Another year of high school football is mere days away, and as is typically the case in August, fans don’t have to look far to find reasons for positivity about the upcoming season.
Everybody is undefeated, after all.
A new season means a clean slate, and although that optimism is sure to ebb and flow over the coming months, that doesn’t mean fans don’t have reasons to be excited about something pertaining to their favorite team heading into the upcoming season.
Take the Allen and Lovejoy, for example.
Matt Welch: It shouldn’t take much to get one of the state’s most devout fan bases amped for the start of a new season. After all, the Eagles have won 87 of their past 90 games — a span that includes four state championships and seven consecutive state semifinal appearances.
It’s been charmed times for the Allen Eagle faithful, to say the least.
The prospect of another season that runs well into December is reason enough for optimism, but as far as this particular edition of Allen goes: Be excited for the possibility of an electrifying year for the Eagles’ offense, be it senior quarterback Raylen Sharpe’s dual-threat skill set, senior running back Celdon Manning’s home run-hitting ability out of the backfield or the brute physicality and pass-catching skills of juniors Bryson and Blaine Green.
Be excited to see if Allen’s brand-new offensive line can continue the program’s reign of dominance in the trenches, or how, despite returning only one starter, the Eagles’ defense normally reloads with aplomb under defensive coordinator Cory Cain and his staff.
Be excited because the Eagles begin the year with one of the tougher two-game stretches (Cedar Hill and Dickinson) to start a season in recent program history.
Be excited for the team’s potential for a chance at redemption come playoff time.
Be excited because, despite the storylines and subplots, high school football is finally back in Allen.
Taylor Raglin: The optimism surrounding Lovejoy's 2019 club is sourced from both a narrow and a big-picture perspective. Under center, one athlete has the potential to carry the torch forward, as junior and multi-sport star Ralph Rucker slots in in place of departed quarterback Carson Collins. Rucker's dual-threat ability and general athleticism should help the Lovejoy offense, which traditionally reloads well out wide and should again this fall, keep pace with the scoring output of the program's 2018 squad (40 points per game), and that production will be needed in the face of a parity-filled District 7-5A Division II.
Overall, however, the positive vibes surrounding the program emanate from the tradition of winning head coach Todd Ford and the Leopards are trying to maintain. The school has missed the postseason just once since 2009 and has reached at least the area round in three of the past four seasons, and Ford has labeled his 2019 group as perhaps his most detail-oriented and as more than capable of building on that run of success.
The Leopards will have returning starters like Rucker, Trent Robinson, Quinn McDermott, Tyler Beidleman, Sean Sumners and others sprinkled throughout a young but talented roster, and the program seems primed to take advantage of a largely open conference on its way to another tournament berth.