Timberview was able to turn around coach James Brown’s first season and make a return to the playoffs last year, going 8-4.
Now, with several returners and the added experience, there shouldn’t be a good reason the Wolves don’t pick up where they left off.
Timberview went three rounds deep into last year’s playoffs before being beaten by Trinity. But with 14 starters returning – nine on offense and five on defense – and another two players with significant playing time, the Wolves have only their own limitations to slow them as they take on several unfamiliar district foes this season.
Gone on offense is the quarterback and a lineman who were pivotal pieces, but Brown feels he has the depth for filling in those spots and ample left over to rotate running backs. The outside receivers are also a source for confidence.
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“It boils down to those that have the experience, we are very confident in them,” said Brown. “It’s a veteran group across the board and four of the five on the line are a big group and a good nucleus who have been together since middle school.”
Making a push for the starting position under center is junior Devin Williams, but Brown said sophomore Zeke Kuyawa and returning transfer senior Jalil Kilpatrick will compete as drills begin.
The running back pool will include returner Daniel Ramos, Mason Miller, Travonne Armstead, Larry Jones, Audricke Gaines and Jelani Selmon. Miller will focus, though, on his starting linebacker position.
“We are predominantly a ground-game team,” Brown said of the proliferation of backs and the unproven throwing ability of the team. “We had a good spring for throwing and we have more comfort with our outside receivers and getting the ball thrown more effectively. It’s a factor of experience.”
The defense will rely on the experienced secondary. Kegan Edwards and Nate Jones return after being tabbed as All-District selections.
Brown said a good battle is on for the other safety and corner position with Aaron Christy, Shaquille Richmond and Earnest Asiby.
While the Wolves lost their tackles to graduation, they’ll get back their defensive ends, Dacion Harris, Michael Badejo and Craig Jim-Lawson.
With Miller and Kendal Mays at linebacker, the defense should develop into a solid unit.
Alex Martin will return to handle the placekicking duties after missing only one PAT last season.
Most of the positions will be a known commodity by the first scrimmage on Aug. 22 at Cedar Hill. What won’t be well-known is an solid knowledge-base of many of the new district foes.
Only Summit is a familiar opponent, with teams such as Lancaster, Seguin, Waxahachie, Red Oak and Waco Midway now on the schedule. Add in only peripheral knowledge of new District 14-5A teams Legacy and Lake Ridge, Timberview should be ready to establish some intense but friendly rivalries.
“As a group of individuals and coaches, we have relationships,” Brown said of the other MISD programs. “It will create instant rivalries on Friday nights. The kids are good friends and they hang out together,” Brown added of player relationships across the city. “There’s not a bitter animosity but it will give the ability to have bragging rights.”
The overriding issue is staying healthy and staying focused academically, Brown said.
“It also all boils down to the kids being prepared,” he added. “It’s about a common goal to get kids to move on for 48 minutes.”