The transition to Class 6A began long before Byron Nelson started spring football workouts in late April.
The start time really was last October, when Nelson turned in its enrollment figures and worked under the premise that it would be moving up to highest classification in Texas high school athletics.
However, head football coach Brian Polk said there really hasn’t been a drastic change in the way this program conducts its day-to-day affairs. Every philosophy is different, but Polk’s track record with the school demonstrates the methodical approach works. Nelson went to the playoffs in two of its first four years and has won at least seven games in its previous three. Nelson moves into District 5-6A with Northwest, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, Denton Guyer and Denton Ryan.
“We haven’t really hyped it up,” Polk said. “The only thing we can do is control what we can control and that’s working hard every day. We can’t worry what the rest of the district is doing. Really, where the line is divided in 6A is your depth and how you can keep it going throughout the season.”
Nelson is going to be one of the smallest schools in the district. The depth and overall makeup of the team is going to likely be seen in the offensive and defensive line. Polk isn’t going to hold to it but he said has been working out six to eight players on both lines.
One of those is junior defensive end/tight end Kellen Diesch (6-6, 250). Look for him to get extensive time. He is intriguing. Polk said Diesch can move to inside receiver and create a matchup problem for safeties. His only 2013 reception was a 12-yard touchdown.
“We lost so much size, but Kellen is one of our mainstays,” Polk said. “He’s got great hands. On defense, his reach is great so he’ll create problems for quarterbacks. There’s a chance he could be 6-7 by the time we start the season.”
By starting the last five games of 2013, junior quarterback Preston Haire (5-11, 180) has command of the Bobcats offense.
While Haire understood the mechanics of the game and put in the film study time, Polk wanted to see a different element to his game – leadership. If a team rallies around its quarterback, then it’s a good sign.
If the offensive line stabilizes, it will help the running game, which could be the best that it’s ever been at Nelson. For starters, there is senior Courtney Miles, who is coming off a 1,081-yard, 12-touchdown season.
“He had a great offeseason, and I think he could have a really good year for us,” Polk said. “We have some other guys on committee who have shown some good things.”
Then there is Carrollton Newman Smith transfer junior wide receiver Brandon Bowen (6-4, 210). Because of his mother wanting to be closer for work, Bowen brings varsity experience and playmaking ability. He played defensive end for the Trojans last year. The switch personifies the athleticism.
“Everything he does is pretty spectacular,” Polk said. “When he gets in the open field, you could see something really special.”
Nelson held its spring game on May 23 at the NISD Stadium, after the Times-Register’s early holiday deadline.