After months of anticipation, the start of the 2019 football season has officially arrived, as area Class 6A and 5A teams began official workouts on Monday.
While this week includes only conditioning drills, teams can don the pads starting on Saturday with scrimmages commencing next Thursday.
Every season offers a variety of story lines and this season should be no different, as some teams look to build on recent success and others try to change their recent fortunes.
Rowlett and Sachse have established themselves as perennial playoff teams.
The Eagles first qualified for the postseason in 2005 and they have not missed out since, as their current run of 14 consecutive playoff berths is a Garland ISD record.
Head coach Doug Stephens has a 44-24 record in six seasons at the helm, including a 7-3 campaign a year ago that ended with a bi-district loss to Allen.
Rowlett returns eight starters from that squad, including senior wide receiver Antonio Hull and senior defensive lineman Jeremiah Franks and senior Alex Routt is poised to take over the starting quarterback position.
Sachse has ruled the district of late with three consecutive undefeated district championships.
Head coach Mark “Red” Behrens has led the Mustangs since their inaugural season in 2004 and they have made the playoffs in eight of the last nine years and seven in a row. Behrens’ 15-year tenure is tied for the longest in GISD history with North Garland’s Joe Allen and Garland’s Jeff Jordan and his 96-65 record ranks him second in all-time victories by a GISD head coach behind only Jordan’s 117.
Sachse returns only eight starters, but there are some players with breakout potential such as senior defensive end Anthony Anyanwu and they should be able to reload from junior varsity and freshman teams that posted a combined record of 12-1-1.
Horn and Mesquite both navigated the 11-6A landscape to make the playoffs a year ago.
For the Jaguars, it was their 11th consecutive playoff berth, extending their own Mesquite ISD record.
Horn has a new head coach in Chris Hudler, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Mike Overton announced his retirement.
The Jaguars overcame a 0-7 start to advance to the regional semifinals and they return 11 starters from that squad, including big-time playmakers in senior running back N’Kowsi Emory and senior linebackers Quavon Grant and Nick Garcia.
The Skeeters made tremendous strides under second-year head coach Jeff Fleener. After a one-win campaign in 2017, Mesquite turned things around, going 5-5 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The Skeeters are poised to continue that improvement with 12 returning starters, including senior quarterback Dylan McGill, senior running back LaDarius Turner and junior linebacker Jayden Brown.
North Mesquite is hoping to follow Mesquite’s learning curve in its second season under head coach Tim Seder.
The Stallions won three of their first four games a year ago, but then lost five in a row to finish at 3-6.
North Mesquite last made the playoffs in 2015 but that is one of only two trips since 2002.
The Stallions feature a dynamic quarterback in senior Kamaury Thompson and there is potential on the defensive line with seniors Davion Carter and Jalen Delance.
Poteet and West Mesquite have been in the thick of the playoff picture for the last decade and that trend should continue.
The Pirates have qualified for the playoffs in eight of the last nine years and they have made some noise when they have gotten there. They have advanced at least three rounds deep five times, highlighted by trips to the state semifinals in 2010 and 2016.
Poteet is hoping for a smooth transition under new head coach Rodney McLain, who took over the program after Kody Groves was promoted to MISD Director of Athletics.
The Pirates are primed to make a run at the 7-5A Division 1 title with 12 returning starters, led by senior running back Seth McGowan, the reigning district most valuable player and an Oklahoma commitment, and senior defensive back Jalen Hodo, last year’s defensive player of the year.
The Wranglers made the playoffs 10 out of 11 years from 2006-2016 but have been edged out on a tiebreaker in each of the last two seasons.
There are holes to fill with only seven returning starters, but there are playmakers with senior running back Ty Jordan and versatile junior Jakobe Walton.
Sunnyvale actually got started with workouts on Aug. 5 and is eligible to begin scrimmaging later this week.
The Raiders made a smooth transition up in classification as they captured the 5-4A Division II championship on their way to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
Sunnyvale is again considered the favorite in many early projections with 14 starters headlined by senior quarterback Tripp McAda and senior linebacker Devin Sterling.