Sixteenth in a daily series spotlighting key area high school football teams leading to opening night, Aug. 30.
Keller Fossil Ridge
Coach: Tony Baccarini
Last season: 6-5 (4-3 in District 7-5A), lost to Flower Mound Marcus 34-0 in bi-district round
Key players: QB Shelden Neuse (6-0, 185); QB/WR Jake Gnacinski (6-2, 223); RB Chaylon Bowman (5-11, 195); WR Adonis Ramos (6-1, 185); DT Jonathan Moreno (5-10, 240); DE Anthony Villalobos (6-3, 245)
The big picture: The school with the smallest enrollment in District 4-5A might be the biggest contender to prevent heavy favorite Southlake Carroll from rolling to the district championship. The Panthers return 11 starters from last year's team, including the primary quarterback (Neuse), running back (Bowman) and receiver (Ramos). They should have a high-powered offense, provided that the line can jell and keep Neuse and/or Gnacinski upright. Baccarini has remained tight-lipped about his plans for the quarterback position. Defensively, the Panthers should have a strong front seven, led by Anthony Villalobos and Jonathan Moreno on the line. Overall, the 30 returning lettermen from last season mark the Panthers as a team that is on the rise.
Quotable: "The goals are always the same. We want to make the playoffs, however possible. We view the preseason as season one, and the nondistrict season as season two, district season three, and we always want to make that fourth season." -- coach Tony Baccarini
Notable: Fossil Ridge snapped a three-year drought with last year's playoff appearance. The Panthers qualified for the postseason in 2005-07.
-- Louie Horvath
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