5A No. 8: Plano has holes to fill on defense

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


Spring game: 5 p.m. May 19 at Clarke Stadium

Coach: Jaydon McCullough

2010 record: 7-4, 4-3 in District 8-5A (fourth place)

2010 playoffs: Lost in Division I bi-district to Coppell, 23-6.

Returning starters: 6 on offense; 3 on defense

Key losses: QB Connor Michelsen, WR Brandon Hamilton, OL Lee Skinner, DT Arthur Skinner, DT Taylor May, DE Ben Laures, LB Zach Laures, DB Blair Burns, DB Collin Brence, RB Murat Kuzu, P/K Chris Moore

Key returnees: TE Sam Leavitt, DE Xavier Harbert, DE Dwayne Hicks, DB Sam Morell, RB Kevin Merrill

Key newcomers: QB Richard Lagow, WR Anthony Antwine, DB Marcus Davis, WR L.J. Ausama

Overview: Entering McCullough’s fourth year as head coach, Plano’s roster is now entirely a product of Gerald Brence’s successor. ... With two-year starter Connor Michelsen gone, Plano turns to junior-to-be Richard Lagow (6-5, 193) at quarterback. He’s a classic drop-back passer who led Plano to a junior varsity district title as a freshman. ... The Wildcats will also have to break in many new receivers led by Anthony Antwine, Hunter Gore and L.J. Ausama, who missed the 2010 season because of injury. ... With just three returning starters on defense, Plano has a lot of holes to fill on that side of the ball, but the Wildcats are stacked at defensive end. Xavier Harbert (6-3, 225) and Dwayne Hicks (6-5, 225) both return after all-district seasons in 2010. ... DB Sam Morell is Plano’s other returning starter on defense. The secondary could develop into a strength for Plano with Morell and newcomer Marcus Davis, who McCullough singled out as having a good spring.