Getting back on track
A look at teams that could bounce back after finishing below .500 in 2013
A losing season can serve as a wake up call or simply give teams some extra fire heading into the offseason.
For a lot of programs around the state, back-to-back down years are unacceptable, and create immense pressure to right the ship. In Texas high school football, there is no room for a rebuilding period-- it’s always time to reload and win at all costs.
Here are some teams that finished below .500 in 2013 that are poised to turn it around this season.
Lufkin (2013 record: 5-6)
Last year was a disappointment for East Texas powerhouse Lufkin, but the Panthers are primed for a deep playoff run in 2014. KeKe Coutee and Terry Mark give Lufkin one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the state, and quarterback Trey Cumbie should build on a strong junior campaign, where he threw for over 2,700 yards and 27 touchdowns. Lufkin returns six starters on defense including ball hawking defensive back Dre Hooper and defensive end Bronson Massie.
Lancaster (2013 record: 4-6)
The Tigers took a big step back after losing one of the best defensive players in the state in Daeshon Hall and do-it-all athlete DeMarcus Ayers, who broke out as a returner with Houston last season. But WEBO Nation will rise again this season thanks to a seasoned offensive line anchored by Dominique Hearne and improved team speed-- athlete Reggie Garner is one of the fastest players (4.3 40-time) in the Dallas-area and might remind fans of Ayers. The Tigers also return some athletic playmakers on defense such as cornerback Elijah Boyd.
Wimberley (2013 record: 4-7)
Wimberley brings back one of the most experienced teams in the state with 15 total returning starters. Among them are running back West Lambert and tight end Cole Larsen. Both Lambert and Larsen will be key catalysts on offense and stalwarts on defense-- Lambert excels at linebacker while Larsen stars at defensive end. So don’t expect the Texans to have just their third losing in the past 13 years.
Van Vleck (2013 record: 4-6)
Van Vleck will have a new attitude under first-year head coach Robert Blackmon. Already a hero around town, Blackmon is best remembered for leading the Leopards to the 1987 3A semifinals and going on to have a successful career at Baylor. Blackmon has a defense that is tough as nails and should overpower most of its opponents. He also has one of the best offensive players in the district to work with in running back Montrell Brown, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.
Lindsay (2013 record: 5-6)
The old cliché ‘defense wins championships’ should prove true for Lindsay this season. The Knights return eight starters and their 3-4 scheme will give the opposition nightmares. Defensive linemen Andy Dieter and Garrett Martin will control the trenches and allow linebacker Caleb Anderle, who racked up 98 tackles last season, to do what he does best-- make stops. If the Knights can get the offense rolling early, watch out.
EJ Holland is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.
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