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District 7-5A football season preview

DISTRICT 7-5A

  • Coppell (13-1, 7-0), lost in DI regional finals. Coach: Joe McBride.

  • Denton Guyer (13-3, 6-1), lost in 5A DII state title game. Coach: John Walsh.

  • Justin Northwest (4-7, 3-4), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Bill Patterson.

  • Keller (3-7, 2-5). Coach: Kevin Atkinson.

  • Keller Central (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Bart Helsley.

  • Keller Fossil Ridge (2-8, 2-5). Coach: Tony Baccarini.

  • Saginaw (0-10, 0-7). Coach: Mike Peters.

  • Southlake Carroll (10-4, 5-2) lost in DII regional finals. Coach: Hal Wasson.

THE BIG QUESTION: Can Denton Guyer reload after graduating so many leaders?

Denton Guyer won one game in its first two years of varsity play. That was before the class of 2011 made its impact.

Led by QB J.W. Walsh, the outgoing seniors had Guyer competing for a state title on both the 4A and 5A levels for three years. Now that they're gone, observers are justifiably skeptical of Guyer's ability to reload.

But the notoriously confident Wildcats have no doubts. Coach John Walsh has built a program that he believes will contend for years to come, with a little help from a talent pool in the city of Denton that has produced an annual title contender in Denton Ryan.

The 2011 season will go a long way toward projecting Guyer's long-term outlook. With just seven starters returning from a team that came a scoring drive short of winning the 5A Division II title, the Wildcats need their next group of leaders to emerge.

Sophomore Jerrod Heard takes over for J.W. Walsh under center. While he certainly won't have the symbiotic relationship with Guyer's offense that the head coach's son had, Heard may be an even better athlete.

And plenty of Division I talent returns to help him. WR Conner Crane, a Stanford commit, gives Heard a top-flight target. Sebastian Williams leads a deep group of RBs. And Guyer's defensive front should be as nasty as ever with DE Dan Kottman, LB Dominic Ramacher and DT Cody Hennessee returning.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jake Larson, RB Gavin McDaniel, DB David Busby, Coppell; WR Allen Young, QB Draze Lawliss, DL Dominic Stewart, Justin Northwest; LB Chandler Watkins, QB Davis Webb, WR Cameron Martin, Keller; OL Simon Goines, DB Zach Sanchez, QB Tanner Tausch, Keller Central; DT Aaron Curry, QB Sheldon Nuese, WR Adonis Ramos, Keller Fossil Ridge; QB Kyle Webb, WR Eddie Nuno, OL Peter Lopez, Saginaw; QB Kenny Hill, LB Will Davis, WR Peyton Williams, Southlake Carroll.

DID YOU KNOW?

Head coach Bill Patterson guided Northwest to the playoffs just one year after the team went winless. ... Saginaw didn't fare as well as Guyer did in its first year in 5A. The Roughriders didn't win a game in 2010. ... Guyer wasn't the only Denton team to lose in a state title game. Denton Ryan fell to Austin Lake Travis in 4A DI.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Southlake Carroll

  2. Coppell

  3. Denton Guyer

  4. Justin Northwest