Coach: Jeff Merket
Last season: 7-4 (6-1 in 8-4A), lost to Aledo in bi-district 45-7
Key players: WR Kameron Pickett (6-1, 190); DT Tevin Boone (6-2, 295); DB Reggie Robinson (6-3, 185); LB Brezuan Miller (6-0, 190); QB Brian Baca (5-9, 150); QB Daniel Richardson (5-11, 175).
The big picture: Virtually all of Cleburne’s offensive skill starters are gone, including quarterback Quade Coward, who completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,270 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. With a new QB and new offensive weapons, it’s a new dawn for the Yellow Jackets. Senior wide out Kameron Pickett had a good summer in 7-on-7 competition, but the offensive losses mean getting up to speed quicker is paramount. The Jackets are not settled on a quarterback, with sophomore Brian Baca and senior Daniel Richardson sharing reps early in training camp. Both had a very strong seven-on-seven season, and coach Jeff Merket said either one of them is capable of directing Cleburne’s offense. Merket said Cleburne’s defense will be the team’s strong suit, returning eight starters. That includes safety Reggie Robinson, whose size gives the Jackets some advantages in the secondary. Merket said with the amount of emphasis placed on defense during the off-season, he expects opponents to have a tough time scoring.
Quotable: “The thing about both of our quarterbacks is that they are both great athletes. By the time the first game rolls around, I’m fairly certain we will be settled on one, and I expect the other one will find a starting spot in the offense. One of the great things about this year compared to last is that we installed some things on Day One that took us a month of training camp to accomplish last year.”
— Coach Jeff Merket
Notable: Cleburne will go with two running backs this season who have only junior varsity experience.
— Kevin Casas
Special to the Star-Telegram
Wide receiver Kameron Pickett, right, had a good summer in 7-on-7 competition.
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