ESPNDallas.com gets ready for the start of the high school football season by unveiling its preseason rankings, one spot at a time:
4A NO. 1: ALEDO BEARCATS
2010 record: 16-0
Predicted 2011 regular-season record: 10-0
ESPNDallas.com spring ranking: No. 1
Why they’re here: What’s not to like about this Parker County powerhouse? Sparkling facilities, two consecutive Class 4A Division II state titles, an active 29-game winning streak and, most importantly, senior Johnathan Gray, ESPN RISE Mr. Football USA national player of the year in 2010. While Gray (351-3,221, 59 TDs) seems a sure bet to end his career owning a couple of state career touchdown records, Aledo is far from a one-man team. Quarterback Matthew Bishop threw for 2,709 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 781 yards in 2010. Michael Wilson anchors the line and Michael Mann (57-1012, 11 TDs) is the leading returning receiver. Aledo returns eight starters from an offense that averaged 48.8 points per game. Safety Dayne Davis, one of five returning defensive starters, contributed 118 tackles last season.
Holes to fill: Cornerback James Place will help shore up the secondary, an area hit hard by graduation. The defensive line also must re-tool after the graduation of Slaiter Vandertuin and Danny Edwards, who combined for 146 tackles last season. Look for defensive end Jaylen Hill to improve on his 2010 numbers, 77 tackles and four sacks. Extra points were an adventure at times last season, but sophomore Chance Nevarez takes over the job full-time this fall. If all goes according to coach Tim Buchanan’s plan, Nevarez should be very busy.
Key game: vs. Lake Travis, Sept. 9