Written by Matt Wixon
Spring football report: Why Wylie isn’t worried about replacing last season’s top offensive talent
How the 2010 season ended: After a 3-3 start to the season, Wylie won eight straight and advanced to a 4A Division I semifinal matchup against Denton Ryan. Wylie trailed 25-7 entering the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to 25-20 before getting stopped at the goalline in the final minute of a 25-20 loss to Ryan. Wylie finished the season 11-4.
Key returning starters: Wylie has two anchors back on its offensive line with all-district seniors Jess Croley and Kyle Fuller. But the defense will have a lot more back with three all-district returnees (all seniors): defensive tackle Azuka Akozar, linebacker Sean Watts and safety Terrell Burt. Other key seniors on defense will be defensive lineman Noble Nwachukwu, linebacker Voltaire Hawkins and defensive back Tyler Rice.
Biggest questions facing team: Quarterback Nico Ramirez did a great job running the team last season and threw for 17 touchdowns and rushed for 24. Leland Dotson and Donald Slay, who will be juniors in the fall, are the top candidates to be Wylie’s next starting QB. Nearly all of Wylie’s top offensive weapons last season were seniors, but coach Bill Howard said he isn’t concerned about filling those positions. Wylie has often had good depth and running back and receiver. Howard said the coaches hope that competition in the spring will help players emerge to provide depth, which Wylie will need in rugged District 10-4A.
Notable: Wylie’s defense could be among the best in the area this season, and it will certainly be among the fastest. “I think we have a chance to be a really solid defense,” Howard said. “Most of the kids can run really well. There’s less thinking, more acting.” The Pirates will have a very speedy guy at safety in Burt, who was part of Wylie’s 4x100 4A state champion relay team.
He said it: “Our kids play hard for 48 minutes. That’s always our first edge. But over the last couple of years, our kids have learned how important chemistry is and also doing the little things.” -- Howard
Spring game: Thursday at 6 p.m. at Wylie Stadium
Season opener: 8-26 vs. Sachse at Wylie Stadium
Regular season schedule:
August 26: vs. Sachse, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 2: vs. West Mesquite, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 9: at Rowlett, 7:30 p.m. (Homer B. Johnson Stadium)
Friday, September 16: OPEN
Thursday, September 22: at McKinney, 7:30 p.m. (Ron Poe Stadium)
Friday, September 30: vs. Rockwall, 7:30 p.m. *Homecoming
Friday, October 7: vs. Highland Park, 7:30 p.m. (Highland Park)
Friday, October 14: vs. Wylie East, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 21: vs. Rockwall-Heath, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 28: at Richardson Pearce, 7:30 p.m. (Eagle-Mustang Stadium)