Weatherford Democrat

August 29, 2013

Parker County football game capsules — Week 0

Weatherford Democrat

— Weatherford at Richland

Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Site: Birdville FA-AC

        9200 Mid Cities Blvd — N. Richland Hills

Type: Season opener, non-district

Last year: Richland 35, Weatherford 21

Richland Rebels (0-0)

Last season: 2-8 overall, 0-7 in District 4-5A

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: WR Jordan Whitfield (6-1, 185, 4.6), OL Sami Zequiraj (6-4, 318, 5.2), DE Tanner Moss (6-0, 225, 4.9), DE Cody Muenzberg (6-3, 225, 4.9), QB Brandon Maine (5-11, 185, 4.7).

Weatherford Kangaroos (0-0)

Last season: 3-7 overall, 2-5 in District 3-5A

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: OL Jace Ford (6-2, 310, 5.6), OL Keegan Dement (6-4, 265, 5.1), QB Grant Werts (6-2, 205, 4.6) SR Chris Whitling (5-9, 165, 4.6), SR Fred Brownlee (5-8, 165, 4.4), DL James Robinson (6-4, 260, 5.3), RB Jeuqwan Brownlee (5.9, 185, 4.5).


Game notes: Richland got one of its two wins on the season last year at the expense of the Roos, and with 17 returning starters (8-Off/9-Def) looking to get a jump-start win, while hoping to improve on its 2-8 2012 overall record. The Rebels are counting on 'seasoned' to mean improved as a roster with varsity experience seeks to fare better in tough District 4-5A, which includes Southlake Carroll on the mountain top, Keller Central and Justin Northwest.

Head coach Ged Cates is entering his second year at the helm, which means a year that the team has played in his system. Logic dictates this year's team should be better.

Weatherford's coaching staff, led by Weldon Nelms, is trying to get the Roos up to speed as fast as possible. "Speed" is an operative word as the offense under Nelms and OC Jerod Fikac has picked up the pace between plays, designed to deter as many defensive adjustments as possible.

Bigger and faster, WHS quarterback Grant Werts will direct the Roo offense, and fans should expect to see the senior run and pass with more balance than in previous years. Weatherford lost its opener to a bad Richland team last year, but are hoping a new system and a new commitment will help them best the improved Rebels.


Aledo vs. Highland Park 

at Allen

Time: 7 p.m., Saturday

Site: Eagle Stadium (Allen ISD)

        155 Rivercrest Blvd — Allen

Type: Season opener, non-district — Tom Landry Classic

Last year: Aledo 31, Highland Park 12

Highland Park Scots (0-0)

Last season: 9-2 overall, 7-0 in District 10-4A,

    Class 4A, DI bi-district finalist.

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: DL Andrew Clyde (6-2, 230, 4.9), DL Jack Cerveha (6.5, 235, 4.9), LB Tanner Houghton (5-10, 186, 4.8), QB Brooks Burgin (6-1, 180, 4.7), Stephen Dieb (5.6, 150, 4.7).

Aledo Bearcats (0-0)

Last season: 10-2 overall, 7-0 in District 7-4A ,

    Class 4A, DI area finalist.

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: LB Jordan Mittie (6-2, 210, 4.8), OT Cory Stitle (6-2, 265, 5.0), QB Luke Bishop (5-10, 170, 4.7), ATH Ryan Newsome (5-8, 168, 4.5), FB Daythan Davis (6-2. 218, 4.7) 


Game notes: Despite bringing just one offensive starter back from 2012, when one considers Highland Park's year-to-year "reload," one is tempted to think of Aledo. Dominating in its own district, second-stringers get lots of varsity experience in second-half play, which takes away a few of the jitters in early ball games. But HP will still trot a bright-eyed junior onto the field at quarterback in Brooks Burgin, though he will have a talented corps of receivers to choose from.

The Scots defense is in better shape, experience-wise, especially on the front two layers. The pressure will be on the line to hurry-up the quarterback, as the secondary could be vulnerable to the Bearcats speed burners on the perimeters.

Aledo's skill positions are talented, and deep ... again. Luke Bishop will be solid at quarterback and, just to mess with the defense, which means find another way to move the ball, move-in Ryan Newsome will add another wrinkle when coaches move him from slot receiver to take snaps. 

Any early concerns about the Bearcats' scoring machine may rest with the O-line gelling quickly enough, but Aledo has enough weapons to offset any real or perceived weaknesses up front.

Aledo's defense, led and anchored by senior Jordan Mittie, will also have good experience up front, and its defensive backs are speedy enough to keep pace with the fleetest of receiver corps.

Ranked third and sixth in pre-season polls, Aledo and the Scots should be opening-game eye candy for football fans.


Springtown at 

Liberty Christian

Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Site: Bowles Stadium

        9301 Highway 377 — Argyle

Type: Season opener, non-district.

Last year: Liberty Christian 40, Springtown 37

Liberty Christian Warriors (0-0)

Last season: 7-5 overall, 3-3 in TAPPS Division I, District I

                     DI area finalist

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: QB Colby Moore (6-1, 196) OL Brad Lundblade (6-3, 280), RB/DB John Howell (5-11, 185) WR/LB Hunter Griffith (6-2, 200).

Springtown Porcupines (0-0)

Last season: 6-5 overall, 4-1 in District 6-3A

    Class 3A, Div. II, bi-district finalist.

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: LB Kolyn Waldrop (6-1, 225, 4.7), WR Ryan Hester (6-0, 190, 4.8), DB Collin Rector (5-7, 160, 4.7), RB Ryan Snow (6-1, 170, 4.6), WR Dillon Springfield (6-1, 160, 4.4), QB Landry Turner (5-10, 165), WR Dylan Ray (5-11, 160, 4.8).


Game notes: Not that any prep football game (particularly a season opener) needs any sub-plots to add to the excitement of the contest and all of its Friday Night trimmings, but the Springtown-Liberty Christian tilt has one. Warriors quarterback Colby Moore took snaps for the Porcupines last year, and will be looking across the line of scrimmage at his former teammates on Friday.

LC returns a half dozen starters on each side of the ball and should get a boost on offense with Moore's running ability. O-lineman Lundblade is touted as a DI prospect, but early opinions put the Warriors in the second tier of the TAPPS District 1, Division 1.

Springtown lost to Liberty Christian on the last play of the game in 2012, launching the Porcupines to a disappointing non-district record of 2-3. Although its pre-district matches are anything but walkovers for Pojo, getting off to a good start against a team it should beat is attractive, and doable.

Springtown's throw-first, run when the defense softens approach should bear fruit for an offense led by sophomore Landry Turner, who was the beneficiary of a few starts last season when Moore went down. The Porcupines 7-on-7 team was proficient enough for another state appearance this summer, building confidence and some intuitive execution among the skills players. The receiver corps is touted to be among the most talented group in the past decade.

Accomplished prowess from the Springtown O-line will be the decisive boost for the Pojo offense to light up the scoreboard.

To help increase the margin of victory, the Porcupines defense will need to rise to levels above past seasons. Head coach Brad Turner set priority in that area for the 2013 season and, non-district aside, will be Springtown's best chance to snatch a district championship from perennial title-bearing Kennedale.     


Millsap vs. Alvord

Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Site: Bulldog Stadium (Millsap)

Type: Season opener, non-district. 

Last year’s result: Alvord 62, Millsap 7

Alvord Bulldogs (0-0)

Last season: 3-7 overall, 2-3 in District 5-2A, DII

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: RB Joe Randall (5-10, 180, 4.6), LB Keelan Nivens (5-9, 195, 4.6), OL Colby Windham  (6-3, 285, 5.5), WR Jonathan Musgrave (5-9, 155, 4.6), QB Cassidy Patterson (6-1, 175, 4.9).

Millsap Bulldogs (0-0)

Last season: 0-10 overall, 0-7 in District 6-2A, Div. II

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: LB Timothy Newberry (6-1,195, 4.8) RB/LB Dylan Burton, OL/DL Tre Newby, OL/DL Mitchell Coker, RB/DB Coleman Hutchison, WR/DB Kaden King, OL Clint Holloway.


Game notes: Alvord returns few starters from last year's squad, tasking its relatively young group with maturing early to compete in Division II's District 5-2A. While there are talented leaders at the core of the offensive and defensive units, Alvord will still be forced to field some inexperience on both sides of the ball. Facing a burgeoning amount of competition in its own district, Alvord will be apt to get as many early victories as possible, as Millsap was its only non-district win last season.

The Millsap faithful will see a very new look on both sides of the ball in 2013, perhaps a good thing — another change to help erase the final vestiges of a disappointing  2012. But for more reasons than just change, head coach Kyle Coker believes the Split-T offense is suited to the Bulldogs' skill sets and is counting on the players to embrace the ball control and ball security scheme. Junior QB Bradley Bottoms will be under center for the 'Dogs, who look to be deep and talented at running back, a handy requisite in the run-heavy offense.

The fresh-faced kids who were hurled into the varsity mix last season have a little tougher exterior and interior, and are the most determined to reverse fortunes.

Millsap will also introduce a new defense, designed to deal with the spread offenses, the scheme du jour for most teams in District 6. Prolific offensive changes are usually a step ahead of the defense as a matter of course in the game of football, but the Millsap staff is hoping to narrow the gap with its 4-2-5 setup. 


Brock vs. Dallas Gateway

Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Site: Eagle Field (Brock Jr. High)

Type: Season opener. 

Last year’s result: N/A

Dallas Gateway Gators (0-0)

Last season: 4-6 overall, 2-3 in District 6-1A, DI

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: Athlete Michael Jimmerson (6-1), OL Avery Harris (6-0), OL/DL Javan Toney (6-1), LB Kelvin Williams (5-8), LB Mark Garcia (5-7), DL DeAndre Porter (6-2).

Brock Eagles (0-0)

Last season: 2-0 varsity record

Last week: N/A

Players to watch: QBs Joseph Earl, Seth Boleman, RBs Leddy French, Matthew McCartney, Kolbin Mills, O-line Jake Earl, Cooper Gore, Tyler Collier, D-line Hunter Pittman, Billy Tedford, Titus Gossett.


Game notes: The recovery process for a Class 1A school who bids farewell to a large group of seniors is never easy, but that is the prospect facing Dallas Gateway in 2013. ATH Jimmerson will be the prime focus (and likely, Brock target) for the Gator offense, in hopes he can carry the load proficiently. Gateway will also bring a young defense into play, with the risk of some fatigue factor for talent being deployed on both sides of the ball, although not uncommon at the smaller schools.

Though next year will likely provide the ultimate amount of excitement as Brock's football program goes "legit" with a UIL district to call home, as well as a fully-prepped new stadium to also call home, the opener for a full year of varsity ball is the next best thing. The stands at the junior high field (like most games last year) will probably be full, with a healthy contingent sideline observers.

Brock's three seniors head up a roster heavy with juniors and sophomores, who represent the group tutored by head coach Chad Worrell and his staff from Day 1 of the Eagles gridiron group.

Brock’s Seth Boleman will get the nod as the Eagles starter and will share time at quarterback with Slaton Gough. 

The consistency and familiarity of the coaches and players should be a big plus to get Brock's varsity boys off to a good start, and Worrell hopes the "outlaw" schedule he has put together will provide a balanced amount of challenges and successes for its segue season to UIL competition. This is not a prediction piece,as such, but on paper this figures to be one belonging in the successes category.