Written by Jon Machota
Skyline spring football report: Team anxious to avenge heartbreaking playoff loss
How the 2011 season ended: Skyline finished 14-1 with its lone loss coming to Southlake Carroll, 28-24, in the state semifinals. It was the furthest the school had advanced since 1972.
Key returning starters: Running the spread offense, everything starts with senior quarterback Devante Kincade. The 6-0, 175-pound dual-threat athlete passed for 3,270 yards and 38 touchdowns while also rushing for 857 yards and 17 scores last season. According to Rivals.com, Kincade has college offers from Colorado, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Ole Miss. “He’s a good football player,” Skyline coach Reginald Samples said. “He’s a good all-around quarterback. He throws the ball well. He leads our team.” A pair of senior wide receivers should give Kincade exceptional options in the passing game. Ra'Shaad Samples, Reginald Samples’ son, is a 6-0, 170-pound speedster that has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Samples, who caught 65 passes for 1,369 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2011, has offers from several schools, including Arkansas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC. Lamont Levels was the team’s No. 3 receiver last year, scoring two touchdowns and recording 448 receiving yards. Defensively, Skyline has playmakers all over the field. Senior defensive linemen Kerrick Huggins (6-4, 283 pounds), who is committed to Texas A&M, and Roderick Moore (6-1, 215-pounder) are expected to cause problems for opposing backfields. The defensive backfield should be very good as well, led by senior Will Barrow (5-10, 160), who is committed to Texas Tech, and junior Cedric Collins (5-10, 170), who has offers from Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Biggest questions facing team: Skyline has talent at every position but experience at linebacker is the biggest question mark. Graduating three senior starters has left coach Samples with about four or five players vying for those starting spots. “We don’t know who will replace them,” he said. “We’ve got competition for positions. We don’t give out positions. They’re working right now to see who’s going to replace those guys. … We have about 6-7 more practices left and I just like to let the guys compete. At the end, we’ll decide who has done what.” One player Skyline is likely to have starting at middle linebacker is Isaiah Williams. The 6-1, 223-pound senior has offers from Colorado and Kansas State.
Notables: It would be easy for the returning Skyline players to get overconfident. After all, they won 14 consecutive games and the roster is filled with talent to have another similar season. However, Reginald Samples doesn’t sound like he’s going to let that happen. He said last year’s team was able to have so much success because the coaching staff preached getting contributions from every player and the team responded. “Our biggest thing at Skyline is we try to play as a team, get all the guys to but into a team concept. And they did a great job with that,” said Samples, who is heading into his seventh season as head coach at Skyline. But will that team concept carry over into 2012? Will Skyline pick up where they left off? “It’s hard to tell,” Samples said. “We try to get better as the year goes on. Going into the season, we have some kids coming back and it looks like we should be pretty good. But you never know, with injuries, what’s going to happen. It’s hard to say. … We have high expectations. We expect to make the playoffs and make a playoff run.”
He said it: “Every game’s important. All three of our non-district games are against teams that have advanced three or four rounds into the playoffs, so we’re just going to take it one game at a time. … We want to play a tough schedule. We want to get ready for the playoffs and the only way you can get ready for the playoffs is by playing good teams.” -- Skyline coach Reginald Samples.
Spring football game: May 24
Season Opener: vs. The Woodlands at FC Dallas Stadium
Full regular season schedule:
Sept. 1 vs. The Woodlands (at FC Dallas Stadium) at 6:00 p.m.
Sept. 7 vs. Arlington Martin at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Arlington Bowie at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Dallas Jesuit at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Lake Highlands at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 vs. Richardson Pearce at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Sunset at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 vs. Richardson at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 at W.T. White at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 vs. Richardson Berkner at 7:30 p.m.