Last season: 13-1 (8-0 in District 6-4A), lost to Denton Guyer 52-42 in Division I state quarterfinals
Key players: RB Xavier Turner (6-1, 215), LB Nick Dusak (6-0, 220), WR Sam Northey (5-10, 165), LB Sam Gooch (6-1, 220), LB Quan Walters (6-0, 220), OL Colby Wade (6-0, 280), DT Ricky Jones (6-2, 285), DB Drew Serviente (6-2, 185), DT Garrett Love (6-2, 295), DE Kody Pinkston (6-1, 230), QB Ty Engelhardt (6-1, 170).
Big picture: Birdville steamrolled through the regular season in 2012 and carried the momentum into the playoffs, winning its first 13 games. The Hawks are without some of their key players from last season, but they remain loaded. Eight starters return on defense while a quick-strike offense will be led by 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior running back Xavier Turner. “We were known for our offense, but especially last year our defense helped put the offense in great position,” senior linebacker Nick Dusak said. Turner rushed for almost 1,600 yards and 31 TDs last season and should have similar success behind an offensive line that coach Jim Skinner describes as young but good-sized. Senior Ty Engelhardt steps in at quarterback to fill the void left by district MVP Justin Martin after showing big-play potential as a backup last season. Engelhardt should have no problem finding open receivers. Leading receiver Sam Northey was a first-team all-district selection as a junior last season, catching 68 passes for 856 yards and 13 scores. “I have faith in Ty,” Turner said. “He’s a great guy, and we have good chemistry going.” The Hawks, who are going for their second consecutive district title, play eight games in 6-4A and could be tested by Saginaw Boswell, Saginaw and Fort Worth Dunbar.
Quotable: “Barring any injuries I think we have the potential to have a really good football team. These guys have been winning since the ninth grade up, so they know they’re winners.” — Coach Jim Skinner
“Expectations here at Birdville are always high. We expect a lot out of ourselves.” — RB Xavier Turner
“This year we’re looking to build on what we did last year and go even further,” — QB Ty Engelhardt
Notable: Birdville, which opened in 1999, made its deepest postseason run last season.
— Mark Wright
Special to the S-T
The Birdville Hawks’ offense will be powered by running back Xavier Turner, who rushed for almost 1,600 yards last season and scored 31 touchdowns.
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