File photos - Staff Staff writer Corbett Smith previews and predicts Week 1's top high school football games in the area...
Garett Ray Fisbeck - Staff Photographer CEDAR HILL vs. SOUTH OAK CLIFF / 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Kincaide Stadium / Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire isn’t underestimating the talent that South Oak Cliff has on its roster. With more than 10 Division I prospects, including Texas pledge RB Jordan Stevenson and TCU pledge WR J.F. Thomas, how could he? “They’ve got a team that can make a run at the state championship,” McGuire said. Nevertheless, Cedar Hill has proved itself — beating state power Katy to claim the Class 5A Division II state title in 2013 — while South Oak Cliff has yet to take that next step. Remember, SOC allowed 64 points in a loss to Wylie in last year’s Class 4A Division I playoffs. For fans of college recruiting, this game will be a showcase, with players committed to LSU, USC, Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and more. Cedar Hill WR DaMarkus Lodge (No. 18) might be the best of the bunch; he’s dangerous every time he touches the ball. Cedar Hill 55, SOC 28
David Minton - DRC ALLEN vs. DENTON GUYER / 7:30 p.m. Friday at UNT's Apogee Stadium / This can be billed as a battle between the quarterbacks of the present (Allen’s Kyler Murray) and the future (Shawn Robinson, pictured). There’s no denying that Murray, a Texas A&M pledge, is one of the best quarterback prospects in the nation. He’s 27-0 in his career, and a two-time state finals MVP. But Robinson, who toiled last year as a freshman starter at Saginaw Chisholm Trail, is expected to have a similar career trajectory. Replacing Texas signee and two-time state champ Jerrod Heard, Robinson would have beaten out transfer and Nebraska pledge Kevin Dillman if Dillman hadn’t be ruled ineligible by the UIL. At 6-3 and 194 pounds, the dual-threat Robinson certainly looks the part of an elite recruit. Moving up after winning its second straight 4A Division I state title, Guyer will be a force in Class 6A. But against Allen, a two-time defending champ in the state’s largest classification, that kind of pedigree holds little weight. Allen 48, Guyer 21
Steve Hamm - Special Contributor LOVEJOY vs. MANSFIELD LEGACY / 7 p.m. Thursday at Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium / Lovejoy’s long-term hopes rest on whether junior QB Bowman Sells can recapture the magic he had as a freshman (2,632 yards, 25 TDs). Legacy graduated three 1,000-yard rushers, and will need QB Sheldon Hogan to play big. Its defense should be stout, however, with Oklahoma State pledge DL Taaj Bakari. Legacy 35, Lovejoy 28
Amy E. Gutierrez - Special Contributor BISHOP LYNCH vs. CARTER / 7 p.m. Thursday at Kincaide Stadium / A playoff qualifier at 3-7 last season, Lynch will rely on Arkansas pledge RB Rawleigh Williams III (pictured). For Carter, dropping to 4A will be a boost, but it graduated too many significant pieces, such as Texas’ Cameron Hampton and Kansas’ Corey Avery, to be a title contender. Carter 27, Bishop Lynch 24
John F. Rhodes - Special Contributor ROCKWALL vs. DENTON RYAN / 7 p.m. Friday at Denton's C.H. Collins Complex / Rockwall’s offense should be dynamic this year. Four-star senior RB Chris Warren (pictured) is back from an ACL tear, and QB Will Reed and WR Xavier Castille had solid years in 2013. There will be an adjustment period for Ryan, replacing longtime coach Joey Florence with Dave Henigan. Rockwall 21, Ryan 17
John F. Rhodes - Special Contributor ARLINGTON MARTIN at DESOTO / 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium / Justifiably, there’s a lot of excitement for Bob Wager and his Martin team. RB Nic Smith and QB Eric Walker should be a potent combo in the backfield. But DeSoto isn’t a typical opponent. If QB Tristen Wallace (pictured) meets expectations, a Class 6A Division I title isn’t out of reach. DeSoto 49, Martin 28
Louis DeLuca - Staff Photographer AUSTIN WESTLAKE at SOUTHLAKE CARROLL / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dragon Stadium / Todd Dodge’s return to Dragon Stadium isn’t likely to end well. In his first season at Westlake, Dodge returns no offensive starters. Carroll, on the other hand, returns QB Ryan Agnew, who passed for 3,148 yards and rushed for 1,252 yards and 20 TDs in 2013. Here’s a misnomer: returning SLC RB Lil’ Jordan Humphrey(No. 31) is 6-5. Carroll 56, Westlake 21
Louis DeLuca - Staff Photographer HEBRON at COPPELL / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Buddy Echols Field / Hebron returns a slew of Division I players, including guard Zach Rogers, an Arkansas pledge, and Oregon State pledges LB Angelo Garbutt and DB Omar Hicks-Onu. Under new head coach Mike DeWitt, Coppell shouldn’t skip a beat as one of the area’s heavyweights. Don’t be shocked if RB Charles West (No. 1) finishes with more than 2,000 yards. Coppell 35, Hebron 17
Mike Stone - Special Contributor LANCASTER at MESQUITE POTEET / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium / Was 2013 an aberration for Lancaster and coach Chris Gilbert? Missing the playoffs after making the 2012 4A state final stung, albeit in a difficult 15-4A. Poteet is a legitimate state-title contender, with five-star recruit OLB Malik Jefferson (No. 46) and do-everything prospect DeAndre McNeal. Poteet 42, Lancaster 24
Matt Strasen - Special Contributor PLANO at TYLER JOHN TYLER / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tyler's Rose Stadium / With myriad returners on offense — eight in all, including QB Brooks Panhans (pictured), RB Brandon Stephens and OT Sam Tecklenburg — Plano should be able to make some waves in a loaded 6-6A. Traditional power Tyler returns 16 starters and should be able to stretch the field with QB Geo McCollister. Plano 35, Tyler 28
John F. Rhodes - Special Contributor SACHSE at WYLIE / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wylie ISD Stadium / Sachse will feel the loss of dual-threat QB Kent Myers, but there’s quite a bit left for coach Red Behrens, including Iowa State pledge Devine Ozigbo (No. 23) and four-star junior WR Devin Duvernay. While Wylie returns starting QB Carsen Cook, it will rely on its defense, featuring DL Divine Rockwell, and its offensive line. Sachse 42, Wylie 35
Louis DeLuca - Staff Photographer FRISCO CENTENNIAL vs. HIGHLAND PARK / 7 p.m. Saturday at SMU's Ford Stadium / Under Mark Howard, Centennial has been one of the most consistent Class 4A (now 5A) programs in the area. Highland Park has held that honor for the past few decades, but moves up to 6A this season. HP has punch on both sides of the ball, with QB Brooks Burgin (3,497 yards and 31 TDs passing, 19 rushing TDs), and SMU pledge LB Mitchell Kaufman (No. 10). Highland Park 56, Centennial 38
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