Fort Worth Arlington Heights
Fifth in a daily series spotlighting key area high school football teams leading to opening night, Aug. 30.
Last season: 9-3 (7-2 in District 6-4A), lost to Killeen, 60-25, in area round
Key players: QB Vincent Berrones (Sr. 5-11, 180); RB/DB Sammy Webb (Sr. 5-10, 180); TE/WR William Anderson (Sr. 6-2, 210); DE Sam Mattingly (Sr. 6-1, 205); DT A'Shawn Robinson (Sr. 6-5, 310); DL Adam Uptegraft (Sr. 5-9, 180)
The big picture: After leading Heights past Birdville 14-13 in the bi-district round of the 4A Division II playoffs, Ged Kates accepted the head coaching position at Richland, leaving the Yellow Jackets searching for a new leader. Enter new head coach Todd Whitten, who has the experience to keep Heights on the right track in what will be a challenging district that includes Aledo, which has won three straight 4A Division II state titles, Fort Worth Southwest, and Fort Worth Wyatt. Heights didn't have spring practices, so Whitten is still getting a feel for his team's ability. But he and his new staff worked hard this summer to learn about the Heights players off the field. With a new district setup -- last year 6-4A teams had nine district games -- Heights will have a few more nondistrict games to learn Whitten's system. The Yellow Jackets will know where they are quickly; Heights' first game is a rematch with Birdville.
Quotable: "We have better team chemistry this year. Last year, we had some guys who wanted individual accomplishments. That led to us getting blown out in a couple games. I'm seeing more unity this year. We want to win. We want to succeed. I want to win so bad that it's all I think about." senior DT A'Shawn Robinson
"We have some good athletes, and I think we have a chance to have a really good football team. I think it's going to take us some time to get up to speed. It's going to be a very physical schedule, and I think our league is going to be competitive." coach Todd Whitten
Notable: Whitten brings collegiate coaching experience to the Heights program. Whitten was an offensive coordinator for Lamar University last year and also has been a head coach at college programs Tarleton State (1996, 2000-04) and Sam Houston State (2005-09). -- Brent Shirley
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