Hurst L.D. Bell
Last season: 7-4 (5-2 District 6-5A), lost in bi-district round to Hebron.
Key players: RB Daniel Dorsett (6-0, 205); DE David Dorsett (6-2, 275); DL C.J. Alipate (5-10, 307); WR/RB Johnny Leon (6-1, 195); SS Chad Williams (6-2, 195); S Landry Ward (6-0, 165); S Bailey Gregory (5-11, 180); QB Dominique Lawson (6-2, 175); OL Jared Smith (6-2, 300).
The big picture: Bell has made it to the bi-district round of the playoffs in each of the last three years under coach Mark Smith. To make it four straight, the Blue Raiders will need a talented but unproven quarterback to succeed in a new, up-tempo offense under the direction of new offensive coordinator Hank Willis. Dominique Lawson will move into the starting role under center, and Smith said Lawson’s mobility allows him to move the pocket, roll out and create with either his speed or arm. “We couldn’t tackle him all spring,” Smith said. The offense will have experienced weapons such as running back Daniel Dorsett, who rushed for seven scores last season. “He’s a big, strong runner but he can get to the edge and use his speed,” said Smith. Jared Smith is the multifaceted anchor of the offensive line and will start at center, where his football IQ can benefit the group. Tackle Hayden Lewis is another returning lineman. The defense will have four returning starters and will play off David Dorsett’s lead up front. Smith said his team is balanced and the retention from the spring was as good as he’s seen in his five years at Bell. The Blue Raiders will face one of the toughest schedules in the now-loaded District 7-6A. Bell opens with Keller Central before facing Rockwall at AT&T Stadium. They’ll then host Midland at Pennington Field and travel to Abilene before starting a district slate that now includes Southlake Carroll.
Quotable: “We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m happy with where we are. We’ll know a lot about this team after the first four games.” — Coach Mark Smith
“We know that the district is more rigorous, but it’s nothing the Blue Raiders can’t handle.” — Defensive end David Dorsett
“With our new offensive coordinator, it’s a really crazy offense. But it’s a toned-down version so it’s not so complicated.” — Quarterback Dominique Lawson
Notable: Brothers Daniel and David Dorsett are both seniors, but not twins. They were born 11 months apart.
— Randy Sachs