketball on turf.
Head coach Ruben Torres took over from Ysleta after Jim Althoff retired and it looked like the Aztecs didn’t miss much.
Quarterback Cedarious Barfield burst on to the scene after taking over for Austyn Hill from the previous year. He’ll be back and we’ll analyze what he’ll have to work with in Key Returners.
As we move ahead to the new year, let’s take an early look as to how the Aztecs will fare next season.
WR Tyquez Hampton, WR Jorge Hernandez, LB Kevin Henderson
In order for the Aztecs to keep humming on offense like they did last year, they will have to replace some key targets at wide receiver.
Tyquez Hampton is now on his way to Salt Lake City to play for Utah after a great senior year. At times, Hampton (74 rec., 989 yards, 13 TD) showed he was one of the biggest and fastest players out there on the field. El Dorado is going to miss his talent and production next year.
Because of the hype Hampton received, Jorge Hernandez may have flown under the radar. But, he was just as valuable a target for Barfield as anyone. He also showed his versatility filling in for Barfield because of injury. Hernandez (53 rec, 1,093 yards, 6 TD) was the leading receiver for the Aztecs in terms of yards and his speed proved to be a difficult matchup for defenses in El Paso.
Finally, Kevin Henderson (62 tackles, 2 INT) emerged as a playmaker at linebacker for El Dorado this past season. Whenever a big play needed to be made, it seemed that 15 was in the backfield or involved somehow.
It didn’t just apply to defense; he even emerged as a secondary running threat at times in the backfield (209 yards, 4 TD). His leadership and presence will be a big void to fill for the El Dorado defense.
QB Cedarious Barfield, WR Cameron Hill, FS Salvador Avila, CB Davion Kinsey
The offense will have their biggest playmaker back next year in Barfield and that has to make Torres’s like easier. Barfield was simply electric all season and even in the bi-district loss, he put up some outstanding numbers (4,651 total yards, 55 total TDs). He is one of the best dual-threats in the state and he’ll look to have an even bigger year next season.
With Hernandez and Hampton gone, someone will have to step in as a lead receiver. Cameron Hill might be that guy. Even as a third option, Hill (28 rec, 561 yards, 8TD) came up big at times for El Dorado and he’ll be an important piece of the high powered Aztec offense next year.
El Dorado’s top players coming back on defense reside in the secondary. Salvador Avila and Davion Kinsey are going to be crucial players for a defense that gave up some big plays at times next season.
If El Dorado’s going to have similar success in 2017 as they did this past season, they’re going to need two things: a secondary running threat other than Barfield and an improved defense. The Aztecs should get their points and yards on offense, but the defense will be the key as to how far they can go in 2017.
After finishing in a three-way tie for a district title with Montwood and Americas, look for El Dorado to be near the top of the standings again in District 1-6A.