Countdown to kickoff: Trophy Club Nelson

Posted Saturday, Aug. 09, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Trophy Club Nelson

District: 5-6A

Last season: 8-3 (5-2 District 5-4A)

Key players: S Josh Johnson (6-1, 185), RB Courtney Miles (5-11, 190), QB Preston Haire (6-0, 190), LB Joel Kabongo (5-8, 190), DB Alwin Crawford (5-8, 170).

The big picture: Nelson finished third in District 5-4A last year before losing to Birdville in the first round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs. This year, the Bobcats will be playing up a class as they landed in District 5-6A after February’s UIL realignment. The adjustment to a new district, which includes the Keller schools and school district rival Justin Northwest, should be alleviated, at least a little bit, by the return of quarterback Preston Haire and 1,000-yard rusher Courtney Miles. Haire started the Bobcats’ final five games as a sophomore in 2013. Miles has started the past two seasons. “We’re pretty young everywhere else [on offense],” coach Brian Polk said. “We graduated a bunch of kids up front and out wide.” Nelson is a bit more experienced on defense, especially in the secondary where safety Josh Johnson will be coming off first-team all-district season. Linebacker Joel Kabongo, who started last year, leads a young front seven that will feature six first-time starters.

Quotable: “Our kids have had a great summer, and there is going to be some kind of transition just by moving up [6A] with week in and week out competition. Every year we’ve been playing, we’ve had a state champion in the district, whether it’s been Aledo or Denton Guyer, so we’ve been playing against good folks leading up to this point. But I think the main thing is consistency of being ready to go every Friday night, and that the competition will be high. We’re going to have to adjust to that in a hurry.” — coach Brian Polk

“There’s always been a rivalry [between Nelson and Northwest], even when we weren’t in the same district. There’s been a lot of buildup already since the release of the new districting came out.” — safety Josh Johnson

Notable: Nelson opened in 2009, and didn’t play varsity football until the following year. Still, the Bobcats’ program has grown remarkably in just four years. Polk said he expected around 130 freshmen to report to the team’s first practice, in addition to around 135 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders reporting. The freshman team alone will have six coaches. Also, Nelson’s Oct. 17 matchup with Northwest will be the first for both schools, which share Northwest ISD Stadium.

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