The Argyle Eagles are perched atop MaxPreps Class 4A Division I preseason rankings while their Week 1 opponent, the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs, eked in at the No. 20 spot.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Abilene Wylie’s Bulldog Stadium. Friday night’s contest will be the fourth time the two teams scheduled each other for their season opener. The Eagles lead the series 2-1.
The last time the Eagles traveled out west down I-20 to Bulldog Stadium, Argyle shut out Wylie, 38-0.
2012 Result: Wylie 31, Argyle 14 at Eagles Stadium
2013 Result: Argyle 38, Wylie 0 at Bulldog Stadium
2014 Result: Argyle 34, Wylie 28 at Eagles Stadium
Argyle Players to Watch and a few words from Argyle’s coach Todd Rodgers
QB Dane Ledford — Safety turned QB
“Dane was a QB through his younger years, so now he’s coming back to his natural position,” Todd Rodgers. “He put a lot of work in over the spring and in seven-on-seven in the summer. He’s poised and ready to lead this team.”
TE JC Chalk — Clemson pledge
“JC is an all-around athlete and takes his position very seriously,” Rodgers said. “He makes space for our ball carrier to run, and has spent time in the offseason perfecting his routes.”
RB Taylor Sweatt — LB turned RB
Argyle loses its staple of its long-term success with Nick Ralston graduating, but the Eagles still have a bruising back who can bounce it to the outside and leave defenders chasing him.
“Taylor is not as seasoned as Nick was,” Rodgers said. “Nick was patient, followed his blocks and waited for the play to mature. Taylor on the other hand, is a slasher. He finds the hole and bursts through the line, and can take it to the outside when needed.”
Wylie Players to Watch and a few words from Abilene Reporter News’ Jonathan Marshall
Abilene Wylie looks to rely on its brand new offensive line this season to give an experienced backfield a few holes to run through. All five of Wylie’s starters may be first-year starters, but all are seniors. They lack varsity experience, but this O-line built a lot of chemistry over the years.
The team’s backfield is led by a duo of running backs, Jared Asbill and Josh Novil, and an experienced signal-caller looking for revenge from last season’s narrow loss.
Novil, a move-in from Florida, will be a force to be reckoned with. Wylie head coach Hugh Sandifer told the Abilene Reporter News’s Jonathan Marshall —Wylie’s beat writer — that Novil “will be used in every facet of the game.”
“He’ll return kicks, punts, will probably dab into the defense at cornerback and will be the go-to running back,” Marshall said.
Wylie looks to be balanced. The team returns three starters on both sides of the ball, and the most experienced unit will be the linebacker corps.
The Bulldogs take pride in their physical defense, with opposite defensive ends Jake Taylor (6’3, 240) and Jack Clinton (6’4, 240, runs a 4.8 40-yard dash).
“In my now four years covering Wylie, their defense doesn’t get beaten up a lot,” Marshall said. “ There are a lot of unproven guys, but it’ll be won from the team that commits the most turnovers.”
Lastly, the aforementioned quarterback, Tyler Ward, is poised and ready to lead the Bulldogs.
“I don’t foresee it being a blowout on either side,” Marshall ended.
Jonathan Marshall – 30-27 either team
Jimmy Isbell – 38-35 Argyle