Background. This continues a series of articles on some Top 20 ranked 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 manageable 17 mile drive southbound along US Rt 67 from Dallas leads to Cedar Hill, whose Division 6A Region II Longhorns slipped from their recent 18th slot in the Texas honor roll down to #21, despite a successful Week 2 home field non-conference match with Arlington. Scoring in each Quarter led to grinding out a 36-26 final margin. This followed a disappointing Week 1 home field 42-29 defeat sustained at the hands of 14th ranked Rockwall, whose Yellowjackets were profiled in an earlier installment in this series. Head Coach Carlos Lynn and Staff will lead the Red and Black with the benefit of seven returning starters — minus 2020’s now graduated QB. Confidence rests upon Cedric Hardin, Jr, a spark for seven TDs a year ago. He enters his opening campaign as a starter, but has shown enough to gather a trio of scholarship offers, more likely to arrive. A pair of senior defenders — CB Jaylon Peoples and DE Syncere Massey — have between them attracted Collegiate interest from a quality group including Baylor, Texas Tech and USC. Their various skills will be needed in next facing the rugged Allen Eagles.
Replacing Cedar Hill at 18th in the rankings are The Lone Star Rangers of Frisco, TX, north on the tollway a few miles beyond Plano. Although outscoring the powerful Aledo group in the second half Lone Star fell 45-35 in a home field Season opener. Also at home, and apparently substituting freely in the 4th Qtr so as to hold down the final, Lone Star kept its offense in high gear with a 59-14 Week 2 thumping of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Christian Academy. Head Coach Ryan Rayburn steered this Division 5-A1 Region II member to the third round of the 2020 State playoffs, the team’s fourth consecutive advance to that extent. Expectations are justifiably high for returning Senior QB Garret Rangel, an Oklahoma State commit who pitched 27 TD strikes last year. Well protected by the likes of OL Kyle Lofye at 6’4” 290 lbs, Rangel will again this year stay connected with all purpose Senior Ashton Jeanty. His 4.5 sec. time in the 40 blends with an array of shifts and moves. High scoring games should be the norm.
26 miles North on I-35 are all that are needed to reach home field of the Lewisville Fighting Farmers, a group seemingly comfortable while out on the road. Now holding down the #19 spot in the ranks, its season opening away game with Bowie ended in a 50-7 rout; and the week following a 36 point 2nd Qtr on a visit to Timber Creek highlighted a 53-24 Farmer walk over. The Maroon and White were led on the field by Junior QB Cameron Jenkins; senior two-way starter at WR and Safety Brent Allen; and senior MLB Ke’Marion Jones. Obviously a talented and veteran group, they and teammates will be guided from the sidelines this Season by a new arrival at Head Coach. Following a March resignation, the school announced Michael Olde’s installment. The name may be familiar to some, as Olde was the QB on the 1996 Lewisville undefeated Class 5A State Champions. He has obviously delivered winning touches in the opening two games. This is a program surely worthy of attention in the coming weeks.
A 274 mile drive south on I-35 is needed for delivery to Shiner, South of Austin and between Houston and San Antonio, whose #20 State ranked football Comanches have broken smartly from the gate. An opening week scoreless First Quarter on the road at Halletsville evolved into to a 21-6 win for the Purple and Gold. The juices then erupted in a Week 2 home field 41-7 thrashing of Blanco, each a non-conference game. This 2A-1 Region IV District 13 powerhouse will be led from the sidelines over the remaining eight scheduled regular season meetings by third year Head Coach Daniel Boedecker, whose unblemished 14-0 mark brought home 2020 Division 2A-1 State Championship honors. It is rare that a player at any level doubles at Linebacker and Running back, but Shiner’s 6’0” 265 pounder Doug Brooks excels at each. Fans will long remember his stalwart fumble recovery/handoff leading to a Comanche TD in last year’s Title Game. He will be teamed with star performers at running back, tight end and linebacker. They will be needed, as three games are scheduled against Division 3-A opponents.