Eleventh in a daily series spotlighting key area high school football teams leading to opening night, Aug. 30
Coach: Jim Skinner
Last season: 8-3 (5-2 in District 5-4A), lost to Arlington Heights 14-13 in bi-district
Key players: RB Xavier Turner (5-10, 210); QB Justin Martin (5-10, 175); LB Nicholas Dusak (5-11, 205); LB Sam Gooch (5-11, 215); LB Quan Walter (5-9, 206); OT Juan Perez (6-3, 275) OT Joas Aguilar (6-5, 290)
The big picture: Birdville's in a new district this season -- and this time it's one without perennial district champion Aledo in it. That means the perennial runner-up Hawks should have an easier road to a title in nine-team 6-4A. To win that elusive championship, however, the Birdville defense, led by junior linebackers Nick Dusak and Sam Gooch, will need to live up to the praise of coach Jim Skinner, who describes the unit as the most talented defense he's coached. The Birdville offense, meanwhile, will turn to a converted wide receiver to run the show. Skinner said senior QB Justin Martin, a first-team all-district selection last season for his pass-catching ability, has the speed, accuracy and athleticism to get the job done, plus he should benefit from a massive offensive line, which features two 275-pound-plus tackles.
Quotable: "I feel good about our kids. We had a great off-season. I've got some extremely talented kids. If everyone can stay healthy, I think we'll have a really talented team." coach Jim Skinner
"We have a lot of talent, a lot of skills. We're going to take care of business." OT Juan Perez
"Our defense is very talented. We have a lot of good leaders, a lot of good talent on defense. We have... a lot to look forward to this season." LB Samuel Gooch
Notable: Birdville opens the season against Arlington Heights, which bounced the Hawks out of the playoffs last season.
-- Mark Wright
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