Ninth in a daily series spotlighting key area high school football teams leading to opening night, Aug. 30
Coach: Dave Henigan
Last season: 6-5 (5-3 in District 6-5A), lost to Mansfield 55-27 in bi-district round of playoffs
Key players: QB Brett Harbin (6-0, 190); WR Austin Parker (6-2, 185); RB Riley Albus (6-1, 185); DE Blake Nava (5-11, 190); LT Allen Caunitz (6-4, 255); OL Christian Robertson (6-1, 245); DB Brandon Alexander (5-10, 175); K Nik Grau (6-1, 180)
The big picture: The biggest determinant on whether the Mustangs are able to return to the playoffs for a third time in four years under Henigan will probably not be the offense, which returns quarterback Brett Harbin and a cadre of offensive weapons, but rather a revamped defense.
In previous years, Grapevine's offense hadn't been able to run a screen during practice because the defensive players were so familiar with the offensive audibles that they recognized the screen call. Not so this season, as the Mustangs have just one returning starter on defense. That could prove a major issue for a team that went 3-1 in games decided by one score or less.
Offensively, Harbin completed an impressive 61.3 percent of his passes last year, and Henigan says that he has bulked up, which will improve his scrambling ability. Look for junior Austin Parker to up his production this season after catching 17 balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns in his sophomore campaign.
Quotable: "That's a big question mark coming in, how those young kids are going to respond. They're good players, I think we've got good guys, but we still don't know how they'll respond in a Friday night situation. They were much improved from the beginning of spring practices to the end of spring football, and we made a lot of strides on that side of the ball."
"I expect [Brett Harbin] to have a great year. He's a three-year starter, he's played a lot of football on Friday nights, and I expect him to have a great year. I expect him to improve, I expect his turnovers to improve, I expect him to be a better runner, because he's much stronger physically than he's been." Coach Dave Henigan
-- Louie Horvath
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.