Fort Worth Carter-Riverside
Last season: 2-8 (2-6 in District 6-4A)
Key players: WR/S Michael Gentry (5-6, 140); WR/DE Devante Harris (6-5, 195); QB Vincent Luna (5-9, 175); RB/FS Tristan Harris (6-0, 160).
The big picture: Eagles coach Jim Jeffries still points to a 2011 victory over Fort Worth Dunbar that proves his Carter-Riverside team is always a few yards or plays from snatching a significant win. “We had 15 eligible players that night,” Jeffries said. Coming off a 2013 season in which the Eagles captured two victories, Jeffries said his team is returning a core group that gives the Eagles a better chance to win. The playoffs may be another debate, but the enthusiasm is not, Jeffries said. Quarterback Vincent Luna is back after throwing for 2,365 yards over the last two seasons. Luna threw 12 touchdowns in 2013. Receiver Michael Gentry also returns after 41 receptions, 488 yards and five touchdowns last year. New offensive coordinator Jeremy Hayes will also have running back Tristan Harris returning. Harris had limited carries last season as backup to Fred Pitts, who finished the 2013 season with 582 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jeffries said with only one feeder school, seven or eight players sometimes line up on both sides of the ball. “Some of these kids don’t have great situations at home, but they come to practice every day with great attitudes and a belief that they are going to win some games,” Jeffries said.
Quotable: “We’ll work to try and get some one-on-one situations, because we have players with good speed at the skill positions. Passing probably makes up 60 percent of our offense, but that can open up the run for us as well. Our kids out in the open do a lot better that way, and it’s up to us to give them the opportunity to do that. As far as conditioning, we’ve always got them in shape; they work hard in the weight room. I think for us to really be successful, we’ve got to swarm to the football on defense. ... I really feel like kids have fun at practice; we try to make it fun anyway. Our conditioning program is done on the fly, really, as opposed to just running for two or three days. It’s a lot like how we teach the game, but this has been the smoothest camp we’ve had as far as the kids coming in and ready to go.” — coach Jim Jeffries
“We have worked hard all off-season and we have pretty good guys coming up from JV who can contribute. Overall, we have more knowledge of the game. Going undefeated in non-district is key. People think Carter-Riverside is nothing, but this year people will have another thing coming.” — WR Michael Gentry
“We have a bunch of new kids joining and they want to learn, so I’m kind of liking that. We’ve always been lacking size. One of the challenges we face is that we might not be the biggest team, but we’ve got to be the best-conditioned and we’ve got to be the smartest.” — QB Vincent Luna
Notable: Coach Jeffries said Carter-Riverside will have almost 70 players in the football program this season.