There has been a lot of turnover in the Mansfield Timberview football program since its inspired run to the Class 5A Division II state semifinals last season.
The Wolves (2-2, 1-0 in District 7-5A) have a new coach in James Brown and several fresh faces after returning just three starters on offense. The one constant has been the steady play of senior running back Josh Smith, who has rushed for 435 yards and four touchdowns this year after gaining 1,652 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in 2011.
"I know as a senior that I can't just be a player who goes out, performs and leads by example -- I have to be a vocal leader," Smith said. "I'm trying to motivate my teammates and do whatever it takes to get them ready for the game."
Other playmakers are starting to emerge as they gain experience such as receiver D'Andre Fuller, who displayed his versatility last week in the Wolves' 58-14 win over Grand Prairie to open District 7-5A play. Fuller, a 6-foot, 170-pound senior, scored on a 74-yard punt return, a 72-yard run and a 23-yard pass from quarterback Avery Gilbert en route to 175 all-purpose yards.
"Dre is, if not the most, then one of the most explosive guys we have on the team," Brown said. "I think most of his touchdowns have come from 50-plus yards and he's averaging 35 yards per carry. When he's allowed to carry the ball and people don't take him away he's pretty good at it."
Timberview knows it will have to continue to improve to make a return trip to the playoffs in the rough and tumble District 7-5A, which many consider the toughest league in the state.
"I know we can do it this season in District 7-5A," Smith said. "I know it's very tough but if we put our heads together and just keep working and just come out and keep having good practices, we'll succeed."
Boswell bounces back
After two lopsided losses to a pair of formidable foes, Saginaw Boswell was in need of a successful outing.
The Pioneers may have gotten their mojo back last week with a 63-7 win over District 6-4A foe Fort Worth Polytechnic. The victory moved Boswell back to .500 at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in 6-4A.
"We wanted to come out and really show what we're capable of. We played three really good opponents the last three weeks and I think our kids were really wanting some success," Boswell coach John Abendschan said. "Opportunities just kept coming in bunches."
The Pioneers scored the first 63 points of the game, all of which came in the first half, including 35 in the first quarter. The outburst tied the school record for points in a half.
Boswell forced six turnovers by halftime, a feat Abendschan doesn't remember the Pioneers pulling off since becoming the head coach in 2006.
"Poly turned the ball over and then the turnovers just kept coming," Abendschan said. "It just snowballed but our kids played at a high level. I was happy that they weren't complacent; they played hard and that's what I was proud of."
Rough Rider D
Last week Saginaw held District 6-4A opponent Fort Worth North Side to 1 yard of total offense.
That's right, 1 yard.
The Rough Riders defense has been sensational this season and is a big reason why the team is undefeated through four games. Saginaw is allowing just 106.5 yards of total offense and is forcing almost three turnovers a game.
The Rough Riders have been especially dominant the past two weeks in district play as they have allowed a combined 123 yards and outscored Fort Worth Carter-Riverside and North Side 131-0.
"The start has been fantastic and keeping the kids' confidence up high has really got it going," Saginaw coach Mike Peters said. "The school is rolling, the community has really jumped in behind us and just the tidal wave that comes with winning week-in-and-week-out is really helping keep things on the right path."
Play of the week
Fort Worth Carter-Riverside defeated Saginaw Chisholm Trail 22-20 last week on a last-second 28-yard field goal by Alexis Flores.
The kick gave the Eagles (1-3) their first win of the season and evened their record in District 6-4A at 1-1.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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