Coach: Scott Peach
Last season: 10-3 (5-2 in District 3-5A), lost to Cedar Hill 49-14 in Division II Region I semifinal
Key players: QB Michael Gray (5-11, 180), RB Raymond Sheard (6-1, 185), WR Isaiah Baker (6-1, 175), WR Cade Olson (5-9, 165) OL Ikenna Okoye (6-3, 230), DE Darron Harris (6-1, 210), DB Cedric Jones (5-10, 180), DB Jacob Nwangwa (6-1, 170), DB Cory Bernard (5-10, 160) DB Cassius Grady (5-9, 160).
The big picture: A year ago, Arlington made a deep playoff run, thanks in large part to a bevy of playmakers on offense and a big-play defense anchored by a trio of talented seniors: linebacker Sammy Douglas, cornerback Devin Harris and defensive lineman Ke’Andre Love. Those standouts have moved on. But Peach believes he has a new cadre of stud seniors to fill the void, led by defensive end Darron Harris, who notched 73 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, and safety Jacob Nwangwa, who recorded seven pass breakups in 2012. The offense returns junior running back Raymond Sheard (672 yards, 9 TDs in 2012) and a potent wide receiver corps led by senior Isaiah Baker (600 yards and five TDs in 2012). Senior Michael Gray, who played receiver as a junior, brings a dual-threat presence at quarterback. The Colts expect to compete for the District 3-5A title but will have to find a way to get past crosstown rivals and fellow contenders Bowie, Lamar and Martin. Peach said he hopes 3-5A play brings out the best in his team. “Even good teams have to spend some time getting better at the game of football,” Peach said. “We want to make sure we are playing football at a high level by the time we start district.”
Quotable: “There’s definitely some good teams in our district. But I definitely expect to win a lot of games. There may be some close games in there. But I don’t think there’s a team in our district that is going to just show up and dominate everybody.” — QB Michael Gray
Notable: The Colts will go for their sixth consecutive playoff appearance this fall, the second-longest postseason streak in school history behind the nine in a row Arlington achieved from 1987 to 1995.
— Mark Wright
Special to S-T
DE Darron Harris, right, recorded 73 tackles and seven sacks last season.
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