With the start of fall practice three weeks away, the hype surrounding the upcoming high school football season is reaching its peak.
And when Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, considered by most to be the definitive source in Texas, hits shelves, excitement only grows.
The publication was especially high on several Denton-area teams this year, predicting everything from district titles to deep playoff runs. DCTF projects five of the 11 UIL high schools in the Denton-Record Chronicle’s coverage area — Guyer, Ryan, Argyle, Aubrey and Pilot Point — to qualify for the postseason.
We took a look at all 13 Denton-area teams DCTF previewed, breaking down each.
Guyer comes in as the No. 8 ranked team in Class 6A. The Wildcats have 77.3 percent of their starters returning, with nine coming back on the offensive side of the ball.
Guyer’s high-octane offense will be led by junior quarterback Eli Stowers, who recently committed to Texas A&M. His partner in the backfield, senior running back Kaedric Cobbs, is the preseason offensive MVP pick for District 5-6A.
Cobbs ran for 1,487 yards and 19 touchdowns a year ago. The magazine lists him as the No. 4 running back in the state.
DCTF predicts Guyer will win its district and ultimately beat Hebron in the regional final before falling in the state semifinal. DCTF has Longview beating Austin Westlake in the 6A (Division II) championship.
But Guyer is not the only local school DCTF has winning its region.
The Ryan Raiders enter the season as the No. 2 team in Class 5A (Division I). With 15 returning starters, Ryan is once again primed for another championship push.
Drew Sanders was named to the 5A preseason all-state team, as well as the Whataburger Super Team, after a stellar 2018 campaign. The Raiders are the pick to win Region I over district foe Birdville, putting them on a collision course with Highland Park in the semifinal for what would be the fourth straight season.
Ryan is a combined 42-3 over the past three years and has lost to Highland Park each of those years in the state semifinal. DCTF has Highland Park winning the 5A (Division I) title over Richmond Foster.
The other local team DCTF expects to go far is Argyle. The Eagles enter the season No. 3 in Class 4A (Division I) after going 13-1 last year.
Argyle will return five starters on offense and defense, including the duo of quarterback Bo Hogeboom and running back Tito Byce. Together, the pair combined for 4,886 yards and 70 touchdowns in 2018.
Navigating the Eagles’ district will be no easy task, though, as Celina and Paris lie in the waiting. Argyle survived a 26-22 scare from Celina in the regional quarterfinal last year before falling to eventual 4A (Division I) champion Waco La Vega in the regional final.
DCTF expects the Eagles’ upcoming season to unfold in similar fashion, as the magazine projects a loss to Waco La Vega once again in the Region II final.
Elsewhere across the area, DCTF has Denton and Braswell finishing fifth in their respective districts. The Broncos are coming off a 2-8 season and will be led by running back Xylohn Posey.
Braswell, meanwhile, returns 14 starters, including quarterback Greyson Thompson. He finished with 1,550 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.
In District 7-5A (Division II), DCTF predicts Lake Dallas to finish sixth. The Falcons lost a bulk of their starters on defense, and on offense, graduated quarterback Ryan Depperschmidt.
The magazine indicates Lake Dallas may look to move Brandon Engel from wide receiver to quarterback. Engel was the team’s leading receiver in 2018, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark.
Sanger and Krum, each looking for bounce-back seasons after going 0-10, are picked to finish last in their districts. Both schools will be under the leadership of new head coaches.
Aubrey and Pilot Point round out DCTF’s list of Denton-area UIL schools projected to make the playoffs.
The Bearcats are ranked No. 20 in Class 3A (Division I) with 15 returning starters. Pilot Point is picked to finished second in the tough District 4-3A behind powerhouse Brock.
Jacob Pitts, the Bearcats’ quarterback, is the magazine’s choice for preseason offensive MVP. Pitts threw for 1,481 yards and 11 touchdowns while rushing for 973 yards and 12 scores last year.
Down the road in Aubrey, the Chaparrals will aim for their fifth straight playoff berth. Aubrey has eight starters back on defense, headlined by preseason defensive MVP selection Jose Noyola. The linebacker made 105 tackles last year.
On offense, the Chaparrals are quarterbacked by Dallas Baptist baseball commit Jaxon Holder.
Ponder is the final area UIL school DCTF previewed. The Lions have 13 starters back and are projected to finish last in District 4-3A (Division I). Ponder was 2-8 last year and will be under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Bowling.
In TAPPS, Liberty Christian checks in as the No. 7 team in 11-man.
The Warriors bring back five starters on offense and defense, including quarterback Daniel Greek. Liberty Christian’s signal caller threw for 2,337 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, leading the Warriors to the third round of the playoffs.
The final local team is Calvary out of TAPPS six-man District I Division 1. The Lions return five starters on offense and six on defense.
Jacob Helzer will be a player to watch, as the Lions’ running back and defensive back rushed for 1,102 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Calvary went 5-6 in 2018 and is projected to finish fifth in its district.