Rockwall Yellowjackets Season Preview

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Rockwall Yellowjackets 

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.

 

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