5A No. 9: Garland expects to lean on run game

ESPNDallas.com counts down the top area football teams in our spring rankings.


Spring game: 6 p.m. May 26 at Williams Stadium

Coach: Jeff Jordan

2010 record: 7-4, 5-2 in District 10-5A (fourth place)

2010 playoffs: Lost in Division I bi-district to Dallas Skyline, 28-10.

Returning starters: 5 on offense; 6 on defense

Key losses: RB Jordan Spencer, WR Oliver Houston, OL Gio Olvera, DT David Beamon, OL Kendrick Nickerson, DB Jerome Daniels

Key returnees: QB Seth Russell, DB Desmond Mapps, LB Malcolm Miller, DE Damien Neroes, LB Keylan Spencer, DB London Dial, DE Dawson Hadnot, WR Ja’Toveon Green

Overview: After a subpar season by Garland standards, Jordan wants to recommit to the power running game behind a stable of running backs that includes linebacker Miller, who carried the ball 32 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns in 2010. He’ll have the tall task of helping replace workhorse Spencer, who rushed for 1,268 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season. ... Garland has a new offensive coordinator after David Collins left for Austin Lake Travis. David Walker has assumed the position. … Quarterback Russell returns for his senior season. He threw for 779 yards and seven touchdowns, adding 395 yards on the ground in Garland’s run-focused offense. … Jordan expects his defense to be strong thanks to a host of returning starters and lettermen, including Neroes, Mapps, Keyland Spencer and Miller. … Neroes is one of the higher rated defenders in the area and is garnering a lot of attention on the recruiting trail. He has offers from SMU and UNT. … Garland will have an advantage in the field position game with P/K Josh Lambert. He has a booming leg that gets the ball deep on punts and can convert field goals from long distances.