Texas HS Football Teams Rated Ahead of 2021 Season, Part 3

Aledo Bearcats | Texas HS Football

Background.  This essay is intended as a continuation on a tour through dominant High School football programs operating within or near the Dallas-Austin-Houston triangle in South-Central Texas. Named below are four among the strongest, as reckoned by at least one panel of veteran analysts:

A 50 mile drive west along I-30 brings up Aledo, whose Bearcats launched their 2021 State Title Defending Season with a resounding home field 47-7 dispatch of Weatherford High.  If continuity is a key ingredient in any successful formula, Head Coach Tim Buchanan returns for his twenty-fourth uninterrupted year as mentor of this Class 5A Division II annual powerhouse.  Now eighth ranked statewide, the Orange and Black receive capable assistant coaching from Athletic Director Steve Wood.  Optimism is further nurtured by the returns of Senior QB and Nevada commit Breyden Fowler-Nicolosi and rugged Tight End Jason Llewelyn, an Oklahoma sign on. Two graduation departures at Wide Receiver and Running Back will need attention, routine for a program having advanced to ten State Finals in its previous dozen campaigns.  Opponent scoring should be held in check by 2020 5A Defensive Player of the Year, Senior Safety Bryan Allen, Jr. — now teamed up back there by his tenth-grade brother Jaden.  Kyle Thompson, named to First Team All District honors last year, will anchor a stalwart defensive line.

Holding the ninth slot this week is Austin Lake Travis, earning its place in virtue of, as reported in an earlier article, an opening week home field 40-28 conquest of formerly eighth ranked Arlington Martin.  Veteran twelfth Year Head Coach and School Athletic Director Hank Carter will lead the White-Black and Red trimmed Cavaliers in what all involved hope to be a recovery from the disappointing opening round 2020 playoff defeat.  Expectations ride high on Junior QB Bo Edmundson, who last year connected for 17 TD strikes in five games.  He is widely noticed with already nine D1 scholarship offers.  The receiving corps is a blend of depth and experience, while talented linebackers Watson Cusick and Derrick Johnson were leading tacklers last year.  A tradition bathed in success figures to be well extended in weeks to come.

A 41-mile drive northwest from Dallas up the Rte 114 TEXxpress Argyle lies in wait. Its Eagles varsity football Division 4-A District 7 power comes off its 2020 unblemished 16-0 slate, continuing where it left off with an efficient neutral site Tom Landry Classic 40-29 opening week 2021 victory over Ft. Worth Nolan Catholic.  Now holding down the twelfth spot in statewide ranks, Head Coach Todd Rogers and squad head into a remaining schedule regarded by many as stiffer than was faced a year ago, many opponents among the higher ranked in the Lone Star State.  Although returning three stars from a defense which yielded only 15.5 points per game a season ago, the Eagles did graduate stars at QB, running back and wide receiver.  A formidable challenge lies ahead.

Proud and worthy occupiers of the thirteenth spot in the ranks is Denton Guyer High School, the Wildcats justifying the nod with a home field 46-17 romp over Carrolton Hebron.  A 41-mile drive north along I-35, Head Coach Rodney Webb’s club will feature Junior QB Jackson Arnold, now bulked into a 6’1” 195 lbs. specimen entering his third year as Wildcat signal caller. Offers have already poured in from a number of D-I Universities whose scouts are drawn to Arnold’s seemingly effortless and accurate downfield tosses at upwards of 50 miles per hour.  Returning with him are featured running back BJ Phillips and split end Jace Wilson, who in 2020 joined with Arnold to propel the team on a 40.8 point per game scoring average.  Defense is not overlooked with this group.  North Texas commit Vincent Paige roams the defensive line with skills at times applied to linebacker.  A trio of returning star defensive backs will pose disruptive influences on opponent passing attempts.  Another journey deep into State playoffs seems the most likely 2021 outcome.

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