There should be no shortage of offense when Denton-area schools take the field in August.

Like the quarterback position, a number of key running backs also return this fall, leaving teams with an abundance of talent on the offensive side of the ball. While the area’s leading rusher, Liberty Christian’s Andre Washington, graduated, four of the top five backs will suit up again.

We continue our series breaking down the top statistical returners in the Denton area today with running backs. Here’s a rundown of notable returners in the backfield:

Tito Byce, junior, Argyle

2018 stats: 1,520 yards, 26 touchdowns, 215 carries, 7.1 yards per carry

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Argyle sophomore running back Tito Byce (9) leaps over Stephenville linebacker Blu Caylor (44) on Aug. 31 in Argyle.

Despite losing Noah Lang, Argyle’s leading rusher in 2017, to graduation, the Eagles didn’t miss a beat. Byce stepped in and immediately filled the void, scampering for 1,520 yards to earn District 7-4A (Division I) offensive newcomer of the year honors. Argyle’s workhorse led all area running backs in touchdowns, finding the end zone 26 times. He and quarterback Bo Hogeboom both return in 2019, headlining an offense that can light up the scoreboard in a hurry.

Kaedric Cobbs, senior, Guyer

2018 stats: 1,487 yards, 19 touchdowns, 226 carries, 6.6 yards per carry

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Guyer running back Kaedric Cobbs (1) rushes the ball and stiff-arms Eaton safety Oscar Moore (11) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

An All-District 5-6A first-team selection, Cobbs helped Guyer’s high-octane offense keep opposing defenses guessing. The 5-10 back carried 226 times to the tune of 1,487 yards and 19 touchdowns, lightening the load on the Wildcats’ first-year starting quarterback, Eli Stowers. Cobbs averaged 6.6 yards per carry, due in large part to his ability to get to the second level of the defense. A 2016 MaxPreps Freshman All-American at Melissa, Cobbs will be back for his senior season as a key component of Guyer’s loaded offense this fall.

Xylohn Posey, senior, Denton

2018 stats: 1,392 yards, 16 touchdowns, 166 carries, 8.4 yards per carry

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Denton running back Xylohn Posey carries the ball against Birdville on Oct. 18 in North Richland Hills.

Posey had his best season in a Bronco uniform in 2018, emerging as Denton’s primary option out of the backfield. The District 4-5A first-team selection led area backs with 8.4 yards per carry and had a knack for making defenders miss. Considering his 1,392 yards and 16 touchdowns, it seems Posey is due for an even bigger senior campaign under coach Billy Miller.

Emani Bailey, senior, Ryan

2018 stats: 1,284 yards, 14 touchdowns, 170 carries, 7.6 yards per carry

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Ryan running back Emani Bailey (9) carries the ball and avoids being tackled by Brewer defensive back Chandler Byington (24) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

It did not take long for Bailey to take center stage in Ryan’s high-powered offense in 2018. The Raiders averaged 182.5 yards per game on the ground, with Bailey accounting for 85.6. The 5-9 back racked up 1,284 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to Ryan’s 14-1 record and appearance in the Class 5A Division I semifinals. His performance earned him District 4-5A offensive MVP honors. As his senior season approaches, Bailey will again be a main component of the Raiders’ offense as they look to capture a state title.

Ke’ori Hicks, junior, Ryan

2018 stats: 711 yards, six touchdowns, 86 carries, 8.3 yards per carry

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Ryan running back Ke’ori Hicks, right, carries the ball against Highland Park on Dec. 15 in Arlington. Hicks averaged 8.3 yards per carry as a sophomore in 2018.

Second to only Denton’s Xylohn Posey in yards per carry at 8.3, Hicks proved to be effective when his teammate Emani Bailey needed a breather. His 711 yards and six touchdowns on 86 carries earned him a first-team nod in District 4-5A. Hicks and Bailey both return in 2019 — and create a formidable 1-2 punch out of Ryan’s backfield.

REECE WADDELL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @ReeceWaddell15.

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