G.J. McCarthy - Staff Photographer 10. Prosper/ COACH: Kent Scott/ 2012 RECORD: 10-3/ RETURNING STARTERS: 4 offense, 4 defense/ STRENGTHS: Prosper had one of the best offenses among area teams in Class 4A last season, averaging 413.1 yards and 34.8 points. It didn’t seem to matter that it was Prosper’s first year up from Class 3A. Senior OL Cole Collier, an all-district honoree, will be starting for the third straight season. RB Marquez Houston rushed for 877 yards and 12 touchdowns. QB Chase Dawkins will replace Davis Webb (Texas Tech). Dawkins started two games as a backup last season and completed 70 percent of his passes.
Kye R. Lee - Staff Photographer 9. Carter/ COACH: Patrick Williams/ 2012 RECORD: 9-3/ RETURNING STARTERS: 6 offense, 6 defense/ STRENGTHS: Carter will return two quarterbacks this season in Chris Henry and Kenneth Spencer. Henry threw for 1,229 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 79 out of 155 passes as a junior. Spencer, a freshman last season, threw for 964 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Their top target will be WR Jordan Ingram, an SMU pledge, who had 746 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. RB Corey Avery, who holds offers from Ohio State, LSU and Baylor, gained 1,234 yards of total offense and scored 20 touchdowns. LB Cameron Hampton is committed to Texas.
Brad Loper - Staff Photographer 8. Birdville/ COACH: Jim Skinner/ 2012 RECORD: 13-1/ RETURNING STARTERS: 4 offense, 7 defense/ STRENGTHS: Birdville was a force on offense last year and cruised all the way to the state quarterfinals. It has the makings of a team capable of another deep playoff run with key pieces returning on both sides of the ball. Running back Xavier Turner was unstoppable at times last season, racking up 1,586 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. He caught 22 passes for 358 yards and four scores.
John F. Rhodes/Staff Photographer 7. West Mesquite/ COACH: Jeff Neill/ 2012 RECORD: 8-3/ RETURNING STARTERS: 8 offense, 2 defense/ STRENGTHS: A host of returning college-level talent should make West Mesquite a challenger for the 10-4A title. Junior QB Chason Virgil, who has offers from Texas, Missouri and Nebraska, threw for 2,289 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012. He ran for 400 yards and three more scores. Also among the squad’s eight returning offensive starters are WRs Akilian Butler (377 rec. yards, 3 TDs) and Will Stanley (657 rec. yards, 7 TDs). Senior safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, a 6-1, 195-pound Texas A&M pledge, will lead the secondary. DE Nathaniel Roseburrow is the only other returning defensive starter.
Steve Hamm - Special Contributor 6. Ennis/ COACH: Jack Alvarez/ 2012 RECORD: 8-3/ RETURNING STARTERS: 7 offense, 5 defense/ STRENGTHS: Ennis should be an offensive force with seven starters returning. That group includes senior running back Terence Williams, who rushed for 1,368 yards and 15 touchdowns. He committed to Baylor in the spring over offers from TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Running back Nick Gabriel, who rushed for 12 touchdowns as Williams’ backup last season, also returns. The defense has room to improve after allowing 293.8 yards per game. Jah’Shawn Johnson, a Texas Tech pledge, will roam the secondary. He also had offers from Oklahoma State, Baylor and Arizona State.
Brad Loper - Staff Photographer 5. Lovejoy/ COACH: Matt Green/ 2012 RECORD: 11-1/ RETURNING STARTERS: 7 offense, 4 defense/ STRENGTHS: Seven offensive starters return for Lovejoy, which averaged 41.3 points per game in 2012. Quarterback Bowman Sells turned heads with 2,632 passing yards and 25 touchdowns during his freshman season. The 6-3, 195-pound signal caller will have some experienced skill players around him. Senior wide receiver Chochy Luce had 850 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and senior WR/RB Dan Sefcik had nearly 1,600 yards of total offense.
John F. Rhodes - Special Contributor 4. Highland Park/ COACH: Randy Allen/ 2012 RECORD: 9-2/ RETURNING STARTERS: 1 offense, 6 defense/ STRENGTHS: A district championship is always well within Highland Park’s reach, even with just one returning starter on offense. Last season, Highland Park had only three returning starters on offense and went unbeaten in 10-4A. The Scots return six solid defensive starters, including DEs Andrew Clyde and Caz Orr, NG Jack Ceverha and LB Tanner Houghton. Senior CB Robert Mencke had 35 tackles and three interceptions last year, and junior SS Boomer Backich had 56 tackles and one interception. WR Andrew Frost returns after catching 10 passes for 190 yards last season.
Tom Fox - Staff Photographer 3. Mesquite Poteet/ COACH: Kody Groves/ 2012 RECORD: 11-3/ RETURNING STARTERS: 6 offense, 5 defense/ STRENGTHS: Poteet’s defense is loaded with college-level talent, particularly in the secondary. Free safety Nate Gaines is committed to SMU, and CB Verkedrick Vaughns is committed to Baylor. They’ll be joined by James Swindle and Kisean Allen, who Groves said may be the most athletic of the bunch. OLB Malik Jefferson had seven sacks, 24 tackles for loss and blocked five kicks last year. He’s been offered scholarships from coast to coast. QB Lane Novy will run the offense after playing a back-up role in 2012.
Michael Ainsworth - Staff Photographer 2. Lancaster/ COACH: Chris Gilbert/ 2012 RECORD: 14-2/ RETURNING STARTERS: 6 offense, 4 defense/ STRENGTHS: Lancaster is coming off the best season in school history, which culminated in a run to the Class 4A Division II state finals. Lancaster must replenish much of its offensive skill-position players but returns key members of the line, including Dominique Hearne, who holds an offer from Oklahoma. WR Nick Alexander is an Arizona State pledge who caught 28 passes for 506 yards and seven TDs. Dual-threat QB Chris Thomas will replace Demarcus Ayers. Thomas saw limited action in a mop-up role last season. DB Vontre McQuinnie, who is committed to Oklahoma, leads the defense.
MIKE MEZEUL II - Special Contributor 1. Denton Guyer/ COACH: John Walsh/ 2012 RECORD: 14-2/ RETURNING STARTERS: 7 offense, 5 defense/ STRENGTHS: What’s not to like? Guyer brings back most of its championship squad and is eager for its own historic run. “What I’ve told them is last year, the way I see it, is the legacy of those seniors,” Walsh said. “We can make our legacy right now.” QB Jerrod Heard will remain the primary threat on offense with his arm and his legs. He accounted for 55 percent of Guyer’s total offensive output last season. Also returning on offense are OT Bryan Barrett and RB D.J. Breedlove, who rushed for 1,126 yards and 15 touchdowns.
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