Last season: 5-6, 5-3 in District 6-4A; lost in bi-district to Denton Guyer
Key players: QB John Polston (6-2, 200), OL Nate Hanna (6-3, 250), OL Amador Chavez (6-1, 255), OL Jordan Hernandez (6-1, 235), DE Er’ron Williams (6-2, 240), DB Hunter Grice (5-9, 155), LB Nathan Badillo (5-10, 225), LB Gabriel Morales (5-9, 160), RB Chandler Bird, (5-7, 145), RB Jermaine Lewis (5-10, 185)
The big picture: Early season success might provide the momentum to carry the Rough Riders through a tough new district alignment. To garner those wins, Saginaw will have to score ample points until an unproven defense can jell. John Polston will return at quarterback and can build upon a strong sophomore year, when he passed for more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 545 yards and another five scores. He’ll have a strong offensive line returning with size and experience. Running backs Chandler Bird and Jermaine Lewis will share the load in the backfield. “The running backs will be asked to do a whole lot,” coach Mike Peters said. “Consistency, though, will dictate the offense’s success.” Passing on the Saginaw defense could be difficult, as it returns a secondary with Frank Honang, Jasiah Hawkins and senior corner Hunter Grice. Nate Mazealso figures in as the other corner. All three linebackers return for the Rough Riders. The big question is how they will replace the entire defensive line. Er’ron Williams will move down into a defensive end spot. Quick starts will be imperative, said Peters, as the Rough Riders dug too many early holes last season. With the addition of new district foes Wichita Falls, Wichita Falls Rider and Denton, gone are the Fort Worth ISD teams, which last season provided a pivotal 44-37 win over Eastern Hills. The victory gave Saginaw the fourth and final playoff spot.
Quotable: “We have to have the front four play well and play solid defense. But our offense will dictate how our defense plays.” — coach Mike Peters
“No doubt we’re in a more competitive district than the previous two years. We’ll probably see more passing because the Fort Worth schools ran the ball. We [the secondary] expect to see more action and won’t have to always come up [to support the run].” — DB Grice Hunter
Notable: Saginaw gave sizable playing time to 10 sophomores last season who are now seasoned juniors.