The single biggest questions facing area football teams for 2013

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Mid-August is the hard-core football fan’s version of the Christmas season. The excitement of its arrival is palpable. You’re about to burst. When that first game kicks off on Thursday night, you feel like you can see again.

But these next three weeks leading up to the start of the 2013 season opener during the Labor Day weekend are very important for the nine teams in our coverage region. Practices began on Monday. Players put the pads on later this week. All of them must answer The Big Question. As always, we do this in alphabetical order.

Carroll - Is there enough on the offensive line? Obviously, coach Hal Wasson likes that he has at anchor in SMU commit Evan Brown. However, the development with the rest of this unit is going to be key to giving new quarterback Ryan Agnew the time to execute the offense, freeing up the receivers and giving the proper room for running back A.J. Ezzard. There was some improvement made during spring ball. But this is the time for starting jobs to be secured and depth to be recognized.

Colleyville Heritage – Can Griffin Pickler be himself? You can be sure that following someone like Oklahoma’s Cody Thomas at quarterback can be daunting. But it’s a matter of how you handle it. Pickler is going to have to hear a lot of “Well, Thomas did that?” Coach Mike Fuller likely worked to help Pickler minimize that factor. They want him to play to his strengths. If Pickler truly absorbs that, then he should be fine.

Grapevine – Is there the size, strength and speed? When I watched the Mustangs last year, I could imagine how frustrated coach Dave Henigan and his staff were because they just didn’t have enough of those elements to withstand match-ups. They got manhandled. Henigan got a jump on it when he went back to spring ball this year, because he knew this team had to be better in all phases. This group has three weeks to firm up those categories.

Justin Northwest – Can the Texans take the next step? The 2012 season turned into a landmark year at 8-3, the most wins in a season as a Class 5A school. The talk throughout the offseason has been for this program to move beyond that in terms of wins and pick up that first playoff win. This is a pivotal season.

Keller – Is this team ready to surprise? I really think the Indians are ready to have a big season. They have a quality quarterback in Hunter McEarchern and running back Dalton Mills. I haven’t even mentioned the Teuhema brothers, senior LB/DE Sione and junior OT Tristan. I don’t see how the Indians are not playing in mid-November.

Keller Central – Can the Chargers’ offensive line lead the way? Part of the reason the Chargers have made the playoffs the two previous seasons is their offensive line. They have two quality returners in Austin Cutting and center Elijah Britton. Each stands 6-3 and 6-4 and is 260 and 300 pounds respectively. A conservative offense needs that help up front to succeed.

Keller Fossil Ridge – Will the Panthers offense make a difference? Quarterback Jacob Gnacinski made the best of a tough situation in 2012 when he had little prep time. But there aren’t many known commodities returning at wide receiver and running back to ensure the Panthers can move the ball consistently. There could be a lot of pressure placed on that defense.

Keller Timber Creek – Is there life after Cedric Dale? Well, there has to be. Coach Kevin Golden’s program suffered arguably the biggest offseason blow when Dale transferred to Lewisville Hebron in April. Golden and his staff used the spring and offseason meetings reviewing their options. Maybe Amon Lindsay is the answer. He showed value when Dale was lost to a broken arm for part of the 2012 season.

Northwest Byron Nelson – Are we going to see another QB shuffle? Well, we could, since senior Alex Ortega missed the spring with a shoulder injury. The other candidate is junior Preston Haire. Fort Worth South Hills transfer Anthony Blake left the school for undisclosed reasons. Head coach Brian Polk used a rotation successfully in 2012. We’ll see how this plays out.

Next week, we’ll highlight the 2013 season’s top five games.

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