4A No. 8: Newman Smith staging a QB battle

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


Spring game: 6 p.m. May 20 at Standridge Stadium

Coach: Paul Ressa

2010 record: 7-6, 4-3 in District 9-4A (fourth place)

2010 playoffs: Lost in Division I regional semifinals to Tyler John Tyler, 45-34.

Returning starters: 5 on offense; 5 on defense

Key losses: RB Braxton Bearden, DL Geovanni Geter, LB Zach Smith, LB Jaquel Walker, QB Jose Martinez, OL Mitch Prosser

Key returnees: WR/QB Tripp Abbott, OL Cameron Bryant, DE Karl Thomas, CB/QB Shawn Holmes, DL Pablo Ortiz, LB Allen Melson

Overview: Newman Smith saved what had been a disappointing follow-up to its breakout 2009 season with playoff wins over Rockwall and Dallas Carter in 2010, but with virtually all of the key contributors from 2009 now gone, the 2011 season will test the long-term durability of a program that Ressa rescued from dormancy. ... Newman Smith's junior varsity teams struggled mightily but partly because many of its top contributors were moved to varsity late in the year, something that Ressa hopes will lead to a better start in 2011. ... Ressa has three holes to fill in the secondary but likes the players with which he has to choose. ... Three players are competing to replace outgoing quarterback Jose Martinez -- Zach Rasmussen (JV), Shawn Holmes (athlete, CB) and Tripp Abbott. Rasmussen was Newman Smith's JV quarterback last year while Holmes and Abbott started on the varsity at cornerback and receiver, respectively. ... Ressa believe his team has a chance to be really strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball as four starters return on the offensive line and all four return on the defensive line.