Byron Nelson’s spring football season finished Thursday with its Byron-Nelson game (one team is named Byron; the other team is named Nelson). While the score was inconsequential, head coach Brian Polk saw what he needed with his first-team units.
By design, those groups didn’t get a lot of time on the Northwest ISD Stadium field.
However, the bulk of what was accomplished starting in late April occurred back on the school campus and through the other scrimmages.
“What I liked is that both units showed a lot of energy,” Polk said. “Our one defense got a turnover. The one offense scored on two of three possessions. They didn’t play a whole lot but I think we just wanted to make some things pretty clear.”
The Haire’s race
Quaterback Preston Haire has been running the Bobcats offense since he was a sophomore. He went through ups and downs during his junior season when Nelson finished 3-7 in its first year in Class 6A.
Haire completed just 47 percent of his passes for 1,317 yards and 13 touchdowns. An expected completion percentage needs to be around 60. But Haire used the frustrations from the 2014 season toward a dedicated offseason and spring performance.
More work with a young receiving corps followed by more offseason strength and conditioning work has meant that Haire is ready to return the program to the playoffs. He threw a rope about 35 yards for a touchdown pass to junior Pascal Mondombo in the spring game.
“Basically, it was just connecting like we do in practice,” Haire said. “Strength, confidence and maturity, a combination of all of those things has really helped me. I made sure I stayed after practice and in the offseason throwing with the wide receivers. This is one of the best offseasons we’ve ever had.”
He could break out
When watching Mondombo, a junior wide receiver, it’s not hard to understand why he could be one of the best skill players in District 5-6A. As a sophomore learning the game in 2014, Mondombo showed big-play potential when he averaged more than 22 yards per reception.
Mondombo and Haire developed a pretty solid pitch-and-catch rotation in the spring game. On the 35-yard touchdown pass, Mondombo used every bit of his 6-0 frame to run away from his defender and let his natural ability finish.
“He’s a crazy athlete,” Haire said. “With the amount of skill he has, it’s just something we want to take more and more advantage of.”
There will be other receiving options, including senior-to-be Chase Flickinger and senior-to-be Brandon Bowen. But Polk is adamant about what Mondombo must bring to the offense.
“He has to be our big-play guy,” Polk said. “He’s still learning the position.”
For now, senior-to-be offensive tackle Kellen Diesch will play most of this upcoming season on offense. There could be some spot duty on defense. However, Polk said fall camp should tell the coaching staff more about how it wants to use Diesch. Diesch is also expected to make his commitment decision before the summer ends. It’s believe that the front runners are Baylor and Oklahoma … Senior running back Amani Kaegea missed the spring game because of a thigh bruise … Senior offensive lineman Justin Self (6-2, 270) is starting to see some recruiting activity. He has offers from Navy, Army and Texas State.
Editor’s Note: Due to early Memorial Day deadline’s, the report from Northwest’s May 22 spring football game could not be added. Look for it in the June 3 edition.