Written by Matt Wixon
Spring football report: The race to replace former QB Ryan Polite is in full force at DeSoto
HOW THE 2010 SEASON ENDED: DeSoto lost in the playoffs to Round Rock Stony Point, 72-48, in the Class 5A Division I Region II final Dec. 4 at Waco ISD Stadium to finish 11-3. Stony Point also won at DeSoto on Sept. 17, 46-29.
KEY RETURNING STARTERS: The offensive line will be led by incoming senior Curtis Riser, who has orally committed to Texas. Riser is one of the nation’s top offensive line recruits and will pave the way for returning running backs Devin Rushing and Dontre Wilson. Rushing and Wilson combined last year to rush for more than 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. They both showed last year that they’re capable of catching the ball well out of the backfield. The Eagles’ defense will be led by lineman Michael Richardson, a Texas A&M commit, cornerback Bryson Echols, a Texas commit, and standout linebacker Alex Lyons. Echols had five interceptions last season and has caught everyone’s attention while showcasing his speed and ball skills at camps over the last few months.
BIGGEST QUESTIONS FACING TEAM: The Eagles have to replace four-year standout quarterback Ryan Polite, who led DeSoto to 37 wins and is the only signal caller coach Claude Mathis has had since he came from Austin to take over the program. Led by Polite and five major-college receivers last season, the Eagles averaged an eye-popping 486.3 yards per game. Mathis said Polite will be difficult to replace considering his vast knowledge of the Eagles’ high-tempo offense that allowed him to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Incoming senior Raheem Wilson and incoming sophomore Dezmond White are battling this spring for the opportunity to start at quarterback. Mathis said he’d like to make a final decision on his starter by the end of the spring. Wilson (6-0, 175) and White (5-6, 150) both run well and throw accurately, Mathis said. Wilson was Polite’s backup last season and played some at cornerback. White was DeSoto’s junior varsity quarterback a year ago. Mathis said he has nine receivers competing for playing time in the spring, led by incoming seniors Tony Cook, C.J. Cannon and Ridge Jones and incoming juniors Kyle Collins and Tavaris Royal. Mathis said the 6-4 Cook and speedy Jones are ahead of the pack right now.
NOTABLES: Mathis said he won’t change his off-season even though Polite isn’t around to give him that comfort level he’s enjoyed. … Mathis said he’s a year away from having four more major-college wide receiver recruits. … Mathis said he’s spending the spring practices looking for a punter and a place kicker, always an obstacle for the Eagles. … Mathis said don’t overlook White because of his size. “That kid is special,” Mathis said. “To be that size and play for me, you have to be special. He’ll go get it now.”
HE SAID IT: “Everybody is going to question us at the quarterback position. When you lose a four-year starter like Polite, that will definitely be the biggest question overall. A lot of people are counting us out because of that, and I love it because I know I have a great staff and great kids and we’ll rise to the occasion.” – DeSoto coach Claude Mathis
SPRING FOOTBALL GAME INFO: 6:30 p.m. May 26 at Eagle Stadium.
SEASON OPENER: Aug. 26; vs. Leander; 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium
2011 REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULE:
Date; Opponent; Time; Stadium
Aug. 26; vs. Leander; 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium
#Sept. 5; vs. Arlington Bowie; 4:30 p.m.; Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
Sept. 10; vs. Cedar Hill; TBD; John Kincaide Stadium
Sept. 16; at Round Rock Stony Point; 7:30 p.m.; Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex
Sept. 23; vs. NOAH Homeschool (Tulsa, Okla.); 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium
*Oct. 7; vs. North Mesquite; 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium (homecoming)
*Oct. 14; at Tyler Lee; 7:30 p.m.; Tyler’s Rose Stadium
*Oct. 21; vs. Mesquite Horn; 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium
*Oct. 28; vs. Mesquite; 7:30 p.m.; Eagle Stadium
*Nov. 4; at Longview; 7:30 p.m.; Lobo Stadium
#Part of annual Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series on Labor Day
*District 11-5A game