Robinson High School knocked off the Taylor Ducks for three-straight seasons in the opener, but the Ducks finally earned some revenge last week, beating the Rockets, 43-41. The back-and-forth battle featured a ton of offense, but it was senior quarterback Terrell Reynolds who stole the show with 325 yards passing and four touchdowns.
Head coach Rusty Purser’s team reached the bi-district round of the state playoffs in 2014 despite winning just two games. However, this year’s group of Ducks is the most talented team Taylor has fielded in a few years. The seniors have enjoyed success since their Pop Warner days, and now it is time to take all the expectations from middle school, freshman football and beyond to the varsity stage and the first step was doing something Taylor couldn’t do in 2012, 2013 and 2014: beat Robinson.
Reynolds isn’t the only playmaker at Purser’s disposal. Fellow senior Damarcus Fields is an FBS talent, while running back Armando Solis earned varsity playing time late in his freshman season. Wide receiver Malik Jackson is siblings with former Taylor star Mark Jackson, who won multiple track championships in the triple jump in high school and went on to win the Big 12 Indoor Triple Jump Championship at the University of Texas before moving on to UTEP.
Xavier Washington is another running back who can be used in multiple ways, and all of this speed gets to work behind an offensive line led by Colton Kruse, Cole Standifer and Axel Werner. And Caleb Cooper is a senior wide receiver who may have the best hands on the football team.
Offense won’t be an issue for Taylor this season, but the defense must toughen up for the Ducks to head back to the playoffs. Depth becomes an issue because a lot of the stars on offense are counted on to play defense, as well. Iron-man football is no stranger to Taylor football teams, but it is something that has hindered the program late in games and over the course of the season for multiple years. Finding quality depth outside of the usual suspects will be the difference between landing in the playoffs and being left out in a tough District 14-4A Div. I led by Liberty Hill.
Now sitting at 1-0, Taylor enters Week 2 against a former district rival: Rockdale. The Tigers also come into the game at 1-0 and it’ll be a litmus test for both teams as district play inches closer with each passing Friday.
The Ducks are talented an athletic enough to make some noise and surprise a few teams in district play, but the program must continue to take strides towards improving the defense and building depth to return to the postseason.