Countdown to kickoff: Fort Worth Eastern Hills

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Fort Worth Eastern Hills

District 6-5A

Last season: 4-6 (4-4 in District 6-4)

Key players: QB Antwjuan Strahan (6-0, 195), RB Lexington Horne (5-8, 185), OL Anthony Harvey (6-0, 290), LB/S Reuben Davenport (5-7, 190)

The big picture: When Fort Worth Eastern Hills wrapped up its season last year without a playoff berth, the staff under head coach Tracy Simien reassessed the team’s shortcomings. Most of the problems came back to one overarching theme: strength. Throughout the off-season, Simien has stressed the importance of a weightlifting program, and the coach found a team willing to put in the necessary time to get stronger. Most of that change can be credited to Simien’s senior class. Most of that bunch have started for Simien since they were sophomores, which was the head coach’s first season at Eastern Hills. Simien, who played at TCU before an eight-year career as an NFL linebacker, believes this is the group that has truly bought into his system and will have better success because of it. The offense is led by a two-year starter at quarterback, Antwjuan Strahan, who passed for 894 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 762 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Lexington Horne returns to his natural position at running back after starting on defense last year. The defense will feature linebacker and safety Reuben Davenport, who has several years of experience.

Quotable: “When you come to programs like this and try to get them turned around, it takes a couple of years for the kids to buy into your philosophy and I’ve found the right mix of kids.” — coach Tracy Simien

“I felt like that was the whole key. That was our problem the last two years. We weren’t as strong as the other teams we played.”

— quarterback Antwjuan Strahan

Notable: Eastern Hills is looking for its first playoff berth under Simien. The Highlanders’ last playoff appearances were in 2008 and 2009.

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