Tyler Lee had one of the strangest 2016 seasons in the state. They started off 2-0, with promising wins over Corsicana and Marshall. Not dominating wins over excellent teams, to be sure, but good, solid wins. Their skid started in predistrict district play with a close loss to Nacogdoches, but a 2-1 record heading into district didn’t look bad at the time.
The Rebels began to flounder, they were torched by Rockwall-Heath, Longview, and Mesquite Horn. In those games, the Rebels were not close. They got closer in games against Rockwall, Mesquite, and North Mesquite, but never could quite pull the victory out. a 49-28 loss to rival John Tyler ended the Rebels’ season.
In a way, this was all expected, but that doesn’t make the close losses that kept Tyler Lee from a playoff spot sting any less. The Rebels broke in a new head coach in former Southlake Carroll offensive coordinator Clayton George, and the struggles that came from learning new systems and adapting to changes were present.
Tyler Lee is a reservoir of untapped potential. This is consistently a disciplined, drilled squad that makes teams with superior talent pay through smart play. They don’t have the elite level talent that some schools have, but there is a history of good football there, they won their only title as recently as 2004, but have dropped off since. They’re good, they just need to be molded in the correct way.
WR Isaiah Davison, DE Miller Campbell, OLB Royland Black, DE Parker Musselwhite, FS Makyle Sanders
In addition to losing nearly every single offensive lineman, the Rebels will lose Isaiah Davison as well. On the defensive side of they ball they lose a lot too, names like Makyle Sanders and Miller Campbell were mainstays for a long time.
QB Chance Amie, RB LaDarius Wickware, DL Nathan Niedrauer, OLB Rhett Parker
The biggest name the Raiders return is Chance Amie, 1st team All-District quarterback. If not for the Raiders’ record, he would’ve been a much bigger name across East Texas last year. Tyler Lee also returns the district newcomer of the year LaDarius Wickware, and two very capable defenders in Rhett Parker and Nathan Niedrauer, whose roles will become much larger in terms of leadership with all the departures.
Tyler Lee is a tough one, mostly because I honestly do think that they’re going to be one of the best teams in the state very soon. All the framework is there for them to succeed, but we’re talking about the 2017 season, not years in the future.
Ultimately, I do think that Tyler Lee becomes a top team, but not this season. The loss of so many capable offensive linemen and defenders is a huge red flag, and it’s only Clayton George’s second season. I don’t think they go 2-8 this season, they’ll be a better team, but I don’t think they flip to one of the best teams in their region overnight, barring some extreme circumstances. The Raiders will be better, they’ll contend for a playoff spot, but deep round playoff glory will have to wait for a later year.
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