The Star-Telegram “Spring Forward” series continues with a look at the top Class 5A teams to watch during the 2018 football season.
Last year Highland Park capped off the illustrious careers of head coach Randy Allen and quarterback John Stephen Jones, grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, with its second-straight state title in 5A Division I. Aledo’s quest for its second in a row came up a point short to College Station in the 5A Division II state title game. Both teams should be in contention once again next season.
Class 5A has many talented teams in the Metroplex and it'll be the first year that its split into divisions.
If you know Texas high school football, you know Aledo is the team to beat every year. The Bearcats have won 10 or more games in 12 consecutive seasons. They’ve gone 164-15, a 91.6 winning percentage in that span. Aledo has won six state titles in the past nine years and has reached at least the state semifinals 11 of the past 14. The Bearcats showcase one of the top 2020 recruits in the nation in RB Jase McClellan, who is committed to Oklahoma. The 4-star recruit was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2016. In two seasons, McClellan has rushed for 3,100 yards and 48 TDs, 28 coming in 2017. But he's not the only playmaker for Aledo. 2019 DB/WR Jeffery Carter has over 20 offers and is projected to commit with Texas A&M, per 247Sports. Carter is the No. 16 ranked corner in the nation and No. 20 overall prospect in the state. He's also the No. 138 ranked player in the country. Another pair of 2019s include DL Colt Ellison (96 tackles, 18 for loss, 13.5 sacks) and DB/LB Wyatt Harris, who's committed to TCU.
2. Mansfield Legacy
The Broncos have one of the best players in the country in 2019 DB Jalen Catalon. In two seasons, Catalon has recorded video-game numbers with 297 tackles, 10 for loss, 12 picks, 10 deflections and five fumble recoveries. He's the No. 8 ranked safety in the nation and a two-time all-state selection. Legacy's defense should be lights-out good in 2018 when you add 2019 defensive linemen Taurean Carter (65 tackles, 16 for loss, 8 sacks) and Enoch Jackson (52 tackles, 19 for loss, 6 sacks). Both are 3-star recruits and made the Star-Telegram list of top 2019 recruits in Dallas-Fort Worth. The biggest question is who's going to be quarterback? Catalon is such an athlete, he spent half his time last season lined up behind center where he accounted for 28 TDs. The Broncos have had their two best seasons in a row with the state semifinals last year and state quarters in 2016.
3. Highland Park
We couldn't make this list without including the two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champions. But how will the Scots fare after losing Jones and Allen? Jones accounted for over 60 TDs last season and Allen is the fourth winningest coach in Texas high school football history. 2020 QB Chandler Morris, the son of former SMU coach and current Arkansas coach Chad Morris, is the projected starter. In the run game, the Scots scored 28 TDs in 2017, but only three of those are returning in the fall. A bright spot is 2019 WR Finnegan Corwin, who recorded 31 catches, 653 yards and 11 TDs. Defensively, 2019s Prince Dorbah (81 tackles, 12 for loss, 10 sacks, 20 QB hurries), Hudson Clark (54 tackles, 2 INT, 14 deflections), Ryan Khetan (64 tackles, 3 INT) and Jon Jurgovan (80 tackles) will make it a tough match up for any opponent.
4. Colleyville Heritage
After going 5-6 in his first season with the Panthers, coach Joe Willis has led them to a 21-6 record the past two seasons with trips to the state quarterfinals and regional round. Heritage has scored 1,210 points in that span, an average of 44.8 per game. In 2018, the offense will be led by 2019 WR Kam Brown, a Texas A&M commit, and 2020 ATH Drew Sanders, an Oklahoma commit. Brown, an all-state selection, recorded 1,200 yards and 19 TDs, and had 100 or more yards in seven games. Sanders can play QB, RB, WR and LB and recorded 261 yards, 5 TDs, 44 tackles, 4 for loss and 2 sacks. Others returning is 2019 Michael Young (65 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks), 2019 Trey Flint (56 tackles) and 2020 Brayden Gerlich (2 INT). The Panthers get a test to start the season with North Forney, Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity, who went a combined 31-10 last season.
5. White Settlement Brewer
One name that matters – Todd Peterman. Yes, if you missed the news, the former state-champion coach from DeSoto is now wearing the blue and white with the Bears. Brewer has made the playoffs the past three years, but hasn’t been able to win a bi-district game. But Peterman, who went 32-8 in three seasons at DeSoto, will make the Bears a stronger playoff contender. 2019 QB Carson Ingram led the team with 2,000 total yards and 22 TDs. Also returning is 2019 RB Justin Davis (43 carries, 384 yards, 4 TD) and WR Jahrad Taylor (56 catches, 818 yards, 9 TD). Brewer starts the season with former district foe Haslet Eaton and Sherman before embarking on the nine-team District 3-5A Divsion I, which includes 2017 playoff teams FW South Hills, FW Arlington Heights, Saginaw Boswell and Crowley.
Honorable Mention: Saginaw Boswell, FW South Hills, Denton Ryan, North Forney, Frisco Lone Star
Check back on Wednesday for the top 6A teams.