Braswell takes the field before they play Red Oak in the second round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs Nov. 23, 2019, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

What does a team that finished its fourth year playing varsity football, was co-district champions and made it to the second round of the playoffs get as a reward for its upcoming season?

How about a move up to the biggest level of high school football in a seven-team district that features four other playoff teams from a year ago, which includes a state runner up.

The challenge for the 2020 edition of Braswell is quite grand, but head coach Cody Moore says he, his coaches and the team are more than up and ready for what lies ahead.

After the coronavirus-enforced delay to the start of the season, Braswell opens the campaign with quite the challenge going against Rockwall.

“In Metroplex 6A, there [are] never any weeks off,” Moore said.

To validate that idea, Moore’s squad opens the year playing three of its four pre-district games against teams that made the playoffs last year. Then, Braswell faces the likes of Guyer, Allen, McKinney and Prosper in district play, which all made the playoffs, too.

“Moving up to 6A, we look at everything that comes with it as an opportunity,” he added. “It’s very tough, but we’re excited.”

As Braswell faces off against Rockwall on Friday, Moore believes his team has adapted very well to the short time leading up to the opener and thinks his team is just as good as, if not better than, last year’s squad.

Last year, Braswell averaged more than 515 yards of offense and 44.75 points per game, and with nine starters returning, the pieces are there to replicate those numbers. How those numbers happen, though, is left to be determined.

Moore must replace Greyson Thompson, who threw for 3,315 yards last year and 35 touchdowns, and will lean on senior quarterback Tristan McClary, who threw just 10 passes last year for 42 yards.

The confidence is high for more with McClary, even though his style as quarterback is much different than Thompson’s.

“He’s waited, and I think he’s ready for it. He’s a competitive kid,” Moore said. “A lot of things I look for in a QB, he possesses them — leadership, toughness — he’s got them.

“Whatever the game calls for, that’s what we’re going to do. I think we can adapt, which means different numbers for different people.”

Returning six starters, Braswell has talent in the secondary and at the linebacking group, but there are shoes to fill on the defensive line. Those improvements in the second and third level on defense are going to be tested by junior Braedyn Locke, who passed for more than 4,200 yards and 53 touchdowns.

“It’ll be fun to compete against those guys,” Moore said about playing Locke and Rockwall. “What better way to kick off the season? We’re going to be tested.”

The end goal for Braswell is a state championship — something the team is not shying away from — but the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a potential shootout, which Moore and his team are ready for.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.


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